Ipoh (Malaysia), June 12 (ANI): A Malaysian expert of Islamic studies has said Islam should not be forced upon a child or a minor because a call to Islam is a conscious submission.
Addressing a discussion titled, "Crisis in Religious Thinking", Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) director-general Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas said the ability to think is a major factor for a non-Muslim to decide whether to become a Muslim.
"A child who has not reached umur baligh (age of maturity) cannot be burdened with the responsibility of accepting something he does not understand as his faculties of reason are still immature. Therefore, it is unreasonable to say that one can simply convert a child," The Star Online quoted him, as saying.
He added that converting a child to Islam is actually forcing him to accept the burden of responsibility, while Allah did not command such a burden be placed on the child who had not reached the age of maturity.
Syed Ali said conversion of a child to Islam also did not guarantee that he would remain a Muslim throughout his life.
"The responsibility of a Muslim father is to educate his children on the religion and when they reach the age of maturity, they can make their choice," he said.
In April, the Malaysian Cabinet had decided that the children of a separated couple who later convert to Islam should be raised in the religion the couple professed at the time of their marriage. (ANI)