Abandoned Babies: A Thought
AN article I read this morning triggered my brain into writing this topic. And I am sure, due to its sensitiveness and controversial nature, it will definitely trigger some responses among the readers.
And before I delve further into this murky hole, let me put this clearly. I am writing this as a flawed human being. A mother and also a flawed Muslim Malay who is still re-learning my faith my best possible way with His guidance.
What I am about to write here is my personal thoughts on matters close to my heart, things that touches me deeply. And I am here to agree to disagree with those who have different views to mine.
My view is, with so many perceived and blatant acts of too much politicking and rife corruption in our top religious governance, it is almost an automatic response for me to question any ruling being doled out in response to certain incidents affecting Muslim community.
Admittedly, I am on the fence when comes to Shariah laws across the country which mandate fines and imprisonment for things like skipping prayers, not fasting during Ramadan, or even caning for adultery or consuming alcohol.
I am not against it but am against the way it is being applied as a deterrent but these punishments should be used as the last resort, after counselling, rehabilitation efforts have been taken without yielding improved behaviours as the result.
For instance, in abandoned babies issue. Personally I don’t think anyone should simply punish unwed young girl who gave birth to a baby due to illicit sex. Yes she made a mistake. But who doesn’t. Some are lucky enough with only making small mistakes in life. Some would make huge mistakes as a part of learning process to be a better human being.
This is where the parents and the community should be working together by guiding the girl to do the right thing. When I said the right what I mean is not to abandon the baby on the roadside or in some plantation or worse still, forced (directly or indirectly) to having an abortion.
From what I was made to believe, the act of giving birth to illegitimate baby itself is punishable under our Islamic Law practiced in this country. Yes, that’s right. If the Islamic authority discovered that you have given birth to a baby out-of-wedlock, you would be tried in court.
Honestly, I don’t know what could be achieved by charging the girl in the court for giving birth to an innocent baby. To shame the girl ( as deterrent for possible future illicit snagging perhaps) for sure. But doesn’t the experience of pregnancy alone would be a deterrent enough?
For those who are blessed with being pregnant with their baby(ies) (legitimate and illegitimate alike), the experience itself is indescribable. The pure joy (of carrying another human in your body) would bring ones to her knees with bliss.
My heart screamed in pain everytime I read news about innocent newborn babies found (alive and dead) in unlikely places. But I can’t bring myself to put the blame solely on the confused and panicked young mother for doing what she was doing?
Times like that I wonder where her parents and immediate family were? Did they know? If yes what did they do to guide the girl to do the right thing? If they didn’t, why not? Weren’t they the parents who should care and guide the girls whenever she falls?
Doesn’t Islam emphasise on compassion on its believers?
My heart screamed in joy when I read news about OrphanCare, a non-profit non-government organisation (NGO) was established in 2008 to provide an alternative for unwed mothers and a safe haven for babies rather than being abandoned.
Unfortunately, the baby hatches became into public dispute as it was claimed to encourage out of wedlock babies and abandonment of newborns. Sigh.
As a parent who went through some pretty dark phases myself in my younger years, am disheartened to see how some parents are in denial when they find out that their daughters are pregnant out of wedlock. Not saying that society should be ‘relaxed’ and let young people do whatever they want, but if the damage has been done, we shouldn’t judge them too hard until they feel pressured to throw their babies away.
As a parent, we too pray that our children will walk through this incredible maze called life with minimal scars possible. To quote my late husband John’s favourite phrase — To err is human; to forgive, divine.
And we can’t keep on pointing fingers to anyone as it all comes back to ourselves. And society needs to adopt a much broader mindset so that people who are going through this situation will not be prosecuted but instead helped to make a better choice in life rather than having a life full with regrets for their actions. A