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Nyonya Tahir, also know also Wong Ah Kiu in her Chinese name was born in 1918. She was born as a Muslim but was raised in Chinese surrounding with Buddhist teaching. In her earlier life, her grandmother took Nyonya Tahir under her care. Her grandmother is actually a Malay Muslim married to a Chinese man who converted to Islam; hence explain the mixture of Malay and Chinese in Nyonya Tahir’s descendants. Later, she was adopted by a Chinese family and raised her as a Buddhist. Growing up with Chinese lifestyle, she practised Buddhism in her life time.
Even though she married a Chinese man, and has children out of the marriage, the word ‘Islam’ remains as a religion on her NIC bearing a name Nyonya binti Tahir, not Wong Ah Kiu. She did apply to change the name and religion on her NIC in 1986 but was turned down. When her husband died at the age of 87, she made another application, so she can be buried next to her husband when she died, only to see her applications got rejected twice, in 1991 and 1998. Her final attempt to ensure that she would be buried next to her husband was by leaving a ‘declaration or will stating that she wanted to be buried according to Buddhist rites’.
The case of Nyonya Tahir was controversial, but did not attract much of a spotlight. In the end, considering all the evidence and statements from family members, “Syariah Court was convinced that Nyonya Tahir was not of the Muslims faith at the time of her death. This is the first case that non-Muslim had testified in the Syariah Court of Malaysia. This case may not cause much of a stir, but the impact is still huge towards the whole Muslims after witnessing the determination of the non-Muslims to fight for their rights.

Post Author: admin