I agree with Haji Mokhtar Stork (Of converts and hypocrites) that there are converts who do so for material gains. On the other hand, it is impossible for mere mortals like us to know the intentions or objectives of the convert. In Islam, this is called the nawaitu.
As the Syarie Lawyers Association head Mohamad Burok pointed out, Islam is a religion that provides justice for all; it is a compassionate religion. Unfortunately, in Malaysia and elsewhere, we do not see it being implemented in the same spirit. More often than not, the laws are designed which will inevitably result in the dependents bearing the brunt of the action or decision of the convert.
Thus, the syariah laws in Malaysia relating to a Muslim man who takes on a second or subsequent wife is merciless, to say the least, on the first wife and all the children of the man. Similarly, a non-Muslim married man can easily circumvent opposition by his wife to his extra-marital affairs by converting to Islam, with dire consequences to the non-Muslim wife and her children.
With that in mind, I would like to suggest two very simple yet practical guidelines on conversion to Islam. This applies to one who is married, as the decision of a single person to convert to Islam will not affect any dependent.
The spouse of a person who wishes to embrace Islam must be given the right of refusal to convert.
Where the spouse chooses not to convert, the marriage must first be dissolved in accordance with the laws under which the marriage took place. The divorce must resolve issues relating to child custody, alimony and share of assets.
Had these guidelines been applied, then the problems that arose in the case of the Mt Everest hero would not have arisen.