The Syariah Law in Singapore is followed by the Muslim population of the Republic. The Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA) that was passed in 1966 and constantly updated since, regulates all Muslim religious affairs. The AMLA also defines how the Syariah Court operates.
The Syariah Court has limited jurisdiction, since all the parties need to be Muslims or be married under the provisions of the Muslim law. The cases that reach the Syariah Court involve disputes relating to marriage, property and custody of children.
According to AMLA, the Syariah Court can:
- issue divorces known in the Muslim law as fasakh, cerai taklik, khuluk and talak,
- annul marriages,
- dispose or divide property after a divorce or annulment,
- order the payment of emas kahwin, marriage expenses (hantaran belanja), maintenance and consolatory gifts or mutaah,
- arrange the method of distribution of a deceased person’s estate among his next of kin in accordance with Islamic law
The mission of the Syariah Court is to save and salvage marriages and, if that is not possible, to try and settle divorces amicably. That is why every application for divorce will first be sent to the Marriage Counselling Programme. If the two parties reconcile, then the case will not go to court. However, if at least one party decides to pursue a divorce, then the court procedure will commence.
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