• status agama anak bawah umur

    STATUS AGAMA ANAK BAWAH UMUR & HAK HADHANAH APABILA SALAH SEORANG IBU BAPA MEMELUK ISLAM: ADAKAH ISLAM ATAU KEKAL DENGAN AGAMA IBU BAPA KETIKA BERKAHWIN?

    Status Agama Anak Bawah Umur – Islam sentiasa mementingkan kebajikan anak bagi memastikan anak tersebut dapat membesar dan menjalani kehidupan yang sempurna seperti kanak-kanak lain. Banyak aspek yang perlu diberikan penekanan seperti kesihatan, keselamatan dan pendidikan. Oleh kerana itu, jika ibu bapa bercerai, mereka tetap perlu mengambil berat akan anak mereka kerana ini merupakan tanggungjawab mereka selagi mereka di bawah umur. Bercerai bukan bererti terputus segala hubungan dan tanggungjawab. 

    Terlebih dahulu, lebih baik jika kita melihat pandangan ulama daripada 4 mazhab berkaitan isu di atas. Ulama daripada 4 mazhab tersebut mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza mengenai isu ini. Ada yang mengatakan status agama anak bawah umur sekiranya salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam adalah Islam. Akan tetapi, ada juga yang mengatakan sebaliknya. Sudah semestinya pandangan-pandangan yang berbeza daripada ulama ini mempunyai hujah mereka yang tersendiri. 

     

    Pandangan 4 Mazhab Berkaitan Status Agama Anak Bawah Umur Apabila Salah Seorang Ibu Bapa Memeluk Agama Islam.

    Para ulama’ dan fuqaha sudah semestinya mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza mengenai isu status agama anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang pasangan memeluk agama Islam. Hal  ini menunjukkan bahawa isu ini termasuk dalam perkara ijtihadi. Jumhur ulama’ iaitu Mazhab Hanafi, Hanbali dan Syafie berpendapat bahawa di dalam isu ini, anak-anak akan mengikut agama Islam tidak kira yang memeluk agama Islam itu ibu atau bapa. Pendapat ini adalah bersandarkan kepada hadis Nabi SAW yang bermaksud : Daripada ‘A’idz Amr Almuzani, daripada Nabi SAW bersabda : “Islam itu tinggi dan tiada yang lebih tinggi daripadanya”. 

    Berikut pula adalah pandangan ulama-ulama dari setiap mazhab berkaitan penjagaan anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam.

    1. Pandangan Iman al-Imraniyy dari Mazhab Shafie: Imam al-Imraniyy (2000) menjelaskan di dalam kitabnya “al-Bayan Fi Madhhab al-Imam al-Shafie”:
      Maksudnya, “Tidak sabit hak penjagaan anak bagi orang fasik, kerana tidak ada jaminan keselamatan yang kanak-kanak itu akan membesar mengikut caranya. Sekiranya salah seorang daripada ibu bapa itu adalah beragama Islam, maka anak tersebut diberikan kepada yang beragama Islam, dan tidak sabit hak penjagaan kepada orang kafir”.

    2. Pandangan Imam Ibn Abidin dari Mazhab Hanafi:Imam Ibn Abidin menyatakan dalam kitabnya “Radd al-Muhtar ‘Ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar”: Maksudnya, “(Sabit hak penjagaan bagi ibu) iaitu ibu nasab, (walaupun) ibu itu seorang ahli kitab atau majusi atau (selepas perceraian) (kecuali sekiranya ibu itu murtad) sehinggalah dia menjadi muslimah kembali kerana dia akan ditahan (atau si ibu seorang yang jahat) yang mana kejahatannya boleh menyebabkan si anak terbiar seperti berzina, nyanyian, mencuri dan ratapan ketika kematian seperti yang dibahaskan dalam kitab “Bahr al-Ra’iq” dan kitab “Nahr al-Fa’iq”.Ibnu ‘Abidin (1992) berkata lagi: Maksudnya, “Kerana belas kasihan itu tidak berbeza dengan berbezanya agama”.

    3. Pandangan Imam al-Zarqaniyy dari Mazhab Malikiyy:Imam al-Zarqaniyy menjelaskan dalam kitabnya “Sharh al-Zarqaniyy ‘Ala Mukhtasar Sayyidi Khalil”: Maksudnya, “(Hak penjagaan bagi kanak-kanak lelaki sehingga mereka telah baligh dan hak penjagaan perempuan seperti memberi nafakah adalah bagi hak ibu) walaupun ibu itu seorang kafir”.
      Imam Malik mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza mengenai isu ini iaitu anak-anak di bawah umur akan mengikut agama Islam sekiranya yang memeluk agama Islam itu ialah bapanya. Akan tetapi, sekiranya ibu yang memeluk Islam, anak-anak tersebut tidak perlu ikut memeluk agama Islam. Hal ini kerana, mengikut Imam Malik, seorang anak dinasabkan kepada bapanya dan bukan ibu. Oleh yang demikian, anak-anak akan ikut memeluk agama Islam hanya apabila bapanya memeluk agama Islam. Jika ibunya yang memeluk agama Islam, anak-anak tidak akan mengikut agama baru ibunya iaitu Islam dan kekal dengan agama asal ketika ibu bapa mereka berkahwin.
    4. Pandangan Imam al-Buhutiyy dari Mazhab Hanbaliyy:
      Imam al-Buhutiyy  berkata dalam kitabnya “Kashshaf al-Qina’ An Matn al-Iqna”: Maksudnya, “(Tidak ada) penjagaan juga (bagi orang kafir ke atas kanak-kanak Islam). Bahkan kemudaratannya lebih besar kerana ia akan memberi fitnah daripada agamanya dan mengeluarkannya daripada agama Islam, dengan cara mengajarnya dan mendidiknya dengan kekufuran. Perkara yang demikian itu kesemuanya merupakan kemudaratan”.

    Di sini dapat kita simpulkan bahawa Mazhab Shafie dan Hanafi lebih lebih cenderung kepada pandangan bahawa di dalam isu status agama anak bawah umur selepas salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam, anak-anak adalah mengikut agama Islam tidak kira sama ada yang memeluk agama Islam itu ibu atau bapa. Pandangan tersebut adalah berdasarkan hadis Nabi SAW:

    Daripada A’idz bin Amr Almuzani, daripada Nabi SAW bersabda : “Islam itu tinggi dan tiada yang lebih tinggi daripadanya”.

    Berkaitan dengan isu penjagaan anak atau hadhanah, Mazhab Shafie dan Hanbali juga berpendapat bahawa tiada hak penjagaan bagi orang bukan Islam. Hak penjagaan anak tersebut akan diberikan kepada yang beragama Islam. Hal ini adalah bagi memelihara keselamatan akidah anak tersebut dan menghindarinya daripada sebarang kemudharatan jika sekiranya anak tersebut diletakkan di bawah jagaan orang bukan Islam. Ibu bapa yang bukan beragama Islam tidak layak untuk mempunyai hak penjagaan anak kerana dibimbangi ibu atau bapa yang bukan beragama Islam akan mempengaruhi agama anak tersebut. Dalam erti kata lain, akidah anak yang beragama Islam tersebut mungkin akan terjejas.  

    Pandangan ulama daripada Mazhab Maliki menyatakan bahawa boleh sekiranya penjaga si anak seorang yang bukan beragama Islam. Akan tetapi menurut Wahbah al-Zuhailiy, ulama Mazhab Hanafi dan maliki memberi kebenaran kepada ibu atau bapa yang bukan beragama Islam untuk menjaga anak hanyalah sehingga anak itu mencapai umur mumayyiz. Setelah anak itu mumayyiz ataupun akidah anak itu didapati terjejas ketika di bawah jagaan ibu atau bapanya yang bukan Islam, maka anak itu hendaklah diserahkan kepada penjaganya yang Islam walaupun sebelum anak itu mencapai umur mumayyiz. 

    Selain pandangan daripada 4 mazhab iaitu Mazhab Shafie, Hanafi, Maliki dan Hanbali, terdapat juga fatwa-fatwa lain berkaitan dengan hak hadhanah dan juga status agama anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam dan juga Di dalam Persidangan Penyelarasan Undang-Undang Syarak/Sivil kali Ke-19, semua ahli persidangan tersebut telah bersetuju bahawa:

    “Menasihati Kabinet supaya tidak meminda Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, Seksyen 51 Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 dipinda supaya orang yang memeluk Islam diberikan hak untuk membubarkan perkahwinan sivilnya di Mahkamah Sivil, mana-mana pasangan yang memeluk Islam yang mempunyai anak-anak yang di bawah umur 18 tahun hendaklah menjadi orang Islam selaras dengan Hukum Syarak dan hak hadhanah hendaklah diputuskan oleh Mahkamah Sivil dengan mengambil kira kebajikan dan maslahah anak.”

    Terdapat juga fatwa-fatwa kontemporari daripada ulama yang baru dikeluarkan. Antaranya adalah pandangan daripada Dr Abd al-Rahman bin Hasan al-Nafisah yang bermaksud:

    “Mudah-mudahan pandangan yang tepat -Allah lebih Mengetahui adalah apa yang disebut dalam mazhab imam Abu Hanifah dan Malik yang membenarkan hak penjagaan kepada ibu bukan Islam. Hal ini kerana athar yang ada menunjukkan bahawa tabiat seorang ibu (sama ada dia seorang Islam atau tidak) dalam perasaan kasih sayang kepada anak-anaknya dan penjagaan mereka melebihi ayah mereka. Tetapi ini tidak menafikan hak bapa pada anak-anaknya. Si ibu tidaklah melebihi kekuatan si ayah apabila si anak melepasi tahap kanak-kanak. Apabila si anak melepasi tahap kanak-kanak, dia dapat mengetahui banak perkara dan membezakannya. Sekiranya si ibu adalah muslimah, wajib si anak berada bersama si ayah untuk pendidikannya. Sekiranya si ibu bukan muslimah (dan ini asas masalah), dibimbangi selepas baligh si anak akan terbiasa dengan agamanya. Oleh itu, wajib si anak bersama si ayah”.

    Selain itu, Dr Abd al-Latif al-Fatur juga ada berkata di dalm kitabnya iaitu “Fatawa Wa Qadaya Fiqhiyyah Mu’asirah” yang membawa maksud:

    Islamnya penjaga bukanlah syarat dalam hak penjagaan kanak-kanak, kerana belas kasihan ibu biologi tidak terkesan ke atasnya dengan perbezaan agamanya (si ibu) dengan agama kanak-kanak tersebut. Ia menjadikan ibu itu lebih berhak dengan penjagaannya (kanak-kanak tersebut), kecuali jika ditakuti ke atasnya akan memberi kesan dengan penjagaannya atau kanak-kanak itu diberi makan yang haram dalam Islam, maka si ibu umpama orang yang jahat lagi tidak beramanah ke atas penjagaan si anak”.

     

    Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia

    Seterusnya Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia kali ke-87 memutuskan bahawa:

    Setelah meneliti keterangan, hujah-hujah dan pandangan yang dikemukakan, Muzakarah berpandangan bahawa di dalam Islam, Jumhur Ulama telah bersepakat bahawa apabila salah seorang ibu atau bapa memeluk Islam, agama anak di bawah umur juga adalah Islam dan penjagaan anak hendaklah diletakkan di bawah ibu atau bapa yang beragama Islam.

    Oleh yang demikian, Muzakarah bersetuju memutuskan bahawa apabila salah seorang pasangan (ibu atau bapa) memeluk agama Islam, status agama anak bawah umur pasangan tersebut adalah secara langsung beragama Islam.

    Muzakarah juga bersetuju memutuskan supaya Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang memperuntukkan bahawa agama seseorang yang di bawah umur 18 tahun hendaklah ditetapkan oleh ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya tidak perlu dipinda.

    Institut Pengurusan dan Penyelidikan Fatwa Sedunia (INFAD), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) ada membuat beberapa syor berkaitan isu ini. Seperti yang dapat kita lihat, keempat-empat mazhab fiqh mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza berkaitan isu ini. Oleh itu kita dinasihatkan agar tidak mengeluarkan kenyataan yang menyalahkan dan menyesatkan mana-mana pandangan mazhab fiqh Islam. Menurut pandangan dari segi fiqh, pandangan yang mensyaratkan bahawa penjaga si anak sama ada ibu atau bapa harus islam adalah lebih tepat demi menjaga kemaslahatan dan akidah anak tersebut.

    Perkara 11(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan ada menyatakan peruntukan berkaitan dengan  hak kebebasan beragama bagi setiap individu di Persekutuan Malaysia. Peruntukan ini merangkumi hak untuk mengamalkan dan menganut sesuatu agama tetapi ianya tertakluk kepada 11(4). Perkara 11(4) mengehadkan dan membuat sekatan terhadap penyebaran agama bukan Islam kepada orang Islam. Penulisan ini lebih memfokuskan kepada isu pertukaran agama yang melibatkan salah seorang dari ibu bapa bukan Islam kepada Islam, manakala seorang lagi masih kekal dengan agama bukan Islam, status agama anak bawah umur dan juga isu berkaitan hak penjagaan anak. 

    Berdasarkan peruntukan undang-undang yang sedia ada iaitu Perkara  12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, ia ada menyatakan bahawa agama bagi seseorang yang berada di bawah umur hendaklah ditentukan oleh ibunya atau bapanya atau penjaganya. Peruntukan ini sekaligus menyatakan bahawa persetujuan daripada salah satu pihak sahaja sudah mencukupi bagi menentukan agama seorang kanak-kanak yang di bawah umur. Hal ini adalah kerana, di dalam Perkara 12(4), perkataan yang digunakan adalah “parent or guardian” dan bukannya “parents or guardian” yang bermaksud ibu atau bapa atau penjaga. Bukannya ibu dan bapa dan penjaga. 

    Seterusnya berdasarkan Seksyen 95 Akta Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 1993 memperuntukkan bahawa seseorang yang tidak beragama Islam boleh masuk Islam jika dia sempurna akal dan mencapai umur lapan belas tahun; atau jika dia belum mencapai umur lapan belas tahun, ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya mengizinkan kemasukannya. Peruntukan di bawah akta ini juga menyatakan bahawa sudah memadai jika keizinan untuk memasuki agama Islam bagi seseorang yang berada di bawah umur diberi oleh salah seorang daripada tiga individu yang disebutkan di atas. Tidak perlu mendapat keizinan ketiga-tiganya sekali. 

     

    Isu Berbangkit Serta Hak Hadhanah

    Isu status agama anak bawah umur setelah ibu atau bapa memeluk agama islam menjadi perdebatan dalam kalangan masyarakat. Hal ini tidak boleh dipandang remeh kerana ianya merupakan satu isu yang berkaitan dengan akidah dan akidah juga merupakan sesuatu asas penting dalam kehidupan setiap muslim. Agama Islam mengajar kita untuk sentiasa bertolak-ansur. Akan tetapi perlu diingatkan bahawa tiada tolak ansur di dalam sesetengah perkara contohnya perkara yang melibatkan akidah seseorang muslim itu sendiri. 

    Masyarakat kita sendiri juga sering berselisih pendapat mengenai isu status agama anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang ibu bapa mereka memeluk Islam. Isu ini menjadi perhatian masyarakat oleh kerana ianya melibatkan dua kaum dan agama yang berbeza iaitu Islam dan bukan Islam. Sudah semestinya pihak masing-masing ingin mempertahankan hak mereka. Tidak salah sekiranya mereka ingin pertahankan hak akan tetapi perlu diingatkan bahawa kita mempunyai undang-undang yang melindungi hak agama masing- masing. 

    Orang Islam tertakluk di bawah undang-undang syariah manakala orang bukan Islam tertakluk di bawah undang-undang sivil. Adalah tidak wajar sekiranya masyarakat atau sesiapa sahaja pertahankan sesuatu hak tanpa melihat kepada peruntukan undang-undang sedia ada. Di dalam masalah ini, sebolehnya kita mahu kedua-dua belah pihak mendapat keadilan yang sewajarnya. Oleh itu, hendaklah kita berbalik kepada peruntukan undang-undang kedua dua belah pihak bagi mendapatkan pertimbangan yang baik. Dalam kebanyakan kes, biasanya akan ada pertembungan di antara dua bidang kuasa iaitu di antara bidang kuasa mahkamah syariah dengan mahkamah sivil. 

    Terdapat banyak isu yang akan timbul selepas berlakunya perceraian misalnya tuntutan nafkah iddah, nafkah anak, mutaah, harta sepencarian dan yang sering menjadi rebutan pasangan yang sudah bercerai adalah hadhanah. Tuntutan hadhanah atau hak jagaan anak yang akan menjadi lebih sukar sekiranya ia melibatkan pasangan Islam dan bukan Islam. Hal ini terjadi apabila salah seorang pasangan bukan Islam tersebut memeluk agama islam dan menuntut hak jagaan anak.

    Pelbagai persoalan akan timbul iaitu persoalan tentang siapa yang lebih berhak menjaga anak tersebut dan juga bagaimana dengan status anak tersebut. Adakah anak tersebut akan kekal dengan agama asal ibu bapanya ketika berkahwin atau akan ikut menganut agama Islam dan siapa yang berhak terhadap hak penjagaan anak tersebut?

    Antara kes-kes yang berkaitan dengan isu di atas adalah kes Subashini Rajasingam Lawan Saravanan Thangathoray. Suami iaitu Saravanan telah memeluk agama Islam dan dia juga turut mengislamkan anak sulungnya yang pada ketika itu berusia 4 tahun. Isterinya, Subashini, membantah tindakan Saravanan yang telah mengislamkan anak lelakinya kerana tidak mendapatkan persetujuannya terlebih dahulu. 

    Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa ayah kepada kanak-kanak tersebut berkuasa untuk mengislamkan anaknya berdasarkan Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menyatakan bahawa agama seseorang yang berada di bawah umur lapan belas tahun hendaklah ditentukan oleh ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya. 

    Oleh disebabkan itu,dalam kes ini, secara tidak langsung ayah tersebut berhak untuk mengislamkan anaknya walaupun tanpa persetujuan daripada ibu anak tersebut. 

    Kes seterusnya ini berlainan sedikit daripada kes di atas tetapi turut mendapat perhatian masyarakat iaitu kes Viran a/l Nagapan v Deepa a/p Subramaniam.

    Di dalam kes ini, perayu telah memeluk Islam pada tahun 2012 dan telah mendaftarkan pemelukan Islam kedua-dua anaknya yang merupakan hasil daripada perkahwinan sivilnya dengan responden. Perayu juga telah memohon  pembubaran perkahwinan sivilnya dengan responden di Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah Seremban.

    Mahkamah kemudiannya memberikan perintah pembubaran perkahwinan tersebut dan memberikan hak jagaan dua orang anak kepada perayu manakala responden diberikan hak untuk melawat dan akses ke atas anak tersebut. Responden pula memfailkan petisyen untuk perceraian di mahkamah tinggi sivil seremban dan juga perintah hak jagaan anak. Mahkamah Tinggi Sivil Seremban kemudiannya membubarkan perkahwinan tersebut dan responden diberikan hak jagaan penuh ke atas dua orang anaknya itu. Terdapat campur tangan dari pihak IGP dan juga AG di dalam kes ini . pertembungan di antara perintah daripada Mahkamah Syariah dan Sivil telah menimbulkan isu-isu yang melibatkan kepentingan awam. 

    Dalam mengambil kira sama ada perintah hak penjagaan Mahkamah Tinggi sepertimana disahkan oleh Mahkamah Rayuan patut kekalkan ia menjadi perlu untuk mengambil kira kebajikan kanak-kanak itu, yang merupakan pertimbangan paling utama dalam menentukan hak penjagaan kanak-kanak itu. Andaian bahawa seorang kanak-kanak muda lebih elok bersama ibunya dan bukan bapanya merupakan andaian yang boleh dipatahkan dan bahawa andaian itu sendiri tidak semestinya suatu faktor penentu. Ia perlu diimbangi bersama faktor-faktor lain yang relevan dan pertimbangan yang pertama dan penting sepatutnya kebajikan kanak-kanak.

    Bagi tujuan menjadikan kebajikan anak-anak suatu yang paling utama ia adalah perlu untuk mengambil kira perkara-perkara seperti kelakuan pihak-pihak, status kewangan dan sosial mereka, jantina dan umur kanak-kanak itu, hasratnya setakat mana ia boleh ditentukan ber-gantung kepada umut kanak-kanak, laporan sulit pegawai kebajikan sosial dan sama ada dalam jangka panjang ia lebih kepada kepentingan, kebajikan dan kegembiraan kanak-kanak itu untuk bersama ibu atau bapa.

    Apabila anak lelaki dan anak perempuan disoal secara rahsia, ia didapati bahawa anak lelaki itu memilih untuk tinggal dengan bapanya dan tidak berhasrat untuk tinggal dengan ibunya, manakala anak perempuan itu telah menyatakan dia ingin tinggal dengan ibunya. Ia jelas bahawa kedua-dua kanak-kanak itu pasti dengan pilihan mereka, telah selesa dan dijaga dengan baik. Oleh itu, dengan mengambil kira kebajikan kanak-kanak tersebut ia menjadi jelas bahawa ia tidak perlu untuk mengganggu urusan sekarang. Dalam keadaan itu, perintah hak penjagaan yang diberikan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi patut diubah agar hak penjagaan anak perempuan kekal dengan responden manakala hak penjagaan anak lelaki berpindah kepada perayu. 

    Dua kes yang telah disebutkan di atas mempunyai sedikit perbezaan. Di dalam kes Viran a/l Nagapan v Deepa a/p Subramaniam, keputusan mahkamah didapati lebih terbuka dan luas dalam membuat keputusan yang telah memberikan hak jagaan anak lelaki kepada perayu dan juga hak jagaan anak perempuan kepada responden. Ianya bukan sahaja tertumpu kepada isu pengislaman kanak-kanak itu sahaja akan tetapi sudut kebajikan kanak-kanak tersebut perlu di ambil kira sebagai faktor sampingan.

    Pertikaian yang timbul di dalam isu ini berkemungkinan besar disebabkan oleh 2 perkara:

    1. Mahkamah Syariah mempunyai bidang kuasa untuk memutuskan sesuatu hak penjagaan anak.
    2. Mahkamah Syariah tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa ke atas individu yang bukan beragama Islam. 

    Keputusan yang telah dibuat oleh hakim-hakim di dalam kes di atas adalah berdasarkan pentafsiran dan kepentingan anak itu. Sekiranya anak itu selesa tinggal dengan ibunya maka mahkamah akan beri hak penjagaan kepada ibunya, begitu juga sebaliknya.

    Bagi mengatasi isu ini, beberapa pindaan terhadap Akta Membaharui Undang-undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 harus dilakukan bagi mengelakkan timbul pertikaian yang lebih teruk di masa hadapan. Kita sudahpun berhadapan dengan beberapa kes yang menyebabkan pertembungan di antara dua bidang kuasa berbeza yang akhirnya menimbulkan kekecohan dan juga kekeliruan dalam kalangan masyarakat. Pertembungan di antara dua bidang kuasa ini jika tidak diselesaikan akan menimbulkan pelbagai masalah berkenaan isu yang sama.

    Di dalam kedua-dua kes yang disebutkan di atas, masing-masing ingin mempertahankan bidang kuasa mereka iaitu di antara Mahkamah Syariah dan Mahkamah Sivil terhadap isu tersebut. Sekiranya, keputusan Mahkamah Syariah diterima, pihak satu lagi akan menganggap bahawa mereka didiskriminasikan ataupun haknya mereka dinafikan kerana mereka tidak boleh mendengar perbicaraan yang dijalankan di Mahkamah Syariah. Begitu juga sebaliknya jika keputusan mahkamah sivil yang diguna pakai di dalam isu ini.

    Penghakiman di dalam kes Indira Gandhi a/p Mutho iaitu kes yang terbaru berkaitan dengan isu di atas adalah berbeza berbanding kes-kes yang sebelumnya. Ada beberapa isu berbangkit yang mendapat perhatian iaitu berkaitan dengan pendaftaran penukaran agama kepada agama Islam dan juga keizinan untuk memeluk agama islam dari ibu atau bapa atau penjaga. 

    Berkaitan dengan isu pertama, persoalan yang timbul adalah:

    • Adakah Pendaftar Mualaf atau wakilnya boleh mendaftarkan penukaran agama Islam anak-anak pihak tersebut. 

    Mahkamah Persekutuan menyatakan bahawa had kuasa bagi Pendaftar Mualaf telah ditentukan di dalam Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Perak) 2004.

    Seksyen 96(1) mensyaratkan kehendak-kehendak bagi pemelukan agama Islam seseorang iaitu:

    • (a) orang itu mestilah mengucapkan dua kalimah Syahadah dalam bahasa Arab secara yang semunasabahnya jelas;
    • pada masa dia mengucap dua kalimah Syahadah itu, orang itu mestilah sedar bahawa kalimah itu bermakna “Aku naik saksi bahawa tiada Tuhan melainkan Allah dan aku naik saksi bahawa Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. ialah Pesuruh Allah”; dan
    • pengucapan itu mestilah dibuat dengan kerelaan hati orang itu sendiri.

    Seksyen 106(b) pula mensyaratkan keupayaan untuk memeluk agama Islam bagi kanak-kanak yang belum mencapai umur lapan belas tahun, ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya mengizinkan secara bertulis pemelukan agama Islam olehnya.

    Di dalam kes ini, dapat dilihat bahawa kedua-dua keperluan seksyen tersebut tidak dipenuhi. Oleh itu, Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa pengeluaran sijil perakuan memeluk agama Islam tersebut adalah tidak sah. Mahkamah Persekutuan menekankan bahawa ia tidak membincangkan mengenai fakta pemelukan agama Islam tetapi kesahan perakuan dan pendaftaran.

    Isu kedua adalah: 

    • Izin memeluk agama Islam dari ibu atau bapa atau penjaga

    Bagi isu kedua ini, Mahkamah hendaklah memutuskan sama ada kedua-dua ibu bapa perlu memberikan izin sebelum anak-anak yang lahir dalam perkahwinan sivil memeluk agama Islam. Perkara 12 (4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menyatakan bahawa, bagi maksud hak berkenaan pendidikan agama seseorang yang di bawah umur lapan belas tahun hendaklah ditetapkan oleh ibu atau bapanya atau penjaganya.

    Tafsiran terhadap hak-hak asasi dalam Perlembagan Persekutuan tidak boleh di ambil secara literal. Mahkamah berpendapat bahawa isu penukaran agama adalah sebuah isu yang besar yang boleh memberikan impak terhadap kanak-kanak tersebut. Justeru, tindakan membenarkan kanak-kanak menukar agama tanpa kebenaran kedua-dua ibu dan bapa akan menimbulkan isu dan berlawanan dengan kepentingan yang terbaik bagi anak.

    Mahkamah telah mengambil pendekatan secara menyeluruh yang membawa maksud perlunya keizinan dari kedua ibu dan bapa dengan merujuk kepada Seksyen 5 Akta Penjagaan Budak 1961 yang memperuntukkan bahawa ibu hendalaklah mempunyai hak dan autoriti yang sama sebagaimana yang dibenarkan oleh undang-undang kepada bapa. Hak bagi kedua-dua mereka terhadap penjagaan anak hendaklah sama. 

    Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa pasangan yang memeluk Islam dan pasangannya yang bukan Islam mesti memberi persetujuan bagi penukaran agama anak bawah umur kepada Islam.

    Hakim Zulkefli yang mengetuai panel itu berkata keputusan tersebut dicapai sebulat suara walaupun penukaran agama adalah isu yang menimbulkan perbalahan, namun keputusan mahkamah tidak dipengaruhi oleh kepercayaan agama.

    Persetujuan daripada Indira Gandhi dan bekas suaminya Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, (dahulu dikenali sebagi K. Pathmanathan) adalah diperlukan sebelum sijil penukaran agama kepada Islam dapat dikeluarkan kepada ketiga-tiga anak mereka. Pendekatan membenarkan penukaran agama anak atas persetujuan hanya satu pihak akan menimbulkan persoalan yang sukar.

    Pertimbangan utama mahkamah ialah untuk melindungi kebajikan kanak-kanak. Mahkamah tidak membuat penghakiman berdasarkan prinsip kepercayaan mana-mana pasangan.

  • li'an

    LI’AN: HUSBANDS, BEWARE!

    LI’AN: INTRODUCTION – In Islam, the relationship between a man and a woman can be legalised by way of a valid marriage solemnisation in accordance with the hukum syara’. With marriage, a household is hoped to be showered with love, affection and harmony between its members. The warmth and tranquillity that are expected to be gained from a husband-wife relationship could be reflected by the verse in the Qur’an which equates a wife as a garment/ clothing for the husband, and vice versa. Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 187:

    هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَهُنَّ ۗ

    Translation by Muhsin Khan:They are Libas [i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with her – as in Verse 7:189) Tafsir At-Tabari], for you and you are the same for them.”

    Ironically, the reality that we have to swallow about marriage is just like what Sylvester Stallone had said in a film entitled Rocky Balboa that “the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. This saying applies similarly in a marriage life. Some marriages survive a long-lasting happiness, whilst some people ended up having a wrecked marriage whereby the marriage eventually dissolves through a divorce. Hence, in this article we would discover a type of oath namely; li’an which could dissolve a marriage solemnisation.

     

    THE DEFINITION OF LI’AN

    Linguistically, li’an derives from the Arabic word; la’ana which means “to curse” or “to condemn” as stated in Kamus Arab-Indonesia Al-Munawwir by Ahmad Wirson Munawwir (1997). Whereas, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam defines it as: mutual repudiation. It is a mutual one in the sense that when a husband accuses his wife of committing adultery (zina) without providing four credible witnesses, by following the instructions laid down in Surah An-Nur, verses 6-7, the wife may then deny the allegation by repudiating in the same manner. The curse (la’nat) takes place at the fifth oath, whereby the wrath of Allah will fall on them if they are lying.

     

    AUTHORITIES FROM THE QUR’AN AND HADITH ON LI’AN

    Li’an is not a new creation of men but has long been recognised and inscribed in the Holy Qur’an.

    In Surah Al-An’am, verse 6-7, Allah says:

    And those who accuse their wives [of adultery] and have no witnesses except themselves – then the witness of one of them [shall be] four testimonies [swearing] by Allah that indeed, he is of the truthful. And the fifth [oath will be] that the curse of Allah be upon him if he should be among the liars.

    And in a hadith reported in Sahih Muslim, it was narrated that:

    Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) saying to the invokers of curse: Your account is with Allah. One of you must be a liar. You have now no right over this woman. He said: Messenger of Allah, what about my wealth (dower that I paid her at the time of marriage)? He said: You have no claim to wealth. If you tell the truth, it (dower) is the recompense for your having had the right to intercourse with her, and if you tell a lie against her, it is still more remote from you than she is...”

     

    THE OCCURRENCES OF LI’AN

    Abd al-Fattah Ibrahim in his book entitled Ahkam al-Usrah fi al-Shari’ah al-Islamiah explains that li’an can take place in two occurrences:

    1. When a husband alleges his wife of committing zina (adultery) but could not bring forth four witnesses.
    2. When a husband denies the nasab of the child borne by the wife due to uncertainty in the process of the child delivery.

     

    PILLARS (ARKAN) AND CONDITIONS OF LI’AN

    Meanwhile, Basri Ibrahim in his book called Pemantapan Sistem Kekeluargaan, page 209, lists out the pillars of li’an into four, namely:

    1. The one who pronounces the li’an (the husband):
      The husband must be the legitimate husband of the wife who has been pronounced li’an upon, and the husband must be of sound mind.
    2. The person who has been pronounced li’an upon (the wife):
      The wife must be the legitimate wife of the husband (who pronounces the li’an) and of sound mind.
    3. The cause (sabab) of li’an:
      The cause of li’an as discussed above is either due to the denial of nasab of the child borne by the wife or accusing/alleging a wife of committing zina.
    4. The pronouncement (lafaz) of li’an:
      The pronouncement of li’an must be in the correct order/sequence. The majority of the scholars (ulama’) are of the view that li’an would be valid if pronounced in the Arabic language or even in other languages. Nevertheless, according to the Hanbali madzhab, any husband and wife who can speak Arabic should pronounce li’an in Arabic as illustrated in the Qur’an.

     

    THE CONDITIONS OF LI’AN

    On the other hand, the conditions of li’an as highlighted by Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah Negeri Kelantan on its online portal are:

    1. The qazaf (the allegation of adultery by the husband towards the wife) must precede the li’an.
    2. The li’an of the husband is followed by the li’an of the wife.
    3. Both of the husband and wife must pronounce the words of li’an.  This is because the pronouncement of li’an is elucidated clearly in the Qur’an and must be pronounced accordingly.
    4. All the five oaths/swears of li’an must be pronounced successively, one after another (mu’allat). 
    5. The Judge must advice the parties not to tell lies whilst pronouncing li’an. 

    According to the above portal, all of the above conditions must be fulfilled for a li’an to be valid.

     

    THE DURATION OF THE DENIAL OF PATERNITY (NASAB)

    Muslim scholars have formed different opinions on the duration of the denial of paternity or in other words, for how long can a husband deny the paternity of the child borne by his wife? In a book entitled Pemantapan Sistem Kekeluargaan written by Basri Ibrahim, the majority of the Muslim scholars (jumhhur fuqaha’) opine that a husband cannot deny his paternity upon a child borne by his wife, after his wife gave birth to/delivered the child.

    On the other hand, according to the writer, the Shafi’i madzhab permits the denial of paternity of a child to be done throughout the wife’s pregnancy until the child is born. Whereas, the scholars of the Hanafi madzhab are of the view that the denial of paternity should be made abruptly as soon as the child is born or during the process of delivery, for the li’an to be valid. In contrast, if the li’an is made after that, the li’an would not be valid. The justification for the view is that the silence of the husband before this connotes that the husband is pleased (redha) with the child. 

    Meanwhile, the Maliki madzhab holds the same view as the Hanafi School, but with two extra conditions attached. Firstly, the husband has not consummated the wife within a period which could cause the wife to be pregnant.  Secondly, the denial of paternity must be done before the birth of the child. If the husband remains silent until the birth of the child, even after one day, the li’an of the husband will not be valid, and the husband will be imposed with a hadd punishment for qazaf due to alleging the wife of committing adultery.

     

    THE CONSEQUENCES OF LI’AN

    Now, we have come to the penultimate part of the discussion on li’an, whereby we would explore the effect(s) of the pronouncement of li’an that both husbands and wives must know before they even think of pronouncing li’an. Wahbah al-Zuhaily in his kitab entitled Al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuh explains the consequences of li’an as follows:

    1. The hadd punishment for qazaf upon the husband will lapse and the same applies to the wife, whereby the hadd punishment for zina would lapse as well once li’an is made by both parties. 
    2.   It is forbidden for the husband and wife to resume conjugal relation even prior to the faraq   (judicial separation) decreed by the Judge.
    3. The parties should be separated (faraq).
    4. Li’an is a type of oath which would prohibit the parties who pronounced it from reconciling the marriage forever (haram mu’abbad).
    5. If the li’an is made to deny the nasab of the child borne by the wife, the husband is not obligated to the wife and the child as there is no link of lineage intertwined between them (the husband and the child).

     

    CONCLUSION

    In conclusion, li’an shows that apart from the pronouncement of talaq, a marriage can be dissolved when a marriage couple pronounce li’an towards each other, provided that all of the conditions and pillars of li’an (as discussed above) are fulfilled. The pronouncement of li’an should not be treated as a jest, as the wrath or curse of Allah would befall upon those who are not being truthful whilst pronouncing li’an. 

    Looking at the Malaysian context particularly in the State of Selangor, li’an is covered under Section 51 of the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, whereby the provision briefly states the consequences of li’an. The Section reads: 

    Where the parties to a marriage have taken oath by way of li’an according to Hukum Syarak before a Syarie Judge, upon judgment, the Syarie Judge shall order them to be farak and be separated and to live apart forever.

    From the above provision, similar to what have been discussed above, li’an would result in the parties to the marriage to be judicially separated (faraq) forever as li’an causes a marriage to be haram mu’abbad.

    Meanwhile, under Section 36 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995, a man who alleges his wife of committing adultery without bringing forth four witnesses, and refuses to pronounce li’an is said to have committed qazaf, and would be liable for “a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgitor for “imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.”

    The punishment for qazaf as prescribed in Surah An-Nur, verse 4 which amounts to 80 lashes can only be duly imposed if the proposal to implement hudud law in Malaysia becomes a success. Wallahu a’lam. 

  • the-validity-of-ruju

    THE VALIDITY OF RUJU’ BY RESUMING SEXUAL INTERCOURSE & THE REFUSAL OF WIFE’S CONSENT TO RECONCILE

    QUESTION REGARDING THE VALIDITY OF RUJU’: I am Harith Shah Aqlan from Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur. I have a question with regards to the validity of ruju’ that I made to my wife. I have pronounced one talaq outside the Court to my wife on January this year and the Court had validated and confirmed the said talaq. After a month from the date of pronouncement of talaq, I have resumed cohabitation with my wife without expressly uttering the word ruju’. I would like to know whether the said ruju’ is valid, and would the consequence remains the same if my wife refuses to consent to the said ruju’? Wassalam, thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    Wa’alaikumussalam. Thank you for the questions Mr. Harith. We would try our level best to attend to your queries. It is important to bear in mind that the issue of ruju’ or reconciliation in marriage should not be taken lightly as the misconceptions of it might lead to serious consequences. Before we provide the general concepts of ruju’, it is best for us to firstly determine the underlying issue(s) in this case, which are:

    • Whether resuming cohabitation is a valid ruju’ based on hukum syara’
    • Whether the refusal of consent of the wife to ruju’ affects the validity of ruju’?

    There are several verses in the Holy Qur’an pertaining to ruju’. In Surah At-Talaq, Allah says in verse 2 which goes:

    Then when they are about to fulfil their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner

    In another Surah of the Qur’an, Allah says to the effect:

    الطَّلاَقُ مَرَّتَانِ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ

    Then when they are about to fulfil their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner or part with them in a good manner.”Al-Baqarah: 229

    The wordings in the above two verses which state “when they are about to fulfil their term appointed” signify that ruju’ or reconciliation of marriage is only permitted during the time of ‘iddah.

    According to The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, ‘iddah is defined as “The waiting period a woman must observe after the death of her spouse or a divorce, during which she may not remarry, based on the Quran 2:228 and 2:238 . The waiting period after a divorce is three months, and after the death of a spouse it is four months and ten days. Any pregnancy discovered during this period is assumed to be the responsibility of the former husband.

    And according to Taqiy al-Din Abi Bakr bin Muhammad al-Husayni (2001), ruju’ can only be made upon “a wife who has been consummated, and has been divorced with one or two talaq, without accepting any payment (khulu’) and must be made during the time of ‘iddah”. This is cited in an article entitled Rujuk: Peruntukan Undang-undang dan Pelaksanaannya di Malaysia by Raihanah Abdullah and Zulzaidi Mahmod.

    This means, ruju’ can only be made when a woman is divorced with a talaq raj’i (revocable divorce), whereas, ruju’ cannot be made upon a wife who has been divorced with talaq ba’in (irrevocable divorce) as an irrevocable divorce requires a new ‘aqad (marriage contract). Having understood the general concepts of ruju’, let us proceed with the issues.

     

    WHETHER RESUMING COHABITATION IS A VALID RUJU’ BASED ON HUKUM SYARA’

    In answering this issue, we have to firstly determine the position of the wife when the “ruju’” (resuming cohabitation) was made. Construing the facts of the present case, the “ruju’” was made a month after the wife was divorced with one talaq. This means, the wife was still in her ‘iddah period as an ‘iddah period for a divorced woman is three periods of purity equivalent to approximately three months for a woman with a normal menstrual cycle. A reconciliation is thus can be made as the talaq was a talaq raj’i (revocable divorce) and the wife was still in her ‘iddah period.

    The question is thus, not whether a ruju’ can be made upon the wife, but, whether the so-called “ruju’” which was made by the act of the husband, i.e. resuming cohabitation with the wife, was a valid one. It would be of significance for us to know the rukun (pillars) of ruju’, and whether all the pillars are fulfilled.

    A Kuala Terengganu case of Abdullah Fuad bin Mamat v Maliza bt Awang [2013] 1 SHLR 76 had elucidated about the pillars of ruju’ rather clearly by referring to Kitab Mughni al-Muhtaj, Volume 5, page 2. The three pillars of ruju’ are: “…the husband, the pronouncement used and the wife (former wife in the period of ‘iddah)”.

    The kitab further elaborated on the first pillar of ruju’ by stating: “… the conditions of the husband who wishes to reconcile are the same as the conditions to marry, which are: a person who has attained the age of maturity (baligh), of sound mind, done willfully (not coerced nor under duress), not a murtad…”

    Thus, in order to satisfy the requirements of the first pillar of ruju’, as the husband, you must ensure that all of these conditions are met during the act of reconciliation. 

    Moving on to the second pillar of ruju’ which is the pronouncement used. What is interesting in this present case is that, there is no mention of any form of pronouncement (verbal) of ruju’ being made. Nevertheless, the “ruju’” was made through an act of resuming cohabitation. Therefore, we have to determine whether resuming cohabitation with the divorced wife (talaq raj’i) during her period of ‘iddah, would constitute a valid form of ruju’. 

    The case of Norshinah bte Kamaridun v Baharuddin bin Othman [2005] 4 SHLR 158 would be of good reference as this case also discusses on the validity of ruju’ by way of resuming cohabitation. This case referred to Kitab Mughni Muhtaj, Volume 5, at page 6, which states: “There would be no ruju’ by way of sexual intercourse.” Nevertheless, there are actually differences of opinions of the four madhahib with regards to this matter.

    According to Raihanah Abdullah and Zulzaidi Mahmod (2010) in their article entitled Rujuk: Peruntukan Undang-undang dan Pelaksanaannya di Malaysia, the Shafi’i madzhab only acknowledges a reconciliation (ruju’) by way of pronouncement (verbal) and does not ratify reconciliation by way of conduct, and that would include reconciliation by resuming cohabitation.

    On the other hand, the writers continued to write that some of the Hanbali, Maliki and Hanafi sects accede to reconciliation by way of conduct. Meanwhile, Kitab Hashiah I’anat al-Talibun, Volume 4, page 34 states that Imam Abu Hanifah opines that sexual intercourse as an invalid form of reconciliation of marriage. This is quoted in the aforementioned case of Norshinah bte Kamaridun v Baharuddin bin Othman [2005] 4 SHLR 158.

    The question here is therefore, what is the position here in Malaysia, considering that the official madzhab of our country is the Shafi’i madzhab as emphasised by the then Director-General of JAKIM; Dato’ Haji Othman Mustapha in an article on JAKIM’s website in 2014. The definition of hukum syara’ needs to firstly be clarified. Since the inquirer resides in Kuala Lumpur, the interpretation section of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 may be cross –referred. 

    Section 2 of the Act defines hukum syara’ as “Islamic Law according to any recognized Mazhab”. From this definition, it can simply be understood that the opinions of all the four major madzhab would be acceptable. Nevertheless, based on the case of Norshinah bte Kamaridun v Baharuddin bin Othman [2005] 4 SHLR 158 and the case of Norhasnizar bt Yusoff v Sazli bin Yeop [2009] 2 SHLR 185, the approach of the Courts has been to follow the opinion of the Shafi’i sect, first. Only if the opinion of the Shafi’i madzhab runs in contrary with the public policy would the opinions of other sects be referred to.

    Thus, applying the Shafi’i madzhab, reconciliation of marriage by way of resuming cohabitation with the divorced wife would not constitute a valid ruju’, regardless if the conjugal relation is accompanied with intention (niyyah) or not. This is in line with the decision by the then Syariah Subordinate Chief Judge; Tuan Mawardi Che Man in Norhasnizars case mentioned above.

     

    WHETHER THE REFUSAL OF CONSENT OF THE WIFE TO RUJU’ AFFECTS THE VALIDITY OF RUJU’

    As discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, the pillars of ruju’ do not include the consent of the wife i.e. the person with whom the husband wishes to reconcile with. The issue of refusal of consent of the wife in the context of ruju’ has been discussed in the case of Abdullah Fuad bin Mamat v Maliza bt Awang [2013] 1 SHLR 76. 68]. In this case, the Court had referred to Kitab al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by Dr Wahbah al-Zuhaili which states that the consent of the wife is not required to reconcile.

    Despite that, in order to provide remedy for a wife who refuses to consent upon the ruju’ with valid reasons according to hukum syara’, the drafters of the legislation have foreseen such an event by providing Section 51(9) in the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 which states: “If after a revocable divorce the husband pronounces a ruju’ but the wife has not consented to the ruju’ for reasons allowed by Hukum Syara’, she shall not be ordered by the Court to resume conjugal relations, but the Court shall appoint a conciliatory committee as provided under section 47 and that section shall apply accordingly.

     

    CONCLUSION:

    In conclusion, with regards to the first issue, despite the “reconciliation” by way of resuming cohabitation was made during the period of ‘iddah, the “ruju’ would not be a valid one. This is in lieu of the Malaysian Syariah Courts’ inclination to follow the Shafi’i madzhab regarding this matter, whereby the Shafi’i madzhab does not accede to ruju’ by way of conduct.

    On the other hand, with regards to the second issue, a wife’s refusal of consent would not affect a reconciliation made by a husband. Nevertheless, in this case, since the ruju’ by way of the husband resuming cohabitation with the wife without any form of pronouncement does not constitute a valid ruju’, whether the wife consents or does not consent to the ruju’ would be of no significance in this present case.

    Even if there is a valid ruju’, a wife’s refusal of consent towards the ruju’ would not affect the validity of the reconciliation of marriage. Nevertheless, if the wife refuses to reconcile to the marriage with valid reasons in accordance with hukum syara’, applying Section 51(9) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, the Court would not order the wife to proceed with ruju’, but the Court shall appoint a conciliatory committee as provided under Section 47 of the Act and that Section would apply accordingly. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.

  • difference-between-khulu-fasakh-peguam-syarie-faiz-adnan

    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH

    QUESTION REGARDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH: Assalamu’alaikum. I am Nazira (not my real name) from KL Sentral. I have been married for two (2) years and we do not have any child. The first year of our marriage was filled with love, trust, respect and happiness. Starting from the second year of our marriage, my husband started to show his true colours, the sides I have never seen of. He would easily become fumed with anger over small matters. All along prior to that moment, he had never raised his voice to me what more to lift up his hands or feet.

    Things changed 360° now that he started to scold me every now and then, even when I talked nicely to him and did not do anything wrong. Sometimes he would say mean things to me and would use foul languages that were very downgrading, negative and had definitely broke my heart to pieces. At first I felt very strange towards his drastic changes. One day, as I was about to put his trousers into the washing machine, I found a crumpled loose sticky note written on it, the words; “Sayang, breakfast I dah hidangkan atas meja ni. Sorry, I kena pergi kerja dulu, ada urgent matter”. I knew it for sure that it was not my handwriting and I started to get fishy over it.

    To cut things short, I later found out that he had eloped and got married with another lady in Thailand for five months already without my knowledge, a fact he didn’t deny of. In fact, he expressly confessed that to me when I pressured him to tell me the truth. I felt dejected and cheated by the news. That explained why he rarely returned home especially during weekends, though all this while he said to me that he had to go for outstations. He had also failed to provide maintenance for myself for three months in a row already. When I asked him for money, he would say that I am now earning almost as much as him, why would he provide maintenance for me. Furthermore, he did not even divide the night turns fairly between his two wives. Moreover, he had been negligent in his five daily prayers and had started to play lottery. At times, he had hit me on the back and had slapped my face whenever he got angry for instance, due to his loss at a lottery.

    I could not stand anymore his hot-temperedness, his ill conducts, his failure to provide maintenance and his unfair treatments. When I asked him to divorce me, he would laugh off and say that why would he divorce me when he could take advantage over me by ordering me to do house chores, free of charge for himself and his second wife? I have had enough and would like to seek for divorce by myself since he refused to let me go. Should I proceed with khulu’ or fasakh, as I am confused between the two terms and concepts. Hopefully to get my inquiry answered. Thank you. Wassalam.

     

    ANSWER:

    Wa’alaikumussalam Puan Nazira. Thank you for posting a question, in sha Allah we would try our utmost level best to assist you in answering your query and to bring you out from the problems that are shackling you. First and foremost, we would like to express our deepest sympathy and concern towards the predicament and atrocities that have been tested upon you. What we need to bear in mind is that, a marriage life is not at all times a bed of roses. Similar to the ocean tides, sometimes there are ups and downs in sailing through a marriage voyage. Islam regards divorce as abominable as what is reported in a hadeeth by Abu Dawud, “Among lawful things, divorce is most hated by Allah.

    Nevertheless, if every available and reasonable recourse to reconcile fails, divorce is permitted as the last resort if it is indeed the best interest of both concerned parties, since Islam never desires a marriage to continue in a suffering way. Yet, a divorce must only take place in a peaceful and amicable manner as Islam urges divorcing parties to separate with kindness as Allah says in the Qur’an, “A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness.  The Holy Quran 2:229.

    Pertaining to your question, a few issues can be summarised as follows:

    • What are khulu’ and fasakh?
    • Whether there are grounds to apply for divorce under khulu’ or fasakh?

     

    WHAT ARE KHULU’ AND FASAKH/DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH

    Based on text book entitled The Islamic Family Law in Malaysia written by Najibah Mohd Zin et al., 2016, just as the Islamic law allows a husband to release his wife by way of pronouncement of talaq, a wife is also given the right to release herself from the marriage by way of ta’liq, khulu’ and fasakh, though judicial sanction is required. The right to exercise khulu’ is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an, whereby Allah says:

    It is not lawful for you to take from women whatever that has been given to them (as dower) except in the case where both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits imposed by God. And if you fear that they may not be able to keep the limits of God, it is no sin for either of them if the woman ransoms herself (Al-Baqarah: 229).

    From the above cited verse, a marriage can be dissolved if the woman wilfully would like to pay compensation for her release. A wife is permitted to pay a sum of money to release herself, the amount of which is mutually agreed by both parties or fixed by the court, and this is known as khulu’. Based on the legal traditions, the applicant wife does not need to prove the breakdown of marriage to apply for khulu’. This can be seen in a prominent hadeeth of the Prophet which reads:

    Ibn Abbas reported that Jamilah, the wife of Thabit b Qais came to the Prophet and said ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not blame Thabit about his character and piety, but I dislike being ingratitude in Islam. The Messenger of Allah asked if she was prepared to return the garden given to her by Thabit. “Yes” she said. The Prophet said to Thabit “accept the garden and give her a single divorce.

    Based on the above hadeeth, there need not be a proof of a breakdown of marriage, as the applicant wife did not even find any fault on the part of the husband. It would suffice if she is able to prove that she dislikes her husband and because of that, she is afraid that the continuance of marriage in such a state would cause her not to perform her marital obligations as a wife, which thereafter could lead her to become nusyuz.

    Whereas, fasakh is an option that can be exercised by a husband or a wife to end the marriage through judicial process by invoking ground(s) that is/are acceptable under the Islamic law. Based on The Islamic Family Law in Malaysia written by Najibah Mohd Zin et al., 2016, initially, the law was meant to safeguard the rights of women who are exposed to marital abuse and neglect. However, after the amendment, the law gives equal opportunity for both men and women alike to invoke fasakh, though a wife tends to benefit more from the provision, as a man is conferred with the right to dissolve a marriage by pronouncing talaq. The basis of invoking fasakh is harm or dharar. In Malaysia, section 52 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 specifically governs the provision relating to fasakh.

     

    WHETHER THERE ARE GROUNDS TO APPLY FOR DIVORCE UNDER KHULU’ OR FASAKH

    As discussed above, section 52 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 specifically provides for the dissolution of marriage or fasakh. The provision lays down grounds that are not exhaustive.

    Referring to the facts that you have presented, there are a few grounds under section 52 of the Act which can be invoked, namely, section 52(1)(b), section 52(1)(h)(i),(vi) and (l).

    Section 52(1)(b) provides for failure to maintain for a period of three months as one of the grounds of fasakh. A decided case to refer to is the case of Cik Pah v Abdul Aziz b Ahmad, whereby the wife claimed that the husband was insolvent and failed to provide maintenance. The Court ordered the wife to take an oath (yamin istizhar) and to swear that she remained faithful to the husband. The judge was satisfied that the husband was impoverished but adjourned the case for nine days with three days grace period for the husband to prove that he could pay the maintenance. The wife repeated her claim and she was ordered to take an oath with the consent of the husband and subsequently the court granted a fasakh divorce. This case shows that a failure to maintain is one of the acceptable grounds to dissolve marriage through fasakh.

    For your information, yamin istizhar is a form of oath which is aimed to strengthen and clarify the claims and to deny any allegation that is put forward against the applicant, after the applicant has successfully proven his/her claim.

    Next, section 52(1)(h)(i) provides “that the husband treats her with cruelty, that is to say, inter alia, habitually assaults her or makes her life miserable by cruelty of conduct”. This section does not merely cover for physical assault. In fact, any form of mental/psychological assault is also governed by this provision. A case to refer to is the case of Hasnah v. Zaaba (1995) 10 JH 59, whereby the wife claimed that the husband had habitually assaulted her and made her life miserable by cruelty of conduct. The Syariah High Court judge decided that cruelty has taken place whereby the husband had habitually assaulted the wife by beating and cursing her, which made the wife’s life miserable. The Court permitted the application of the wife to dissolve the marriage through fasakh. From the facts of the case that you have presented, we could see that the conducts of your husband such as beating and slapping your face whenever he got fumed with anger could constitute “cruelty” under section 52(1)(h)(i).

    On the other hand, a case to refer to with regards to mental assault is the case of Zarina bt Syaari v. Mohd Yusof b. Omar (2005) ShLR, Vol. 4, 173, whereby the learned judge of the Syariah Lower Court (Federal Territories) had decided that the refusal to communicate on the part of the husband, cheating the wife by marrying another without her knowledge, and refusal to sleep with the wife amounted to mental cruelty which were habitual. The court held that the term ‘habitual assault’ was relevant in cases of mental and emotional assault. Thus, the wife has to prove that the actions took place habitually, continuously and repeatedly. 

    Referring to the facts that you have presented, your husband had on several occasions mentally assaulted you by swearing to you using foul languages which were very degrading and cruel. Based on the above decided case, for a case involving the mental and psychological aspects of the applicant, since the term used in the provision is “habitual”, you must prove to the Court that the cursing and swearing were done continuously and on a frequent basis.

    Based on Section 52(1)(h)(vi) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, a wife can apply for fasakh if her husband marries more than one wife and does not treat her equitably in accordance with the requirements of Hukum Syara’. In this case, your husband had admitted that he had married a second wife. It is undeniable that polygamy is allowed in Islam. This point can be elucidated by a verse from the Qur’an which reads, “then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you – [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one – or [from among] those whom you rightfully possess. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.(Surah An Nisaa – Women, 4:3).

    Nevertheless, as expressly mentioned in the aforementioned verse, if the husband fears that he might not act justly between all his wives, then he is allowed to marry only one wife. Based on the facts that you have textually conveyed, your husband had not been fair in the night turns and had spent most of his time with his second wife. That is a clear form of unlawful neglect. Thus, section 52(1)(h)(vi) can be invoked as a ground to annul your marriage via fasakh.

    Lastly, section 52(1)(l) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 regards “any other ground that is recognized as valid for dissolution of marriages or fasakh under Hukum Syara’” to be a ground to dissolve the marriage through fasakh. This provision widens the scope of fasakh, so as not to restrict it to only the specified grounds which are listed expressly in the provisions. This is because; to list down expressly the exact and specific grounds for fasakh would be numerous and therefore impractical. Thus, any other ground to dissolve the marriage through fasakh that is recognised by Hukum Syara’ would suffice.

    In this case, your husband had not lived in accordance with the Islamic tenets by neglecting the performance of prayers when in fact, the establishment of prayers is compulsory for a person who has attained puberty. Allah says in the Qur’an, “…Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (Quran 4: 103). Whereas, the prohibition of gambling is recorded in the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Maa’idah, whereby Allah says, “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytaan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As Salaah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? (Al-Maa’idah 5:90-91).

    A husband has a duty to lead the marriage and his family by observing the commandments ordered by Allah and the Prophet and to refrain from committing acts that are prohibited by the religion of Islam. By neglecting his prayers and playing lottery, your husband had brought himself towards destruction. Allah says in the Qur’an, “…and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.He had also failed to be a good example as the leader of the family. His conduct of playing lottery had also proven to cause harm to your physical body as you have said that he would physically assault you whenever he suffered a loss after playing the lottery.

    Thus, his acts could fall under subsection (l) as your husband had acted cruelly by breaching the commandments and prohibitions of hukum syara’. 

     

    CONCLUSION:

    In conclusion, having studied the facts that you have presented, we believe that the more suitable action for you to take is to apply for an annulment of marriage through fasakh instead of to apply for khulu’, as your case matches several grounds for an application of fasakh under section 52(1)(b),(h)(i),(vi) and (l) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984. It is however important to note that, a fasakh application must be supported with satisfactory evidence to be adduced to the Court, otherwise the Court might simply strike off the application due to want of proof. It is advisable for Puan Nazira to consult and seek the aid and expertise of a Syarie lawyer (Peguam Syarie) as this issue involves complicated matters which are best dealt by the expert in this respective field. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.

  • HAKAM: ANOTHER WAY OUT FOR MUSLIM WOMEN TO GET A DIVORCE

    HAKAM: ANOTHER WAY OUT FOR MUSLIM WOMEN TO GET A DIVORCE

    HAKAM INTRODUCTION: Talaq is a right which is only conferred upon a husband to divorce his wife. Nevertheless, this right is not absolute and is in fact a restricted one as it is only permitted to be pronounced twice. As Allah says in the Qur’an,

    A divorce is only permissible twice; after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms or separate with kindness” (Al-Baqarah: 229).

    However, a wife is granted the privilege to seek divorce by way of khulu’ (redemption), ta’liq, and fasakh. These rights require sanctions from the Court as stated in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin, et al. (2016). The brief definitions of the above three types of divorce by a wife are laid down below:

    • Khulu’: A divorce pronounced by the husband by way of redemption after the amount of the payment of tebus talaq (the wife compensates for her release) is made {See s 49 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 (hereinafter referred to as IFLA 1984) and Surah Al-Baqarah: 229}. 
    • Ta’liq: A divorce due to breach of any stipulation by the husband which is pronounced during the marriage solemnisation, as required by statutes. The breach could be the basis for the wife to lodge a complaint in the Syari’ah Court and it is for the Court to grant the divorce if the breach is satisfactorily proven {See page 175 of the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin, et al. (2016)}.
    • Fasakh: A dissolution of marriage through a Court order due to certain acceptable grounds which are recognised under the Islamic law {See page 193 of the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin, et al. (2016) and s 52 of the IFLA 1984}. 

    Most Muslim women in Malaysia are only aware of these three types of divorce that they could seek in Court. Little did they know the existence of divorce by means of hakam which is less time-consuming and could be a way out for marriages that are hanging on by a thread. 

     

    THE DEFINITION OF HAKAM

    Linguistically speaking, tahkim connotes “conferring power to impose punishment upon someone”, as cited in an article entitled; “Hakam dalam Mahkamah Syariah: Analisis Pelaksanaannya di sisi Prinsip Syariah di Malaysia” written by Hammad Mohamad Dahalan and Mohamad Azhan Yahya. Whereas, the Article provides the technical definition of hakam as “a process where the disputing parties appoint a person each as a hakam (arbitrator) to solve the issue of contention arising between them, in accordance with hukum syara’”. 

    The concept of hakam is not something foreign nor is it a new invention, as it is not only judicially recognised in the context of the Malaysian Islamic Family Law but in fact, it has been encouraged by the Qur’an to be practiced in solving disputes between two parties. The verse related to this is enshrined in Surah An-Nisaa’, verse 35. Allah says:

    And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]

    Reflecting on the above verse, the uniqueness of appointing hakam as an alternative dispute resolution can be seen, whereby the disputing parties are given the right to appoint the arbitrators of their choice. The qualifications required for a hakam before he is appointed would be explained later as we discuss this matter further.

    Through a divorce by way of tahkim, a wife who desires to get a divorce is able to get what she wishes for by following the procedures, as spelled out under Section 48 of the IFLA 1984. 

     

    PROCEDURES OF HAKAM

    A divorce by way of hakam commences the moment a wife files a claim of divorce under Section 47 of the IFLA 1984. Under Section 47(2) of the Act, upon receiving an application for divorce, the Court will issue a summons upon the other party (in this case would be the husband) including a copy of the application and the statutory declaration made by the wife. The summons requires the husband to appear before the Court, in order to inquire whether the husband consents to the divorce or otherwise. 

    If the husband refuses to consent to the divorce, the Court will as soon as possible appoint a conciliatory committee (jawatankuasa pendamai – JKP). The persons appointed under the conciliatory committee, consist of a Religious Officer as Chairman and two other persons, one for the husband and the other for the wife as stated under Section 47(5) of the Act.

    Section 47(14) of the Act states that “where the committee submits to the Court a certificate that it is unable to effect reconciliation and to persuade the parties to resume the conjugal relationship, the Court shall advise the husband to pronounce one talaq before the Court”. Nevertheless, if the husband does not wish to be present in Court to pronounce the talaq or if the husband refuses to pronounce the said talaq, the Court will then refer the case to the attention of hakam and thereby, Section 48 of the Act will apply.

    The State of Selangor has taken the first leap in gazetting the Hakam (State of Selangor) Rules 2014 (hereinafter referred to as the Hakam Rules 2014), which provides detailed guidelines on the implementation of hakam in the Malaysian Syariah Court practice. Rule 3(3) of the Hakam Rules 2014 provides that the Court is required to ensure that syiqaq (constant quarrels between husband and wife which affect the marital harmony – Rule 2 of the Hakam Rules 2014) exists between the husband and wife before the parties are brought before the hakam. This shows that the provision on the appointment of hakam cannot be simply invoked as to avoid from the occurrence of arbitrary or even unnecessary divorce. 

    As stated in a book entitled “Managing Marital Disputes in Malaysia: Islamic Mediators and Conflict Resolution in the Syariah Courtswritten by Sven Cederoth Cederroth and Sharifa Zaleha Syed Hassan, normally a marriage situation is said to be in a state of syiqaq when the husband refuses to let go off the wife (divorce) or when the wife is unable to seek for divorce by means of ta’liq or fasakh due to unavailable grounds. Other instances of syiqaq are listed under Rule 4 of the Hakam Rules 2014. 

     

    THE APPOINTMENT OF HAKAM

    Referring to Rule 4 of the Hakam Rules 2014, hakam can only be appointed from among the close relatives (saudara karib) of the husband and wife who fulfils the qualifications as listed out under sub-rule 8(1) and (2). As interpreted under Rule 4(2) of the Hakam Rules 2014, “close relatives” are referring to “any man who is related by consanguinity, affinity or fosterage and having knowledge on the circumstances of the case”. 

    The qualifications of a hakam as listed out under sub-rule 8(1) are: 

    (a) Professing the religion of Islam;

    (b) Male;

    (c) Possessing a sound mind and reached the age of maturity (mukalaf);

    (d) Just and trustworthy (amanah); and

    (e) Acquiring basic knowledge on family affairs and Hukum Syara’

    Meanwhile, based on Rule 11 of the Hakam Rules 2014, this complies with the directions given by the Court as well as Hukum Syara’ in conducting the Majlis Tahkim (proceeding). Nevertheless, the hakam who is conferred with full authority from the Principal (the husband/wife), has wider power which is to:

    (i) pronounce one talaq or khulu’ before the Court (hakam for the husband)

    (ii) accept the pronouncement of khulu’ before the Court (hakam for the wife) 

    Thus, from here we could see that through hakam, a wife’s wish to dissolve a marriage (even when her husband refuses to consent) can be realised as a hakam with full power is conferred with the authority to pronounce the talaq or khulu’ in order to release the wife from the marriage.

     

    DETERMINATION ON THE TYPES OF DIVORCE

    In order to determine which type of divorce would be pronounced, under Rule 12 of the Hakam Rules 2014, the hakam needs to identify which party causes the syiqaq. Referring to Rule 12(2), if the syiqaq 

    (a) appears to be caused by the husband or both husband and wife, both Hakam shall propose divorce by talak;

    (b) appears to be caused by the wife, both Hakam shall propose divorce by khuluk and the rate of ‘iwadh shall be determined by Hakam;

    (c) cannot be determined in terms of its cause and the husband claims divorce, both Hakam shall propose divorce by talak; or

    (d) cannot be determined in terms of its cause and the wife claims divorce, both Hakam shall propose divorce by khuluk and the rate of ‘iwadh shall be determined by Hakam.

    Whereas, based on Rule 15, either the divorce is made by way of talaq or it is made by way of khulu’, a divorce by way of tahkim has the effect of talaq ba’in. This means, a new ‘aqad is needed if the parties wish to reconcile after the talaq or khulu’ is made. 

     

    CONCLUSION

    In conclusion, the option that is available for a wife who wishes to dissolve her marriage but whose husband refuses to consent is to resort to hakam. This type of divorce acts as a tool to end the “torture that a wife “is compelled” to go through, for having to sail the voyage of marriage which has irretrievably broken down and has lost the essences of mawaddah, sakeenah wa rahmah. In addition, a divorce by way of hakam is also time-efficient as Rule 16(1) of the Hakam Rules 2014 states that (subject to sub-rule (2)) the duration of the proceeding shall not exceed thirty days from the date of the appointment and declaration issued by the Court. Moreover, the application for a divorce by appointing hakam is also budget-friendly as the parties who are planning to apply for hakam are only required to pay the filing cost which is affordable.

    By raising awareness on hakam (especially to Muslim women), they will know that there exists another right of divorce that Muslim women can resort to, apart from khulu’, fasakh and ta’liq. When other means are to no avail, this type of divorce is hoped to be a saviour for Muslim women who are left “gantung tak bertali” by their inhumane and egoistic husbands. Divorce by way of tahkim can be a form of warning to all husbands out there, that the right to pronounce talaq upon their wives is not absolute. Last but not least, this post aims to urge all of the Muslim women out there, to increase their level of legal literacy as many are still clueless about this right that is statutorily conferred to them, which in turn would detriment their very own lives and interests. Furthermore, All Muslim women and men alike should know their obligations as well as their rights as husbands and wives, in order to ensure that they will discharge their duties responsibly and will not allow others to infringe their rights, naively and ignorantly.  Wallahu a’lam.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan.

  • CHILD MARRIAGE FROM THE LEGAL AND SYARIAH POINTS OF VIEW

    CHILD MARRIAGE: FROM THE LEGAL AND SYARIAH POINTS OF VIEW

    INTRODUCTION: The marriage solemnisation of a 41 year old Kelantanese man to an 11 year old Thai girl (child marriage) sometime in June this year, has sparked outrage among the locals as well as human rights activists abroad, detesting a young child to become someone else’s bride. This much publicised news still remains a spotlight and attracted debates, whether to ban it altogether or to keep it within strict bounds. The question here is what is the position of child marriage in the Islamic context? Does Islam really permit a child to tie the knot?

     

    THE CONCEPT OF MARRIAGE IN ISLAM

    1. Before we delve further into the matter and explore the opinions of the Islamic scholars pertaining to it, it is best for us to firstly understand the concept of marriage in Islam. Marriage in Islam is considered as a sacred contract and is in fact encouraged by our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. if all the marriage requirements are duly met. A hadeeth reported by ‘Abdullah Bin Mas’ud in the Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book: 8 reads:

      0 young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.

    2. But what most of us fail to notice is that, with marriage comes responsibility. This issue of responsibility is what we need to concern most about when it comes to child marriage, as to whether a young child is capable to shoulder the responsibility of being a wife and a future mother. What we need to bear in mind is that marital commitments are not a one-man responsibility but a joint responsibility of both parties to the marriage contract.
    3. Looking at the requirements of marriage in Islam, we could see that there is no mention of a specific age for a bride or a groom to validly enter into a marriage solemnisation. Despite of the silence on the minimum age requirement for marriage in the Islamic faith, both parties to a marriage need to reach “comprehensive maturity” before an akad can be contracted. This is quoted in an article entitled; “An Islamic Human Rights Perspective on Early and Forced Marriages: Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage” published by Islamic Relief. A profound sense of maturity is therefore a necessity in marriage in order for the parties to fully understand the rights and responsibilities aroused out of marriage.

     

    THE DEFINITION OF CHILD IN ISLAM

    1. Next, the definition of “child” in Islam also requires contemplation. It is worth to be highlighted that, unlike the Western perspective on the definition of “child”, a “child” according to the shari’ah is not ultimately be defined according to a specified age. This is based on an article entitled “Child Marriage and Minimum Age of Marriage under Islamic Family Law” by Zanariah Noor. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as “CRC) in its Article 1 defines a child to be a person under the age of eighteen (18) years unless if the laws of certain countries fixed a lower age. Malaysian laws also adopt the minimum age set by CRC, except for the Adoption Act 1952 which sets the age of under 21 years old for a person to be defined as a child.
    2. On the other hand, in Islam, the determinant is the state of puberty (bulugh). Based on the article entitled; “Child Marriage and Minimum Age of Marriage under Islamic Family Law” by Zanariah Noor, a state of puberty can be determined based on two ways:
      1. Physical change
      2. Age
    3. Referring to the above article, a female is said to have reached the age of puberty when she starts to discharge blood from the womb (haidh), whereas, a male attains the age of bulugh when there is an emission of seminal liquid (maniy). On the other hand, when there is no apparent physical change, the state of bulugh is determined by looking at the age of the person. If a person has attained the age of 15 years (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi’i madhahib) or the age of 17 years (Maliki madhab), he/she is said to have attained the age of puberty.

     

    JURISTIC OPINIONS ON CHILD MARRIAGE

    1. On the issue of releasing a child for her to be wedded with someone, there are differences of opinions among the Islamic scholars. Based on an article entitled; “Bayan Linnas Siri ke-141: Perkahwinan Kanak-kanak Mengikut Perspektif Syariah”, which can easily be accessible via the official website of the Federal Territory Mufti, the scholars which totally prohibit child marriage are Ibn Syubrumah and Abu Bakr al-Asam. The justification of the prohibition is based on the verse from the Qur’an which reads:

      وَابْتَلُوا الْيَتَامَى حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغُوا النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آَنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْدًا فَادْفَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ

      And try orphans (as regards their intelligence) until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgement in them, release their property to them” (Surah An-Nisaa’: Verse)

    2. According to the above article, the wajh al-dilalah of the above verse is that the age of minority ends at the age of marriage. Thus, there would be no such thing as child marriage based on this interpretation.
    3. On the other hand, the views which assent to child marriage can be further divided into two. The first view opines that child marriage is permissible, depending on the age of bulugh. Thus, no matter how “young” a person is, if she has already attained the age of puberty, it would be valid for her to get married. In contrast, the second view allows child marriage, even though the child has not attained the age of puberty. Nevertheless, the marriage can only be solemnised by “a person who is closest to the child, takes responsibility upon the child the most, loves her the most, knows best the maslahah (interest) of the child”. The person refers to the wali of the girl, i.e. the girl’s father. This opinion is held based on various authentic authorities from the Qur’an and hadeeth. 
    4. The verse of the Qur’an to support this contention is from Surah At-Talaq, Verse 4 which states to the effect:

    وَاللَّائِي يَئِسْنَ مِنَ الْمَحِيضِ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَاللَّائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ

    And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death].

    Based on the interpretation of this verse by al-Jassas as cited in the above-mentioned article, the part of the verse which goes وَاللَّائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ means a child who has not attained the age of maturity (bulugh). This means, if a child has to observe a period of ‘iddah, impliedly, a child can get married.

     

    THE STATEMENT OF MUFTI ON CHILD MARRIAGE

    1. The question now is: what is the stance of the Federal Territory Mufti with regards to the validity of child marriage? Construing the official written statement of the Federal Territory Mufti on this issue, the Mufti stated that the hukm of a child marriage depends on the laws in Malaysia. In Malaysia, the shari’ah law only permits a marriage to be contracted the earliest at the age of 18 (male) and 16 (female), and any marriage contracted below the specified minimum age, requires a prior written consent from the Hakim Syar’ie. This is laid out under Section 8 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984.
    2. Nevertheless, he further stated that although the hukm of a child marriage is valid (sah) (provided that all the arkan of nikah are fulfilled), a child can only get married if he/she has attained the age where he/she is capable to discharge well the responsibilities that are tied together with a marriage contract and must understand the consequences of marriage such as pregnancy, the duty to provide maintenance, duty to provide conjugal relations, among others.
    3. Interestingly, the Official Website of the Federal Territory Mufti had just published a new article dated 7th August 2018, which refined the discussions on child marriage in the shari’ah perspective by narrowing down the discussion in the context of siyasah shar’iyyah. The article entitled; Bayan Linnas #145: Isu Perkahwinan Kanak-Kanak Menurut Perspektif Siyasah Syar’iyyah defined siyasah shar’iyyah as “a branch of study which studies about administerial affairs of an Islamic State in the context of the laws, policy and system, in accordance with the usul of Islam, despite the non-existence of a specific dalil (proof) in the nas syara’”.
    4. Thus, based on the concept of siyasah shar’iyyah, the Article stated that the Malaysian government has a right to curb child marriage through the implementation of laws and policies in order to ensure the interests of the children are protected, due to the fact that the nature of marriage entails marital responsibilities and obligations which might not be able to be carried out well by young children.
    5. Meanwhile, based on the Islamic principle of maslahah mursalah (simply translated as the consideration of public interest), the Article further stated that the Government has the right to enforce laws which limit the age of marriage involving children, if the laws are ordained in order to protect the interests and welfare of the children. This is as long as the laws are not in contradiction with nas qat’ie. 
    6. Next, based on the principle of sadd az-zari’ah (blocking the means of evil), the Article continued that the Government can hinder/disallow child marriage as a means to prevent from any occurrence of unwanted child exploitation, child abuse, and other detrimental effects arousing from a child marriage (if solemnised arbitrarily).  
    7. Lastly, based on the principle of istihsan (juristic preference), the Article indicated that, despite the existence of legal authorities (dalil) which permit child marriage (as pointed out above), by applying istihsan on the basis of maslahah (protecting the interests of the children), the interests of the children are prioritised and preferred over the contentions which authorise or legalise child marriage. 

     

    CONCLUSION

    1. In conclusion, the issue of child marriage should not be downplayed by any party, irrespective of race and creed. The interests and welfare of the children should be the paramount consideration before a Shari’ah Court Judge gives his written consent to permit the marriage solemnisation. Besides, the standard operating procedure (SOP) which has been outlined by the Syariah Judicial Department in cases of approving underage marriage applications should be supported, so as to avoid from any occurrence of marital abuse among innocent and vulnerable children.
    2. Despite the existence of juristic opinions which permit child marriage as discussed in the foregoing discussions, based on the principle of siyasah syar’iyyah that has been elaborated above and as what has been pointed out in the official written statement of the Federal Territory Mufti, the Government has the power/authority to limit the minimum age of marriage in order to uphold justice (protecting the interests of vulnerable children and preventing from any incidence of child exploitation or abuse). Following the call to raise the minimum age of marriage for Muslims, as what have been reported in several local news portals, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) had took the first leap before the other Islamic Religious Councils of the rest of the States in Malaysia, by proposing to amend the minimum age of marriage (by increasing the minimum age limit of marriage).
    3. Nevertheless, the proposal to increase the minimum age of marriage for Muslims in Malaysia should not be misunderstood as a means to illegalise what Allah permits (permitting child marriage in certain strict conditions and circumstances, in line with the Shari’ah, which would certainly not jeopardise children’s lives). Instead, as summed up by the Honourable Mufti of the Federal Territory, looking at the ‘urf in Malaysia, child marriage is best disallowed in accordance with law by following the Islamic principles of maslahah mursalah, sad al-zari’ah and istihsan. Whereas, exceptions would only be applicable in certain remote cases, after adhering to very strict conditions set by the Court. Wallahu a’lam.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

  • CUSTODY RIGHTS (HADHANAH) & VISITATION UPON MUMAYYIZ CHILDREN

    CUSTODY RIGHTS (HADHANAH) & VISITATION UPON MUMAYYIZ CHILDREN

    QUESTION REGARDING CUSTODY RIGHTS: Assalamu’alaikum. I am Natasha Fellina from Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. I have already divorced with my husband for five (5) years already and out of the marriage, we are blessed with two kids, a son aged 16 named Aman (not his real name) and a daughter aged 14 years old named Arina (not her real name). Ever since we got divorced, Aman stays with my husband at Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, and he is enrolled in a private school in Bangsar. On the other hand, Arina resides with me at Ampang and also attends school at the same place where I work at as a Chemistry teacher. I was told by my former husband’s sister that my former husband is planning to get married to her office secretary, Belinda. That news infuriated me as I have a feeling that my husband’s attention towards Aman might diminish and his welfare might be neglected due to the extra commitment that he will have once he got married to Belinda. I am not trying in the least to separate my son from his own father, but as his mother, who gave birth to him, and carried him in the womb for nine whole months, all I want is for my son to get the best for his life and his future. I am willing to have full custody over both of the children and would prefer Aman to stay with me rather than having to stay with someone that he barely knew of. I doubt Belinda could be a good mother to a young adult like Aman, as she is only 25, a very young lady herself and she has zero knowledge and experience about motherhood. Therefore, my question here is, with regards to the children’s custody (hadhanah), between my former husband and I, who amongst us would be best entitled with the custody over both of the children? This is because, I remain single ever since the divorce took place 5 years ago, and the children have already reached the age of mumayyiz. How about the visitation rights if one of us is granted with full custody over the children? Thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    1. Wa’alaikumussalam. Thank you Puan Natasha for the questions. I truly understand and would like to express my deepest concern towards the worries that you have regarding your children’s future and welfare. Before we delve further into the matter, we firstly have to determine the underlying issues, in order to be able to reach a viable solution. The issues which can be drawn are:
    • Whether the biological mother can be granted with the custody rights over the children?
    • Whether the visitation rights can be conferred to the other party, should the custody is granted to one of the parties.

     

    WHETHER THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER CAN BE GRANTED WITH THE CUSTODY RIGHTS OVER THE CHILDREN

     

    1. After determining the issues in this present question, it is advisable for us to have the correct and clear understanding about custody rights or hadhanah in Islam. According to a book entitled “Islamic Family Law in Malaysia” by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016), hadhanah is literally defined as “to clasp in one’s arm or to embrace someone”. The book continues to provide the technical definition of hadhanah as defined by Al-Sayyid Sabiq, which carries the meaning of “the care or protection granted to a child or a lunatic who has yet to be independent, by way of providing for their needs, protecting them from danger and nurturing their body, soul and mind.

     

    1. From the above definitions, we could understand that the concept of hadhanah transcends beyond the physical care of a child, as it also includes the nourishment of the inner aspects of the child, such as nurturing the correct ‘aqeedah in the child’s life. Interestingly, our present case involves children who have attained the age of mumayyiz, which means the age of discernment between right and wrong.

     

    1. Referring to Section 81 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, subject to Section 82 of the Act, “the mother shall be of all persons the best entitled to the custody of her infant children during the connubial relationship as well as after its dissolution.” However, since this case involves children who have attained the age of mumayyiz, and not infant children, this provision could not automatically be applied in this case.

     

    1. We have to bear in mind that in determining the person who is best entitled to claim the right of being a hadhinah in a case where the children have attained the age of discernment, based on the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, the learned Judge had referred to kitab al Um, written by Imam al-Shafi’e, Volume 3, which states that when a child has attained the age of seven or eight years old, i.e. a sense of maturity, the child has the liberty to choose either to be with the father or the mother.

     

    1. The above finding is in line with Section 84(2) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 which states:

    … and if the child has reached the age of discernment (mumaiyiz), he or she shall have the choice of living with either of the parents, unless the Court otherwise orders.

     

    1. The right to choose which is conferred upon the children is also underpinned in a hadeeth which is cited in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016), whereby the hadeeth reads:

    Narrated by Abu Hurairah that a woman came to the Prophet p.b.u.h. and asked: O Messenger of Allah, my (former) husband wants to take my son away when he (my son) is capable of bringing water from the well of Abu ‘Inabah and it is very useful for me. The Messenger said to the child: This is your father and this is your mother, choose either one of them. The child chose his mother and then both of them left.

     

    1. The rationale of granting the mumayyiz child with the right to choose his or her own custodian is due to the fact that the interest of the child overrides the interests of the parents. The presumption is that the person that is chosen by the child is more loving and caring towards the child and thus the interests of the child would thereby be more protected and guaranteed, as expounded in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016).

     

    1. The principle of the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration in child custody application is reflected in the provision of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, Section 86(2) which reads:

    (2) In deciding in whose custody a child should be placed, the paramount consideration shall be the welfare of the child and, subject to that consideration, the Court shall have regard to –

    (b) the wishes of the child, where he or she is of an age to express an independent opinion. 

     

    1. Nonetheless, the right conferred upon the child to choose his custodian is not an absolute right as the right must not jeopardise the child’s upbringing or even welfare. There are three conditions which need to be satisfied before a child can exercise his/her right to choose the guardian. The conditions have been outlined in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016). They are as follows:
    • The persons elected must be from ahl al-hadanah as stated in page 144, volume 9 of Al Mughni by Ibn Qudamah.
    • The requirements of hadhinah must be duly satisfied by both of the persons chosen by the child as stated in Minhaj, page 392 by Al-Nawawi and at page 92, Volume 5 of Al-Umm written by Al-Shafi’e.
    • In exercising this right, the child must possess the ability to make a decision, as quoted in Al-Mughni, page 144, Volume 9 by Ibn Qudamah and at page 92, Volume 5, Al-Umm by Al-Shafi’e.

     

    1. A child’s participation in a judicial proceeding involving the right of child custody is in fact recognised by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in its Article 12(1), as cited in an article entitled; Children’s Participation in Custody and Access Proceeding, written by Roslina Che Soh.

     

    1. Based on case laws such as the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, the Court would conduct an interview with the children to know the guardian(s) of their choice that they would want to stay with, before the Court makes its wise decision. With regards to the power of the Court in granting the right of child custody, Section 86(4) of the Act deserves to be highlighted. It says, “Where there are two or more children of a marriage, the Court shall not be bound to place both or all in the custody of the same person but shall consider the welfare of each independently.

     

    1. Thus, based on the above provision and the Court’s ruling in the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, provided that the children agreed to remain with their respective parents and should the Court be satisfied that the children’s welfare are guaranteed by preserving the status quo of the children; i.e. the son to be remained with the husband and the daughter to stay with the wife, the decision pertaining to the right of custody would likely be as such.

     

    1. Nevertheless, if both children decide to be with the biological mother, then it is likely that the status quo would be changed, provided that the welfare of the children are best protected, and the wife has fulfilled all the qualifications of a hadhinah and has not committed any act which could disqualify her from being a hadhinah. Thus, in such a case, the answer to this issue would be in the affirmative.

     

    WHETHER THE VISITATION RIGHTS CAN BE CONFERRED TO THE OTHER PARTY, SHOULD THE CUSTODY IS GRANTED TO ONE OF THE PARTIES

     

    1. With regards to the above issue, the Law makers have foreseen the interest of the parent who is not granted with full custody, by granting him/her the right of visitation and access to the child. This can be seen under Section 87 of the Act which says:

    (c) provide for the child to visit a parent deprived of custody or any member of the family of a parent who is dead or has been deprived of custody at such times and for such periods as the Court considers reasonable;

    (d) give a parent deprived of custody or any member of the family of a parent who is dead or has been deprived of custody the right of access to the child at such times and with such frequency as the Court considers reasonable;

     

    1. Hence, in line with the decision made in a 2014 case of Faizuddin bin Tasaruddin against Zairawati binti Mohd Fauzi, which can be accessed on Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah Selangor’s (JAKESS) website, the parent who is being denied from the custody has the right of visitation and access to the children. And based on the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, if the children are to be placed separately, one with the wife and the other with the husband, the segregation should not break the ties and relationship between the children as siblings, and between the children and both parents as a divorce in Islam is bound by three magical words which are “separate with kindness” – Qur’an:229.

     

    CONCLUSION

     

    1. In conclusion, as this case involves mumayyiz children, a right to choose the guardian of their choice is conferred due to their maturity of thinking to make a sound decision. This right is enshrined under Section 84(2) of the Islamic Family Law Federal Territory Act (1984) which states: … and if the child has reached the age of discernment (mumaiyiz), he or she shall have the choice of living with either of the parents, unless the Court otherwise orders.

     

    1. If one of the parties (the husband/wife) disagrees / is not satisfied with the choice made by the children, the Court will commence a full trial, whereby the Court would conduct an interview with the children to know the guardian(s) of their choice that they would want to stay with, before the Court makes its wise decision.

     

    1. However, as has been discussed above, the right to choose which is granted to the children is not absolute. The discretion lies with the Court to decide otherwise if it deems that the welfare of the child is better guaranteed and protected in deciding as such. If both children choose to be with the biological mother, the welfare of the children are protected by placing them under the custodian of the mother, the mother has fulfilled all the qualifications of a hadhinah and has not committed acts which could make her lose her right of hadhanah, then, it is most likely that both of the children would be placed under the care and custody of the biological mother.

     

    1. On the other hand, the parent who has been denied from the right of child custody would be granted with visitation right. As the issue of hadhanah involves several matters, it is advisable for you to consult a Syari’e lawyer whose area of expertise also covers the area of hadhanah, with the hope that you would be better enlightened pertaining to this case. Wallahu a’lam.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

  • VALIDITY OF PRONOUNCEMENT OF TALAQ TA’LIQ KINAYAH VIA SMS

    THE VALIDITY OF PRONOUNCEMENT OF TALAQ TA’LIQ KINAYAH VIA SMS

    QUESTION REGARDING THE VALIDITY OF TALAQ VIA SMS: Assalamu’alaikum Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan. I am Qasrina Qabeel from Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. I was married in accordance with hukum syara’ on 15th October 2015. We are blessed with one child, named Qaisara Kareem, now aged 2 years 6 months. Our marriage went well throughout the first two years of our marriage. Sadly, the third year of our marriage turned into a state of turmoil just as I found out that my husband is planning to marry his former student studying at the university where he works at. Obviously, I strongly object and take a stand against his plan especially that our marriage is still at its infancy stage and our daughter is still very young and needs the attention and commitment of both parents to develop and grow up healthily. I believe, if he were to marry another one, his attention towards our one and only child would slacken. What more, the lady had just graduated and is much younger than me. I do believe that his love and attention towards me would also diminish. I had twice gone to Lisa’s (the lady’s) house, only to give her advice to leave our family alone and find any other man as long as that man is not my husband. She must have told my husband about this, as one day, during office hours, he had sent me a text message (SMS) to my phone which reads, “If you meet Lisa just once more, I will move out of your life.” I felt challenged by my husband’s words and for the third time, I went to Lisa’s house just to prove to Lisa and my husband that I am not a coward without realising that my action, though could satisfy my feelings and anger, might also bite me like a double-edged sword. My question here is thus, is the text message that my husband sent to me amounts to a valid pronouncement of talaq (Ta’lik Kinayah)? And did my act of meeting Lisa after receiving the message from my husband would constitute a valid talaq ta’liq? Wassalam, thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    1. Wa’alaikumussalam. Thank you, Puan Qasrina for the questions. First and foremost, I would like to extend my sincere sympathies and concern towards the adversity that befalls you. By examining the facts that you have presented and from the questions that you have posed to us, a few legal issues can be formularised, which are:
    • What is the form of pronouncement made by the husband?
    • Whether the text message (SMS) fulfils the valid conditions and pillars of talaq?
    • Whether there is a valid ta’liq divorce?

     

    WHAT IS THE FORM OF PRONOUNCEMENT OF TALAQ MADE BY THE HUSBAND

     

    1. Based on the facts above, your husband had sent you a text message (SMS) which reads, “If you meet Lisa just once more, I will move out of your life.Thus, the question which lies here is that, what is the actual or exact form of pronouncement of talaq that your husband had made. It is therefore crucial and of substance to determine whether the pronouncement of talaq which was made in the form of writing (kitabah) is classified as a sarih (express) or kinayah (implied) pronouncement of talaq.

     

    1. Based on the book entitled al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, written by Mustafa al Bugho and ‘Ali al-Syarbaji, page 116, a pronouncement of talaq can be divided into sarih (express) and kinayah (implied). Based on the abovementioned book, “Sarih talaq is a pronouncement of talaq which is used expressly/clearly signifying the meaning of talaq and the wording cannot be interpreted with other meaning(s). The wording or pronouncement can be classified into three, namely; talaq / divorce, release/free and separate.”

     

    1. Whereas, kinayah means “…every wording/pronouncement which may be interpreted as talaq or other than talaq,” as stated in the abovementioned book. In another kitab entitled al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by the eminent scholar; Wahbah al-Zuhaili, volume 7, page 502, kinayah pronouncement includes the pronouncement of talaq which is made in writing. Referring to the SMS which was sent by your husband and the aforementioned authorities from hukum syara’, it can clearly be seen that your husband’s SMS would constitute a pronouncement of talaq in the form of kinayah due to the following reasons:
    • The whole wordings of the sentence in the SMS of your husband did not contain the word “talaq”, “divorce”, “release” or “separate”. In fact, the word used could be interpreted to be meant as talaq or other than talaq.
    • Whereby the “pronouncement” was made in the form of a short message (SMS) which was typed by your husband but was not pronounced verbally to you at any material time.

     

    1. It is also important to note that, a kinayah talaq pronounced by way of SMS is merely the same as a written talaq (kitabah). This is following the maxim which is laid down in Article 69 of the Majalla which reads; “الكتاب كالخطاب” which carries the meaning of ‘the letter is considered as an oral expression’ as cited in the “Introduction to Middle Eastern Lawby Chibli Mallat. Thus, when it comes to a pronouncement of talaq in the form of SMS, as what happens in this present case, in order to determine whether the SMS is a kinayah or a sarih form of pronouncement of talaq, the word used in the SMS must be observed and considered, as what has been discussed in the foregoing paragraphs. And as discussed in the preceding paragraphs, if the pronouncement is in the form of kinayah, the intention of the husband whether to/not to divorce needs to be taken into account.

     

    WHETHER THE TEXT MESSAGE (SMS) FULFILS THE VALID CONDITIONS AND ELEMENTS OF TALAQ?

     

    1. In the message (SMS), your husband had written, “If you meet Lisa just once more, I will move out of your life.” The message was sent to your phone number from your husband’s phone number as stated in the facts of this case. In determining whether a valid talaq has been made or otherwise, based on the text message, it depends on whether all the pillars and conditions of a valid talaq have been fulfilled. In the book entitled al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by Wahbah al-Zuhaili, volume 7, page 479, the pillars of talaq according to the Shafi’ie Madzhab consist of five pillars:
    • The one who pronounces the talaq (Taliq)
    • Sighah
    • Mahal
    • Possessing wilayah
    • Possessing qasad

     

    1. Referring to the first pillar of talaq, if your husband is a mukallaf (baligh (had reached the age of puberty) and of sound mind) and had not been coerced to pronounce the talaq, thus the first pillar is fulfilled. Moving to the second pillar i.e. sighah, your husband had pronounced the talaq in the form of kinayah and in a written form which was a text message (SMS). Thus, since it was a kinayah form of pronouncement of talaq, it requires intention. If the lafaz or pronouncement is not accompanied with an intention to make a talaq, the pronouncement would not amount to a valid This is based on al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by Wahbah al-Zuhaili.

     

    1. Next, the third pillar of talaq is mahal. Referring to an unreported case of Mahad Ahmed Mohamed v Natasha Binti Zolkeflee, mahal talaq refers to whom the talaq is addressed to. Kitab I’anat al-Talibin states that, to make the lafaz talaq as one complete sentence, the language used in the sentence must also be comprehendible which shall include the status or the position of the person to whom the talaq was pronounced (mahal talaq) and the wording of the talaq In the above cited case, the Court referred to the sentence “It’s over between us”, whereby in the Plaintiff’s testimony, the Plaintiff admitted that the word “us” referred to both the Plaintiff and Defendant. The Defendant also testified that the Plaintiff had pronounced the talaq and had understood that the pronouncement was meant to divorce the Defendant. Thus, the Court was satisfied that the requirement of mahal talaq was fulfilled.

     

    1. Applying the above principle to this present case, the pronouncement of talaq was made in a written form, by way of kinayah, and was sent as a text message to your phone number by your husband. Thus, the third pillar is fulfilled as the words “I will move out of your life was addressed to you by your husband, as the lawful wife of your husband. From the sentence “I will move out of your life, the word “I” refers to your husband and the word “your” refers to you.

     

    1. Moving to the fourth pillar which is possessing wilayah. Wilayah means authority. In the above cited case, the Court was satisfied that the requirement of wilayah was also fulfilled in that case as when the talaq was pronounced, the Defendant was still the lawful wife of the Plaintiff and thus, was still under the wilayah or authority of the Plaintiff as the lawful husband of the Defendant. Applying the principle to this present case, if you have not been divorced by your husband prior to receiving the message (SMS) and you are still the lawful wife of your husband whilst the talaq is being pronounced, thus, this requirement is also fulfilled.

     

    1. The last pillar of talaq is qasad or intention. Since your husband had pronounced a kinayah talaq, thus, based on the kitab of al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by Wahbah al-Zuhaili as discussed above, only if your husband intended to divorce you whilst typing the message to you, would the pronouncement of talaq via the SMS, constitutes a valid pronouncement of talaq.

     

    WHETHER THERE IS A VALID FORM OF TA’LIQ DIVORCE

     

    1. It is also crucial to take into consideration that the lafaz kinayah was made together with ta’liq which states, “If you meet Lisa once more, I will move out of your life”. According to the kitab of al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by Wahbah al-Zuhaili, volume 7, page 565, sighah could be in the forms of attaching/annexing talaq to a matter which happens in the future and sighah which is not attached to a condition. There are three types of talaq, which are instant talaq, conditional talaq and talaq that is based on a future time.

     

    1. Based on the ta’liq that was made by your husband, it was a conditional ta’liq whereby talaq will only take place should the subject matter of the ta’liq is committed in the future, using the word such as; if, when, among others. Therefore, the lafaz talaq that was pronounced by your husband to you via the text message (SMS) was a lafaz kinayah and was pronounced conditionally (ta’liq) whereby, the talaq was conditional upon your meeting with Lisa after receiving the message from your husband.

     

    1. Nevertheless, despite you having met Lisa after receiving the SMS from your husband, your husband had used the word or term “will” or in Malay it would be translated to “akan”, a term which is expressing a future tense as elucidated in the Oxford Dictionaries. Thus, it is still questionable whether talaq would instantly fall or not. Two questions have to be considered. Firstly, whether the term “will” is merely a threat to divorce you should you meet Lisa once more after receiving the message, or in other words, whether your husband really intends to take an action to divorce you when using the word “will”. Secondly, whether talaq would instantly fall, once the action of, i.e. meeting Lisa, is fulfilled. Only if your husband intends to divorce you instantly once the action is fulfilled, would the pronouncement of talaq ta’liq constitute a valid pronouncement of divorce.

     

    CONCLUSION

    1. In conclusion, based on the above discussions, the pronouncement of talaq that was made by your husband (validity of talaq via SMS) was a kinayah pronouncement of talaq. Moreover, since the pronouncement of talaq is attached with a condition, such a pronouncement would constitute a conditional divorce (talaq ta’liq). The talaq ta’liq would only be valid after the condition is fulfilled. Nevertheless, since the words used are ambiguous and not clearly expressing talaq, thus, it depends on the intention of your husband if he really intends to divorce you or not. Since this issue involves several complicated matters, it is best and advisable for you to seek the aid and assistance of a Syarie lawyer to advise you regarding this matter. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

  • Marriage Validity and Attribution of Nasab

    MARRIAGE VALIDITY & ATTRIBUTION OF NASAB

    QUESTION ABOUT MARRIAGE VALIDITY: Assalamu’alaikum Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan. I am Khairul Bin Asri from Bandar Baru Bangi. I got married to my wife; Arini Syakilla in Taiping, Perak and are blessed with one daughter. During the marriage ceremony, my wife’s father was still in existent and lived in Kerteh, Terengganu and was also the wali mujbir of my wife. However, my father in-law did not become the wali for my wife as we solemnised our marriage without his knowledge as my wife doubted that his father would permit us to get married since we were then still in our foundation studies at the Foundation Centre. Nevertheless, my wife never asked for his permission and consent prior to our marriage, hence, there was actually no evidence that my father in law refused to consent. In turn, the man who became my wife’s wali was a man by the name of Ahmad Bin Tokiman, who claimed to be a wali hakim. Problems arose when we received a letter from the Office of the Administration of Islam, Taiping, Perak, stating that our marriage certificate was a forgery and was never issued by any Deputy Registrar of the kariah in the area. I have two questions to ask. Firstly, whether our marriage was lawful and secondly, whether the nasab of our daughter can be attributed to me?

     

    ANSWER:

    1. Wa’alaikumussalam Encik Khairul. Thank you for the genuine questions. I would like to express my concern towards the problems that you and your wife are currently facing and will try my level best to attend to your queries. First and foremost, referring to the facts that you have presented, we have to determine the issues which need to be addressed. There are two issues here, namely:
      1. Whether the marriage which was solemnised in Taiping was valid according to Syara’  (Marriage validity)?
      2. Whether the nasab of the daughter can be attributed to the father?

     

    WHETHER THE MARRIAGE WHICH WAS SOLEMNISED IN TAIPING WAS VALID ACCORDING TO SYARA’

     

    1. In determining marriage validity, we must observe whether all the pillars of a valid marriage in accordance with syara’ are met. Legally speaking, Section 11 of the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 provides that:

    A marriage shall be void unless all conditions necessary, according to Hukum Syarak for the validity thereof are satisfied.

     

    1. The provision does not list out one by one the pillars of marriage, hence, credible Islamic books can be of good reference. Referring to Mughni al-Muhtaj ila Ma’rifati Ma’ani Alfaz Al-Minhaj by Shamsuddin Muhammad bin Muhammad Al-Khatib Al-Sharbini, there are 5 pillars of nikah which are also reiterated in kitab Al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, Juz 4, page 55. The pillars of marriage are:
    • Bridegroom(az-zauj)
    • Bride (az-zaujah)
    • Guardian (wali)
    • Witnesses (Syahidain an-Nikah)
    • Pronouncement of Offer and Acceptance (As-Sighah Ijab wa Qabul)

     

    1. Referring to the first pillar of marriage, i.e. bridegroom, we have to consider whether all of the conditions which are required for the bridegroom to satisfy are fulfilled. The conditions are stated in kitab Al-Iqna’ Fi al-Faz Abi Syuja’, Volume 2, page 246. Firstly, the man is lawful to be married. Secondly, the consent to marry is made voluntarily not under duress. Thirdly, a specific man. Fourthly, the man knows that the woman is lawful to be married.

     

    1. Other conditions can be seen from the Qur’an, such as the man must be a Muslim. This is stated in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 221 which states, “And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you.” The bridegroom must also not have four wives at the time of the marriage ceremony. This is in consonance with the verse of the Qur’an which restricts the maximum number of wives for a man to get married up to four, whereby in Surah An-Nisa’, verse 3, Allah says, “And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].”

      

    1. Hence, if you have fulfilled all of these conditions and are not under ihram during the marriage solemnisation, then the first pillar of marriage is fulfilled.

     

    1. Next, with regards to the second pillar of marriage, which is the bride, in the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 221, whereby Allah says:

    Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters) until they believe. A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman even though she allures you.

    In addition, in another verse Allah says, “(Lawful to you in marriage) are not only chaste women who are believers but chaste women among the people of the Book revealed before your time ­ – when you give them their dowers and desire chastity not lewdness nor secret intrigues.”

     

    1. Thus, based on the above two verses, the bride must either be a Muslim or a kitabiyyah. Since there is no mention in the facts that you have presented that your wife is a kitabiyyah, a discussion pertaining to it need not be elaborated further. Apart from being a Muslim, based on the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zain et al. (2016), the bride must also not be associated with any marital relationship at the time of the marriage. Moreover, she must also ensure that she is not within the prohibited degrees of blood or fosterage relationship.

     

    1. Therefore, if your wife has no obstruction to get married by fulfilling all the conditions of a valid bride, thus, the second pillar of marriage is also said to have been fulfilled.

     

    1. Moving on to the third pillar of marriage, which is wali. This pillar is of great importance in this present case before us since your marriage was solemnised without your wife’s wali’s knowledge and consent. Shahrin Nasution in his book called Fiqh Lengkap Perkahwinan, defines wali as “a person who has the right to give away a woman in marriage”. This is cited in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zain et al. (2016). The necessity to have a wali in a marriage is emphasised in the hadith of the Prophet which states to the effect that: “There is no marriage without wali”.

     

    1. Based on the facts that you have stated, during the marriage ceremony, your wife’s father who was also a wali mujbir was in existent. Nevertheless, the marriage was solemnised by a purported wali hakim, or simply said, by a person falsely representing himself as a wali hakim. We firstly have to define the meanings of wali mujbir and wali hakim.

     

    1. Wali mujbir is a guardian with the power of compulsion, which means, he has complete rights over the woman under his care, to marry her off to a man that is of the same/similar social status (kafaah) without her prior consent. The power to become wali mujbir is specially designated to the father and the paternal grandfather of the bride only. This is stated by Mohammad Azam Hussain and Alias Azhar in their article entitled; The Definition of Wali (Guardian) in Marriage from the Perspective of Fiqh and Family Law in Malaysia. Section 2 of the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 also defines wali mujbir as the father or the paternal grandfather and above.

     

    1. On the other hand, wali hakim means “a Sultan or a Leader as the Head of an Islamic State or a Judge or any other person who is granted permission and conferred with the power to become a wali nikah for the woman.” This is stated by Al-Syeikh al-Imam al-‘Allamah Muwaffaq al-Din Abi Muhammad ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Mahmud bin Qudamah, 1972 in Al-Mughni, Volume 7 and cited in the aforementioned article.

     

    1. Whereas, in Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, Volume 7, states that “the majority of the ‘ulamaa’ opines that a marriage solemnisation is not valid except if it is solemnised by a wali. A woman cannot marry herself off, nor can she marry off others, and she also cannot appoint others to become a wali to marry her off. If such acts are done, the marriage is not valid regardless whether the woman has already come of age, is of sound mind and is already matured…If the wali refuses to marry her off, thus the hakim shall act as the wali for a person who has no wali.

     

    1. Referring to the facts that you have presented, when the marriage between you and your wife was solemnised in Taiping, Perak, the wali mujbir was in existent and stayed in Kerteh, Terengganu. A wali mujbir can only be substituted with a wali hakim upon three main grounds, namely, when the wali refuses to consent, when the wali disappears (ghaib) or when he is unavailable. These three grounds are stipulated under section 13(b) of the Enactment.

     

    1. With regards to the first ground, in order to know whether there is in fact a refusal from the wali, there must be a prior confirmation and approval by the Judge. Our religion strongly detests if a wali refuses to marry off the woman under his guardianship without lawful reasons. This is explained in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zain et al. (2016).

     

    1. In this present case, there is no express evidence to show that the wali had refused to give his consent for the marriage, as you and your wife did not even convey about the marriage to the wali and the wali did not even have the knowledge regarding the marriage. And your wife only had doubt on whether the wali would or would not consent to the marriage. Thus, the first ground to allow a wali hakim to substitute a wali mujbir would not be successfully invoked.

     

    1. Moving on the last two grounds, i.e., when the wali disappears or when the wali is unavailable, the issue of distance comes into the picture. Based on the decided local cases such as in the cases of Hashim v Fatimah [1977] 5 JH 106, Zakaria v Maria [1977] 3 JH 97, and Saad bin Syafie v Sarimah bt Saad [1992] 9(2) JH 203, only if the wali resides in a place which is situated more than two marhalah from the place of marriage, can the marriage be solemnised by a wali hakim, provided that other required conditions are fulfilled.

     

    1. In this present case, despite the distance between Kerteh and Taiping exceeds two marhalah, the “wali hakim” which solemnised your marriage was a falsely represented wali hakim. And based on the case of Abd Halim bin Md Hashim v Azila bt Ramli @ Ismail [2017] 2 SHLR 57, there was also no pronouncement of wakalah wali from the wali mujbir to the man who solemnised the marriage. Thus, the status of that juru nikah which was tainted with forgery would make the requirement of wali not to be fulfilled in this present case.

     

    1. Next, with regards to the fourth pillar of marriage, which is the presence of two witnesses during the marriage ceremony, the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 282 states:

    and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as you choose for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her

     

    1. Based on al-Khatib al-Sharbani, page 235, written by Shamsuddin Muhammad bin Muhammad, a marriage is invalid except if it is solemnised in the presence of two male witnesses who are free, ‘adil, able to hear, see and understand the ijab (offer) and qabul (acceptance). Since the facts are silent with regards to the issue of witnesses, thus, the requirement of two witnesses as has been discussed above needs to be satisfied in order to meet the requirement of the fourth pillar of marriage.

     

    1. The last pillar of marriage is the pronouncement of offer and acceptance (as-sighah ijab wa qabul). Based on Ala’eddin Kharofa, page 45, as cited in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zain et al. (2016), there are a few conditions of a valid pronouncement of ijab and qabul. Firstly, the sighah must be made in an official ceremonial gathering. Secondly, both of the parties must be able to hear each other and the pronouncement should be comprehendible by each of them that the contract is for the purpose of marriage. Thirdly, the acceptance should tally with the offer that is made, and lastly, the marriage contract should be witnessed by two witnesses which must be legally acceptable. Since the facts are silent about how the sighah was pronounced, thus, considering all the conditions of a valid sighah are fulfilled, the last pillar of marriage is said to be fulfilled.

     

    1. Nevertheless, based on the above discussion, since the requirement of a valid wali is not present in this case, based on the case of Abd Halim bin Md Hashim v Azila bt Ramli @ Ismail [2017] 2 SHLR 57, the marriage would be fasid or in other words, it would result to an irregular marriage. A fasid marriage happens when there is a lacking of the requirements of a valid marriage such as a marriage without a wali. This is stated by Abdul Azis Bin Abdul Rawi Bin Ali Al-Jabar in his kitab, Al-Hukm bi-Ithbat an-Nasab. Thus, both of you would be separated (faraq) due to the irregularity of the marriage. And the consummation which took place due to the fasid marriage would constitute wati syubhah (syubhah intercourse). Based on Section 2 of the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, a syubhah intercourse is interpreted as an “intercourse performed on erroneous impression that the marriage was valid when in fact the marriage was not valid (fasid) or intercourse by mistake and includes any intercourse not punishable by Had in Islam”.

     

    WHETHER THE NASAB OF THE DAUGHTER CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE FATHER

     

    1. Referring to an article entitled, “Pensabitan Nasab dan Anak Tak Sah Taraf dari Perspektif Syariah dan Perundangan Islam di Malaysia”, written by Paizah Hj. Ismail, according to the fuqaha’, lineage (nasab) in Islam can be acquired via three means. One of them is when there is a syubhah intercourse between a man and a woman.

     

    1. In the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, there is a specific provision with regards to a syubhah. It is stated under Section 114 of the Enactment. The Section provides, “Where a man has syubhah sexual intercourse with a woman, and she is subsequently delivered of a child between the period of six qamariah months to four qamariah years after the intercourse, the paternity of the child shall be ascribed to the man.”

     

    1. Based on the above provision and based on the case of Abd Halim bin Md Hashim v Azila bt Ramli @ Ismail [2017] 2 SHLR 57, if your daughter was 6 months after your marriage, then, the nasab of your daughter could be attributed to you as the biological father of the child.

     

    CONCLUSION:

     

    1. In conclusion, based on the foregoing discussions, the answer to the question on your marriage validity is that, your marriage that was solemnised in Taiping, Perak by a falsely represented wali hakim, would result in the marriage being fasid (irregular) due to the non-fulfilment of one of the pillars of nikah (arkan an-nikah).Whereas, in respect of the attribution of lineage of your daughter to you, if it can be satisfactorily proven that your daughter was born 6 months after the solemnisation of your marriage, then, it is most likely that the nasab of your daughter could be attributed to you. Since your queries involved several complicated matters, I humbly advise you to seek and consult a Syarie Lawyer who is eligible to address and answer these questions.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

  • break-off engagement before marriage

    BREACH OF BETROTHAL: BREAK-OFF AN ENGAGEMENT A MONTH BEFORE MARRIAGE

    BREAK-OFF ENGAGEMENT QUESTION: Assalamu’alaikum Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan. I am Nur from Bangsar Utama. I was engaged with my ex-fiancée in a proper engagement ceremony that was held at my parents’ house early March this year. Both of our families have set the date of our marriage ceremony to be held on 15th July 2018. To my utter dismay, in mid-June very recently, my ex-fiancée had phoned me to convey that he desperately had to cancel off our engagement.  I was caught by surprise to receive the terrible news as we were always in good terms ever since we got engaged. What angered me more and made me feel humiliated was to find out that my ex-fiancée had actually married his neighbour in Bukit Damansara early this month. I was so disappointed as my parents and I have spent a large sum of money on catering, wedding dress and shoes, door gifts, wedding cards and we have paid deposit for the wedding venue. I would like to inquire if there is a possibility for me to recover the expenses that we have spent as preparations for the wedding and if I could claim anything from my ex-fiancée due to humiliation and embarrassment that we have to bear in consequence of the cancellation of engagement? Thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    • Wa’alaikumussalam. Thank you Puan Nur for the question. First and foremost, I would like to express my utmost sympathy towards the trial that had befallen you and your family due to the cancellation of engagement. As a believer of the Muslim creed, I believe that there is an underlying hikmah (wisdom) that is only known by Allah regarding the incident that had occurred to you and your family. Before I give some legal advice which hopefully would enlighten you on how to resolve this matter, it is best to firstly understand the concept of engagement in Islam before we delve into the legal repercussions and remedies of breach of betrothal (engagement) in the eyes of the Malaysian Islamic Family Law. 

     

    • According to the The Islamic Law of Personal Status written by Jamal J Nasir, betrothal or engagement in Islam can be defined as:

    The request by the man for the hand of a certain woman in marriage, and approach to her, or to her next of kin, with a view to describing his status, and to negotiating with them the subject of the contract and their respective demands in that connection.

    From this definition, betrothal can simply be understood as a proposal by a man for the woman’s hand in marriage either by asking her directly or through an intermediary. This proposal would be a good avenue for the man to explain and tell the family of his future wife regarding his status, financial standing and family background, among others. It is also a norm that both families would discuss in detail about the engagement contract such as the total or estimated amount of marriage expenses to be spent for the marriage ceremony, the date and place of the ceremony, etc. 

    • What most of us might not know and realise is that betrothal or engagement is not merely an adat (custom). It is also recognised and in fact encouraged under the Islamic law. There are authorities for betrothal in the Holy Qur’an and hadith of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. In Surah Al-Baqarah verse 135, Allah says:

    There is no blame on you if you make an offer of betrothal or hold it in your heart. Allah knows that you cherish them in your hearts.

    In an authentic hadith, the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. says:

    When one of you asks a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so. Jabir said I asked a girl in marriage. I used to look at her secretly, until I looked at what induced me to marry her. I therefore married her. (Saheeh Muslim) 

    • Having known the general concept of betrothal in Islam, we shall proceed in determining whether you have a right in law, to claim the wedding preparation expenditures and damages due to humiliation. A few issues can be summarised as follows:
      • Whether can claim the compensation for the wedding preparation expenses?
      • Whether can claim damages due to humiliation?

     

    WHETHER HUKUM SYARAK AND/OR THE ISLAMIC FAMILY LAW IN MALAYSIA ALLOW(S) THE   PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION DUE TO BREACH OF BETROTHAL?

    • The issue pertaining breach of betrothal is not foreign under the Islamic law. As betrothal is a species of contract or a covenant, verse pertaining to breach of covenant would apply. In the Qur’an, Allah says in Surah Al-Israa’ verse 34:

    وَاَوۡفُوۡا بِالۡعَهۡدِ​ۚ اِنَّ الۡعَهۡدَ كَانَ مَسۡـُٔوۡلًا‏

    And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily, the covenant, will be questioned about.

    • In another verse, Allah says in Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 1:

    يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَوۡفُوۡا بِالۡعُقُوۡدِ​

    O you who have believed, fulfil [all] contracts.

    • Whereas the hadith  of the Prophet which governs this matter is reported in Saheeh Muslim which says to the effect that:

    Muslims are bound by their promises and the conditions which they have agreed to.

    • On the other hand, the four major schools of thought (madhhahib) provide different stances regarding breach of betrothal. According to the Hanafi School, if the gifts are still intact and their characters remain unchanged, or have not been consumed nor destroyed, the giver can request for the return of the gifts, if the breach of engagement is committed by the other party. Meanwhile, the Maliki School is of the view that if the breach is committed by the man, he has no right to seek the return of the gifts given by him. In contrast, if the woman is the one in breach, the man would have the right to request for the return of the gifts regardless whether the gifts are still in existence or not. If the gifts have been damaged, the woman has to pay their values.

     

    • Our school of thought (Shafi’I School) opines that if there is a breach of betrothal, gifts should be returned whether they still exist or not. If the goods are still in existence, then the goods themselves should be returned. Nevertheless, if the goods have been consumed or used or lost, then the value of the gifts should be returned. 

     

    • From the above, we could observe that there is a juristic opinion which takes into account the gender of the defaulting party as a determining factor with regards to the liability in the case of breach of betrothal. Whereas, another juristic opinion views that the return of gifts/goods is only required if they are still intact. 

     

    • Moving on to the law and practice in Malaysia, since Puan Nur is from Bangsar Utama, which means within the province of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, thus by virtue of Section 4 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 (thereafter shall be referred in short as “IFLA”) which states, “Save as is otherwise expressly provided, this Act shall apply to all Muslims living in the Federal Territory and to all Muslims resident in the Federal Territory who are living outside the Federal Territory the provisions under IFLA which govern betrothal-related matters would be applicable on Puan Nur.

     

    • Section 15 of the IFLA provides that:

    If any person has, either orally or in writing, and either personally or through an intermediary, entered into a betrothal in accordance with Hukum Syara’, and subsequently refuses without lawful reason to marry the other party, the other party being willing to marry, the party in default shall be liable to return the betrothal gifts, if any, or the value thereof and to pay whatever moneys have been expended in good faith by or for the other party in preparation for the marriage, and the same may be recovered by action in the Court.

    • Thus, from the above provision, the essential points that can be deduced are:
      • There must be an oral or written betrothal agreement or covenant
      • The agreement is entered into by the parties personally or through an intermediary
      • There is a breach of such an agreement by one party without lawful reason’
      • The defaulting party shall be liable to return the betrothal gifts if they are still in existent, if not, the value of the gifts must be compensated
      • The defaulting party must also pay whatever expenditures that have been spent in preparation for the marriage (that has to be tendered to Court)
      • Such gifts and expenses may be recovered by bringing an action in the Syariah Court

     

    • In the prominent case from the State of Kedah cited as Aishah v Jamaluddin (1978) 3 JH 104, the male party who had breached the engagement was ordered by the Court to pay compensation as agreed by the parties in the betrothal agreement which amounted to a sum of RM 24 for mas kahwin, RM 800 for marriage expenses, RM 25 for clothes, RM 400 for house repair in preparation for the wedding, and also the ring that was given by the man to the woman was allowed by the Court to be kept by the woman.

     

    • Based on the aforementioned case and provision from the statute, rest assured, after assessing the facts of your case that you have relayed, since the party in breach is your ex-fiancée, if you could prove to the Court that your ex-fiancée had broken off the engagement without lawful reason (“sebab yang sah”), you are likely would be able to recover the expenditures that you have spent in preparation for the marriage (provided that all the expenditures can be proved by way of receipts and/other documentary evidence).

     

    WHETHER CAN CLAIM DAMAGES DUE TO HUMILIATION

    • With regards to the above issue, the case of Salbiah Binti Othman lwn. Haji Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani is relevant to be regarded as a reference. In this case, the Plaintiff, Puan Salbiah binti Othman and the Defendant, Tuan Haji Ahmad bin Abdul Ghani were engaged on 28th July 2001 and the date of marriage had been set and decided to be held on 31st August 2001. Unfortunately, the Defendant had breached the engagement through his representative on 17th August 2001. Due to the breach and the cancellation of the engagement, the Plaintiff had sought from the Court damages due to humiliation amounting to RM 200,000 and compensation for the expenses amounting to RM 9677.00.

     

    • In respect of the first claim, the honourable Court decided that such claim is not within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court and the most suitable place for such a claim to be brought to, would be the Civil High Court (Civil Claim), as this matter is concerning general damages due to humiliation/embarrassment. 

     

    • Hence, referring to the above case, since a claim for damages due to humiliation is a tortuous claim that is clearly not within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court, I would advise Puan Nur to bring that particular claim to the Civil High Court instead of to the Syariah Court, as the latter does not have the jurisdiction to try such a claim. 

     

    CONCLUSION

    • In conclusion, having studied the facts of your case, I believe that Puan Nur would be able to seek for compensation for all the expenses that have been incurred by yourself and your family in preparation for the marriage if you would be able to prove that your ex-fiancée had breached the engagement due to unlawful reason. The learned Judge would determine the exact costs to be borne by the defaulting party due to the breach of engagement. Nevertheless, as what have been explained in the foregoing paragraphs, the claim for damages due to humiliation is not a claim to be brought and sought before the Syariah Court. The alternative would be for Puan Nur to bring such a claim to the Civil High Court.  It is advisable for Puan Nur to consult and seek assistance of a Syarie lawyer as this issue involves complicated matters revolving around the law and hukum syarak which are best dealt by the expert in this respective field. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

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