Islamic Inheritance Law in Singapore: Getting the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration for a Muslim Estate

islamic inheritance law singapore

 

Introduction: How are Muslim Estates Distributed?

In Singapore, the Intestate Succession Act does not apply to Muslim estates. Muslim estates must be distributed according to Islamic inheritance laws, which is provided for under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (“AMLA”).

Islamic inheritance law, otherwise known as Farā’id, governs the situation when a deceased Muslim passes away without making a will or when he or she dies intestate. As Islamic law is God-given, it is considered to be binding on all Muslims.

Under the AMLA, the legal principles that apply in relation to inheritance depend on the school of faith, or mazhab, that the deceased subscribed to. There are two schools of law that can apply – the Hanafi School of Law and the Shafii School of Law.

In Singapore, the vast majority of Muslims follow the Shafii School of Law and this is the mazhab that generally applies. When applying for probate or letters of administration, the affidavit supporting the application must also state the relevant mazhab.

Are all Muslims bound by Farā’id?

In a word, yes.

All Singapore Muslims must have their property distributed in accordance with farā’id. This is provided for under Section 111(1) of the AMLA.

How are Assets Divided under Farā’id?

 

If a Muslim person dies leaving a Wife:

  1. Wife and no relations
  2. Wife and son (sons)
  3. Wife, son and daughter
  4. Wife, two sons and two daughters
  5. Wife and one daughter
  6. Wife and daughters
  7. Wife, daughter and one son’s son
  8. Wife, daughter and one son’s son
  9. Wife, daughter, one son’s son and one son’s daughter

Division of real and personal property

  1. 1/4 to wife, 3/4 to the Bait-ul-mal
  2. 1//8 to wife, rest to son (sons equally)
  3. 1/8 to wife, 7/24 to each son and 7/48 to daughter
  4. 1/8 to wife, 7/24 to each son and 7/48 to each daughter
  5. 1/8 to wife, 1/2 to daughter and 3/8 to Bair-ul-mal
  6. 1/8 to wife, 2/3 to daughters and 5/24 to Bait-ul-mal
  7. 1/8 to wife, 1/2 to daughter, rest to son’s son
  8. 1/8 to wife, 2/3 to daughters equally, rest to son’s son
  9. 1/8 to wife, 1/3 to daughter, 14 to son’s son and 1/8 to son’s daughter

If a Muslim person dies leaving a Husband:

  1. Husband and no relations
  2. Husband and son (sons)
  3. Husband, son and daughter
  4. Husband, two sons and two daughters
  5. Husband and one daughter
  6. Husband and daughters
  7. Husband, daughter and one son’s son
  8. Husband, daughters and one son’s son
  9. Husband and father

Division of real and personal property

  1. 1/2 to husband and balance to Bait-ul-mal
  2. 1/4 to husband, rest to son (sons equally)
  3. 1/4 to husband, 1/2 to son, 1/4 to daughter
  4. 1/4 to husband, 1/4 to each son, 1/8 to each daughter
  5. 1/4 to husband, 1/2 to daughter and rest to State
  6. 1/4 to husband, 2/3 to the daughters and rest to State
  7. 1/4 to husband, 1/2 to daughter, rest to son’s son
  8. 1/4 to husband, 2/3 to daughters equally, 1/12 to son’s son
  9. 1/2 to husband and 1/2 to father

If a Muslim person dies leaving Sons and Daughters:

  1. One son and no other relations
  2. One daughter
  3. Daughters
  4. Sons and daughters
  5. One son, and son’s son or son’s daughters
  6. One son and father (or mother)
  7. One son, father and mother
  8. One daughter and son’s son
  9. One daughter, son’s son and son’s daughter

Division of real and personal property

  1. All to son
  2. 1/2 to daughter and rest to State
  3. 2/3 to daughters equally and rest to State
  4. Equally between all sons and daughters but so that the share of each son is double that of each daughter
  5. All to son
  6. 1/6 to father (or mother), rest to son
  7. 1/6 each to father and mother, rest to son
  8. 1/2 to daughter, rest to son’s son
  9. 1/2 to daughter, 2/6 to son’s son, 1/6 to son’s daughter

If a Muslim person dies leaving Father and Mother:

  1. Father and no other relations
  2. Father and mother
  3. Father, full brothers and sisters
  4. Father, mother, three son’s daughters
  5. Father, mother, daughter, four son’s daughters
  6. Father, mother, two son’s daughters and son’s son’s daughter
  7. Father, mother, son’s daughter, son’s son’s daughter
  8. Mother and no other relations
  9. Mother and full brothers

Division of real and personal property

  1. All to father
  2. 2/3 to father, 1/3 to mother
  3. All to father
  4. 1/6 to father, 1/6 to mother and 2/3 to three son’s daughters in equal shares
  5. 1/6 to father , 1/6 to mother, 1/2 to the daughter and 1/6 to the son’s daughter’s in equal shares
  6. 1/6 to father, 1/6 to mother and 2/3 to son’s daughters in equal shares. The son’s son’s daughter is excluded by the two son’s daughters
  7. 1/6 to father, 1/6 to mother, 1/2 to son’s daughter and 1/6 to son’s son’s daughter (the son’s daughter and son’s son’s daughter share the Quranic share of two or more daughters)
  8. 1/3 to mother, rest to Bait-ul-mal
  9. 1/6 to mother, rest to brothers equally

If a Muslim person dies leaving Brothers and Sisters:

  1. Full brother and sisters
  2. Full brother and sister, and consanguine sister
  3. Full brother and uterine brother and sister
  4. Consanguine brother and full sister
  5. Consanguine brother and consanguine sister
  6. Consanguine brother and uterine sister
  7. Uterine brother and full sisters
  8. Uterine brother and sister and consanguine sisters
  9. Full sisters

Division of real and personal property

  1. Equally between all brothers and sisters but so that each brother receives double the share of each sister
  2. 1/6 to consanguine sister, 10/18 to full brother, 5/18 to full sister
  3. 1/6 each to uterine brother and sister, rest to full brother
  4. 2/3 to brother, 1/3 to sister
  5. 2/3 to brother, 1/3 to sister
  6. 1/6 to uterine sister, rest to brother
  7. 1/3 to brother, 2/3 to sisters equally
  8. 1/6 to each uterine brother and sister, 2/3 to consanguine sisters
  9. 2/3 to sisters equally, reside to Bait-ul-mal

How to Apply for Probate/Letters of Administration for a Muslim Estate?

The process to apply for a grant of probate/letters of administration in Muslim estates is  slightly more complex than for non-Muslim estates.

Essentially, the main difference is that an Inheritance Certificate has to be obtained before commencing on the usual civil process to apply for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.

The process will thus be a two-step process

1) Obtain the Inheritance Certificate from the Syariah Court.

2) Apply for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.

What Exactly is an Inheritance Certificate?

Under Section 115(1) of the AMLA, the beneficiaries shall apply to the Syariah Court for an Inheritance Certificate and this Inheritance Certificate is required for the due administration the deceased Muslim’s estate.

The Inheritance Certificate sets out the shares to which the beneficiaries of the deceased Muslim’s estate are entitled in accordance with Farā’id. This certificate is issued by the Syariah Court based on the information provided to the Syariah Court by the applicant and will identify the beneficiaries, their relationships to the deceased and their relevant shares of the estate.

However, it should be noted that the Inheritance Certificate is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to the distribution of the estate. If there was a Syariah-compliant Will made, the share distribution in the Inheritance Certificate will not take this Will into account.

Do I need a Lawyer to Apply for an Inheritance Certificate?

There is no need to hire a lawyer simply to apply for an Inheritance Certificate. However, most law firms that are well-versed in Islamic inheritance law will assist you in obtaining the Inheritance Certificate if you haven’t already done so.

If you wish to apply for the Inheritance Certificate yourself, you can do so at https://www.syariahcourt.gov.sg/.

Process to Apply for an Inheritance Certificate

1) Go to https://www.syariahcourt.gov.sg/.

2) Go to Quick Links on the left. Under E-Services, click “Online Application for Inheritance Certificate”.

3) Provide the relevant information as requested by the form fields. It is important to ensure that all the details of the deceased Muslim and beneficiaries are keyed in accurately. If there are any errors, it may be necessary to re-apply for a new Inheritance Certificate.

Please read the Online Guide provided by the Syariah Court to have a better understanding of the process.

What information and documents should I prepare to apply for the Inheritance Certificate?

  1. The list of beneficiaries of the estate,
  2. Death Certificate of Deceased,
  3. Identity Cards and Birth Certificates of beneficiaries,
  4. other documents to prove relationships of beneficiaries, if applicable,
  5. Death Certificates of next-of-kin who are deceased.
  6. Statutory Declaration

What do I do after getting the Inheritance Certificate?

The next step after obtaining the Inheritance Certificate is to proceed to apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. While it’s possible to handle doing this yourself, it’s usually a good idea e to hire a law firm or lawyer to assist you in handling the process.


If you'd like to hire an affordable, vetted Singapore lawyer well versed in Muslim Law to assist you in obtaining a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration, get in touch with us here.

Disclaimer: While we have taken great, great pains to make sure this guide is accurate and up to date, we take no responsibilities for any inaccuracies within. You use this information at your own risk.