Muslim Marriage in Singapore: How to Register, Inter-Faith and More
This article will cover the registration and solemnisation of Muslim marriages in Singapore, as well as explain what types of marriages are available to Muslim couples.
At the outset, it is important to note that two Muslims cannot be married under the civil law. Muslim couples are required to register their marriage under Muslim law with the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM).
What is the Eligibility Criteria to Register a Muslim Marriage in Singapore?
To register a Muslim marriage in Singapore, you and your spouse-to-be must be:
- 18 years old and above. However, minors under 21 years old, must complete a Marriage Preparation Programme (MPP) and obtain parental/guardian consent prior to the registration of marriage;
- A heterosexual couple, as same-sex marriage is not permitted; and
- Either a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident (PR), or marrying someone who is either.
Who cannot apply for a Muslim marriage?
Muslim marriages are available only for a Muslim bride and a Muslim groom. Hence, a non-Muslim cannot apply for a Muslim marriage.
In addition, a saudara baru, i.e. a person registered under the Muslim Converts Rules as one who wishes to convert to the Muslim religion, but who has yet to be issued a permanent conversion certificate cannot apply for a Muslim marriage. They may only do so after they have obtained the permanent conversion certificate.
As mentioned, Muslim marriage is only available to a Muslim bride and a Muslim groom. Hence, inter-faith marriages where one party is not a Muslim cannot be registered with ROMM.
However, under the civil law, a marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim can be registered with the Registry of Marriages.
A polygynous marriage is when a man has more than one wife. A Muslim man may marry up to 4 wives at a time. To marry another wife, the man must fill in an application for polygyny and submit it in person to the ROMM. A fee of $380 is payable per application.
To be eligible for a polygnous marriage, the husband must:
- Be capable of providing for the financial, physical and emotional well-being of his wives;
- Have a good marriage life and is not taking on another wife because he currently does not have a good marriage life; and
- Have specific reasons for taking on another wife, for example, benefits that can be provided by a new marriage that the existing marriage(s) cannot provide. However, love cannot be one of such benefits.
The Kadi, a religious official who solemnises Muslim marriages, will review all applications. Upon reviewing, the Kadi will hold separate appointments with the husband, each of his existing wives and the proposed spouse and take signed statements from each party.
From these statements and evidence provided by all parties, the Kadi will make a written judgment. This judgment will be posted to the man, with copies sent to his existing wives and proposed spouse.
If the marriage has been approved, an application for registration may then be made.
Marriage involving a foreigner
If the marriage involves a foreigner who is a work permit holder or an ex-work permit holder, approval to marry must be obtained from the Ministry of Manpower’s Controller of Work Passes prior to registration of the marriage.
What are the Requirements for a Muslim Marriage?
For a Muslim marriage to be valid, solemnisation must be conducted:
- By the bride’s Wali (the person responsible for the bride prior to her marriage) or a Kadi or Naib Kadi (religious officials);
- In the presence of two male Muslim witnesses over 21 years of age; and
- With a Mahar (Maskahwin), a gift given to the bride from the groom to symbolise the husband’s responsibility towards his wife.
A Wali is a woman’s lawful guardian according to Muslim law, and is usually a male. For example, the bride’s father or brother. He must consent to the marriage and be present for the registration of her marriage.
If the bride has lost contact with her Wali, or otherwise cannot consent to the marriage or be present for registration, she is advised to go with her mother or next-of-kin.
Prior to the Registration and Solemnisation of a Muslim Marriage
Place, date and time of solemnisation
Before registering your marriage, you must first decide when and where your solemnisation is going to occur. You may hold your solemnisation at ROMM, or at a place of your choosing. If you are holding your solemnisation at ROMM, you can apply to do so in the application for registration of marriage.
Your proposed solemnisation date and time is subject to the availability of the solemniser chosen (see below). This applies regardless of where your solemnisation is held. If he is unavailable on the selected date, you must either choose an alternative date, or an alternative solemniser.
Your marriage must be solemnised at earliest, 21 calendar days, and at the latest, 150 calendar days, from the date of filing your registration application.
Picking a solemniser
Kadis and Naib Kadis are religious officials appointed by the President of Singapore to solemnise Muslim marriages.
Kadis can consider marriage applications and solemnise marriages with or without a Wali. Naib Kadis are only empowered to solemnise marriages with a Wali. ROMM has 5 Kadis and 27 Naib Kadis under its purview.
You may choose either a Kadi or Naib Kadi to solemnise your marriage, but if you do not have a Wali, you must select a Kadi. The ROMM website has a list of Kadis and Naib Kadis you can contact.
Booking a Kadi/Naib Kadi can only be done online alongside the application to register your marriage. It is advised that you choose a Kadi or Naib Kadi who lives in the vicinity of your solemnisation venue.
It is also possible for the bride’s Wali to solemnise the marriage. To do so, you must first seek approval from ROMM by obtaining the written consent of a Kadi or Naib Kadi. A Kadi or Naib Kadi must also be present during the solemnisation.
Kadis and Naib Kadis are not paid for solemnisations as they are volunteers. However, the couple may choose to give a sum of money as a token of appreciation.
For the purposes of the solemnisation, two male Muslim witnesses over 21 years of age must be present. They need not be present during the filing of the application, but they must be present during the solemnisation.
You will need their names as in their NRIC and their NRIC numbers to register your marriage.
Procedure to Register a Muslim Marriage
1) Submit an online application
First, you must use the Apply for Marriage e-service to submit an online application. This is the only acceptable avenue to make an application for marriage. ROMM provides internet self-help kiosks for your use if necessary.
You should have the following information, where applicable, at hand before proceeding with the application:
- Names and identification numbers (NRIC or Passport) of the bride, groom, bride’s Wali and the two witnesses;
- Mahar, (minimum $100), which can be in benefits such as gold bangles, bracelets, etc or cash;
- Hantaran (a customary gift given by the groom to the bride’s family)
- Solemnisation address if solemnisation venue is outside of ROMM;
- Proposed solemnisation date and time;
- Number and date of Divorce Certificate or Decree Nisi Absolute or Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final, if either party is a divorcee; and
- Death certificate number of deceased spouse, if either party is a widow/widower.
The registration fee associated with making an application depends on the type of marriage registration made.
|At least 1 Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident||Both foreigners|
|Marriage with Wali’s Consent||$39.00||$128.00|
|Marriage without Wali’s Consent||$100.00|
|Marriage for under 21 years old||S120.00|
If the application is submitted at ROMM, payment is made using NETS or Cash Card. If the transaction is made online, only credit card is acceptable.
2) Face-to-Face session (F2F) with the solemniser
Within 5 working days after a successful marriage application, your solemniser will be in contact to arrange for a F2F session. During this F2F session, the bride and groom will be offered guidance and advice as to the foundations necessary for a healthy and stable marriage.
The bride’s Wali need not be present for this session.
However, if a minor is involved in the marriage, both their parents must accompany the minor.
3) Making an appointment for Verification of Document and Statutory Declaration (VDSD)
After completion of the F2F, you must make an appointment for a VDSD at ROMM by calling ROMM’s hotline at 63370207. Both parties, the bride’s Wali, and in the case of minors, the groom and/or bride’s parents/guardians, must attend the VDSD appointment.
At the VDSD appointment, a statutory declaration is made (with the bride, groom and the Wali all present) and all documents are verified.
The following original documents must be presented, where applicable, at this appointment:
- Valid NRIC or passport of groom, bridge, Wali and parents/guardians
- F2F completion letter duly signed by the solemniser
- Divorce Certificate or Decree Nisi and Decree Nisi Absolute or Certificate of Making Interim Judgement Final (duly certified by the Courts), if divorced
- Death and Marriage Certificate of a deceased spouse, if widowed
- Annulment certificate, if one party’s previous marriage has been annulled
- Deed poll, if the bride or groom’s name differs from the name in their NRIC
- Proof of adoption, if adopted
- Certificate of completion of the MPP, if the marriage involves a minor
- Approval letter for polygynous marriage issued by the Kadi, if the groom is already married
- Conversion card for Muslim converts, if applicable
- Bride’s birth certificate, if she has lost all contact with her Wali
- Rehabilitation visit card, if the Wali is in a rehabilitation centre
- Authorisation letter or/and consent letter, if the bride’s Wali is abroad and unable to be present for the VDSV and solemnisation
- Documents to establish the status of the couples’ parents or persons whose consents are required, if the marriage involves a minor and the parents are separated or divorced
- Death certificate of parents/guardians, if parents/guardians are deceased
If the marriage involves a foreigner, the following original documents must also be presented, where applicable:
- Letter to confirm marital status from the authority in the country of origin, if single (not more than 90 days from the date of issuance)
- Letter of approval from the Ministry of Manpower’s Controller of Work Passes if your future spouse is a work permit or ex-work permit holder
- Letter of non-impediment issued by the respective local registries of marriages/Islamic bodies for Malaysian, Indonesian and Bruneian citizens (within 90 days from the date of solemnisation)
If any of the documents are in a language other than Malay or English, they must be accompanied with its certified translation in English.
Once the Kabi/Naib Kadi has verified all documents, and the parties have given their statutory declarations, the application is deemed to be confirmed.
If you wish to cancel your solemnisation, it must be made at ROMM in person. You may do so at any time from Monday to Thursday, (8.30am to 12.30pm; 2.00pm to 4.30pm), Friday (8.30am to 11.45am; 2.30pm to 4.30pm).
Procedure to Solemnise a Muslim Marriage
On the day of the solemnisation of the marriage, the groom, the bride, her Wali and the guests should arrive at the location of the solemnisation at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. If for any reason the solemnisation is delayed for more than 15 minutes, your solemniser may leave the venue.
The two witnesses as identified during the registration process should be present for this ceremony.
The NRICs of the groom, the bride, her Wali and the two witnesses should be brought to the solemnisation venue. You should also bring the Mahar to the venue. Formal attire or customary wedding gowns should be worn.
1) Sermon (Khutbah) on marriage
If applicable, the exchanging of Hantaran between representatives of the bride and groom will occur.
The Kadi/Naib Kadi will then conduct a sermon (Khutbah) on marriage.
2) The solemnisation (Akad Nikah)
The bride’s Wali will conduct the solemnisation (Akad Nikah) himself, or appoint the Kadi/Naib Kadi to do so.
The solemnisation involves the solemniser speaking to the groom about his duties to his wife, and speaking to the bride to determine the marriage is of her own free will. The groom will state the Taklik, his marital vows, and the solemniser will ask both witnesses if the groom’s vows are accepted.
Upon which, the solemniser will say prayers, and the couple will sign the marriage certificate. The marriage is sealed by the groom presenting the bride with the Mahar.
3) Collecting the marriage certificate
Once the solemnisation has occurred, you can collect your marriage certification from the solemniser.
If there has been a change of detail on the solemnisation day, e.g. change in witness, for marriages conducted outside the ROMM, inform the solemniser of such, as well as the date you will go to ROMM to collect the certificate after the amendments are made.
Once you have received your marriage certificate, check that all NRIC numbers, names, the solemnisation venue and date are correct. If there is an error, inform ROMM for rectification immediately if the solemnisation is in ROMM, or by the next working day if outside ROMM.
Congratulations! You are officially married. We hope that this article had been helpful in guiding you through the process of your muslim marriage registration and solmenisation.
If you ever need advice or assistance over the next two years of your marriage, your Kadi/Naib Kadi will be available to aid the strength and stability of your relationship.