Can Muslims Make Nuzriah (or Nazar) in Singapore and How?
What is Nuzriah (or Nazar) and How Does It Work?
According to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (more commonly known as “Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura” or “MUIS”), “nuzriah” means making “nazar”.
Nuzriah contextually means a nazar made by someone to give part or all of his wealth before his death to another party. Under the Administration of the Muslim Law Act, this “nazar” means an expressed vow to do any act or to dedicate property for any purpose allowed by Muslim law.
Examples of such act for the purposes of a nazar are as follows:
- You may vow that upon recovery from an illness, or the fulfilment of some other dear wish, that you will make a gift, which could be a sacrificial offering, to charity or to some individual for the sake of God. If your heart’s wish as stated in your vow is granted, then that vow in God’s name becomes irrevocable.
- You may make a vow to give your house to your wife upon your death with the intention that the house will not be sold and distributed among your legal beneficiaries. This would ensure that your wife would still have a house after your death.
A nazar and nazar am
A nazar is different from a “nazar am”, which is a nazar intended wholly or in part for the benefit of the Muslim community generally or a part of the Muslim community, and not for the benefit of an individual or individuals.
Time period that nazar takes effect
The nazar would specify a fixed period before the death where it will be implemented, which is usually 3 days before death or 1 hour before death if the death is sudden.
For example, if you have vowed to give your house to your wife, the transfer of the ownership of the house will take effect either 3 days or 1 hour before your death.
However, you are unable to predict beforehand with any degree of certainty that your death will occur on a particular date and hour. Hence, the nazar should be made while you are still of sound mind and healthy.
This article will further explain:
Comparison Between Nuzriah and Other Muslim Estate Planning Tools (Wasiat and Hibah)
A Muslim person is allowed to direct through his or her will that his or her property is to be distributed according to the Muslim law.
In making such directions according to Muslim law, you can create a Muslim will for the disposal of your property. A Muslim will is called “wasiat” in the Malay language or “wasiya” in the Arabic language.
In contrast, a hibah is an Islamic instrument of gift where the owner vows to give the property to the recipient upon the owner’s death.
There is a broad similarity between a wasiat and a nuzriah in that the conferment of the gift is postponed. However, the conferring of the right of property in a hibah is immediate. This means that your recipient will have a right of property before your death (although they will be able to claim the property only after your death).
There is also a broad similarity between a nuzriah and a wasiat. A testator (the person who has made a will) is not entitled to dispose of more than one-third of the property belonging to him at the time of death under a wasiat. Similarly, a person who makes a nazar is not allowed to cover more than one-third of his or her property. The excess of the one-third covered in the nazar will not be valid.
How to Make a Valid Nuzriah in Singapore
Under Muslim law, a nuzriah can be valid only if it satisfies these conditions:
- It is witnessed by two male Muslims who are adil (i.e. a person who neither commits major sins, nor repeats small sins) and not fasiq (i.e. a person who commits a major sin, or repeats small sins).
- It specifies a fixed period before the death so that the nuzriah can be implemented, which is usually 3 days before death.
- The nuzriah was made when the person is in sound mind and good health and not suffering from fatal disease.
Although not compulsory, you can also consider making a statutory declaration for your nuzriah. This helps you leave behind evidence of your nuzriah as affirmed by you after your death.
The nuzriah will automatically take effect when the time period specified in it has occurred.
When is a Nuzriah Not Validly Made in Singapore?
Generally, property governed under the Land Titles Act as well as HDB property are excluded from being disposed of using a nuzriah. Examples are private property and HDB flats. Hence, a nuzriah vowing the transfer of any of these properties will not be valid.
Additionally, if you made the nazar in excess of one-third of your total property, that excess shall not be valid (as mentioned above).
Revoking a Nuzriah Before It Takes Effect
If you want to revoke your nuzriah before it takes effect, you must pay the penalty according to the following:
- To provide food for 10 poor people with the type of foods that they usually consume; or
- Clothe 10 poor people; or
- Fast for 3 days.
Upon fulfilling any of the above options, you do not need to record your acts in writing or inform third-parties about them for the nuzriah to be revoked.
However, you can still have them recorded in a statutory declaration as evidence that you have revoked your nuzriah and fulfilled your chosen penalty.
Readers should think carefully about what they want to give by way of a nuzriah and who they intend to make the nazar to.
We recommend that you consult a Muslim lawyer if you are considering nuzriah. The lawyer will be able to help you draft a nuzriah and ensure that the nuzriah is valid.
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