Renouncing Islam in Singapore: Procedure and Implications
How Do You Renounce Islam in Singapore?
Renouncing Islam means taking your name off the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) list of Muslims. In Singapore, this is a straightforward process. If you have already decided to renounce Islam, the next few paragraphs explain the steps you need to take to complete the process.
There is no minimum age to renounce Islam in Singapore. However, you must have at least reached the age of puberty and have an understanding of the nature and consequences of renouncing Islam.
To renounce Islam in Singapore, you must first make a statutory declaration stating that you you want to renounce Islam. The statutory declaration needs to be signed by a Commissioner for Oaths, who can be found at the State Courts, Supreme Court or certain law firms that have a Commissioner for Oaths.
You will have to bring an official identity card so the Commissioner for Oaths can verify your identity before signing the statutory declaration. A statutory declaration should cost you around $20-$25 (excluding fees for commissioning any exhibits referred to in the statutory declaration).
Next, you will have to go to MUIS to submit your statutory declaration, go through a brief interview where a representative will ask you why you are renouncing Islam, and fill in a form stating the reason why you are renouncing Islam. You are encouraged to make an appointment with MUIS before visiting them.
MUIS will then present you with a letter acknowledging that you have renounced Islam, and will also remove your name from their database.
This article will further cover:
- How to change your name after renouncing Islam
- Whether there are any impacts on marriage after renouncing Islam
- How your assets will be distributed after you have passed away
- Whether you will have a claim to your inheritance if you renounce Islam
- Whether you still have to pay the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF) if you renounce Islam
To change your name, you will need to execute a legal document known as a deed poll.
First, you have to contact a lawyer to draft a deed poll for you. Next, you will have to personally travel to the lawyer’s office so he or she can witness your signing of the deed poll.
Assuming you are above 21, you will need to bring an official identity card such as your NRIC, passport, or Singapore Blue Identity Card to the lawyer’s office when you sign the deed poll.
This deed poll may then be used to change your name in various documents such as your NRIC, passport and certifications.
For more information, please refer to our article on using a deed poll to change your name.
Will Renouncing Islam have Any impacts on Marriage?
What will happen to my Muslim marriage after I have renounced Islam?
If you renounce Islam whilst in a Muslim marriage, your marriage will be considered invalid. This is because the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) only recognises marriages between two Muslims. A formal application has to be made to the Syariah court to nullify the marriage.
To continue being legally married, you will then have to register your marriage as a civil marriage at the Registry of Marriages (ROM).
Where should I go to register my marriage after I have renounced Islam?
How Will Your Assets be Distributed After You have Passed Away?
|If you have renounced Islam, your estate will go to pre-allocated relatives after your death if you did not make a will before your death.
Examples of such relatives include the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents. Please refer to our article on how non-Muslims’ assets would be distributed if they did not write a will before passing away.
On the other hand, if you have made a valid will as a non-Muslim, your entire estate will be distributed solely based on the instructions in the will once you have passed away.
|If you do not renounce Islam and are still a Muslim when you have passed away, your estate’s assets must be distributed in accordance with the Islamic Law on inheritance (faraid). Faraid determines how much the beneficiaries to your estate will inherit based on the beneficiaries’ relationships with you.
Generally, the division of assets under faraid covers blood relatives of the deceased and the spouse(s) of the deceased. As the rules for faraid are quite complex, the Syariah Court provides a useful faraid calculator so you may better gauge how your assets would be distributed if you remain a Muslim.
As a Muslim, you can will away only a maximum of 1/3 of your estate to non-faraid beneficiaries.
Whether or not you have decided to renounce your faith, it is encouraged you make a will to ensure your distributable assets are allocated as you wish.
Will I have a Claim to My Inheritance If I Renounce Islam?
If you have renounced Islam, you will not be able to inherit property from your Muslim family members through faraid. This is because under Islamic law, a non-Muslim has no right of inheritance from a Muslim under faraid.
If you have renounced Islam, the only way you will be able to inherit from your Muslim relatives in Singapore is if they bequeath you property (that will not be distributed through faraid) through their will.
Will You Still have to Pay the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF) If you Renounce Islam?
If you renounce Islam, your name will be taken out of the MUIS list of Muslims so your employer will not have to pay the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF) on your behalf if you are a working adult.
However, if you are a working adult and do not “officially” renounce Islam, i.e. through a statutory declaration, your employer will continue to be required to contribute a portion of your monthly salary to the MBMF.
If you would like to opt out of the MBMF, you can change your desired MBMF contribution amount in a Change Application form to $0 and submit the form to MUIS. MUIS will then issue you an Opt-Out Certificate, which you should show to your employer to cease future MBMF contributions.
Note that the MBMF Opt-Out Certificate is valid for only 1 year and your MBMF contributions will resume after the Certificate expires. To continue opting out of MBMF contributions, you will have to resubmit your Change Application to MUIS every time your Opt-Out Certificate expires.
If you do not officially renounce Islam through a statutory declaration, you will still be bound by Muslim laws in areas such as marriage and inheritance. For instance, you will have to register your marriage at the ROMM instead of the ROM.
Also, while you will be able to inherit property from your Muslim relatives through faraid, your own estate will face the restrictions of faraid, as mentioned above.
To avoid these consequences, the first step to renouncing Islam in Singapore is to prepare a statutory declaration with a Commissioner for Oaths. If you have already decided to renounce Islam, get in touch with a Commissioner for Oaths below.
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