Jurisdiction and Law: Syariah Courts http://malikimtiaz.blogspot.com/2007/01/jurisdiction-and-law-syariah-courts.html
The shari’a courts have no jurisdiction over non-Muslims. This is beyond doubt. In allowing for the creation of the shari’a courts, the Constitution limits its jurisdiction to persons professing the religion of Islam. This has been judicially recognized by the Supreme Court (a decision handed down in 1994 in TangSungMooi).
First, as noted above, the Constitution has restricted the jurisdiction of the shari'a courts. The jurisdiction of a court is, in effect, the mandate of the court. This order, given or conferred by law, delineates and defines the types of matters that can be dealt with by a particular court. for example, it is plentifully clear that a shari’a court has the jurisdiction and power to deal with the termination of marriages solemnized law
The Constitutional limitation is, in general, mirrored in legislation that vests jurisdiction and authority in the shari’a courts. This legislation usually provides for situations where all parties are Muslims.
Second, and as a consequence to the first point, the shari’a court only has jurisdiction over and the power to deal with matters that fall within its jurisdiction. This jurisdiction is given, or vested, by law enacted by the State Legislative Assemblies or, where the Federal Territories are concerned, by Parliament. It is important to take not that until and unless law is enacted, there is in effect no law to be applied. The common fallacy where the shari’a courts are concerned is that these courts apply Islamic law, shari’a or hukm syara’, in the wider sense i.e. principles of Islamic law as determined by the ulama and set out in learned texts. This is not the case. The Constitution, in defining ‘law’ does not include the wider syariah corpus.
It is the erroneous supposition that ‘unwritten’ (or un-enacted) shari’a law or the established principles of hukm syara’ can be...
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