Conversion to Islam: Its Legal Effect and the Legal Machanism for Resolving the Conflicts Arising Therefrom

Author:Kuek Chee Ying

Published by:Malaysian Centre for Ethnic Studies

Date of Published:Dec 2008



The Federal Constitution of Malaysia provides a unique dual legal and justice systems, namely the secular laws which are of general application and administered by civil courts, and Islamic law which is applicable to Muslims in restricted situation and administered by the Syariah Court. But situation turns complex when there is conversion from one faith to another, particularly conversion to Islam which leads to application of different laws and unfortunately, some disputes arising therefrom. Normally such disputes involve marriage, right to maintenance, custody of children and inheritance. This paper examines the legal effects of conversion to Islam, the disputes that arise due to the application of different laws, the jurisdictional conflicts plaguing the civil and Syariah Courts as well as the adequacy of the existing legal mechanism to resolve the conflicts.


1. Introduction
2. Marriage and Religion of the Parties
3. Conversion to Islam and Marital Status
4. Conversion to Islam and Right to Maintenance
5. Conversion to Islam and Custody of Children
6. Conversion to Islam and Right to Inheritance
7. Conclusion