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The Challenge Faced by Shariah Law in Respect of Distribution of Inheritance in Multi-Ethnic Communities: Case Study in Beaufort, Sabah, Malaysia

DOI: 10.3923/ibm.2012.228.232

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The Federal Constitution has granted jurisdiction over Islamic affairs to each state through the 2nd list of the 9th schedule. Based on this jurisdiction, the states have approved laws relating to the Muslim community including distribution of a deceased estate. In the context of a multi-ethnic Muslim community, state customary and traditional laws pose a rather significant challenge to the effective operation of Shariah Courts. Results of a study conducted in 2009 indicate that elements of ethnicity and custom have more or less constrained the Shariah Courts from carrying outthis jurisdiction. It is observed that in addition to consulting the Shariah Courts, bumiputra communities in the study area continue to adhere to customs in matters relating tothe distribution of inheritance. This study discusses this phenomena and attempts to deliberate on the approach adopted by courts in handling of the relevant cases.


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