From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Singaporean Muslims
Total population
630,895 [1]
15.6% of the resident population
Majority Sunni Islam with a small Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities
Masjid Hajjah Fatimah

Islam constitutes the third largest religion in Singapore, with Muslims accounting for approximately 15.6% of the population, as indicated by the 2020 census. [1] Predominantly, Singaporean Muslims are Sunni Muslims adhering to either the Shafi‘i or Hanafi schools of thought. [2] The majority of the Muslim population, about 80%, are ethnic Malays, while 13% are of Indian descent. [3] The remaining fraction comprises local Chinese, Eurasian, and Arab communities, in addition to foreign migrants. [4] Buddhism and Christianity are the two larger religious affiliations in the country.

Legal history

Since the introduction of Islam in the region in the 14th century, [5] Islamic bureaucracy formed an integral part of the administrative systems of the Malay Sultanates. In the 1500s, the Sultanate of Melaka was recorded to have applied Sharia law, a practice which was continued by the Johore Sultanate, of which Singapore was a part until 1824. [6]

In 1915, the British colonial authorities established the Mohammedan Advisory Board. The Board was tasked with advising the colonial authorities on matters connected with the Islamic religion and custom.

Singapore became part of Malaysia in 1963 and was then expelled in 1965. The Constitution of Singapore included two provisions relating to the special position of the Malays and their religious rights, Article 152 and Article 153. [7]

Article 152 states:

(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore.

(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.

Because of Article 152, Section 2, the Singapore government bans missionaries from proselytising the Malay population away from Islam towards other religions. This ban is meant to avoid engendering racial and religious tensions with the Muslim population. These tensions would arise because Malayness is closely and strongly identified with Islam.

Article 153 states:

The Legislature shall by law make provision for regulating Muslim religious affairs and for constituting a Council to advise the President in matters relating to the Muslim religion.

In 1966, the Singaporean Parliament passed the Administration of Muslim Law Act. Coming into effect in 1968, the Act defined the powers and jurisdiction of three key Muslim institutions:

  1. the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
  2. the Sharia Court
  3. the Registry of Muslim Marriages

These institutions are under the purview of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). The minister responsible for these institutions, however, is the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

Key Muslim institutions

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura

The Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, looks after and takes care of the administration and interests of Singapore's Muslim community.

The Majlis is headed by a Council, [8] which comprises the President of MUIS, the Mufti of Singapore and other persons recommended by the Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs. [9] The council is appointed by the President of Singapore. [10]

Since 2009, the council has been headquartered in the Singapore Islamic Hub, located along Braddell Road. [11]

Shariah Court

In 1880, the British colonial authorities introduced the Mahomedan Marriage Ordinance which officially recognised the status of Muslim personal law in Singapore.[ citation needed]

In 1958, pursuant to the 1957 Muslim Ordinance, a Syariah Court with jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes pertaining to Muslim marriages and divorce cases was established.[ citation needed]

The Court replaced a set of government-licensed but otherwise unsupervised Kadi (Muslim judges) who had previously decided on questions of divorce and inheritance, following either the traditions of particular ethnic groups or their own interpretations of Muslim law. [10]

Today, the Syariah Court continues to exist as a court of competent jurisdiction with power and jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes defined by AMLA.[ citation needed]

Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM)

The Registry of Muslim Marriages is a government agency that registers marriages between couples that consist of two Muslims. Mixed-religion marriages are registered at the Registry of Marriages.[ citation needed]

Previously, the registration of Muslim marriages as well as divorces were conducted under one unit, which is the Syariah Court.[ citation needed]

It was first located in a bungalow at Fort Canning and later moved to Canning Rise in 1983.[ citation needed]

Appeals on decisions of the Syariah Court and the ROMM are heard and determined by the Appeal Board.[ citation needed]

Unlike MUIS, the Syariah Court and ROMM are not statutory boards but constitute a part of the Ministry of Social and Family Development).[ citation needed]

Muslim organisations


The Ahmadiyya community was established during the era of the Second Caliphate, shortly before the Second World War. Ghulam Ahsan Ayyaz was the first missionary to the country, who under the directive of the caliph arrived in 1935, in a period when the territory was part of the Straits Settlements. [12] In the 1970s, the community had roughly 200 followers. [13]

Association of Muslim Professionals

The Association of Muslim Professionals is a community self-help group established on 10 October 1991, to improve the socio-economic performance of Singapore's Malay-Muslim community.

Malay-Muslim organisations

Apart from these key Muslim institutions, there are also community self-help groups, voluntary welfare organisations and civic groups like the Young Women Muslim Association of Singapore (YWMA), Association of Muslim Professionals, [14] Yayasan Mendaki, [15] Muslim Missionary Society ( Jamiyah), [16] PERDAUS, [17] Singapore Islamic Scholars and Islamic Teachers Association (PERGAS), [18] Muhammadiyah and Islamic Theological Association of Singapore (Pertapis). [19]

Indian-Muslim organisations

There are also many Indian-Muslim organisations in Singapore e.g. Federation of Indian Muslims, Singapore Kadayanallur Muslim League, Koothanallur Association, Singapore Tenkasi Muslim Welfare Society, Thiruvithancode Muslim Union, and United Indian Muslim Association. [20] [21]

Religio-cultural groups

There are various religio-cultural groups in Singapore, such as Al Usrah Al Dandaraweyah, which is organized in the structure of a family, fostering close relationships among its members. Other notable groups include the Tariqah group at-Tariqah al-Ahmadiah al-Idrisiah ar-Rasyidiah and Naqshbandi Haqqani Singapore, both of which contribute to the spiritual growth and religious education of their members. [22]

One of the earliest established religio-cultural groups, encompassing different Sufi orders like Qadriah, Chistia, Naqshabandiyah, Sanusiyyah, and Suharwadiyah, is now known as Khanqah Khairiyyah. Founded in 1971, the group has maintained its presence at the same location on Siglap Road in Singapore ever since. [23]

Shia organisations

The Shia community consists of Twelver Shi'ites, Ismailis and Dawoodi Bohras.[ citation needed]

In Singapore, the history of the Twelver Shi'ites began with the immigration of the Khoja community from India. A member of Khoja community spearheaded the founding of the Jaafari Muslim Association. [24]

In the 1980s, Malay members of the Muslim Youth Assembly (Himpunan Belia Islam) became part of the Shi'a community in Singapore. Subsequently, a center called Hussainiyah Azzahra was established to cater to their religious needs and activities. This development further diversified the religious landscape of Singaporean Muslims. [25]

Both the Jaafari Muslim Association and the Muslim Youth Assembly cater to the Twelver Shi'ites.[ citation needed]

The Dawoodi Bohras, a subsect of Shia Islam, are led by their spiritual leader, the Da'ie Almutlaq, who represents the twenty-first imam, Mohammed Burhanuddin. In Singapore, the Dawoodi Bohra community is served by the Anjuman-E-Burhani. [26] Bohra traders began settling in Singapore in the 1820s. [27] The Burhani Mosque, established in 1829, serves as the mosque for the Bohra community in Singapore.

The Ismailis are followers of Aga Khan. The Aga Khan has decided to establish an Ismaili Centre and regional representative office of the Aga Khan Development Network in Singapore. [28]

Hanafi Muslim Community

There is also a significant proportion of Sunni Hanafi Muslims in Singapore. Generally, most Pakistanis, Indian, and Myanmar (Burmese) Muslims in Singapore follow Hanafi school's traditions. While they often inter-mix with the Malays who follow the Shafi'i madhab, Indian mosques in Singapore, such as Masjid Angullia, Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, Masjid Bencoolen, and Masjid Moulana Mohamed Ali, cater to the needs of the Hanafi Muslim community in Singapore. [29] [30]

Da'wah Organisations

In Singapore, the Islamic Da'wah (invitation/conversion) movement has a significant influence. Numerous local and international organizations, such as Hikmah Times, contribute to this impact. [31]

The Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore, also known as Darul Arqam, offers support and resources for individuals who have converted to Islam. [32]


There are 72 mosques in Singapore. With the exception of Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim (which is administered by the State of Johor), all the mosques in Singapore are administered by MUIS. Twenty-three mosques were built using the Masjid Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF). Masjid Al-Mawaddah, the twenty-third MBMF mosque, was officially opened in May 2009.[ citation needed] The speakers for broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer was turned inwards to broadcast towards the interior of the mosques as part of a noise abatement campaign in 1974. [33]


Students of Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah in Singapore

In Singapore, madrasahs are private schools which are overseen by MUIS. There are six full-time madrasahs in Singapore, catering to students from Primary 1 to Secondary 4 (and junior college equivalent, or "Pre-U", at several schools). [34] Four Madrasahs are coeducational and two are for girls. [35] Students take a range of Islamic Studies subjects in addition to mainstream MOE curriculum subjects and sit for the PSLE and GCE 'O' Levels like their peers.

In 2009, MUIS introduced the "Joint Madrasah System" (JMS), a joint collaboration of Madrasah Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiah primary school and secondary schools Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah (offering the ukhrawi, or religious stream) and Madrasah Al-Arabiah Al-Islamiah (offering the academic stream). [36] The JMS aims to introduce the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme into the Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah by 2019. [37]

Students attending a madrasah are required to wear the traditional Malay attire, including the songkok for boys and tudung for girls, in contrast to mainstream government schools which ban religious headgear as Singapore is officially a secular state.[ citation needed] For students who wish to attend a mainstream school, they may opt to take classes on weekends at the madrasah instead of enrolling full-time.[ citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Singapore Census of Population 2020, Statistical Release 1". Department of Statistics Singapore. 16 June 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  2. ^ James L. Peacock (January 1978). Muslim Puritans: Reformist Psychology in Southeast Asian Islam. p. 147. ISBN  9780520034037. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  3. ^ Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Some Aspects of Sufism as Understood and Practised among the Malays (Singapore: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 1963).
  4. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2006 - Singapore
  5. ^ Munoz, P. M. (2006). Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet.
  6. ^ Kamali, Mohammad Hashim (2000). Islamic law in Malaysia : issues and developments. Kuala Lumpur: Ilmiah Publishers. ISBN  9789832092278.
  7. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore - Singapore Statutes Online". Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  8. ^ "Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura", Wikipedia, 2020-12-08, retrieved 2020-12-08
  9. ^ "About MUIS: Council". Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS). Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  10. ^ a b DeGlopper, Donald R. (1991). "Religion and Ethnicity". In LePoer, Barbara Leitch (ed.). Singapore: a country study. Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. pp. 106, 108. OCLC  551240999. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.{{ cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: postscript ( link)
  11. ^ "Newly built Singapore Islamic Hub at 273 Braddell Road, …".
  12. ^ "A Messenger of Peace in the Lion City – Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas Visits Singapore". Review of Religions. January 2014.
  13. ^ James L. Peacock (January 1978). Muslim Puritans: Reformist Psychology in Southeast Asian Islam. p. 147. ISBN  9780520034037.
  14. ^ "Home". AMP Singapore. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  15. ^ "Home". YAYASAN MENDAKI. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  16. ^ "Home". Jamiyah Singapore. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  17. ^ "Home". PERADUS. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  18. ^ "Main". PERGAS. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  19. ^ "Community". Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS). Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  20. ^ Nazar, Seyed Mohamed (1991). Indian Muslims in Singapore: A Sociological Analysis. Pustaka Nasional Pte Ltd.
  21. ^ "Official website". United Indian Muslim Association (UIMA). Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  22. ^ Aljunied, Khairudin (2020). Sufism in Singapore: History, Tradition, and the Present. National University of Singapore Press.
  23. ^ 1. Aisha 2.Abdul, 1.Noor 2. Rahman (September 2009). "A Guide to the Khanqahs and Zawiyahs in Singapore". Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. 29 (3): 357–372 – via Routledge.{{ cite journal}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list ( link)
  24. ^ Tejpar, Azizeddin (2019-05-01). "The Migration of Indians to Eastern Africa: A Case Study of the Ismaili Community, 1866-1966". Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
  25. ^ "Singapore Shia". Jaafari SIngapore. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  26. ^ 1. Yeoh 2. Huang, 1. B. S. A. 2. S (1998). "Negotiating public space: Strategies and styles of migrant female domestic workers in Singapore" (PDF). Urban Studies. 35 (3): 583–602 – via escholarship.{{ cite journal}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list ( link)
  27. ^ 1. M. 2. L. 3. C. K., 1. Mathews 2. Lim 3. Tong (2018). The Singapore ethnic mosaic: Many cultures, one people. World Scientific Publishing Company.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list ( link)
  28. ^ Jan 20, 2009, The Straits Times Archived 2012-02-18 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Hussain, Zakir (2016). A Mosque in the Area: Social Life around Singapore's Masjids. Ethos Books.
  30. ^ Hassan, Riaz (2018). "Singapore's Muslim Community: A Moral Voice?". The Singapore Ethnic Mosaic: Many Cultures, One People. World Scientific Publishing.
  31. ^ "About Us". Hikmah Times. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  32. ^ "About Us". The Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  33. ^ Lysloff, René T. A. Music and technoculture.
  34. ^ "Contrasting views of madrasahs in multi-ethnic Singapore". AsiaOne. 19 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Background of Madrasahs". 1994. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  36. ^ "About JMS". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  37. ^ "JMS Timeline". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2017-05-01.

External links