Jaiton Bee @ Zaiton Bee Bt Mohd Yaacob v Mohd Taha bin Wan Ahmad [2016] 4 SHLR 101

JAITON BEE @ ZAITON BEE BT MOHD YAACOB v MOHD TAHA BIN WAN AHMAD [2016] 4 SHLR 101 

Syariah High Court (Shah Alam)

Mutaah

Facts

1.  The Plaintiff and the Defendant were married on 21 Mei 1967 and were blessed with four children.

2. The Parties then divorced on 14 October 2002 after being married for 35 years.

3. The Plaintiff later filed for mutaah claim amounting to RM 420,000.00 against the Defendant pursuant to Section 56 of the Islamic Family Law (Selangor) Enactment 2003 (“the Enactment”).

Issue 1.  Whether the Plaintiff had the right to claim for mutaah?

2.   The determination of the amount of mutaah

Ratios 1.   The right to claim for mutaah

(a) In order to claim for mutaah, the court will firstly assess the eligibility of the Plaintiff to claim for mutaah.  If the court finds that the Plaintiff is entitled to claim for mutaah, then the court will later determine the amount of mutaah.

(b) Based on the statement given by the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff and Defendant were married on 21 Mei 1967 and were divorced on 14 October, 2002.

(c)  Mutaah is a gift from the ex-husband to his divorced ex-wife.  It is an obligation of the ex-husband to give mutaah to his ex-wife.  This is as provided in the Quran, in Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 28 where-

“O Prophet, say to your wives “if you should desire the wordly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release”.

(d) Further, in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 241-

“And or divorced women is provision according to what is acceptable – a duty upon the righteous”.

(e)  Section 2 of the Enactment defines mutaah as-

Means a consolatory gift that is reasonable according to Hukum Syarak, given to a divorced wife”.

(f)   The right of a wife to claim for mutaah is provided under Section 58 of the Enactment-

“Mutaah or consolidatory gift to woman divorced without just cause

In addition to her right to apply for maintenance, a woman who has been divorced without just cause by her husband may apply to the Court for mut’ah or a consolatory gift, and the Court may, after hearing the parties and upon being satisfied that the woman has been divorced without just cause, order the husband to pay such sum as may be fair and just according to Hukum Syarak”.

(g) The Court also took into account the Plaintiff’s  sacrifice as a wife who has been married to the Defendant for 35 years and has been blessed with four children as well as the fact that the Plaintiff has never been declared nusyuz provides strong justification to claim for mutaah.

(h)  The Court then made a reference to a decided case of Faridah bt Sulaiman lwn Mohd Noh bin Othman JH 19(1), page 135, where YA Tuan Abu Bakar referred to the principle laid down in the case of Noorbee lwn Ahmad Sanusi JH 1 (2)where-

Mutaah adalah pemberian yang diwajibkan oleh syarak kearana perceraian yang bukan dari sebab isteri kerana keaiban yang ada pada dirinya atau fasakh dari isteri dengan sebab iksar suami (suami tidak mampu beri nafkah) atau aib yang ada pada dirinya. Ia bukan diwajibkan kerana kehilangan kasih sayang sahaja kerana mutaah itu juga diwajibkan dalam keadaan di mana isteri menebus talaq dari suami. Mut ’ah juga bertujuan untuk menutup rasa malu yang dialami oleh isteri dan menghindarkan fitnah serta sebagai asas untuk memulakan hidup bersendirian. Seorang isteri yang diceraikan akan merasa malu dan mungkin akan menerima prasangka buruk daripada masyarakat sekelilingnya. Untuk menghilangkan prasangka buruk bahawa seorang isteri itu diceraikan bukanlah kerana keaiban yang ada pada dirinya maka lazim mutaah diwajibkan ke atas suami.”

(i) Therefore, the Court is satisfied that the Plaintiff is entitled to claim for mutaah from the divorce and certain amount of money shall be awarded for the claim.

2.    The amount of mutaah

(a) In Surah Al-Baqarah verse 236-

“There is no blame upon you divorce women you have not touched nor specified for them an obligation.  But give them a gift of compensation – the wealthy according to the capability and the poor according  to his capability- a provision according to what is acceptable, a duty upon the doers of good”.

(b) The Court also made a reference based on the book of l’anah al- Talibin, Juz, at page 595 where –

“Sekiranya berlaku perselisihan mengenai kadar mutaah yang patut dibayar oleh suami kepada isterinya, maka Hakim hendaklah bertindak sebagai penentu kadar mutaah itu berdasarkan kriteria-kriteria berikut, kesenangan suami, kesusahan suami, keturunan isteri dan sifat isteri itu.”

(c) The Syariah High Court in the case of Rusiah bt Ismail lwn Mohd Rafi Heinges bin Abdullah JH 12 (2) page 232 where the husband’s capabilities to determine the amount of mutaah

Defendan dalam kes ini tidak menafikan pembayaraan mutaah tersebut tetapi kadar tuntutan yang tidak sepatutnya atau merujuk kepada kehendak syarak bahkan keterlaluan malahan Defendan dengan tidak kemampuannya untuk memberi mutaah seperti yang dituntut”.

(d) In order to claim for mutaah, the Plaintiff bears the burden of proof to convince the Court that she is entitled to claim.  The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant is capable to pay the amount of mutaah (RM 420,000.00) claimed by the Plaintiff.

(e) Section 72 and 73 of the Syariah Court Evidence (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 provides that-

“72. Burdern to produce evidence in civil cases

The burden to produce evidence in a civil case lies on the person who alleges or asserts a fact (al Mudda’ii)and the person who takes the oath to deny or disputes the facts (al Mudd’a ‘alaih)

73. Burden of proof
(1) Whoever desires any Court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability which is dependent on the existence of facts which he asserts must prove that those facts exist.

(2) When a person is bound to prove the existence of any fact, it is said that the burden of proof lies on that person”.

(f) The Plaintiff in her statement claimed that the Defendant is a doctor and owned a clinic.  The Plaintiff claimed that at the time of the divorce, 14 October 2002, the Defendant’s income is RM 10,000.00.

(g) Based on the Defendant’s statement, the Court is satisfied that the Defendant used to work as a medical doctor with an income of RM10,000.00 a month during the period of the Defendant’s marriage to the Plaintiff.  However, the Defendant in his statement also denied the Plaintiff’s claim that at the time of divorce the Defendant still earns RM10,000.00.

(h) Nevertheless, the Defendant claimed that he only earned less than RM500 since he was hospitalised due to heart surgery.  The Defendant’s statement was supported by SD1 who is the Defendant’s third wife who at that time managed the finances of the Defendant’s clinic.

(i)  Since the Court does not have any strong evidence regarding the Defendant’s annual income either through the bank statement or the Defendant’s property, the Court cannot simply assume that the Defendant is capable to afford to pay RM 420,000.00 for the amount of mutaah.

(j)    Therefore, since there is no supporting evidence to prove the claim made by the Plaintiff, the Defendant as the party to the suit (mudda’a’alaih) needs to take an oath to deny the Plaintiff’s (muddaa’i) claim.

(k)  The Court held that in order to grant mutaah, the Court may sought the Defendant to take an oath.  This is provided under Arahan 1, Arahan Amalan No 2 Tahun 2006

“Hak-Hak yang boleh menerima pakai sumpah

(a) Pertunangan, perkahwinan, rujuk, perceraian, nusyuz atau apa-apa perkara yang berkaitan dengan hubungan suami isteri;apa-apa pelupusan atau tuntutan harta yang berbangkit daripada mana-mana perkara yang dinyatakan dalam subperenggan (a)”.

(l)  Since the Defendant has sworn (yamin nafi) the Court accepted the Defendant’s claim that his income during the divorce with the Plaintiff was less than RM 500 per month.

(m) Other than that, the Court will also take into account the Plaintiff’s living condition with the Defendant and the status of the Plaintiff’s family in order to decide for the amount of mutaah.  This has been propounded in the case of Normaidiah lwn Azhari where the judge held that-

“Dalam kes ini Yang Kena Tuntut bukanlah orang kaya tetapi tidak pula  tergolong dalam golongan orang miskin.  Begitu  juga kedudukan keluarga yang menuntut (isteri) bukanlah orang ternama keadaannya tidak pula kaya tapi juga bukan miskin.  Diputuskan Pihak Kena tuntut membayar mutaah sebanyak RM 1,000.00 kepada Pihak Muenuntut”.

(n) Based on the Plaintiff’s living condition, she had lived a mediocre life with the Defendant and the status of the Plaintiff’s family is also not of person of high status in the community.

(o) Further, the Court took into account the period of the marriage between the Plaintiff and the Defendant i.e 35 years.

(p) Based on the case of Timah lwn Abdul Rahman JH 14 (2) page 297, the plaintiff claimed RM 100,800.00 for the amount of mutaah taking into account that the 25 years period of marriage and calculated RM8.00 for each day.

(q) Therefore, the Court is satisfied that the reasonable amount of mutaah is RM 2,000.00 after taking into account the duration of the marriage and the ability of the Defendant to pay the mutaah.

Decision 1.    The Court allowed the claim for mutaah made by the Plaintiff and ordered the Defendant to pay RM 2,000.00 as mutaah  and divorce compensation to the Plaintiff.
Key Take Away 1. There is no fixed or clear formula in determining the amount of mutaah.  The amount of mutaah is based on the judge’s discretion or ijtihad.

2.   Based on this case, the Court in deciding the amount of mutaah took into consideration of-

(a) the period of marriage and misery experienced by the wife;

(b) the husband’s earnings; and

(c)  the living condition and the wife’s family status.

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