Ustaz Syed Ahmad Syed Mohamed, will step down next Tuesday as the Registrar of Muslim Marriages after 14 years in the post.
Ustaz Nor Razak Bakar, 53, who has been deputy registrar and a kadi (marriage solemniser) for 20 years, will succeed him.
This was announced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim yesterday at an appreciation ceremony in Novotel Clarke Quay.
Associate Professor Faishal said: "Ustaz Syed Ahmad has made significant contributions in the building of strong Muslim marriages, and is one of our foremost experts on Muslim family law in Singapore."
Ustaz Syed Ahmad will continue to be a kadi after stepping down and will also serve as an ad hoc president with the Syariah Court, Prof Faishal added.
Ustaz Syed Ahmad, 65, is the third Registrar of Muslim Marriages after the Administration of Muslim Law Act was enacted in 1966. He succeeded Ustaz Pasuni Maulan. The first registrar was the late Ustaz Haji Abu Bakar Hashim.
He began his public service career with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in 1980. He served as the president of the Syariah Court between 1993 and 1995 before returning to Muis in 1996. He remained in Muis until 2004.
In 2005, he was appointed as the Registrar of Muslim Marriages.
During his tenure, the Registry of Muslim Marriages enhanced its support for early-risk marriages by mandating that couples, where at least one party is aged below 21, should attend a marriage preparation programme. This was implemented in 2017.
Mufti of Singapore Mohamed Fatris Bakaram said yesterday: "I have known Ustaz Syed Ahmad for 26 years... he has helmed the Registry of Muslim Marriages with much dedication. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with him on matters related to the administration of Muslim marriages and appreciate his contributions to the community."
Most recently, Ustaz Syed Ahmad worked with deputy marriage solemnisers, or naib kadis, on the Bersamamu initiative launched in July. Under the initiative, Muslim couples applying to register their marriages must first meet a naib kadi before their solemnisation ceremony. The naib kadi will continue engaging the couple over two years to help build a strong marriage.
Prof Faishal yesterday also announced that, in an effort to boost the initiative, more deputy marriage solemnisers will be joining the registry. From today, the number of naib kadis will rise from 27 to 39.
Noting how couples have been appreciative of the Bersamamu initiative, Prof Faishal said: "Couples feel that the naib kadis' presence in their marriage journey makes them feel supported, because they have someone to turn to for advice in the initial years of their marriage."