Sisters in Islam (SIS) wishes to express our immense gratitude at the official launch of the Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund. We established this fund with the hope that it will help ease some of the financial burden faced by Muslim women when they seek redress in the Syariah Courts.
This fund is named in memory of our beloved Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah, in celebration of her life, her many deeds and contributions. She passed away on 2nd January 2015, however, her legacy shall endure as we commemorate her persistent pursuit of justice and equality in the family.
Dr. Nik Noriani was a brilliant legal mind and played a crucial role in the drafting of the Domestic Violence Act 1994 during her tenure at the Attorney – General’s Chambers. Between 1986 and 1996, she served first as an Assistant Parliamentary Draftsmen and later as a Deputy Commissioner for Law Revision.
Nik’s expertise in the field of Islamic jurisprudence led to her appointment as a member of the Syariah Technical Committee, which was tasked with reviewing the discriminatory amendments made to the Islamic Family Law in 2005. Nik’s insistence at realising an Islamic Family law that better reflected the Quranic values of justice and equality can be seen in her many writings. She authored several books and articles, mostly in the area of Islamic and comparative family law and justice. They include Family law: Maintenance and other financial rights (1993); Marriage and Divorce under Islamic Law (1998); and Marriage and Divorce: Law Reform within Islamic Framework (2012). Her works continue to be used as a source of reference among practitioners and scholars of law, not only in Malaysia but also in countries such as Pakistan where her books have been translated into Urdu.
Nik’s PhD thesis on “Comparative Concepts of Justice in Islamic and Western Legal-Political Thought: A Dual Heritage Affecting Gender Justice In Malaysia” earned her a distinction from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and was described as among the best in 15 years. It was her vast knowledge of Islam, law, history, Muslim family laws, legal systems, and gender justice that fuelled her outrage against any injustice done in the name of Islam.
We established the Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund with the aim of helping women who would otherwise be unable to access justice. While women’s rights may be enshrined in the law, many women continue to find it difficult to access their rights due to financial constraints. The initial cost of filing a case in court can reach up to RM250. This does not include any additional costs that are incurred while the case is ongoing in court. Many women are unable to shoulder these costs, particularly those who are poor and/or have many dependents, and eventually abandon any attempt at seeking redress.
SIS has always believed that access to justice should not be limited to those who can afford it. We hope that with the establishment of this fund, we can at least help ease some of the financial burden women face when attempting to access justice.
It is in this vein too, that we urge the authorities to improve the efficiency of the Syariah Courts so that women can move on with their lives. Many women face multiple delays, which are compounded by complicated and bureaucratic court procedures that require them to travel up and down to court, for years at times. The services offered by the existing legal aid bureaus are simply insufficient to facilitate a quick resolution. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Nik, thank you for everything. May your legacy continue to assist those who need it the most. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “When a man (or a woman) dies, all his/her good deeds come to an end, except three: on-going charity, beneficial knowledge of the deceased and righteous son/ daughter(s) who will pray for the deceased.” (Sahih Muslim)
To contribute to the fund, kindly find the details as follows:
• Cheques are made payable to SIS FORUM (MALAYSIA) and send to:
SIS Forum (Malaysia)
No. 4, Lorong 11/8E
46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia
• Telegraphic Transfer (TT) to our bank account with the following details:
Account Name: SIS FORUM (MALAYSIA)
Bank Name and Address: CIMB Bank Berhad (Jalan Gasing). No. 111 & 113, Jalan Gasing 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
CIMB Bank No: 8003395345
Swift Code: CIBBMYKL
Sisters in Islam
19 May 2015