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Islamic Law of Inheritance

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Islamic Law of Inheritance

The purpose of the article is to clarify the position of Islamic law of inheritance for women) amongst the religions like Christians, Jewish, Hinduism and Buddhism.  In some countries customs rather than Islamic law has excluded women from inheritance so, the position of the Islamic law of inheritance among these laws has always been challenging. Inheritance law is of foremost importance in Islam. Islamic law, as a matter of fact, deals with the issue of legislation from a real perspective that considers all the dimensions which man-made legal systems may ignore.

Before the emergence of Islam, there was no or minor form of inheritance. The inheritance law existed only for male, Women themselves were objects of inheritance and they were considered part of the possession of a man so they had customary laws. Sons inherited what their father had. And if some one had no sons then his property and his wife, was inherited by his brothers.

Introduction: 

At such a critical juncture of history, Islam brought about a revolution in the domain of human thought and outlook towards women and established the right of women to inherit and has distributed the inheritance in a very upright way. Islam has brought about a revolution in the domain of human thought and outlook towards women and has established the right of women to inherit and has distributed the inheritance in a very upright way. (Dr. Hussain, n.d).According to Ara (n.d.), this determined share is calculated by Allah Himself and can't be changed.

"The Muslim law of inheritance comprises beyond question, the most refined and elaborated system of rules for the devolution of property that is known to the civilized world." (Rumsey, 1825-1899)

Explanation:

Inheritance is the transfer of legal possession of deceased persons onto their descendants. "To everyone, we have appointed shares and heirs to property left by parents and relatives…" (Surah, An-Nisa: 33).

Translation of the Related Verses:

The law of inheritance has been given in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Nisaa (the fourth chapter) verses 11 & 12 and then in verse 176. The translation of the related portions of these verses is given below:

Verse-11:

"Allah enjoins you about [the share of inheritance of] your children: A male's share shall equal that of two females -- in case there are only daughters, more than two shall have two-thirds of what has been left behind. And if there be only one daughter, her share shall be half -- and if the deceased has children, the parents shall inherit a sixth each, and if he has no children and the parents are his heirs then his mother shall receive a third, and if he has brothers and sisters then the mother's share is the same one-sixth. [These shares shall be distributed] after carrying out any will made by the deceased or payment of any debt owed by him (the deceased). You know not who among your children and your parents are nearest to you in benefit. This is the law of Allah. Indeed Allah is wise, all knowing."

Verse-12:

"You shall get half of what your wives leave, if they die childless. But if they do have children, your share shall then be a quarter of what they leave after carrying out any will made by the deceased or payment of any debt owed by her. And they (your wives) shall have a quarter of what you leave, if you die childless. But in case you have children, they shall then get one-eighth of what you leave, after carrying out any will made by you or payment of any what you leave, after carrying out any will made by you or payment of any debt owed by you (the deceased). And if a man or a woman is made an heir on account of his [or her] kalalah relationship [with the deceased] and he [or she] has one brother or sister, the brother and sister shall each receive a sixth and if they be more than two, they shall then share in one-third, after carrying out any will that had been made by the deceased or payment of any debt owed by him -- without harming anyone. This is a command from Allah and Allah is all-knowing, most forbearing."

 Verse-176:

"They ask you. Say: Allah enjoins you about your kalalah heirs that if a man dies childless and he has only a sister, she shall inherit half of what he leaves; and if she  dies childless, then her brother shall be her heir; and if their are two sisters, they shall inherit two-thirds of what he [or she] leaves. If there are many brothers and sisters, the share of each male should be that of two females. Allah makes [His commands] clear to you, so that you do not err. Allah has knowledge of all things."

A Brief Explanation of the Law:

According to these verses of the Qur'an The first right on the property of the deceased is that of the creditors. After the payment to the creditors, any will made by the deceased shall be executed. The remainder of the property and assets, shall be distributed among the inheritors in the specified proportions.

Two Categories of Inheritors:

There are basically two kinds of inheritors:

1.         Inheritors who are to be given a fixed proportion of the total inheritance; and

2.         Inheritors who are to share, in a specified proportion, the balance of the inheritance after the share of inheritors of the first category has been given.

The first category of inheritors includes parents (in case a person has any children or brothers and sisters) and spouse. On the other hand, the second category of inheritors includes children, brothers and sisters (in case a person dies childless) and parents (in case a person has neither children, nor brothers and sisters).

It simply means that in case any or all inheritors of the first category are present, first they shall be given their stipulated portion of the inheritance. The balance of the inheritance shall then be distributed among the second category of inheritors, according to their specified proportion. On the other hand, in case any or all of the inheritors of the first category do not exist, then all the property and assets of the deceased shall be distributed among the inheritors of the second category, according to the stipulated principle or according to their specified shares.

The Shares:

Shares of the Inheritors of the First Category:

Parents:

The share of the parents (as inheritors of the first category, i.e., when the deceased has, children or brothers and/or sisters) shall be one-sixth each.

Spouse:

In case of Wife:

1.         If the husband dies childless -- a quarter of the property and assets of the husband.

2.         If the husband had any children -- one-eighth of the property and assets of the husband.

Shares of the Inheritors of the Second Category:

Children:

The deceased's children shall share in the balance of the property and assets of the deceased, after the stipulated shares of all the inheritors of the first category have been given. The share of the deceased's children is as follows:

1.         If there are both sons and daughters -- the share of each son shall be double that of each daughter, in the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors are given.

2.         If there are only sons -- all the sons shall share equally in the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors is given.

3.         If there is only one son -- he shall take all the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors are given.

4.         If there is only one daughter (and no other children) -- she shall get half of the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors is given.

5.         If there be two or more daughters (and no sons) -- they shall share equally in two-thirds of the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors is given.

Brothers and Sisters:

According to verse 176, in case the deceased is childless, and has any brothers and/or sisters, the share of brothers and sisters of the deceased shall be exactly the same as that of his sons and/or daughters respectively, if he had any. Thus the share of the brothers and sisters shall be as under:

1.         If there are both brothers and sisters -- the share of each brother shall be double that of each sister, in the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors are given...

2.         If there are only brothers -- all the brothers shall share equally in the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors is given.

3.         If there is only one brother -- he shall take all the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors are given.

4.         If there is only one sister (and no other brothers and/or sisters) -- she shall get half of the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors is given.

5.         If there be two or more sisters (and no brothers) -- they shall share equally in two-thirds of the balance of the property and assets of the deceased after the shares of the first category of inheritors is given.

Parents:

In case a person has neither children nor brothers and/or sisters then his parents shall share the balance of his property and assets after satisfying the claims of the inheritors of the first category, (in this case, the spouse of the deceased).    

"Kalalah" Inheritors:

Qur'an has referred to another kind of relations -- the "Kalalah". In the Arabic language, the word "Kalalah" is used in different meanings. In verse 12, it is used for relations other than the parents and children of a person. Thus, if a person wants to add any kalalah relative (brothers and/or sisters, in the presence of children, and maternal and/or paternal aunts and uncles etc.) with the inheritors specified in the Qur'an, in their absence or after their share has been given, he can do so by nominating the desired person. Such nomination cannot be made for any of the persons whose share has been specified in the Qur'an, neither can such nominations alter any of the shares specified in the Qur'an. According to the Qur'an, if any one has made such a nomination in favor of any of his kalalah relatives, the following rule shall apply:

1.         If the nominated person has one brother and/or one sister, then a sixth each of the nominated amounts shall be given to this brother and/or sister. The balance of the nominated amount shall be given to the nominated person.

2.         If the nominated person has more than two brothers and/or sisters they shall all equally share one-third of the total nominated amount and the balance of the nominated amount shall be given to the nominee. This is the law of inheritance of the Qur'an.

Conclusion:

According to Prof. Amjad (1997), It is true that In general circumstances women is given half share of the property of the man that means if man is given 2 shares out of 3 then a woman takes a share of 1, but when we translate and make an exegesis of Ayahs of surah-e-Alnisa then we come to know that in Islamic law, women are much more favored financially than their male counterparts for the following reasons:

1. Before marriage any gift given by the woman's fiancé is her own and her husband has no legal right to claim on it even after marriage.

2. On marriage she is entitled to receive a marriage gift (Mohr) and this is her own property.

3. Even if the wife is rich, she is not required to spend a single penny for household; the full  responsibility for her food, clothing, housing, medications and recreation etc. are her husband's.

4. Any income the wife earns through investment or working is entirely her own.

5. In case of divorce, if any deferred part of the Mohr is left unpaid, it becomes due immediately.

6.  The divorcee woman is entitled to get maintenance from husband during her waiting period (iddat).

Thus one can see that men need extra share to discharge the family responsibility, social responsibility etc. incumbent upon him.  

Comments
 Shamila January 12, 2011
I have encountered a new study about share of inheritnace in islam. and it is a little bit different:

http://www.quraanicstudies.com/no-error-in-qur-an-division-of-inheritance-according-to-quran/


What is your opinion about it?
 kunju muhammed January 12, 2012
How is the mother's property divided as per muslim inheritance law .husband no more.2 sons and 2 daughters
Kevrel January 21, 2012
You've got to be kidding me-it's so trsanparently clear now!
 Arshad February 6, 2012
I have a question pertaining to division of the fathers property.my mother had died after giving me birth . then my father married again and from the second marriage of my father i have 3 brothers and 1 sister. i am the only child from my fathers first marriage . my father is deceased now and has left property which is now to be divided amoung us .
how do we do that according to islamic law.
noorul hoda May 8, 2012
i have only one brother and two married younger sisters.how it can be distributed deceased father's property and how it can be distributed as live mother property plz.
Ilyas imam June 2, 2012
Jazakumullah khaira
F. SAYED November 7, 2012
I M UNMARRIED. LIVING WITH MY FATHER MY BROTHER
HIS WIFE AND 6 MONTHS DAUGHTER. SINCE MY BROTHERS MARRIAGE THEY MADE MY LIFE MISERABLE.THEY WANT ME TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. WHAT SHOULD I DO I NEED TO DISCUSS MY PROBLEM IN DETAIL
HELP
Saleh Ahamed Bhuiyan November 22, 2012
A father has two sons and three daughters in a muslim family in bangladesh. the father has gifted most his promerty to the sons and a little to the daughters. now what the daughters can do.
Muhammad Sher January 17, 2013
I have one Question. . How the property will be divided among sons and daughters, if the Inheritor has 3 wife, two died before the inheritor death but their sons and daughters were alive and the another wife die after the inheritor death. Kindly give me the details about shariah that how this problem will be solved? means how the property will be divided?
Abu Nasir Siddique March 3, 2013
How could i distribute asset in between one brother, three sister and one mother as Muslim Law ?
Md. Faruk Ali March 5, 2013
My wife is only one children of her father. If her father dies while her father's brothers are alive with children. Then what portion of her father's property she will get?
 ghulam ali May 1, 2013
My father has died in march 2013. he had property in his name (house and agriculture land. My one sister and one brother already died before my father. My brother and sister have children (daughter and son. Father has already in 2008 advertised in newspaper my brothers wife and her children AAq / bedakhal from his property. My brothers family after death of my brother misbehaved with my parents. in one portion of house they are living but again they are misbehaving with me. please explain their right in house whereas the house is in name of my father
Abdul Khadar May 4, 2013
A Muslim lady got married to a person and gave birth to a boy, and her husband died and she was married again by late husbands brother and gave birth to 1 boy and 2 girls. Both the lady and 2 nd husband died tell me the legal heirs of the lady and who will share the property in her name and how. Thank you
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