MUSLIM INHERITANCE OR SUCCESSION LAW

Islam grants the rights to surviving spouse (Islamically and legally married), sons, daughters, father (or Grandfather), mother (or Grandmother), and siblings (Full, Paternal, and Maternal). As per Muslim succession law, Children, Spouse (Islamically married), Parents, and Siblings inherit from the father's or Mother's property as stipulated in the Holy Quran 4:11-12 and 4:176. There are 35 verses directly or indirectly addressing inheritance matters for Muslims in the Quran. However, three verses (4.11, 4.12. 4.176) in chapter 4, Surah An-Nisa (i.e., Women), specifically address the Inheritance of Husband, Wife, Sons, Daughters, Parents, and Siblings. 

There are three types of inheritors in Islam; Fixed or Prescribed sharers, the Residuary, and the Distant kindred. There are twelve fixed Islamic Inheritance sharers: Husband or Wife, Son and Daughter, Father or Grandfather (i.e., Father of Father how high soever), Mother or Grandmothers (i.e., Mother of Mother and/or Father of Mother how high soever), Maternal Brothers and Sisters, Full sisters and Paternal Sisters. Refer to the Islamic Inheritance table for more information. The "Faraid" are compulsory in Islam. Faraid literally means the "Fixed portion," which is mandatory in nature. Adherents to Faraid are compulsory for Muslims, which is evident in the Holy Quran. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) states, "This is an obligation from Allah" (Holy Quran 4:11) and again, "This is a commandment from Allah" (Holy Quran 4:12). Also, "These entitlements are the limits set by Allah. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted into Gardens under which rivers flow, to stay there forever. That is the ultimate triumph! But whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and exceeds their limits will be cast into Hell to stay there forever. And they will suffer a humiliating punishment" (Holy Quran 4:13-4:14). Residuary is the one who receives residue after deducting the fixed shares. Residuary sharers are Sons, Daughters, Sons of Sons, Daughters of Sons, Father, Father of Father, Full Siblings, Paternal Siblings, and Consanguine male relatives. Distant kindred can inherit when fixed sharer and Residuary are not alive with one exception to this is, Distant kindred do inherit in the presence of Husband or Wife. Distant kindred inherit under Hanafi, Shafii, and Hanbali but not Maliki law. To learn more, refer to Distant Kindred relatives. Refer to the Islamic Inheritance table for more information.

Inheritance for Muslims is divided according to the shares outlined in the Holy Quran and interpreted through Sunnah. Generally, the Husband receives one-half (i.e., 1/2) and one-fourth (i.e.,1/4) share of the Wife's property under certain applicable conditions under Islamic law. The Wife receives one-fourth (i.e., 1/4) and one-eighth (i.e., 1/8) share of the Husband's property with certain applicable conditions under Islamic law. Parents or Grandparents receive one-sixth (i.e., 1/6) share. Daughters receive one-half (i.e., 1/2) if Single and two-thirds (i.e., 2/3) if Multiple. Males get double the share of females under Joint Residuary. Siblings' share is subject to certain conditions and blocking Islamic Inheritance rules.

You can make testamentary bequests up to one-third or less through Islamic Will or Waqf (i.e., Trust). The testamentary one-third or less is counted after deducting funeral and administration expenses, debts, zakat (i.e., obligatory religious duties), taxes, etc. Muslim jurists have different opinions regarding paying the Zakat from the deceased person's property. According to the majority of fuqaha, it is obligatory to pay Zakat first, and then the residue will be distributed among the heirs. In comparison, the Hanafi school is of the opinion that it is not obligatory. Hanafi school opines that the Zakah will not be deducted because the deceased person is no more aptitude to execute any contract or fulfill a religious duty. Durr Al-Mukhtar and Hashiyat Ibn Abidin (Redd Al-Mukhtar) (6/760): “(Then) he gives precedence (his debts that have demands on the part of the servants), and he gives precedence to the debt of health over the debt of illness if the cause of it is not known. Otherwise, it will be forgotten as the master explained it. (His saying: As for the religion of God Almighty, etc.) Beware of his saying: On the part of the servants, such as Zakat, penances, and the like. Al-Zayla’i said: They fall by death, so the heirs are not obliged to pay it unless he recommends it; or donated by themselves; Because the pillar in the acts of worship is the intention and action of the obligated one, and he has passed away with his death, so he cannot be imagined.

 

Islamic inheritance law allows inheritance distributions far beyond contemporary family settings. Also, all the conditions and blocking rules are in-built into the law itself, which minimizes the attorney's effort.

Under traditional Muslim succession law, a legally married surviving spouse (but not Islamically married such as common-law-partners), adopted child, non-Muslim family members or relatives, or Apostate cannot inherit (provided no impediments to inheritance). Also, it depends on the status of surviving inheritors in Islam.

 

The unborn baby will get an inheritance. However, there are three conditions; If it is from the deceased person, she should give birth within two years after the death of the "unborn baby's" father. And if it is from someone other than the deceased ( i.e., the Unborn baby is a brother of the deceased person), then he/she should be born within six months. Most parts of the unborn child should be alive when he comes out of the mother's womb. And there are separate chapters on the inheritance of pregnancy in the books of jurisprudence for all schools of thought. Al-Qurtubi said in “Jami’ Ahkam al-Qur’an”: If a man dies and leaves his pregnant wife, he stops the money until he knows she is giving birth. He said: The scholars unanimously agreed that if a man dies and his wife is pregnant, the child in her womb inherits and bequeaths if he comes out alive and begins, meaning he raised his voice by crying. And Sheikh Khalil bin Ishaq Al-Maliki said in his summary: (And the endowment of the oath for the pregnancy), i.e., the endowment of the inheritance division until the lamb is laid, and it is known whether it is alive or not? Is it united or multiple, male or female?

 

An adopted child cannot inherit under traditional Sunni Islamic law. However, they may receive part of the testamentary Bequest, but the opinions of Sunni Islamic jurists may differ. 

 

Under traditional Muslim succession law, legally married surviving spouse (but not Islamically married such as common-law-partners), adopted child, non-Muslim family members or relatives, Apostate, unborn or stillborn, cannot inherit. Also, it depends on the status of surviving inheritors in Islam. Refer to "Islamic inheritance sharers and residuary" to learn more about siblings' shares.

 

We encourage you to read our book, which includes exclusive details about Islamic inheritance sharers, shares, residuary, and distant kindred relatives.

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Islamic inheritance