Updated: Sep 26
Islamic inheritance law has been an appealing subject for many Muslim and non-Muslim authors, scholars, lawyers, and professionals. The origin of Islamic Inheritance law begins with the revelation of the Holy Quran through the beloved Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
Before you start your learning journey, you should note what you will get out from the literatures. There are three categories of authors and literature you will find for Islamic Inheritance law.
The traditional authors or scholars respect the Sunni Muslim faith. They write literature that is entirely in alignment with Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. They follow the references based on the Holy Quran, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas without any alterations. These categories of authors do not include only Muslim but Non-Muslim authors and lawyers too. You can find the work of companions, authors and scholars below. Click on each of the ICONS below to find out their extraordinary work.
These are some of the books directly related to Islamic Inheritance law but you can find full library of Islamic literatures in the Introduction to Islamic law, Page 39 to 108 by Ahmed Akgunduz.
Later on, a journey of Islamic Inheritance knowledge carried over generations through authentic Hadith narrators, writers, professionals, and web developers. It does not take long to calculate the Muslim inheritance as due to new technology, there are many calculators available online. The two main calculators used are the ILM Summit inheritance calculator based on Hanafi Madhab and another one IRTH inheritance calculator which is based on all four Madhab Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali.
Al-Khwarizmi (780 - 850 CE) is a Muslim mathematician known as the Father of Algebra on which the modern mathematical science system resides. Al-Khwarizmi's work Al-Kitabul-al-mukhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wa'l-muqabala ("The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing") first developed to simplify complex Islamic Inheritance problems and half of his books deal with the Islamic rules of Inheritance. Later on, it expanded to sections on calculating areas and volumes of geometric shapes and algebra in detail. Also, the Islamic Inheritance law calculations are repeated extensively in his book by showing the use of Algebra to solve complex legacy problems. The Inheritance questions take up roughly the last half of the book. The History of Mathematics and Applications, book by I.O.Lyuter, states Al-Khwarizmi's science in the field of Islamic inheritance shares' calculations, the applications of arithmetic, and algebra to solve problems regarding the distribution of inheritance.
Legal authors group include lawyers those were part of the British regime in India. The majority of work pertains to this category is related to India. This include Anglo-Muslim or Muhammadan law which is not purely shariah complaint but an Hybrid model. The comprehensive penal code 1860 ended its criminal application, but it continued to apply in the personal status law until the Muslim Personal law application act 1937. British regime in India ended formally in 1947, and the Anglo-Muhammadan law or Muhammadan law was modified to make the sharia-compliant as close as possible. Since then majority part of Anglo-Muhammadan law or Muhammadan law has become academic interests only and some of the books you may explore are below.
An independent group of authors such as lawyers, historians, and orientalists published literature based on their analysis and study of Islamic law. There are three distinct types of authors in this category; Orientalist authors, Non-Sunni Muslim authors and third, British authors who came to India prior independence. Most non-Sunni Muslim authors are from India. Such Authors compare one to one and provide inconsistency between different systems, methods, or evidence used for the Islamic literature. Usually, their goal is to give deviations in the inheritance system within and compare the literature compatibility with modern laws contemporary reforms. English author example is the book, Succession in the Muslim family by N.J.COULSON.
Islamic Inheritance law and the Western world
Islamic law as a whole derives from Holy Quran and the huge volume of book of Hadiths. The Muslim view is that the origins of the Islamic legal code are rooted in the Holy Quran, the Sunna of the Prophet, consensus and analogy. This view, especially regarding the role of the sunna, was first challenged about a hundred years ago by such Western scholars as Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje and Ignaz Goldziher. But it was only in this 20th century, with publication of An Introduction to Islamic law (1964) and Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (1950) by Joseph Schacht that the doubts about the validity of the classical account came to be articulated in a comprehensive theory which claimed to destroy it. Schacht's work has won high acclaim among leading Orientalist. For example, H.A.R. Gibb, for example, considered that "it will become the foundation four all future study of Islamic civilization and law, at least in the West" and N.J. Coulson says that Schacht "has formulated a thesis of the origins of Sharia law which is irrefutable in its broad essentials. It has also strongly influenced many other Orientalist, notably J. Robson, Fitzgerald, J.N.D. Anderson and C.E. Bosworth, and has had a similar impact upon modern Muslim writers on Islamic law such as Fazlur Rahman, A.A.A.Fyzee and others (Ref. On Schacht's Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Introduction by Dr. M.Mustafa al-Azami PhD).
In addition to traditional Muslim authors, there were few and countable Historians and Orientalist raised criticism until 18th century but later in 19th century onwards such authors race on study have increased in massive numbers. The historians and orientalists' main goal is to evaluate the Islamic literature authenticity and come up with opinions, quotes and conclusions based on their own personal views and prospects. Since Holy Quran was compiled nearly in the first half of century, there is nothing much to say for orientalists and historians about Holy Quran, but their main criticism were on the Hadith literatures. Their outcome of criticism had pose various questions including Prophet's legislative authority of Islamic law, the origin of and application of term "Sunna", the timeline of Hadith literatures collections, the methodology of Hadith evaluation used by Hadith compilers, timelines and quality of "Isnad" system, timelines of appointment of Qadis for Hadith collections, and so on. The statements or findings from one or more authors carried over to another and at some point, it became the law of criticism for historians, orientalists and atheists. They look at Islamic literature a very extreme view and very unhealthy for Islamic community. They do not have faith or mercy, or God fears to pinpoint or criticize the Islamic literature being non-Muslim or atheist. That is fine but their discovery was not based on facts, reasons and logic and frequently they missed to look the holistic view in the context of the contemporary past and political and other situations or not adequate evidence or did not consider the text from Holy Quran and their conclusions were quick and based on small samples to texts. Most of them are Christians or Jewish, or atheists. For example, you may find works from Ignac Goldziher, Joseph Schacht etc.
However on a positive note, these are the authors who get expose to the most Islamic literatures in their journey compare to ordinary Muslims and some of them actually, accepted Islam as the religion of their own faith (i.e. Ignac Goldziher) temporarily but due to their skeptical and hypocritical view, they go far away from faith even though they had opportunity. Another positive note as they are the one whose works get noticed in the market being non-Muslim writers, professors, orientalist and historians about Islam that actually help propagating Islam in many different ways. Those non-Muslim Readers who never bother to know about Islam but they get interested through non-Muslim Authors material. Almightly Allah (the most glorified and the most high) makes the means through his wisdom that none can imagine.
Irrespective of the authors' background, or extreme views, it isn't easy to ascertain the conclusions, but there is a bias for every author's work and their personal intentions matter. They can paint a good or bad picture with either good or bad intentions. There is no one to defend their opinions due to their position, reputations, and professions.
As a believer and with the core belief as a Muslim, it is difficult to digest the Second and Third category authors' work. We are leaving you with few important books that you can spend some time to learn more about authenticity of Holy Quran and Hadith text which forms the foundation of Islamic law including inheritance law.
After reading above, hopefully your thoughts will settle to the point when you do not need to know the authenticity of Islamic Inheritance law in the contemporary world. You may consider reading Introduction to Islamic law by Ahmed Akgunduz.
Hopefully, You mind will be clean from any doubt after reading these books in regards to authenticity of Islamic literatures inshAllah.
More references to learn about Islamic Inheritance law
Allah, the Most Glorified and the Most High, knows the best. As a human, We are limited to everything and can not perceive it in totality...