Eligibility & Reasons for Islamic Inheritance distributions

Updated: Sep 13

Before we learn about Eligibility & Reasons


It would be best you refer to "7 FUNDAMENTALS OF ISLAMIC INHERITANCE LAW" for dynamic and simultaneous application for calculating Islamic inheritance shares.


Eligibility of Islamic Inheritance distribution

  1. Death has to be proven physically and legally. There are different rules and regulations in Islam and from a legal perspective regarding the missing person, burnt person, or lost person.

  2. Assets or estates must be left by the deceased for Islamic inheritance distribution.

  3. Only living heirs shall receive the Islamic inheritance provided no impediments to inheritance. If one heir is dead right after another heir, Islamic scholars’ opinions impact establishing the share of inheritance based on the situation.

  4. An unborn child in the fetus will inherit if he or she is born alive. There must be provisions made in the Wills and Trusts to cover this aspect. There will be legal implications those needs to be considered as well. 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?

  5. All legal claims must be settled, and all debts, including legal and Islamic (i.e., Zakat, Kaffarat, etc.), personal and commercial, are to be paid before Islamic inheritance distribution. Please note the differences of opinion about "Zakat" among Sunni Islamic jurisprudence.

  6. Assets must have approval from the Probate court for estates under Last Will before distributing Islamic inheritance. The assets settlement requirements must have been met for the assets under Trust before Islamic inheritance is distributed.


Eligibility and reasons for islamic inheritance



Reasons for Islamic Inheritance distribution in Islamic & Legal prospective


Ties through marriage (i.e. "Nikah" in arabic)

If a Husband and Wife married legally but did not go through the Islamic ceremony of "Nikah," they will not be eligible for Islamic inheritance.

Ties through Blood Relation (i.e., "Nasab" in Arabic)

In Sunni Islamic Law, it relates to paternal connections only. The adopted Child, Illegitimate Child, Killers, and Non-Muslims do not receive the inheritance.


Ties through association or friendship bond (i.e., "Wala" in Arabic)

Ties through association is further divided into two by Hanafi jurists: Master of the manumitted slave ("Wala Al-Itaq" in Arabic) and Inheritor or Successor by contract ("Wala Al-Mawala" in Arabic). If there are no sharers, residuaries, or distant kindred, the estate goes to the Successor by contract. Hanafi fiqh observes this practice. The Shafii, Maliki, and Hanbali fiqh do not recognize the Successor by contract. However, this type of contract must be in writing, and there should not be a legal impediment for Inheritance distribution.


Ties through acknowledged Kinsman (i.e. "Al-Muqurr Lahu" in arabic)

If none of the above exists, this category is eligible to receive a residuary share as per Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali but as per Shafii. The Acknowledged relative is a person of unknown descent whose kinship has been acknowledged by the deceased, not through himself but another. However, one acknowledges someone as his Child; this does not come under this category but comes under Parental acknowledgment, a different category. If the only heirs are the widow and acknowledged kinsman, the widow receives her share, and the acknowledged kinsman takes the residue. However, this type of contract must be in writing, and there should not be a legal impediment for Inheritance distribution.


Universal Legatee (i.e., "Al-Musa Lahu" in Arabic)

Universal legatee is the person to whom the deceased has bequeathed the whole of his property by Will when there are no heirs exist.


Public Treasury (i.e. "Bayt Ul-Mal" in arabic)

If none of the above categories exist, then the estate goes to Bayt Ul-Mal.


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...
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