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Islamic Inheritance (Blocking or Exclusion Rules)

Sunni blocking rules include full and partial exclusion. Hajb derives from hajaba, meaning veiled or screened. Al-Hajb (i.e., blockage) is a process whereby a person is cut off or blocked either totally or fully (i.e., Hajb Hirman) or partially (i.e., Hajb Nuqsan). A person blocking or preventing taking share is called "Hajib" (i.e., blocker or preventer). In the presence of some heirs, those who do not receive a share are called "Mahjoob or Mahjub’ (i.e., the veiled or deprived), and the one because of whom they are denied a share is called a 'Hajb.' Partial Hajb occurs when the existence of some individuals reduces the shares of others. For example, Spouse share reduces to half in the presence of children or grandchildren (grandsons, granddaughters) how low soever. A partial Hajb applies to all heirs except Parents and Children. A full Hajb occurs when a sharer is blocked or cut off from taking an inheritance. Primary heirs take priority over Secondary heirs (i.e., extended relatives). Primary heirs include Husband or Wife, Sons and/or Daughters, and Father and/or Mother. No inheritors can exclude them. For example, in the male group, Father of Father is blocked when Father survives. Sons of Sons (Descendants) is blocked when Sons (Ascendants) survive. In the female group, Multiple daughters exclude Daughter of Son whether Single or Multiple. There are fifteen Blocking or exclusion rules for Islamic Inheritance sharers and residuary.


Common Principles for Blocking or Exclusion Rules

Following are the general Sunni exclusion rules based on Islamic law.

  1. The nearer the degree to the deceased excludes, the more remote.

  2. A person related to the deceased through any person shall not inherit while that person is alive.

  3. There is no representation. It means the eligible inheritor must be alive to take his or her inheritance but cannot represent any other person for his or her inheritance.

  4. Lineal male descendants prevents all agnate ascendants or collaterals.

  5. Ascendants are preferred to collaterals.

  6. Full takes priority over paternal. It means the strength of consanguinity determines preferences.

  7. If the degree of the relationship is equal, then a male sharer takes double the portion of a female sharer of the same degree as a general rule.

  8. Additional conditions that may impact directly or indirectly the shares of one or more inheritors individually or to a group may be applicable.


Specific Blocking Rules

As we mentioned before, there are two types of Hajb; Total or Partial. Total blocking occurs when the existence of some individuals entirely cuts off others from heirship. For example, one dies, leaving a Father and Full Brother. The Father's presence entirely cuts off the brother from heirship. Partial Hajb occurs when the existence of some individuals reduces the shares of others. And it applies to all heirs except Parents and Children. All heirs affected by Partial Hajb are Husband, Wife, Mother, Single Daughter of Son, and Single Paternal Sister. Followings are the most common Hajb rules.






Full Blocking or Exclusion Rules


There are sixteen blocking or exclusion Rules from 0 to 15. All these rules are shown in the chart above.


Rule 0

The husband or Wife does not block anyone, and no one blocks them(i.e., Hajb is not applicable). Also, No inheritors can exclude six inheritors: the husband, Wife, Father, Mother, Daughter, and Son.


Rule 1

Sons block Sons of Sons how low soever. Sons and Sons of Sons block Sons of Sons of Sons how low soever. Also, Sons block Daughters of Sons how low soever. Also, Sons and Sons of Sons block Daughters of Sons of Sons how low soever.


Rule 2

Multiple daughters block Single or Multiple Daughters of Sons how low soever in the absence of Sons and/or Sons of Sons. If Sons of Sons are alive, they cannot make their sisters (i.e., Granddaughters) Residuary(i.e., Asaba). Yet, if there are the Sons of sons alive and the deceased has no male child.


Rule 3

Father blocks the Mother of Father as per Hanafi, Shafii, and Maliki but not as per Hanbali.


Rule 4

Mother blocks Mother of Father and Mother of Mother.


Rule 5

Father blocks the Father of Father how high soever.


Rule 6

Sons (or Sons of Sons how low soever) and Father block Full and Paternal Siblings and their descendants.


Rule 7

Paternal Grandfather (i.e., Father of Father) how high soever blocks the Full and Paternal Siblings as per Hanafi, but no as per Shafii, Maliki, and Hanbali.


Rule 8

Full Siblings block Paternal Brothers and/or Paternal Sisters. However, Full Sisters do not block Paternal Brothers and/or Sisters except in a special case Full Sisters block Paternal Sisters in the presence of Daughters and/or Daughters of Sons. So, if the Full brother is alive, the Paternal sisters will not get any share. Similarly, if there is more than one Full sister alive or one Full sister becomes an ‘Asaba due to the presence of a daughter, then the Paternal sister will not get any share. Otherwise, if only one Full sister is alive without the presence of a daughter or a granddaughter (son’s daughter), the Paternal sister will receive 1/6 (i.e., one-sixth) from the inheritance. A full sister, who took the remainder in the presence of the son of the deceased or in the presence of a daughter or granddaughter, blocks the paternal sister. Multiple full sisters block the Paternal sister(s). If Full sister(s) is not present; in that case, Paternal sister(s) inherit the residue if the Daughter(s) and/or Daughter(s) of Son(s) survive, but Full Siblings and Paternal Brother(s) do not survive or if paternal brother survives. In the latter case, Paternal sisters inherit with Paternal brothers in joint residuary.


Rule 9

Sons, Sons of Sons how low soever, Father or Paternal Grandfather (i.e. Father of Father) block the Consanguine male relatives.


Rule 10

Full or Paternal Brothers block Consanguine male relatives. However, Full or Paternal Sister do not block Consanguine male relatives.


Rule 11

Paternal Grandfather (i.e. Father of Father) how high soever blocks the Consanguine male relatives.


Rule 12

Consanguine male relatives block distant kindred relatives.


Rule 13

Sons, Sons of Sons (how low soever), Daughters, Daughters of Sons (how low soever) and Father block Maternal Siblings. In general children, grandchildren how low soever block Maternal Siblings.


Rule 14

Father of Father (or the Father of Father of Father how high soever) block Maternal Siblings. Maternal Siblings are the Maternal Brothers and Maternal Sisters.


Rule 15

Father of Father (or Father of Father of Father how high soever) block Distant kindred relatives. Distant Kindred receives share as per Hanafi, Shafii, and Hanbali but does not receive share as per traditional Maliki.



Partial Blocking Rules


There are five cases where partial blocking occurs.

  1. The Husband's share reduces from 1/2 to 1/4 (i.e., one-half to one-quarter) in the presence of children and grandchildren how low soever. Grandchildren refer to Sons of Sons, Sons of Sons how low soever and Daughters of Sons, Daughters of Sons of Sons how low soever.

  2. The Wife's share reduces from 1/4 to 1/8 (i.e., one-quarter to one-eighth) in the presence of children and grandchildren how low soever. Grandchildren refer to Sons of Sons, Sons of Sons how low soever and Daughters of Sons, Daughters of Sons of Sons how low soever.

  3. The Mother’s share reduces from 1/3 to 1/6 (i.e., one-third to one-sixth) in the presence of children or grandchildren; how low soever, or in the presence of multiple full siblings, paternal siblings, or maternal siblings. Grandchildren refer to Sons of Sons, Sons of Sons how low soever and Daughters of Sons, Daughters of Sons of Sons how low soever.

  4. The Single Daughter of Son’s share reduces from 1/2 to 1/6 (i.e., one-half to one-sixth) in the presence of the Single Daughter.

  5. Single Paternal Sisters’ share reduces from 1/2 to 1/6 (i.e., one-half to one-sixth) in the presence of a Single Full sister. This is true for a Full Sister but will not be considered true for a Daughter because a Paternal Sister in the presence of a Daughter or Granddaughter (i.e., Son's Daughter) will become an "Asaba," and Asaba gets varying shares depending on the situation; their shares are not fixed.


As far as the grandmother (i.e., Mother of Mother and Mother of Father how high soever) is concerned, she will either be deprived completely or takes her share. The reduction due to a number is not called "Reduction" in Islamic inheritance law jargon, as it could happen to everyone. Hence, the mother of mother cannot be enlisted in the " partial blocking" category.


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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ISLAMIC INHERITANCE LAW
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