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Islamic Sharia Laws (23 Dec 2011 NewAgeIslam.Com)



The Qur’anic Message Admits of Flexibility in the Shares of the Siblings / Heirs


By Muhammad Yunus, NewAgeIslam.com

Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009

Dec 23, 2001

The post war modern era has seen, among other things, three major shifts in civilizational paradigms: i) joint family has, to an extent, given way to individual family units comprising husband, wife and children; ii) women’s financial requirement, role and responsibility has greatly increased due to all round cash pressure – before marriage, after marriage and all the way through the end of the life; iii) family size has greatly reduced. This was not so in the seventh century Arabia through to the pre-modern era, when i) women’s expenses were almost entirely met by their male guardians – father, husband, brother etc. or from inheritance; ii) the avenue and frequency of expenses and financial role and responsibilities of women were far lower and iii) siblings were many.       

The Qur’anic inheritance ratios - notably 2:1 in favor of a son, 2/3rds collectively if only daughters (1/2 if only one daughter) (4:11), and 1/8th for a wife - when there are children as well (4:12) was favorable to the female gender for a broad span of human civilization dating from the seventh to mid twentieth century – as women had no share in the inheritance in practically any other major civilization in that long time bracket. However, in the changed/ transitional paradigms of civilization today, singular reliance on inheritance ratios as traditionally practiced creates the following practical situations that conflict with the Qur’an’s cardinal principle of justice and equity and obscure its binding decree on leaving a will (2:180).

1. As family size diminishes, a widow’s share in relation to those of the children diminishes.

2. A son or a daughter receiving substantive gifts (cash or property) from parents, under special circumstances, selectively (to the exclusion of other siblings) later getting their prescribed share of inheritance - without any adjustment for what has already been selectively received. 

3. A detached child (son or daughter), who took no financial responsibility of the deceased parents, gets the same share as an attached child who took the financial responsibility of the deceased and may be even less solvent than the detached child.

4. The poor and needy lateral relatives of a person (brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces) who leaves behind children are deprived of any portion in the inheritance though directed by the Qur’an (4:8).

5. A son getting twice as much as a daughter even if he bore no corporate family responsibilities or a daughter was the caretaker of the parents. 

6. In the absence of a son, the daughters are not entitled to inherit the whole of legacy left (after payment of legacy and taxes), even if they were in financial hardship or under debt.

7. Family trades /business ventures owned by a person are not amenable to division in arithmetical ratios, and risk closure if each heir demands his/her due share.

8. In the joint family set up that was in vogue until recent times and continues in some communities/ families, the sons bring their wives to their parental home as part of the household which they claim as a natural right after the demise of their parents.

9. The division of residential abodes (8 above) among the children, some of whom may not be sharing the accommodation can also be problematic.

 Flexibility in the division of inheritance in light of Qur’anic decree on leaving a will

Traditionally, the division of inheritance between the sons, daughters and the spouse of a deceased person is based solely on the Qur’anic passage on the division of inheritance (4:11/12). However, the passage incorporates a clause mim ‘bade wasiyatin, which means after the execution of the wasiyah (the will), that the Qur’an makes binding on all Muslims:

“It is prescribed (kuteba) for you that when death approaches any of you, and he leaves behind (some) property, he should make a will in a just and fair manner for his parents and near of kin. (This is) binding (haqqan) for the heedful (muttaqin) (2:180).

A testator (who makes a legally binding will) can thus largely adjust the portion of each heir through this instrument of will. The classical Islamic law, however, does not permit any adjustment of the prescribed proportions (4:11/12). There may have been very good reasons to subordinate the ordinance on will (2:180) to those on inheritance (4:11/12), as one may will his properties arbitrarily/ selectively among his heir, or deprive the daughters of any share in the property as some Muslims still do, frustrating the spirit of the Qur’an’s inheritance laws. But with a major paradigm shift in gender dynamics and breakup of joint of families into small independent units in many parts of the world, the Qur’anic Sharia must be invoked to privilege a duly witnessed will over the inheritance ratios. However, if a will arbitrarily disregards the Qur’anic principle of inheritance (along blood lines – vertically and laterally), and deprives an heir of his/her due share in the property of the deceased kin without any technical grounds, or the deceased leaves no will, those affected by the will or its absence may seek arbitration by community elders (2:182). An exception to this rule may apply in the case of a wife who is entitled to receive rich gifts from her husband as part of marital bargain (4:20/21) unless she was found openly immoral (4:19).

“If you want to take one wife in place of another wife, and you had given one of them a fortune - do not take anything away from it. Would you take it by slander (committing) an open sin (4:20)? How can you take it back when you have given yourselves to each other, and they have taken a firm pledge from you” (4:21)?

“You who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit (anything from your) women (nisa – wife or widow) forcefully, nor should you put them under any pressure in order to take away some of what you have given them, unless they are found openly immoral ….” (4:19).

Hence, depending upon family composition and other attending factors, it should be permissible for a person to leave a will that may not conform to the prescribed inheritance ratios (4:11/12) briefly stating the grounds for the allocation of shares among his/her heir. Alternatively, he may favor one or the other heir selectively with a will to adjust them financially for their contributions/ personal needs. Thus for example if a man leaves a needy grown up daughter who stays with and looks after him and his kid son, he may favor her with a will that together with her inheritance share (half that of a brother) may even exceed her kid brother’s share, or he may as well leave a will favoring her daughter a higher share than the son. Likewise, a person having only daughters can nominate them as his sole heir, as in case of the sons. The Qur’an’s conditional clause of execution of the will in its passage on division of inheritance (4:11/12) (opening paragraph above) and the legislative tone of the passage relating to the will (2:180-182) purports to privilege the latter over the former.  

What about allocating equal share to siblings?

The Qur’anic combined package of will and inheritance offers a flexibility that can address the relative financial needs of the heirs and offers even more to a needy daughter than an affluent son. Fixing inheritance ratios disregarding the clause of leaving a ‘will’ (2:180) can lead to highly anomalous situations as illustrated above and inevitably to manipulations by one or the other heir. Thus, allocating equal share between the siblings is in no way a better proposition than the Qur’an’s integrated scheme of will and inheritance.

Practically every family has its own character depending upon the number, age and health education and other essential needs of the heir. A man my leave behind a highly attached married son or daughter under heavy debt and another detached unmarried one in a state of affluence. Giving them equal share or fixing their shares disregarding any provision of will that the Qur’an decrees as a binding instruction (2:180) can only lead to injustice and sour the relation among the heir.

Conclusion: The Qur’anic integrated package of ‘will’ (2:180-182) and inheritance division after the execution of the will (4:11/12) offers a flexibility in the division of inheritance that can enable a needy attached sister to get a higher share of inheritance than an unattached brother. Restricting the shares of the heir at the Qur’anic ratios disregarding the Qur’anic binding (haqqan) decree (kutiba) on will (2:180) or equalizing the shares of the siblings following the example of other communities can leave a great deal of inconsistency in the distribution of inheritance given the divergence in contribution, age, income levels and financial needs of the siblings. However, in case a person dies before making a will, the siblings should mutually agree on relative shares without any gender discrimination depending upon the gender role and needs among the heir. The point is if the divine scheme was to fix inheritance ratios regardless of the age, income, financial needs and circumstances of the heir, there was no need of the binding directive on will (2:180). The very provision of leaving a will allows for flexibility in allocation of shares. Furthermore, a duly witnessed will ensures the inheritance rights of i) a believing non-Muslim widow and ii) an orphaned grandchild who are unlawfully barred from inheriting from legally bound relationships [1].         

In sum, the most distinguishing feature of the Qur’anic laws on inheritance, including the making of a will, is that i) it offered a substantive financial privilege to Muslim women back in the seventh century – a privilege for which women of other major religions had to wait for over a thousand years, and ii) it does not allow any person to bequeath his legacy arbitrarily to whomsoever or whatever manner he/she wishes. It allocates the bulk of the inheritance along the linear (vertical) bloodline and leaves provision for lateral distribution and charity (4:8). The other elements of the Qur’anic inheritance scheme, obscured by an apparent emphasis on the siblings’ gender specific shares are as follows:

i.        If a man leaves behinds parents, spouse, sons and, or daughters:

•        The father and mother, each gets a sixth of the inheritance (4:11).

 ii.      If there are no children, but parents and spouse are surviving:

•        The wife gets a fourth of what her husband leaves, while the husband gets half of what his wife leaves (4:12).

•        If the deceased left brothers and sisters, each of the parents gets a sixth of the inheritance, and the brothers and sisters get the balance - the male having twice the share of the female (4:11).

•        If there is no brother or sister, the mother gets a third of the inheritance (4:11).

  iii.    If neither parents, nor children, nor any spouse is surviving:

•        If a deceased man left only one sister, she inherits half of what he left, but if there are two sisters or more, they together inherit two-thirds of what he left (4:176).

•        If a deceased woman left one brother, he inherits the whole of what she left (4:176).

•        If a deceased man or woman leaves both brother and sister - the male has twice the share of the female (4:176).

•        If a deceased man or woman leaves a brother or a sister from the mother’s side (different father), each will get a sixth of the inheritance – and if there are more than two of them, the combined share will be one-third of what is left (4:12).

Finally, an explanation is needed as to why the ratio of inheritance is invariably 2:1 in favor of the male – except in the case of parents inheriting from a deceased child. The reasons could be as follows:  

1. In spite of its sanction of revolutionary financial privileges to women, a deeply entrenched patriarchy and the civilizational realities kept women away from the financial domain. Therefore, women, not sufficiently matured in age and experienced in life, were liable to be victim to manipulation, extortion or fraud at the hands of their husbands or male next of kin and risked losing all their wealth. 

2. Until recent times, it was normative for the sons to settle down with their families in the parental homes; and for the daughters, to leave the paternal homes after marriage.

3. Until before the advent of modern banking, the men physically protected and secured family wealth against robbers and usurpers, because of their grooming as the defender of the family since early life.     

4. The remoteness of women from the financial domain (1 above) led to their relegation of financial decisions to the husbands and deterred them from sharing the inheritance with the poor and needy relatives (as commanded in the verse 4:8) thus compromising the Qur’anic spirit of justice and wealth distribution.

To wind up this discourse, this is to affirm that the details furnished are drawn from a duly approved and authenticated work and given the highly technical nature of the subject, any cursory reading may not help a lay reader grasp the essence and the beauty of the Qur’anic paradigms on the subject. 

Note

[1]. i. Since a believing non-Muslim woman is entitled to the same level of dowry as a Muslim woman (5:6), she, in her capacity as a widow of a Muslim man, should logically be entitled to the same level of inheritance as a Muslim woman.

ii. The legal share of an orphaned grandchild: The passage 4:8-10 entitles a person who lost his father/mother before his grandfather/grandmother a share in their inheritance and those who deprive them “devour fire into their bellies” (4:10).

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-sharia-laws/the-qur’anic-message-admits-of-flexibility-in-the-shares-of-the-siblings-/-heirs/d/6208





TOTAL COMMENTS:-   4


  • I agree with Mr. Yunus. The principle of equality is more fundamental in Islam than any rules, regulations or formulae. If the principles laid down in the Quran had been allowed to evolve through ijtihad, equal rights of a son and a daughter would have become a reality. But the overriding fact still remains that it is up to the bestower to decide how he wants his bounty to be distributed. As societies mature, individual autonomy grows and rigid rules become less necessary.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/24/2011 10:41:40 PM



  • @Irshad Mahmud. Thanks for tabling the division arithmetic. This only shows the beauty of Islamic law in terms of the division of inheritance. But as you know, with the advent of modern banking as well as selective willing, the ratios are seldom observed. Then we have a major shift in gender role, breakup of joint family and the gender-non-specific cash demands.

    Therefore, it is neccessary for the educated Muslims to have a clear idea of the flexibility that the Qur'anic message offers in allocating one's assets among the heirs largely captured in the Qur'an passage 4:7-12, 4:33 and 4:176 that i quoted from in my article. 


    By muhammad yunus - 12/24/2011 11:10:32 PM



  • In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

    Global Islaamic Inheritance Law by Irshad Mahmood - Global Auliyaa (PRESIDENT), Siraat-al-Mustaqeem Dawah Centre
    Death is imminent and can come any time. It can come during childhood, or when grown up or after becoming old. One may be married or maybe not, he or she has to die on one day and most probably leaving heirs behind. Since the stages change according to the time, a person’s responsibility also gets change. Men have their responsibilities and women have their. So it is necessary to find the right dividends for the right heirs. BUT it is extremely hard to determine these dividends without the help of Allah. Allah already mentioned in the Quraan dealing with all these issues categorically and in great detail.
    … You know not which of them is the nearer to you in usefulness; this is an ordinance from Allah: Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. (Al_Quraan_004.011)
    Islaamic Sharia Law stipulates how the estate of a Muslim is to be dealt with and distributed after his or her death. The rules described here reflect the Commandments of Allah according to the Quraan; some differences or variations may be adopted under the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi and Hanbali schools.

    Knowledge of Mathematics:

    To understand these calculations, you must know the middle school mathematics, which are not complex as of university level or even as of high school level mathematics. E.g. one of the bases of inheritance is male gets 2/3 and female gets 1/3. Although 2/3 + 1/3 = 1 looks PERFECT, BUT you cannot exactly divide 100 or 50 Dollars equally among the males and females. There are many cases in which you may need to deal with the prime numbers (e.g. 89), which are only divisible by 1 or by itself. Islaamic Inheritance Law are based on complete Quraan and are NOT limited to few verses only, and answers PERFECTLY to deal with all those cases. Presently with the help of science and specially the computers, it became more easier to search many things and find the answers more easily ever than before.
    Hold the division of the Inheritance in case, the wife of the deceased could be pregnant.

    And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation; and they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, and the men are a degree above them, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al_Quraan_002.228)

    From the above Ayah, it very clear that the main perpose of the Iddat is to wait and see if she is pregnent or not. Waiting is variable according to cases. Also it is advised that people shoud hold the division of the Inheritance in case, the wife of the deceased could be pregnant. In this way we also will come to know if she delivers the boy/s or girl/s.
    To understand the logic of Islaamic Inheritance Law, we need to keep in our mind the following Ayaat from the Quraan:

    If one gets Booty, pay a fifth of shares to relatives and orphans etc.:
    And know that out of all the booty that you may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer, if you do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing, the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things. (Al_Quraan_008.041)
    If one gets produced of gardens / farm pay the Due:
    And He it is Who produces gardens, trellised and un-trellised, and palms and seed-produce of which the fruits are of various sorts, and olives and pomegranates, like and unlike; eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant. (Al_Quraan_006.141)
    If one earns pay the Due:
    O you who believe! spend (benevolently) of the good things that you earn and or what We have brought forth for you out of the earth, and do not aim at what is bad that you may spend (in alms) of it, while you would not take it yourselves unless you have its price lowered, and know that Allah is Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy. (Al_Quraan_002.267)
    How much to spend:
    ..... And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: that which is superfluous (in excess). Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications that you may ponder.(Al_Quraan_002.219)
    WILL: A Muslim must make a will in favor of his Specified as well as non-Specified Heirs, when death approaches. In case of accidental death or the remainder of the estate after WILL, should be divided among the heirs according to the Quraan:
    ... If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Unbelievers. (Al_Quraan_005.044)

    It is decreed that when death approaches, you shall write a will for the benefit of the parents (Specified Heir) and relatives (Specified as well as Non-Specified Heir), equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous. (Al_Quraan_002.180)

    And those of you who die and leave wives behind, (make) a bequest in favor of their wives (Specified Heir) of maintenance for a year without turning (them) out, then if they themselves go away, there is no blame on you for what they do of lawful deeds by themselves, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al_Quraan_002.240)
    Close Relatives from where you can eat and vice versa: If you can eat from someone’s house, then they can do so:
    There is no blame on the blind man, nor is there blame on the lame, nor is there blame on the sick, nor on yourselves that you eat from your houses, or your fathers' houses or your mothers' houses, or your brothers' houses, or your sisters' houses, or your paternal uncles' houses, or your paternal aunts' houses, or your maternal uncles' houses, or your maternal aunts' houses, or what you possess the keys of, or your friends' (houses). It is no sin in you that you eat together or separately. So when you enter houses, greet your people with a salutation from Allah, blessed (and) goodly; thus does Allah make clear to you the communications that you may understand. (Al_Quraan_024.061)
    You must give due to your relatives as well:
    And give to the relatives his due and (to) the needy and the wayfarer, and do not squander wastefully. (Al_Quraan_017.026)

    Then give to the near of kin his due, and to the needy and the wayfarer; this is best for those who desire Allah's pleasure, and these it is who are successful. (Al_Quraan_030.038)
    We must need to think of Orphans:
    And let those fear who, should they leave behind them weakly offspring, would fear on their account, so let them be careful of (their duty to) Allah, and let them speak right words.(Al_Quraan_004.009)
    It is advised to announce the day of distribution of the heirs among closed as well as far relatives. If any of them are not present without any valid reason or have no interest in getting some from the inheritance then we may proceed without them and there shares may be excluded. One of the great wisdom in the following Ayaat that it did not mentioned any exact figure of share for the other relatives or charity, could be that we might need to deal with the prime numbers or other number which are not divisible among the heir. So choice is totally left upon us so that we can balance it:
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the (far) relatives and the orphans (among relatives as well) and the needy (among relatives as well), give them (something) out of it and speak to them kind words. (Al_Quraan_004.008)
    Woe to Prayers who neglect the Charity:
    So woe to the worshippers, who are totally heedless of their prayers. They only show off. But refuse (to supply) (even) neighborly needs. (Al_Quraan_107.004-007)
    Below are the Ayaat which mentions about inheritance in more detail and are the limits imposed by Allah:
    It is decreed that when death approaches, you shall write a will for the benefit of the parents (Specified Heir) and relatives (Specified as well as Non-Specified Heir), equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous. (Al_Quraan_002.180)

    And those of you who die and leave wives behind, (make) a bequest in favor of their wives of maintenance for a year without turning (them) out, then if they themselves go away, there is no blame on you for what they do of lawful deeds by themselves, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al_Quraan_002.240)

    Men shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and women shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave, whether there is little or much of it; a stated portion. (Al_Quraan_004.007)

    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it and speak to them kind words. (Al_Quraan_004.008)

    And let those fear who, should they leave behind them weakly offspring, would fear on their account, so let them be careful of (their duty to) Allah, and let them speak right words.(Al_Quraan_004.009)

    Those who consume the orphans' properties unjustly, eat fire into their bellies, and will suffer in Hell. (Al_Quraan_004.010)

    Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females; then if they are more than two females, they shall have two-thirds of what the deceased has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have the sixth of what he has left if he has a child, but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third; but if he has brothers, then his mother shall have the sixth after (the payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt; your parents and your children, you know not which of them is the nearer to you in usefulness; this is an ordinance from Allah: Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. (Al_Quraan_004.011)

    And you shall have half of what your wives leave if they have no child, but if they have a child, then you shall have a fourth of what they leave after (payment of) any bequest they may have bequeathed or a debt; and they shall have the fourth of what you leave if you have no child, but if you have a child then they shall have the eighth of what you leave after (payment of) a bequest you may have bequeathed or a debt; and if a man or a woman leaves property to be inherited by neither parents nor offspring, and he (or she) has a brother or a sister, then each of them two shall have the sixth, but if they are more than that, they shall be sharers in the third after (payment of) any bequest that may have been bequeathed or a debt that does not harm (others); this is an ordinance from Allah: and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing. (Al_Quraan_004.012)

    These are Allah's limits, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them; and this is the great achievement.(Al_Quraan_004.013)

    They ask you for a decision of the law. Say: Allah gives you a decision concerning the person who has neither parents nor offspring; if a man dies (and) he has no son and he has a sister, she shall have half of what he leaves, and he shall be her heir she has no son; but if there be two (sisters), they shall have two-thirds of what he leaves; and if there are brethren, men and women, then the male shall have the like of the portion of two females; Allah makes clear to you, lest you err; and Allah knows all things. (Al_Quraan_004.176)
    Basic Logic of Distribution after paying all the debts including funeral expenses and wills:

    Case-1:>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.011
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind children only, since spouse might already had passed away or were separated.

    And when there are present at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.

    Case -2:>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.011
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind children and parents, since spouse might already had passed away or were separated.

    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.

    Case -3:>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind spouse without any children and may or may not have parents.

    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.

    Case -4:>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind spouse and children.

    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.

    Case -5:>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was un-married or married and leaving behind parents and brothers and sisters, without any children or spouse.
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Case -6:>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.176
    The Deceased Person was un-married or married and leaving behind brothers and / or sisters only (no ascendants - no descendents and no parents - no spouse - no children).
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Because a male is responsible for the maintenance of the family, not the female, Male gets 2/3 and Female gets 1/3.

    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.

    Other Relatives and Charity:>
    Do not neglect other relatives and charity. Also we need to keep in mind, if only daughter or only sister is the heir, where could she feel comfortable to live with, either state need to look after her or she will feel more comfortable with her uncle and aunt. So uncle and aunt should also get some shares as well as. Under the light of the list of above Ayaat, if I don’t forget any, it is my suggestion to be in the middle and pay to other relatives as well as charity which may be around 10 percent upon the consult of all the specified heirs if they agree. Now we can realize why Allah did not fix the shares for other relatives and charity in Ayaat Al_Quraan_004.008, since in dividing shares we may come up with dealing of prime numbers or other numbers which do not perfectly divide among heir.

    Division of dividends for simple case (Male 2/3 and Female 1/3):
    Because a male is responsible for the maintenance of the family, not the female, Male gets 2/3 and Female gets 1/3.

    Remember: If any of the specified heirs is not alive BUT his / her descendents are alive. He or she will be treated as alive and later his / her shares will then be divided among his or her heirs.

    Example 1:>

    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 1000
    600 + 300 + 100 = 1000

    100 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    60 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 60
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 60
    36 + 18 + 6 = 60

    30 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 30
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 30
    18 + 9 + 3 = 30

    Example 2:>

    500 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 500
    300 + 150 + 50 = 500

    50 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 50
    30 + 15 + 5 = 50

    30 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 30
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 30
    18 + 9 + 3 = 30

    15 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 15
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 15
    8 + 4 + 3 = 15

    Example 3:>

    997 dollars which is a prime number may be divided as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 997
    600 + 300 + 97 = 997

    97 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 97
    58 + 29 + 10 = 97

    58 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 58
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 58
    36 + 18 + 4 = 58

    29 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 29
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 29
    18 + 9 + 2 = 29

    Priority of payments:

    Before the estate of the deceased can be distributed to his/her heirs, all the debts owing by the deceased, all prior claims against him/her and all the wills must first be paid.

    In order of priority, payments from the estate are as follows:

    a> Payment of funeral expenses.
    b> Payment of ALL the DEBTS owing by the deceased.
    c> Satisfaction of all Zakaat payments that are unpaid;
    d> Making donations of the specified amount to redeem fast days unobserved;
    e> Payment of legacies under a valid will. Wills could be for those how are heirs as well, so they should get both Wills and heirs on top of Wills.
    f> Distribution of net estate among Specified Heirs according to the Quraan and Authentic Sunnah (described below).

    Specified heirs:

    Heirs entitled to share in the net estate of the deceased in accordance with Islaamic Sharia Law. These Specified Heirs include the following:

    a> MALES who are entitled to succeed are:

    1> Son of the deceased.
    2> Grandson of the deceased how low so ever.
    3> Father of the deceased.
    4> Grandfather of the deceased how high so ever.
    5> Brother of the deceased.
    6> Son of the brother of the deceased.
    7> Uncle, i.e. brother of the parents of the deceased.
    8> Son of Uncle, i.e. Son of brother of the parents of the deceased.
    9> Husband of the deceased.

    b> FEMALES who are entitled to succeed are:

    1> Daughter of the deceased.
    2> Granddaughter of the deceased how low so ever.
    3> Mother of the deceased.
    4> Grandmother of the deceased how high so ever.
    5> Sister of the deceased.
    6> Daughter of the Sister of the deceased.
    7> Aunt, i.e. sister of the parents of the deceased.
    8> Daughter of Aunt, i.e. Daughter of sister of the parents of the deceased.
    9> Husband of the deceased.

    c> Other close relatives.

    d> Charity.

    These heirs are entitled to certain prescribed shares which are intended to effect an equitable distribution of the estate. For instance, males are given 2 shares of the estate to every share given to his female counterpart because they are expected to assume financial responsibility for the women. In addition, female heirs are allocated a specified portion of the estate (e.g. half or one sixth) which means they will always be entitled to a portion of the estate, regardless how small, while male heirs are often residuary heirs who are only entitled to what is left of the estate after the claims of female heirs have been met. It may happen that a residuary heir is left with nothing or a very tiny portion after claimants with specific shares have been paid off.

    Specified Heirs forfeit their claim under the following circumstances:
    a. he caused the death of the deceased, whether deliberately or unintentionally; or
    b. he is not a Muslim (the deceased may be a Muslim convert, or the heir may have renounced Islam).

    Making of Wills:

    A Muslim can make a will in favor of his Specified Heirs as well as non-Specified Heirs, such as his adopted children, paternal relatives, maternal relatives, or third parties such as close friend.
    It is decreed that when death approaches, you shall write a will for the benefit of the parents (Specified Heir) and relatives (Specified as well as Non-Specified Heir), equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous. (Al_Quraan_002.180)
    Sharia Court administration:

    The first step is for a beneficiary to apply to the Syria Court for a Certificate of Inheritance to be issued. The Certificate will identify the surviving Specified Heirs, state their relationship to the deceased, and specify his precise share to the estate.

    Computation of shares of specified heirs:

    We must try our best to do the justice in dividing the shares among the heirs for the case where there is no wills or there is some leftover after the payment of wills.
    It is decreed that when death approaches, you shall write a will for the benefit of the parents (Specified Heir) and relatives (Specified as well as Non-Specified Heir), equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous. (Al_Quraan_002.180)

    … If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Unbelievers. (Al_Quraan_005.044)
    Followings are six main categories of the deceased person.

    Remember: If any of the specified heirs is not alive BUT his / her descendents are alive. He or she will be treated as alive and later his / her shares will then be divided among his or her heirs.

    Category-1 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.011
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind children only, since spouse might already had passed away or were separated.
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Category-2 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.011
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind children and parents, since spouse might already had passed away or were separated.
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Category-3 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind spouse without any children and may or may not have parents.
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Category-4 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind spouse and children.
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Category-5 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was un-married or married and leaving behind parents and brothers and sisters, without any children or spouse.
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
    Category-6 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.176
    The Deceased Person was un-married or married and leaving behind brothers and / or sisters only (no ascendants - no descendents and no parents - no spouse - no children).
    And when there are present (alive) at the division the relatives and the orphans and the needy, give them (something) out of it as well.
     Details of Inheritance with Examples

    Remember: If any of the specified heirs is not alive BUT his / her descendents are alive. He or she will be treated as alive and later his / her shares will then be divided among his or her heirs.

    Details of division of the shares among all the heirs after paying all the debts and wills:

    It is my suggestion to be in the middle and pay to other relatives as well as charity upon the consult of all the specified heirs if they agree.

    Category-1 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.011
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind children and / or parents, since spouse might already had passed away or were separated:

    Category-1_Example-1 :> Only sons are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Sons + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    All of 90% + Remainder = 1000
    900 + 100 = 1000

    100 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    60 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 60
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 60
    36 + 18 + 6 = 60

    30 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 30
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 30
    18 + 9 + 3 = 30

    Category-1_Example-2 :> Only Daughter (1/2 shares) is the specified heir
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Daughter heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/2 + Remainder = 1000
    500 + 500 = 1000

    500 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = 500
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 500
    300 + 150 + 50 = 500

    300 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 300
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 300
    180 + 90 + 30 = 300

    150 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 150
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 150
    90 + 45 + 15 = 150

    Category-1_Example-3 :> Two or more Daughters (2/3 shares) are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Daughters heirs + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 + Remainder = 1000
    666 + 334 = 1000

    334 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = 334
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 334
    200 + 100 + 34 = 334

    200 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 200
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 200
    130 + 65 + 5 = 200

    100 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 100
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    Category-1_Example-4 :> Mixed number of Sons (2/3 shares) and Daughters (1/3 shares) are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Sons heir + Daughters heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 1000
    600 + 300 + 100 = 1000

    100 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    60 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 60
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 60
    36 + 18 + 6 = 60

    30 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 30
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 30
    18 + 9 + 3 = 30

    Category-2 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.011
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind children and parents, since spouse might already had passed away or were separated.

    Category-2_Example-1 :> Parents (1/6 + 1/6) and children (Sons 2/3 of Remainder + Daughters 1/3 of Remainder) are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Father + Mother + Children + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/6 of 90 % + 1/6 of 90% + Remainder + 1/10 = 1000
    166 + 166 + 568 + 100 = 1000

    Children may get from 568 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4, depending upon the case of only sons, or only daughter, or two or more daughters, or mix number of sons and daughters.

    Also Other Relatives and Charity may get from 100 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-2_Example-2 :> Only Parents (Mother gets 1/3, Father gets Remainder) are the specified heirs.

    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Father + Mother + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 of 90 % + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 1000
    600 + 300 + 100 = 1000

    Also Other Relatives and Charity may get from 100 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    We already know the basic formula for sons and daughters as well as brothers and sisters, which gives the same concept i.e. common in both for Males and Females heirs. We may apply the same logic for only Father (all shares), for only Mother (1/2 shares) as well.

    Category-2_Example-3 :> Parents and only one brother or sister are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Father + Mother + Brother or Sister + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    Remainder + 1/6 of 90% + 1/6 of 90% + 1/10 = 1000
    568 + 166 + 166 + 100 = 1000

    Also Other Relatives and Charity may get from 100 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-2_Example-4 :> Parents and more than one brothers and / or sisters are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Father + Mother + Brothers and / or Sisters + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    Remainder + 1/6 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + 1/10 = 1000
    402 + 166 + 332 + 100 = 1000

    Brothers (1/2 of 332) and sisters (1/2 of 332) may get from 332 dollars equally divided among them.

    Also Other Relatives and Charity may get from 100 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-3 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind spouse without any children and may or may not have parents.

    Category-3_Example-1 :> Only Husband (1/2 shares) is the specified heir
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Husband heir + (Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/2 + Remainder = 1000
    500 + 500 = 1000

    Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Other Relatives and Charity may get from 500 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above example Category-2_Example-1 to Category-2_Example-4 or Category-5_Example-1 to Category-5_Example-4.

    Category-3_Example-2 :> Only Wife (1/4 shares) is the specified heir
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Wife heir + (Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/4 + Remainder = 1000
    250 + 750 = 1000

    Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Other Relatives and Charity may get from 750 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above example Category-2_Example-1 to Category-2_Example-4 or Category-5_Example-1 to Category-5_Example-4.

    Category-4 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was married and leaving behind spouse and children.

    Category-4_Example-1 :> Husband (1/4 shares) and Children are the specified heir
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Husband heir + (Parents, Children, Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/4 + Remainder + 100 = 1000
    250 + 750 = 1000

    Parents, Children, Other Relatives and Charity may get from 750 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above example Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-4_Example-2 :> Only Wife (1/8 shares) is the specified heir
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Wife heir + (Parents, Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/8 + Remainder = 1000
    125 + 875 = 1000

    Parents, Children, Other Relatives and Charity may get from 750 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above example Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-5 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.012
    The Deceased Person was un-married or married and leaving behind parents and brothers and sisters, without any children or spouse.

    Category-5_Example-1 :> Parents and only one brother or sister are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Father + Mother + Brother or Sister + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    Remainder + 1/6 of 90% + 1/6 of 90% + 1/10 = 1000
    568 + 166 + 166 + 100 = 1000

    Also Other Relatives and Charity may get from 100 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-5_Example-2 :> Parents and more than one brothers and / or sisters are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Father + Mother + Brothers and / or Sisters + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    Remainder + 1/6 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + 1/10 = 1000
    402 + 166 + 332 + 100 = 1000

    Brothers (1/2 of 332) and sisters (1/2 of 332) may get from 332 dollars equally divided among them.

    Also Other Relatives and Charity may get from 100 dollars according to the case mentioned in the above examples Category-1_Example-1 to Category-1_Example-4.

    Category-6 :::>>>
    Ref: Al_Quraan_004.176
    The Deceased Person was un-married or married and leaving behind brothers and / or sisters only (no ascendants - no descendents and no parents - no spouse - no children).

    Category-6_Example-1 :> Only Brother are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Brothers + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    All of 90% + Remainder = 1000
    900 + 100 = 1000

    100 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    60 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 60
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 60
    36 + 18 + 6 = 60

    30 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 30
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 30
    18 + 9 + 3 = 30

    Category-6_Example-2 :> Only sister (1/2 shares) is the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Sister heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    1/2 + Remainder = 1000
    500 + 500 = 1000

    500 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = 500
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 500
    300 + 150 + 50 = 500

    300 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 300
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 300
    180 + 90 + 30 = 300

    150 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 150
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 150
    90 + 45 + 15 = 150

    Category-6_Example-3 :> Two or more Sisters (2/3 shares) are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Sisters heirs + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 + Remainder = 1000
    666 + 334 = 1000

    334 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = 334
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 334
    200 + 100 + 34 = 334

    200 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 200
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 200
    130 + 65 + 5 = 200

    100 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 100
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    Category-6_Example-4 :> Mixed number of Brothers (2/3 shares) and Sisters (1/3 shares) are the specified heirs
    1000 dollars may be divided as follows:
    Brothers heir + Sisters heir + (Other Relatives & Charity) = Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 1000
    600 + 300 + 100 = 1000

    100 dollars may further be divided among Other Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Paternal Relatives + Maternal Relatives + Charity = around 10 % of Total Shares
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 100
    60 + 30 + 10 = 100

    60 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Paternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 60
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 60
    36 + 18 + 6 = 60

    30 dollars may further be divided among Male and Female Maternal Relatives and Charity as follows:
    Male heir + Female heir + Charity = 30
    2/3 of 90% + 1/3 of 90% + Remainder = 30
    18 + 9 + 3 = 30
    Your comments are welcome....noor.e.islaam@gmail.com
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    By Irshad Mahmood - 12/24/2011 10:17:25 AM



  • Mr. Yunus again emphasizes the importance of and a need for an ongoing dynamic process of ijtihad. Our world keeps changing and our practices have to be relevant for every age. If ijtihad had been practiced properly for the past 1000 years, today we would not be afraid of modernity. We would have been ahead of modernity. 

    Formulating, interpreting and amending laws should be the province of jurists and legislators, not of maulvis.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/23/2011 5:48:00 PM



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