From Will to Inheritance II
“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (33:36)
If you get to read the inheritance laws laid out in Islam you might think of it in two ways. One that this is an extremely fair system of distribution because it is laid out by our own Creator Allah SWT so no questions in that. Second you might think that if these laws are already their then why do we need to make wills because then there is a restriction upon us to not disobey these laws in our wills.
Both stances are correct in nature. The rules of inheritances are planned by Allah SWT for the material benefit of a family. The power to not distribute this property according to one’s wishes is what makes this plan successful. There are four factors to consider when a person dies leaving a property; payment of his funeral expense, his debts, the execution of his will and distribution of the wealth. This is how the process of distribution should start after clearing out everything else the man owes to the world.
The laws of inheritance have a great significance in our religion. As I also stated in my previous article that there are places in the world where the distribution of wealth was and is still being carried out by unjust means. This disposes the right heir off their legal right. If we follow these laws nobody needs to go to anybody for a rightly inherited wealth.[pullquote_right]”Learn the laws of inheritance and teach them to the people for they are one-half of useful knowledge.”[/pullquote_right]
Inheritance for the family
Surah Al-Nisa lays out a complete description of the rules of inheritance in amounts of percentages for every member of the family (4: 11-176). Reading out these verses we will find one that says that the share of male is twice that of a female. Now this might seem unjust to some but females do not really have to feel bad about that because they are being provided by the father and the husband as well.
There is a position of females in Islam. In the older days of ‘Jahiliyah’ or ignorance the males were the only ones to be given a share and females. Islam has provided them with a share, may it be half but has exalted their level. There is very understandable reason behind it as well as Allah SWT do not ignore any of the two genders. Men have more responsibilities towards the house so they are provided more than the female counterparts. It is like safeguarding our social and economical interests. Women usually have less financial obligations and economical responsibilities. Islam holds the man financially responsible for the every need of his family so he gets twice the share.
Similarly sons inherit a share equivalent to two daughters so a brother will inherit twice as much as a sister. If there is just one woman in the house whether a daughter or a mother she gets half of the inheritance and if there are more they get two third part of the share. But before any wealth is distributed among the siblings and children, Allah SWT says:
“For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased Left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases (‘s) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah. and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise”. (4:11)
The wealth is to be distributed only after the share of the parents and spouse are provided to them. There are aspects to inheritance that we need to consider logically. Allah SWT has planned for the distribution not allowing us to disrespect out elders. Parents owe this obligation of their children. They should be considered primarily when something is being distributed. The spouse is also not ignored in this regard. So considering the fact that these are the standards to follow we have to apply them to ourselves accordingly because Allah SWT is fair and just to all.
Prophet SAW said, “Learn the laws of inheritance and teach them to the people for they are one-half of useful knowledge.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Sadaf Siddique holds a degree in Computers and a Masters in Business Administration. She is the mother of a 2-year-old boy, a part-time writer and a full-time homemaker.