Jumu’ah Khutbah: Fara’id – Muslim Inheritance Law~The Legend News 

16th Rabi’ath-Thaani 1444 AH

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuh.


All Praises are due to Allah who sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His ayat, purifying them and teaching them the Book and Wisdom. I bear witness to the one-ness of Allah in His Essence and Attributes and also to the servanthood of our leader and prophet, Muhammad (SAW). May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His Confidant, Muhammad (SAW), his family, companions and those who follow their path until the Day of Judgment.

O Brethren! I exhort you and I to show gratitude to Allah for the special favours He has bestowed upon us. These favours are many and uncountable, even if you want to count them. You can only remember these favours when you ponder and try to provide answer to Allah’s question: “Is it they who portion out the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work. But the Mercy (Paradise) of your Lord is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass” (Q43:32).

Islamic Inheritance is not merely about who gets what or how much. Of course, Islamic Inheritance has ordained shares, but the shares are not useful to you because you don’t get them unless you are a beneficiary. You understand that justice comes from Allah. Allah has ruled regarding inheritance a certain way, and you have accepted Islam as your religion. Therefore, you plan based on the Islamic rules of inheritance. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequest not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it” (Bukhari) and the limit of the bequest has been capped at one-third while the remaining two-thirds are to be distributed as legislated by Allah.

Fara’id stipulates how the estate of a Muslim is to be dealt with and distributed after his or her death. The way an inheritance is divided is a religious duty that Allah has provided us with detailed guidance in the Qur’an. Our obligation is to understand this guidance so as to be able to implement it correctly and also take the necessary steps to prevent the misappropriation of our estate after we are gone.

The first consideration in the Islamic Inheritance law, which is the most fundamental, is what you own during life – a list of your assets and their locations and the title documents. Next is a list of liabilities standing against you. These two take precedence before who gets what after death. This may seem obvious, but it is why perhaps most so-called “Islamic Wills” are often useless. It does no good to say something like “the wife gets 1/8th” without understanding “1/8th of what?”
In some jurisdictions where Shariah is not the default law and some cultures and traditions, we observe a lot of injustices. Either the distribution is titled in favour of the spouse or brother of the deceased to the exclusion of other qualified heirs or some are disqualified on the basis of sex (e.g., female children are exempted).
The Islamic inheritance system came to the rescue of all qualified heirs from injustices that were prevalent before Islam. Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated that Rasulullah (SAW) said that “A man may do good deeds for seventy years but if he acts unjustly when he leaves his last testament, the wickedness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the fire. If (on the other hand), a man acts wickedly for seventy years but is just in his last will, the goodness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the garden” (Ibn Majah).
For Muslims, giving everything to the surviving spouse after death when there are other beneficiaries is prohibited since Allah has designated a number of people as beneficiaries in the event of your death. Unfortunately, though, Muslims do this all the time. While it is assumed the surviving spouse will take care of the children with what she gets, this is not necessarily the case. The survivor may (and if it is a male, will likely quickly) get married. If the survivor also dies, the new spouse may be the beneficiary, accidentally disinheriting the children.
The estate of a deceased goes to the heirs that have been legally indicated in the Qur’an. Neither the State nor any other person or authority has the right to a part of the estate except where the deceased was not survived by any relative – near or distant. In this regard, Allah provides that “For men is a share of what parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much- an ordained share” (Q4:7). This verse clearly confirms that both men (males) and women (females) are entitled to inheritance from their parents or close relatives, which include spouses.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Give the Fara’id, (the shares prescribed in the Qur’an) to those who are entitled to receive it, and then whatever remains, should be given to the closest male relative of the deceased.”

As part of the brotherhood of Islam and the mercy which the Messenger of Allah epitomizes, Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, “I am closer to the believers than their own selves, so whoever (of them) dies while being in debt and leaves nothing for its repayment, then we are to pay his debts on his behalf and whoever (among the believers) dies leaving some property, then that property is for his heirs.”

From this hadith we can extract the following rules:
1. The Islamic State, represented by the Prophet (then), is responsible for every one of its citizens.
2. The Islamic State guarantees the payment of debts owed by the deceased who leaves nothing of his estate to meet the obligation.
3. The Islamic State is responsible for the children and other dependants of a deceased whose estate cannot support them.
4. A deceased’s inheritance goes to his legal heirs and the Islamic State has no share in it.
5. Only in the absence of a legal heir does the Islamic State take the inheritance.

Allah (SWT) also declared: “And for everyone we have appointed heirs to what is left by parents and relatives. And to those whom your oaths have bound you; give them their share (as a bequeathal through a Will). Indeed, Allah is a witness over all things” (Q4:33). And Ibn ‘Abbas when explaining this verse narrated that: “When the emigrants came to Medina, the Ansar used to be the heir of the emigrants (and vice versa) instead of their own kindred by blood (Dhawl-l-arham), and that was because of the bond of brotherhood which the Prophet had established between them, i.e., the Ansar and the emigrants. But when the Divine Verse:–
‘And to everyone We have appointed heirs,’ (Q4:33) was revealed, it cancelled the other order i.e. ‘To those also, to whom Your right hands have pledged.’
As earlier explained in our discussion of a Muslim Will, the bequeathal is limited to a maximum of one-third of the estate.

O servants of Allah! Know that proper adherence of the Shariah guidance of inheritance is to ensure the harmony and maintenance of our families after we are gone so that as we are happy with each other while in their midst, the happiness continues after you and each and every good member continue to make supplication for you after you are gone. But note that our families are not just a place of biological commonality but in many respects, a sacred space. It is why you will need to make sure that you do not destroy the harmony with a wicked Will.
The guidance that Allah has given is the perfect fit for our plans for the family. So, “O mankind! Verily, the promise of Allah is true (and absolutely certain to come to pass). So let not this present life deceive you, and not let the chief deceiver (Shaitan) deceive you about Allah. Surely, Shaitan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only entices people to join his group so that they may become the dwellers of the blazing fire” (Q35:5-6).


All Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds and blessings and salutations of peace be upon the Chief of the Worlds, the possessor of the crown and the Ascension and overflowing generosity and grace and also upon his Progeny and his Companions and his Household and his Wives and blessings and (upon them all) blessings and peace.

O servants of Allah! We will now present the specific issues relating to inheritance management in Islam as follows:

Priority of payments
As stated in Part1, all the assets of the deceased must be ascertained, tagged and location with title documents properly stated. But before the estate of the deceased can be distributed to his heirs, all debts owing by the deceased and all prior claims against him must first be paid. In order of priority, payments from the estate are as follows:
a. Satisfaction of religious obligations, such as
i. satisfaction of all zakat payments that are unpaid;
ii. performance of the Haj through an acceptable proxy if he had not done the Haj and had expressed interest as such;
iii. making donations of the specified amount to redeem fast days unobserved as expiation;
b. Payment of funeral expenses.
c. Redemption of mortgaged property.
d. Payment of all other debts owing by the deceased.
e. Payment of legacies under a valid will.
f. Distribution of net estate among Specified Heirs (described below).

Specified heirs
As stated earlier, the two third share of the Deceased’s estate that is subject to Shari’a inheritance rules will differ depending on which Islamic sect the Deceased belonged to.
Distribution of deceased’s property follows a hierarchy of three classes of heirs:
1. First class often referred to as the Quranic Heirs or Sharers – This group consists of the dead person’s parents, spouse, children, and in the absence of children, the grand-children, however low, and among them whoever is nearer to the dead person inherits his property. And as long as even a single person from this group is present, people belonging to the second group do not inherit.
2. The second group consists of paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, and sisters, brothers, and in the absence of sisters and brothers their children, whoever from among them is nearer to the dead person, will inherit from him. And as long as even one person from this group is present, people belonging to the third group do not inherit.
3. The third group consists of paternal uncles and paternal aunts and maternal uncles and maternal aunts, and their descendants. And as long as even one person from the paternal uncles and paternal aunts and maternal uncles and maternal aunts of the dead person is present, their children do not inherit. However, if the paternal step uncle and the son of the real paternal uncle are present, the son of the dead person’s real paternal uncle will inherit from him to the exclusion of the paternal step uncle.

There are six heirs who will always inherit if they survive the Deceased and these are, husband/wife, son, daughter, father and mother.
The first group are entitled to specific shares, but they cannot all inherit at the same time and some may exclude others:
• A husband is entitled to half his deceased wife’s estate if she has no children. If she has children, he is entitled to a quarter share. A wife is entitled to a quarter share of her deceased husband’s estate if she has no children. If she has children, she is entitled to one eighth.
“In that which your wives leave, your share is half if they have no child; but if they leave a child, you get a fourth of that which they leave after payment of legacies that they might have bequeathed or debts. In that which you (the husband) leave, their (your wives) share is a fourth if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eighth of that which you leave after payment of legacies that you may have bequeathed or debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third after payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts so that no loss is caused (to anyone). This is a Commandment from Allah; and Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Most-Forebearing.” Q4:12
• Sons usually inherit twice as much as their sisters when one of their parents dies. “Allah commands you for your children’s (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (Q4:11). Concerning the reason behind revealing this Ayah, Ahmad recorded from Jabir Ibn Abdullah (RA) that he said, “The wife of Sa`d bin Ar-Rabi` came to Allah’s Messenger (SAW) and said to him, `O Allah’s Messenger! These are the two daughters of Sa`d Ibn Ar-Rabi`, who was killed as a martyr at Uhud. Their uncle took their money and did not leave anything for them. They will not be married unless they have money.’ The Messenger said, `Allah will decide on this matter.’ The Ayah about the inheritance was later revealed and the Messenger of Allah sent word to their uncle commanding him as directed in the Ayah.
Allah commands justice and most especially with our children. The people of Jahiliyyah used to give the males inheritance rights to the exclusion of the females. In the event that there are no male children, other male relatives usurp the estate (as described in the hadith above). Therefore, Allah commands that both males and females take a share in the inheritance, although the portion of the males is twice as much as that of the females. There is a distinction because men need money to spend on their dependants, commercial transactions, work and fulfilling their obligations. Consequently, men get twice the portion of the inheritance that females get.
The Share of the Females When They Are the Only Eligible Heirs
• Allah said: “… if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance …” Q4:11. We should mention here that some people said the Ayah only means two daughters, and that `more’ is redundant, which is not true. Nothing in the Qur’an is useless or redundant. Had the Ayah been talking about only two women, it would have said, “The share of both of them is two-thirds.” As for the daughters, two or more, the ruling that they get two-thirds was derived from this Ayah, stating that the two sisters get two-thirds. We also mentioned the Hadith in which the Prophet commanded that two-thirds be the share of the two daughters of Sa`d bin Ar-Rabi`. So, this is proven in the Book and the Sunnah. However, “… if only one, her share is half …” (Q4:11).
• In the absence of children, the grandchildren or remoter issue would inherit although the daughter’s children are unlikely to inherit even if the daughter has died.
We will draw the line here today to continue later (insha-Allah).
O Allah! We appreciate and thank you for the favour of being elected in the Party of Muhammad and with the clear guidance on all matters concerning our Dunya and the Aaakhirah. We ask that you plant the love of your beloved Prophet into our heart and make him the light with which we sojourn in our worldly life, the light that will abide with us in the grave, the light that will accompany us into the Mah’shar (the Great Assembly), the light to cross the Siraat and the light to enter the Jannah. We ask that You accept our ibaadah and forgive all our shortcomings.

Allahumma Aaamiin Ya Rabbil A’lameen.

Wassalamun alal mursaleen wal hamdulillahi rabbil aalameen.

Suleiman Zubair

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