We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Inheritance - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

Inheritance

Source:
The Islamic World: Past and Present What is This? Accessible coverage of Islam from the seventh century to the twenty-first century

    Related Content

    Inheritance

    The Qur'an contains more specific guidelines on inheritance than on any other subject. For this reason, customs have remained largely unchanged for centuries. Inheritance is, however, one of the topics on which Sunni and Shi'i law sharply disagree.

    Prior to the founding of Islam, Arabs followed a patriarchal, or male-dominated, system of inheritance. A deceased person's property passed to the nearest male relative on the father's side of the family. The Qur'an introduced important changes. Female relatives, including wives, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers of the deceased, received a fixed share of the inheritance. The remaining property then passed to the senior male in the family. The Qur'an did not, however, eliminate inequality between men and women with regard to inheritance rights. In most cases, a woman was entitled to only one-half of the share of a man inheriting from the same family member. Furthermore, some women were intimidated when they tried to pursue their inheritance rights, and in some cases, women did not receive their share of an estate because they were ignorant of the law.

    According to Sunnis, the Qur'anic verses on inheritance only modified the existing system of dividing an estate. Consequently, Sunni legal experts have developed a complex set of rules that reconcile the requirements of both pre-Islamic and Islamic traditions. Shi'is, by contrast, believe that the Islamic law of inheritance supersedes the pre-Islamic system. In practice, Shi'is keep most of the inheritance in the immediate family and often place the daughter(s) of the deceased in a more favorable position than under Sunni law.

    Islamic law places limits on wills. A Muslim may include no more than one-third of his or her property in a will so that the majority of the estate will be preserved for the heirs mandated by the Qur'an. Sunni law further prevents an individual from giving property to relatives who are already due to receive a share. Moreover, a Muslim who is ill and nearing death may not give away any property and thus diminish the portions prescribed by the Qur'an.

    Typically, an estate will have a large number of rightful heirs. Because the requirements of the law would divide the property into small unusable shares, Muslims sometimes set aside land in a waqf. This is the practice of reserving property and the income it generates for charitable purposes. See also Charity.

    • Previous Result
    • Results
    • Highlight On / Off
    • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
    • Next Result
    Oxford University Press

    © 2021. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice