Inheritance of parents

  1. He inherits the whole estate of his son or daughter if he is the only heir.
  2. He gets one-sixth (1/6) of the estate if the deceased leaves behind
  • Son(s)
  • Male descendant(s); or any of these combination of heirs:
  • Son(s) and daughter(s).
  • Daughter(s) and male descendant(s).
  • Male and female descendants.
  1. The father inherits 1/6 of the estate PLUS the residue in the presence of daughter(s), female descendants(s) or a combination of daughter(s) and female descendant(s).

The rationale behind giving him the residue is that females do not exhaust the estate, hence there is likely to be left-over after all heirs have gotten their shares. But exclusive males or combination of males and females as in (2) above inherit the whole residue, thus, the father receives just 1/6.


The mother’s share depends on the presence or absence of a set of heirs we shall refer to as “gamma.” It comprises of:

  • Son(s)
  • Daughter(s)
  • Male descendant(s)
  • Female descendant(s)
  • Two or more full brothers or sisters
  • Two or more consanguine brothers or sisters
  • Two or more uterine brothers or sisters
  • A full brother and a full sister
  • A consanguine brother and a consanguine sister
  • A uterine brother and a uterine sister
  1. The mother receives one-third (1/3) of her son’s/daughter’s estate if he/she does not leave behind any member of gamma.
  2. She gets 1/6 of the estate in the presence of any member of gamma.

By “any member” we mean at least one out of the ten classes listed above. Note that one son, one daughter, one male descendant and one female descendant each makes a class, but a single brother or a single sister of whatever kind (full, consanguine or uterine) does not make a class.

Secondly, the mere presence of two or more brothers or sisters relegates mother from 1/3 to 1/6 EVEN IF THEY ARE EXCLUDED. For instance, a man passes on and leaves behind a wife, mother, father and two full sisters. How will his estate be distributed? The wife receives ¼. Mother should have gotten 1/3 but full sisters will partially exclude her to 1/6. Incidentally, father excludes full sisters (rule 18), meaning that the remaining heirs are mother and father. Now, since the sisters are not inheriting, will mother be entitled to 1/3? No. she still gets 1/6 because the rule says “in the presence of any member of gamma,” not “when any member of gamma is inheriting along with her.” The residue then goes to the father.

Let’s assume the deceased leaves behind a brother and a sister, two brothers or two sisters that are not of the same kind such as full and consanguine, uterine and full or similar combination. Will his/her mother still be excluded from 1/3 to 1/6? Definitely, even if one excludes the other. Supposing a woman is survived by her husband, mother, full brother and consanguine sister; ½ of the estate goes to the husband and mother receives 1/6 due to the presence of two siblings even though full brother excludes consanguine sister. The residue is given to the full brother.

  1. In special cases called ‘Umariyyataini, mother inherits 1/3 of the residue.

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We have received a number of emails from those who visited this website or downloaded and read INHERITANCE IN ISLAM. Almost all of them were questions on either aspects of inheritance not covered in the book or clarifications needed regarding specific cases. Hence, we thought it wise to reproduce the emails so that others may benefit as well. As always, we welcome suggestions, criticisms and of course, more questions!

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