Inheritance of spouses depends on the presence or absence of:
- Male descendants
- Female descendants
Let’s call this group of heirs “beta.” Male descendants refer to grandson through son, great-grandson through grandson through son, etc., while female descendants are granddaughter through son, great-granddaughter through grandson through son, and so on. Remember that granddaughter through daughter is a non-heir; great-granddaughter through grandson through daughter is a non-heir; likewise great-granddaughter through granddaughter through son is also a non-heir.
- He receives half (½) of his late wife’s estate if she has no surviving member of beta with him, from a previous marriage or any circumstance that legalises a child to inherit from his mother.
- The husband is entitled to one-quarter (¼) of his late wife’s estate if she leaves behind at least one member of beta with him, from a previous marriage or any circumstance that legalises a child to inherit from his mother.
Supposing a woman has a child outside wedlock, gets married and eventually passes on without a legitimate child, the husband will inherit ¼ of her estate because the child is recognised by Shari’ah; though other factors have to be considered like difference of religion and so on. We will like to re-emphasise that sexual relations between unmarried individuals is forbidden in Islam. As a result, both parties are to be punished as appropriate. Nevertheless, the child that results is as clean and innocent as any legitimate child.
- The share of a wife from her late husband’s estate if he has no surviving member of beta with her or from a previous marriage is ¼. Two, three or four wives are to share the ¼ equally.
- If the husband has at least one surviving member of beta with the wife or from a previous marriage, she receives one-eighth (1/8). Two, three or four wives share the 1/8 equally.
- Male heirs
- Female heirs
- Non heirs
- Impediments to inheritance
- Exclusion – Part 2
- Exclusion – Part 3
- Note on difference of opinion
- Inheritance of children
- YOU ARE HERE: Inheritance of spouses
- Inheritance of parents
- Inheritance of grandparents
- Inheritance of siblings
- Residuaries (‘Asabah)
- Partial exclusion
- Inheritance arithmetic (“inherithmetic”)
- Procedure of solving inheritance problems
- Levels of inheritance problems (Level one)
- Level one – continued
- Lowest Common Multiple (LCM)
- Highest Common Factor (HCF)
- Prime numbers
- Increment of base number (‘Awl)
- Level two – Part 1
- Level two – Part 2
- Level two – Part 3
- Level two – Part 4
- Level three
- Inheritance of grandfather along with siblings
- Inheritance of grandfather along with siblings in the presence of other heirs
- Special cases
- Summary of rules
- Further reading
- Solutions to exercises
Your Questions, Our Answers
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!