08 July 2011

Investigating Qur’anic inheritance laws

The traditional view of inheritance in Islamic law comes from the following verses:

Allah enjoins you about [the share of inheritance of] your children: A male's share shall equal that of two females (Qur'an 4:11); If there are many brothers and sisters, the share of each male should be that of two females. (Qur'an 4:176)

While the above seem clear enough, and were taken as the basis for the inheritance laws laid down by the traditional schools of Islamic law, there is on the other hand the fact that the Qur'an also tells all Muslims to make a will specifying inheritance of their assets.

.... The question now arises, what is the Qur'anic position on inheritance? Is inheritance to happen according to the specified formulae, in which case women will inherit half as much, or according to an individually decided will, in which case no formulae apply? There is an obvious contradiction between these two alternatives. [altmuslim] Read more