This answer was provided by Dr. Zakir Naik.
Inheritance in the Quran
The Glorious Quran contains specific and detailed guidance regarding the division of the inherited wealth, among the rightful beneficiaries.
The Quranic verses that contain guidance regarding inheritance are:
* Surat A-Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 180
* Surat A-Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 240
* Surat An-Nisa, chapter 4 verse 7-9
* Surat An-Nisa, chapter 4 verse 19
* Surat An-Nisa, chapter 4 verse 33 and
* Surat Al-Maidah, chapter 5 verses 106-108
Specific share of inheritance for the relatives
There are three verses in the Quran that broadly describe the share of close relatives i.e. Surat An-Nisah chapter 4 verses 11, 12 and 176. The translation of these verses is as follows:
Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females, if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; If only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; If no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. You know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. In what your wives leave, your share is half. If they leave no child; but if they leave a child, you get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what you leave, their share is a fourth, if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eight; after payment of legacies and 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 and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone). Thus it is ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing. (An-Nisa 4:11-12)
They ask you for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (them) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance. If (such a deceased was) a woman who left no child, Her brother takes her inheritance. If there are two sisters, they shall have two thirds of the inheritance (between them). If there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah (swt) makes clear to you (His knowledge of all things). [An-Nisa 4:176)
A Female sometimes inherits same or more than male counterpart.
In most of the cases, a woman inherits half of what her male counterpart inherits. However, this is not always the case. In case the deceased has left no ascendant or descendant but has left the uterine brother and sister, each of the two inherit one sixth.
If the deceased has left children, both the parents that is mother and father get an equal share and inherit one sixth each. In certain cases, a woman can also inherit a share that is double that of the male. If the deceased is a woman who has left no children, brothers or sisters and is survived only by her husband, mother and father, the husband inherits half the property while the mother inherits one third and the father the remaining one sixth. In this particular case, the mother inherits a share that is double that of the father.
A Female usually inherits half the share of that of the male counterpart
It is true that as a general rule, in most cases, the female inherits a share that is half that of the male. For instance in the following cases:
1- daughter inherits half of what the son inherits,
2- wife inherits 1/8th and husband 1/4th if the deceased has no children.
3– Wife inherits 1/4th and husband 1/2 if the deceased has children
4- If the deceased has no ascendant or descendent, the sister inherits a share
that is half that of the brother.
A Male inherits double than the female because he financially supports the family.
In Islam, a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married, it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman.
After she is married, it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family. In order to do be able to fulfill the responsibility the men get double the share of the inheritance.
For example, if a man dies leaving about 150000 rupees, for the children (i.e. one son and one daughter) the son inherits 100000 rupees and the daughter only 5000 rupees. Out of the one hundred thousand which the son inherits, as his duty towards his family, he may have to spend on them almost the entire amount or say about 80000 and thus he has a small percentage of inheritance, say about 20000, left for himself. On the other hand, the daughter, who inherits 50000 is not bound to spend a single penny on anybody. She can keep the entire amount for herself. Would you prefer inheriting 10000 rupees and spending 80000 from it, or inheriting 5000 rupees and having the entire amount to yourself?
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