Inheritance is an important things in Islam. It is considered as the integral part of the Sharia Law. Among the relatives in Islam, there is a legal share for the descendant in estate and property when a Muslim passed away. Inheritance is one of the most important part in Islamic laws. Quran mentioned many kind of different rights and restriction over the matters of inheritance. Including the type of Wasiyyah (will) and the list of heirs to receive the part of inheritance.
Here are what makes the importance of inheritance in Islam.
1. The different way of Distributing
Distributing the remaining inheritance is a duty should be performed when a Muslim died. Here are four of them:
- Pay the funeral and burial expenses
- Pay the debt of the deceased
- Determine the will of the deceased (one third of the property in maximum)
- Distribute the remaining of the estate to the descendant and relatives of the deceased based on Sharia Law.
2. Dividing inheritance is one of Allah commands
It is an obligation for every Muslim to follow the commandments of Allah (SWT) without any exceptions. As said above, dividing the inheritance fairly is one of the deceased Muslim’s will. Allah Almighty said,
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any opinion in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, has indeed strayed into a plain error.” – Al Ahzab (4:13-14)
3. Avoiding the rift between relatives about the inheritance
When a rich Muslim died, he surely left a lot of fortune behind to be shared among the descendant. The deceased work hard during the tim he lived so that his descendants could live a happy life. But given the human nature of greed, the inheritance may cause a rift between families if there is no strong ground to set the rules. Islamic law of inheritance define all meanings to share the inheritance fairly among men, women, daughters, son, and widows of the deceased. (Also read: How to Meditate in Islam)
4. Those who violating Islamic rules of inheritance will be punished severely
Violating the Islamic laws in Islam means disobeying the rules regarded as the act of snatching others’ right and property. It considered as transgressing the Islamic Sharia, be it only partially or wholly. The warning of violating the laws are given directly by Allah (SWT), in the Holy Quran.
“Those who disobey Allah & His Messenger and transgress His fixed limits, will be admitted to a fire to abide therein and they shall have a humiliating punishment.” – An Nisa (4:14)
This is confirmed once more by the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (SAW),
“Whosoever usurps any thing of others illegally without his permission he, on the Day of judgement, would be thrust into seventh layer of the earth.” – Fatawa Mazahirul Ulum.
5. Islam never ignore the rights of Muslim
The existence of inheritance in the Islamic laws shows that Allah is caring about every singles matters of Muslim’s right. Islam brings the justice for the ignorance whom rights are violated in the Islamic era: women, children, orphans, and the weak. To stop the injustice and make sure that the Muslim rights is delivered in the right way, the Islamic law of inheritance brings a revelation that the history never witnessed before. (Also read: Funeral Rights in Islam)
6. Law of inheritance comes from Allah Himself
To emphasize how important inheritance in Islam is, Allah Almighty doesn’t pass this through the Angels or His Messenger, but directly from Him to human through the verses in Quran.
“Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah . Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” – An Nisa (4:11)
7. Improving the status of woman
Quran defining the relatives and descendants whom possess the right of the inheritance when a Muslim dies. Those who mentions in the Holy Quran as the heirs of the deceased are: mother, father, husband, wife, daughter, uterine brothers, full sister, uterine sister, and consanguine sisters.
The mentioning of mother, wife, daughter, and sister is something never existed before. This is why Islam brings a new enlightenment to the rules of inheritance, because in the pre-Islamic era, the rights of woman are ignored. (Also read: Importance of Time in Islam)
8. Islam encourage the shares of inheritance
The mentioning of dividing the inheritance fairly according to the Islamic law proves how Islam encouraging Muslim to shares the inheritance in the right way, under the guidance of Allah (SWT). Inheritance mentioned in all three foundation of living in Islam: Quran, hadith, and fiqh.
9. Inheritance is an important thing to learn
The importance of inheritance in Islam is cited in the Hadith below:
As reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, may Allah have mercy upon them, on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Three things are essential to learn, and what is beyond them is just favorably optional: a precise (Quranic) Verse, a standing Sunnah or a just prescribed obligatory share (of inheritance).” (Also read: Importance of Sacrifice in Islam)
10. Allah promised rewards
Allah promises rewards to every Muslim who abides the rules of inheritance in Islam,
“These are the limits [set by] Allah, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted by Him to gardens [in Paradise] under which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein; and that is the great attainment. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses His limits — He will put him into the Fire to abide eternally therein, and he will have a humiliating punishment.” – An Nisa (4:13-14)
11. Inheritance is for the need
Inheritance should be divided and shared fairly in Islam for the sake of the need. A person who died no longer need any material things of the world. While for the descends who have to continue living, inheritance will lightens their burden.
Ibn ‘Üyaynah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “The science of the obligatory shares (of inheritance) is called half of the knowledge because all the people are in need of it.” (Also read: Importance of Jummah in Islam)
12. Learning about inheritance is important
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) encouraged Muslim to learn about the knowledge of Islam when he said
“O people! Learn farā’iḍ (knowledge of Inheritance). It is half of knowledge”. ‘Ilmul farā’iḍ is also important in the sense that it is a way of alleviating poverty. It raises the living standard of its beneficiaries.”
13. Inheritance is the reality of life
Sharing inheritance left by the deceased helps a person to realize about the reality of life. Living day by day, every person needs material support, thus make inheritance has to be shared and cleared immediately. Moreover, if the deceased is the backbone of the family (i.e. father), the matters of inheritance will be come of a big help to the widows and children. (Also read: Importance Of Forgiveness In Islam)
14. Inheritance shows the generosity of Islam
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Know that none among you that do not prefer his heirs wealth to his own. Your wealth is that which you send forth(as charity etc), and your heirs’ wealth is that which you leave behind”.
The knowledge of inheritance encourages a person to be generous towards them who are in need.
15. Inheritance is another form of charity
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) died, he decided to share his inheritance not to his heirs, but for those who is in need.
As narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah said, “Not even a single Dinar of my property should be distributed (after my deaths to my inheritors, but whatever I leave excluding the provision for my wives and my servants, should be spent in charity.” (Also read: The Importance of Education in Islam)
Other Importance of Inheritance in Islam
- Dividing inheritance makes the deceased’s family (especially the children) to live an easier life.
- Other person should be benefited from the wealth of a deceased Muslim.
- By dividing the inheritance means fulfilling the rights of the deceased.
- Laws of inheritance in Islam defining the women’s position and the shared they should have.
- Inheritance is one of Allah’s commands.
So those are the importance of inheritance in Islam. As the law of inheritance is quite complex, it’s better to ask a scholar who mastered in this field better than any of us.