The Holy Quran states “Allah has purchased from the believers their persons and their wealth in lieu of Jannah. ” Man is a trustee of the wealth that he owns for his duration of his life. When his term of life expires, his trusteeship over his wealth and property expires. It has then to be redistributed in accordance with the directive of The Absolute Owner Allah Ta’la. Directives regarding the distribution of wealth after the demise of the provisional owner are explicitly detailed in the Holy Quran.
Inheritance Laws deals with distribution of one’s wealth after he/she expires. It deals with two key issues: 1. Provide laws pertaining to distribution of wealth amongst heirs, so heirs don’t fight. 2. Ensure that a just system can be established and the wealth is not accumulated into single entity. General Inheritance Law in Islam is based on following considerations: 1. Break up the concentration of wealth and distribution of wealth in society.
2. Respect right of ownership of an individual that he earned through legal means, and not allow any individual, group or government to confiscate his property after his demise. 3. Endorse and consolidate strong family system by justly distributing wealth amongst the heirs. 4. Provide peace of mind that after our demise our family will be given their just right of inheritance. 5. It pays especial focus on women’s inheritance, as women were denied their right to inheritance in other systems. General Principles of Succession and Inheritance under Muslim Law can be summaries as under:
1. Nature of the Heritable Property: Heritable property is that property which is available to the legal heirs for inheritance. After the death of a Muslim, his properties are utilised for the payment of funeral expenses, debts and the legacies i. e. wills, if any. After these payments, the remaining property is called heritable property. Under Muslim law, every kind of property may be a heritable property.
But under the Shia law, a childless widow is entitled to get her share (1/4) in the inheritance only from the ‘movable property’ left by her deceased husband. 2. Joint or Ancestral Property: The concept of a joint family or of coparcenaries property (as is recognised under Hindu law) is not known to Muslims. Whenever a Muslim dies, his properties devolve on his heirs in definite share of which each heir becomes an absolute owner. Subsequently, upon the death of such heir, his properties are again inherited by his legal heirs, and this process continues.