Jazakallah Khair for your many wonderful answers. I have a question regarding inheritance laws in the Shariah as relating to adulterors.
If a daughter of a Muslim couple decides to marry a non-Muslim (kaafir) person. Is she still entitled to receive her share of inheritance from her father’s and her mother’s property? Is it possible for the parents to de-bar her from any inheritance in their own life time? Is it illegal for her siblings to debar (de-legitimize) her from the inheritance after the death of her parents (on the basis that she has married a non-Muslim)? I would appreciate if you can cite the relevant ayaat from the Quran as well as the pertinent ahadith in support of your answer. Please also, if possible, state the mainstream positions of the Hanafi, Shaafii, and Maliki maslak1 on this issue.
Jazakallah Khairan for the anticipated prompt answer.
As far as fornication or adultery is concerned, I am not aware of any scholar, who holds that a person guilty of such crimes is debarred from getting his prescribed share of inheritance. The only two conditions in which the Muslim Jurists, generally, debar a person from getting his prescribed share of inheritance are: 1) where the person is guilty of murdering the person from whom he is inheriting the share; and 2) where the person converts to becoming a non-Muslim2.
However, it should remain clear that the situation that you have explained in your second paragraph should not be considered as one that may be termed as fornication or adultery.
My opinion regarding the referred situation is that even after the stated circumstances, the daughter shall be legally eligible for her share of inheritance in her father’s/mother’s property. The basis of this opinion is, in fact, the lack of any argument to the contrary in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
As far as the opinion of the Muslim Jurists is concerned, they do not accept such a marriage to be valid under the Islamic law and, therefore, have generally not even discussed issues like inheritance for a woman involved in such a marriage. Nevertheless, this should not be taken to imply that the parties involved in such a marriage are guilty of fornication. Even if the opinion of the Muslim scholars is taken to be absolutely correct, it only implies that the stated marriage is not allowed/recognized by the Shari`ah, this, however, does not refute the existence of the marriage itself.
I would not recommend for the parents to debar their daughter from inheritance during their lifetime, as this would amount to altering the shares prescribed by the Almighty.
I hope this helps.
January 5, 2001
- i.e. opinion.
- I agree with the first of the two stated conditions. However, in my opinion, the second of the two stated conditions is not correct. For details, please refer to one of my earlier responses titled: ‘Eligibility of Shares in Inheritance for non-Muslims’, included in volume 3 of this book.