Quran claims to be a clear document.
After a family tragedy,
family members will be deeply saddened and must then allocate the
Let's assume a case where the deceased left $100,000,000. Ask 100 people
and there will be 1000 different allocations. The Quran does not mention
who determines the allocation, and in many cases no allocation is
mentioned. There will be huge
fights, and greedy people will try to find ways to get all this money.
The laws of inheritance are described via 2:240, 4:11, 4:12 and
35) It just doesn't add up: Sura 4:11-12, 176
speaking on the inheritance law, specifies that when a man dies,
and leaves behind [for instance] three daughters, two parents and
a wife, the 3 daughters will receive 2/3 of the inheritance, 1/3
will go to the parents together [according to verse 4:11] and 1/8
for the wife [4:12] which adds up to more than the available
estate. A second example: If a man leaves only his mother, his
wife and two sisters, then the mother receives 1/3 ( 4:11), 1/4
for the wife [4:12] and 2/3 for the two sisters [4:176], which
then adds up to 15/12 of the available property.
To summarize my understanding of 4:11, 4:12 and 4:176, an inheritance is
allocated among children, parents, siblings, and wives. Below are a small
sample of cases that the Quran does not adequately address:
In some translations of 4:11 it mentions 2 or more daughters,
others mention more than 2 daughters.
In 4:11 the Quran did not bring up the case of a deceased who only
The case of daughters only but no parents was not mentioned.
The verse does not address adopted-children, concubines,
right-hand-possessions and non-believers. Most cases are not
explicitly mentioned, so different people interpret it differently.
It ignores the case of a single person that dies, with no
living parents, siblings or children.
A man dies while having a pregnant wife. Is that (future)
child entitled to a share? We must determine when life begins.
A husband dies and has an infant. When should this child be
entitled to receive the inheritance?
Is the mother allowed to spend this inheritance money by
providing for the infant? Who
takes custody of the money?
A state has an inheritance law that determines the proper
allocation. However, the state will allow an exemption whereby
Muslims can follow their own traditions. Now some family members
believe in Islam, some don't and some are considered kaffirs by some
but not all Muslims. Under
which of these cases should we follow Islamic law?
An unmarried couple lives together and has children, the
husband dies. Is his partner and child entitled to the inheritance?
The wife commits adultery and has a child that is brought up
by her husband. Is the child considered a child of the biological
parents or the parents that brought her up?
If there is a joint bank account, and the husband dies, is
the wife entitled to the entire account?
There is a
married lesbian couple, and one of the partners gives birth. Who is
considered the wife, the father and the mother?
A rich brother and poor sister die at approximately the same
time. If he died first then his sister would get much of the money
which would be distributed to her family. If she died first then the
brotherís family would get most of the money. Suppose we don't
know who died first?
Maintenance for wives
2:240 seems to
indicate that a husband must leave provisions for one year for his wives.
This adds further questions: Suppose one does not have a will, should this
be imposed on the husband? Is this bequest in addition to any inheritance,
the wives are otherwise entitled to? How much money does maintenance
imply? Are the wives entitled
to the entire inheritance when there are insufficient funds to provide for
one year? Or perhaps we should just ignore 2:240, see below:
Volume 6, Book 60, Number 53: Sahih Bukhari
Narrated Ibn Az-Zubair:
I said to 'Uthman bin 'Affan (while he was collecting the Qur'an)
regarding the Verse:-- "Those of you who die and leave wives
..." (2.240) "This Verse was abrogated by an other Verse. So why
should you write it? (Or leave it in the Qur'an)?" 'Uthman said.
"O son of my brother! I will not shift anything of it from its