Problem of the other Half

Problem of the other Half


Viewpoint (Law of Inheritance) Nadeem Haidar We are all familiar with the problem about the "other half" of inheritance. If the only heir left is a daughter, she receives 1/2 of the inheritance. Where should the other 1/2 go? I do not want to claim I have a solution. But I feel I am quite near. The "solution" comes out of the problems that I discovered quite some time ago. I am stating them here. Please scroll down for the "solution" I am trying to present. Please note that the "solution" makes sense only if the problems do so. I mean if the problems are not interesting or worth your time and effort, then the "solution" isn't either. Problem 1 Suppose a man leaves his inheritance to one son and two daughters. The division would be like this: Make four equal shares. The son gets 2/4. Each daughter gets 1/4. If there's no son, then the daughters would get 2/3 of the inheritance. Each gets 1/2 of 2/3. So the share per daughter is 1/3. So the daughters get more benefit if they don't have a brother. The case is similar if there's just one daughter and one son. There would be 3 total shares. The son will get 2/3, the daughter will get 1/3. In the absence of the brother, the daughter will get 1/2. Again the daughter gets more benefit if there is no brother. Similarly, suppose there are three daughters and one son. There will be 5 shares. 2 for the son, 3 for the daughters. So the daughters get 1/5 each. In case there's no brother, the daughters would get 2/3 of the inheritance. And each share would be 1/3 of 2/3. That makes the share per daughter 2/9. Now 2/9 is greater than 1/5. Again the daughters get more if they don't have a brother. Let's now see what happens when there are four daughters and a son. There will be six shares, two for the son, four for the four daughters. So each daughter gets 1/6 of the inheritance. In case there is no brother, the daughters get 2/3 of the inheritance. Each of the daughters gets 1/4 of 2/3. So each gets 2/12, which is 1/6. So the daughters get the same amount of inheritance. Doesn't matter if they have a brother or not. Just one more calculation. Please bear with me. If there are 5 daughters, and a son. There will be 7 shares in total. The son gets 2/7. Each daughter gets 1/7. In the absence of the son, the daughters get 2/3 of the inheritance. Each daughter gets 1/5 of 2/3, which is 2/15. Now 1/7 is greater than 2/15. The daughters get more if they have a brother to share the inheritance with!!! For cases 1, 2 and 3, the share per daughter decreases if there is a son present. So the daughters have a disadvantage if they have a brother to share the inheritance with. For case 4, the share per daughter remains the same whether there is a son or not. From case 5 and onwards, the share per daughter increases if there is a son present. So the daughters have an advantage if they have a brother to share inheritance with! To sum this up, if the number of daughters is 1,2 or 3, they have a disadvantage if they have a brother to share the inheritance with. If there are 4 daughters, it does not matter if they have a brother or not. And if the number of daughters is 5 or more, they receive more out of inheritance if they have a brother??? I'm not sure what to call it. There's a simple answer, and there's a difficult answer. The simple one says that Allah made these shares. So there must be a good reason for these inconsistent calculations. The difficult answer is to see if we understand the law of inheritance the right way. It's not just a matter of theory. People take their shares very seriously. Serious enough to die or kill for it. And not just the people, Allah takes it seriously too. Now what? Do we need to take a serious second look at the law of inheritance? Problem 2. For the next problem, I am assuming a principle that more the heirs, less the share per heir. I hope common sense dictates that. Assume now that there are just 5 daughters of the deceased. They should get 2/3 of the inheritance which we can safely assume to be 1. The share per daughter is 2/3 * 1/5 = 2/15....... (1), the rest 1/3 goes to "wali." Now add a son to the scenario. There will be 7 shares in total. The son will get 2 shares out of 7 shares. Which is 2/7. The daughters will get 5/7. The share per daughter is 5/7 * 1/5 = 1/7.....(2). Compare (1) and (2). The daughters have different shares. In fact 1/7 is greater than 2/15. This implies that the share per daughter has increased when we add an heir, which is a son in this case. This defies the common sense principle that I mentioned earlier (the more heirs, the less share per heir). Example: Please see the cases 5,6,7 and 8. The inheritance that goes to the daughters increases if we add a son to the scenario. The total number of heirs increases, and the share per daughter also increases. This situation creates another problem. Problem 3. Shouldn't the share for the daughters be same? The amount that goes to a brother or to a "wali" relative should be same? Or, at least, the son should get more than a "wali"? Isn't the son a better "wali" than anyone else? Problem 4. How much amount goes to "wali" relative? Suppose again that there are just three daughters as heirs. They would receive 2/3 of the inheritance. The rest 1/3 will go to the "wali". Now suppose there is a brother as well along with the three sisters. We have 5 shares now. 2/5 will go to son, and 3/5 to three daughters. Now make the comparison. 2/5 is greater than 1/3. i.e. The brother gets more than the "wali". Now suppose that there are 5 daughters. Again they would receive 2/3. 1/3 will go to "wali". Once more, add a son as an heir along with 5 daughters. We have 7 shares in total, the son gets 2/7, the daughters get 5/7. Now, once more, make the comparison. 1/3 is greater than 2/7. i.e. the "wali" gets more than the son. So if the number of daughters is 3 or less, the "wali" gets less out of inheritance in comparison with the son, and, if the number of daughters is greater or equal to 5, the 'wali' gets more. Solution Thank you for your time and patience. All the above problems lose their "sting" if we take the following principles for the distribution of inheritance. 1. The "wali" is needed for the case of daughter(s) when they do not have an independent financial and social position in the society. The job of the "wali"is to take the 1/2 or 1/3 left out of inheritance and then take care of the financial affairs of the daughter(s). The brother, on the other hand gets whatever is his due share. He is not responsible for the financial affairs of his sisters. If the sisters want the brother to take care of their financial affairs, they will have to do business with him with whatever contract they can mutually work out. If the sisters are minors, the brother will approach their matter as someone taking care of the fatherless. Nothing more will be the financial obligation on the part of the brother. 2. The basic point is to take care of the financial affairs of the daughter(s). The state will decide about the person(s) who can play the role of the "wali". In case there is no such person(s), the state will play the role of the "wali". 3. Because the basic reason for finding a "wali"is to support the daughter(s) in financial affairs, the 1/2 or 1/3 left for the "wali"will be given back to the daughter(s) as soon as they become financially independent. 4. If we make the 1/2 or 1/3 the property of the "wali", then he is no longer bound to support the daughter(s) (as is the common practice in our society). The 1/2 or 1/3 that goes to the "wali" will, in fact, remain to be the property of the daughter(s). Because the daughter(s) are to get financial benefits out of it, the 1/2 or 1/3 will actually be daughter(s)' property. 5. If the daughter(s) are financially and socially independent, then there is no need for the "wali". The whole inheritance will be given to the daughter(s). Final Note I admit I may be all wrong. I still do not understand why the rule isn't simpler. Why is it that the case of one daughter is different? If there's one daughter, she receives 1/2. If there are two or more, they receive 2/3. The rule could have been simpler: just give 2/3 to the daughters if there's no son. The wisdom for this is not in my grasp yet. But I believe there is a reason for this as well, just waiting to be discovered. ______________




Author not found