Inheritance And Testamentary Wills

Question

We are two sisters (both married) without a brother. My parents are alive and own a house in Islamabad as well as some property in UK. My father has one sister and four brothers and his mother is alive too. He was sharing with me his will a while ago which says that after he expires, if our mother lives in the house which he has built for themselves, we, the sisters must do let her by buying the shares of my father's brothers as per Islamic inheritance laws. I would like to know what exactly does Islam prescribe in this case as it seems so cruel to me that my mother will have to vacate her house if she is unable to buy the share of my father's brothers. Could you please throw some light on this particular case?


Answer

According to the Islamic Sharī'ah the brothers of a deceased have no share in inheritance. First the share of the wife and mother will be handed over to them and then the remaining part is divided among the daughters. However, daughters do not get all of it and they are entitled only to two third of the total. Now there remains a part which can go to brothers and sisters of the deceased if the deceased leaves a will in their favour. Therefore, according to the Sharī'ah laws the share of the brothers and sisters is not necessary if the deceased has offspring. He can leave a will for the remaining part making sure that his wife is not deprived of the house she lives in.

One thing, however, is very clear that Sharī'ah has stipulated defined shares for each of the close relatives. Now no one can ignore the rights of the heirs. It is not right to alter the divine directives. But it is also a fact that the share of your mother would be much less than yours. This means she will not be the owner of the house. Since your father is not leaving a will that the remaining part must go to his brothers there is no question of buying their part of the house from them. Mostly it is upon you sisters to decide if you would want to let her live in the house or not.

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