Share of Parents in Inheritance and Issue of A’wl

Dear Sheik

Assalamu o Aalikium we Rahmatullah e wa Barakatuhu

I am Hale from Turkey.

I have encountered a book about the share of wealth.

What do you think about this book?  is it accurate?

As I understood from the book that there is no share for mother or father of the deceased if the deceased has son (see Part I Status I ).

But I understand from the ayat (al-Nisa 11) that there should be a share for both of them. Is it accurate?

Or maybe I have confused the point.

Hale, Turkey

February 2011

Dear Brother

Assalam o alaikum wa Rahmatullah

I really appreciate your interest in religion. From which city do you belong. I visited Turkey in 2009 and wrote a travelogue for that but it is in Urdu.

I’ve read the book. There are certain points with which I disagree.

The author has reversed the sequence of inheritance. According to the long academic tradition of all religious schools of thought, the preference of division is as follows:

1. Any loan payable

2. Bequest

3. Parents

4. Spouse

5. Children

6. If children are not available, then brothers and sisters will replace the children.

The author has started with children and then others. The Quranic instructions are like this statement:

“These are 10,000 Turkish Lira for your children. However, please give 1/3 to your father.”

How would you divide the 10,000 lira? Anyone who will understand English, will give 1/3 to the father and then divide the rest among children. It does not mean that the parents will not have such share. The same is true according to the Quranic instructions, which are:

يُوصِيكُمْ اللَّهُ فِي أَوْلادِكُمْ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الأُنثَيَيْنِ فَإِنْ كُنَّ نِسَاءً فَوْقَ اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ وَاحِدَةً فَلَهَا النِّصْفُ وَلأَبَوَيْهِ لِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِنْ كَانَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَوَرِثَهُ أَبَوَاهُ فَلأُمِّهِ الثُّلُثُ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَهُ إِخْوَةٌ فَلأُمِّهِ السُّدُسُ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِي بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ لا تَدْرُونَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ لَكُمْ نَفْعاً فَرِيضَةً مِنْ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً. وَلَكُمْ نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ أَزْوَاجُكُمْ إِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَلَكُمْ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْنَ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِينَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ وَلَهُنَّ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ إِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌ فَلَهُنَّ الثُّمُنُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ تُوصُونَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ وَإِنْ كَانَ رَجُلٌ يُورَثُ كَلالَةً أَوْ امْرَأَةٌ وَلَهُ أَخٌ أَوْ أُخْتٌ فَلِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ فَإِنْ كَانُوا أَكْثَرَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ فِي الثُّلُثِ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصَى بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَارٍّ وَصِيَّةً مِنْ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَلِيمٌ۔

CONCERNING [the inheritance of] your children, God enjoins [this] upon you:

—— The male shall have the equal of two females’ share;

—— but if there are more than two females, they shall have two-thirds of what [their parents] leave behind;

—— and if there is only one daughter, she shall have one-half thereof.

—— And as for the parents [of the deceased], each of them shall have one-sixth of what he leaves behind, in the event of his having [left] a child;

—— but if he has left no child and his parents are his [only] heirs, then his mother shall have one-third;

—— and if he has brothers and sisters, then his mother shall have one-sixth after [the deduction of] any bequest he may have made, or any debt [he may have incurred].

—— As for your parents and your children – you know not which of them is more deserving of benefit from you: [therefore this] ordinance from God. Verily, God is all-knowing, wise.

—— And you shall inherit one-half of what your wives leave behind, provided they have left no child;

—— but if they have left a child, then you shall have one-quarter of what they leave behind, after [the deduction of] any bequest they may have made, or any debt [they may have incurred].

—— And your widows shall have one-quarter of what you leave behind, provided you have left no child; but if you have left a child, then they shall have one-eighth of what you leave behind, after [the deduction of] any bequest you may have made, or any debt [you may have incurred].

—— And if a man or a woman has no heir in the direct line, but has a brother or a sister, then each of these two shall inherit one-sixth;

—— but if there are more than two, then they shall share in one-third [of the inheritance], after [the deduction of] any bequest that may have been made, or any debt [that may have been incurred], neither of which having been intended to harm [the heirs]. (Al-Nisa 4:11-12)

A mistake was committed by some of our ancient scholars that they assumed that each of the share mentioned in these verses will calculated on total estate of a deceased person. This misunderstanding resulted in a mathematical error in certain cases. For example, if a woman leaves an estate of TL 100,000 and also behind two daughters, a husband and parents. According to the Quran, their share will be 2/3 + 1/4 + 1/6 + 1/6 respectively which will be more than 100,000 in total: 66,667 for daughters, 25,000 for husband, 16,667 for father and 16,667 for the mother. This will result in a total of 125,000 while the estate amount is 100,000.

Some scholars reduced shares of all inheritors in proportion of their share in order to resolve the issue. This issue is called A’wl. The perception that A’wl exists in the Quran was heavily criticized by A’bdullah Ibn A’bbas رضی اللہ عنہما, the famous companion of the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم. The issue of A’wl expounded by our scholars also invited heavy criticism from orientalists who portrayed it as a weak point in the Quran.

The author is this book has tried to answer the orientalists and claimed that there is no mathematical mistake in the Quran, however, he has committed another mistake by changing the sequence of dividing the property.

Some scholars of present time have conducted research on this issue. According to them, the shares of each will be calculated on the remaining amount after giving the inheritance share. In above mentioned case, the shares will be divided as follows:

1. Parents will be given 1/6 of total estate i.e. 16,667 each. Remaining Amount = 100,000 – 16,667 – 16,667 = 66,666

2. Share of husband will be 1/4 of 66,666 = 16,667. Remaining Amount = 50,000

3. Share of daughters will be 2/3 of 50,000 = 33,333. Remaining Amount = 16,667

4. This remaining amount could be distributed on the basis of court judgment and the judge will determine who deserves more this amount.

In this way, no A’wl is present in the Quran.

I agree with such scholars on this point of view.

Please feel free to ask should you’ve any question.



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Share of Parents in Inheritance and Issue of A’wl
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