Unlocking the Complexities of Muslim Law of Inheritance

by Bhavya Choudhary · 3 min read

Muslim law of inheritance


  • The passing on of land, money, and home to the next generation to safeguard it for the family is called inheritance. The theme of the blog is the Muslim law of inheritance, which refers to the rules that govern how wealth is passed down to Muslim families. 
  • This is governed by the law in India and is covered by Muslim personal law under the Muslim law of inherence.
  • The problems of succession in the families have occasionally come up. Thus codification was introduced to improve the conditions of the existing inheritance laws that weren’t codified at the time. 
  • For any situation relating to this or will registration, only a lawyer who is registered with the Bar Council of India should be consulted for legal consultation under Muslim law of inherence.
  • There is an Indian Succession Act of 1925 also which governs the same. Muslims who are under the ambit of the Special Marriage Act is barred from the Muslim law of inheritance.

Four sources of Muslim law for the formation of Muslim Law of Inheritance

  • The Sunnah, which is the Prophet’s way of life;
  • the Holy Quran;
  • the Ijma, which represents the community’s learned men’s agreement on how to resolve a given issue;
  • The Qiya is the derivation of what is just and right in relation to the righteous rules established by God.

Basic rules of Succession under Muslim Law of Inheritance

Whatever the schools, the following are the general inheritance laws under Islam:

  • Both movable and immovable property is included in the deceased person’s inheritance, and there is no separation between the two.
  • Joint family property or self-acquired property are not concepts.
  • Only when a person dies does the issue of property inheritance arise. In a Muslim family, a child’s right to property is not given to him at birth.

Four important things to note down to do after someone dies according to the Muslim law of Inheritance

It is important to complete the following four tasks in the specified order once a Muslim dies under the Muslim law of Inheritance-

  • paying for the deceased’s debts,
  • funeral, and burial costs;
  • determine the deceased’s estate’s value;
  • distributing the estate’s residual assets in accordance with Sharia law to the deceased’s heirs.

Why is succession important in the Muslim law of Inheritance?

  • According to Islamic law, it is crucial for a person to leave behind money and other assets for his family.
  • In such circumstances, he may only designate a third of his property to non-blood relatives.
  • This means that the family can still receive at least two-thirds of his property.
  • According to Islamic law, he is prohibited from showing undue favoritism toward any one heir, and a bequest or will that favors some of his heirs without the knowledge and approval of other lawful heirs will be void.

How succession of the property happens in the Muslim Law of Inheritance?

  • When a person passes away, his or her property may be distributed in one of two ways: according to his or her testamentary Will or, in the absence of a Will, in accordance with the laws of succession (intestate).
  • The inheritance is then devolved once the conditions for inheritance have been met, i.e., the funeral costs, debts, and bequests have been paid.
  • Muslim law defines the heirs as the legal successors of the decedent who, provided they are not prevented from inheriting, are permitted to do so by the Shari’ah.
  • In specific shares, the heirs succeed to the estate as tenants-in-common.
  • In Muslim law, joint tenancy is not allowed, and the heirs are solely treated as tenants-in-common under the Muslim law of Inheritance.

What are Shares and Residuary under the Muslim law of Inheritance?

The heirs are additionally divided roughly into the two significant categories of Sharers and Residuaries under the Muslim law of Inheritance.

  • The uterine brother, uterine sister, full sister, and consanguine sister are among the sharers, along with the spouse, wife, parents, father, and daughter.
  • There are four of these sharers who occasionally inherit as sharers and occasionally as residuary.
  • The father, daughter, full sister, and consanguine sister are those people.
  • If the estate is still in existence after being divided among the Residuaries, they are the ones who inherit in the absence of the immediate Sharer under the Muslim law of Inheritance.

Distribution under Muslim law of Inheritance?

The Muslim law of Inheritance talks about the distribution in such a way-

  • The Hanafi law primarily makes use of the per capita distribution.
  • The estate is divided equally among the heirs using this approach.
  • As a result, a person’s share is determined by the number of heirs.
  • It might be viewed as a more straightforward and streamlined method of allocating the property.
  • The per capita distribution is mostly used in Hanafi law. This method results in an equal distribution of the estate among the heirs.
  • As a result, the number of heirs determines each person’s portion.
  • It could be considered a simpler and more efficient way to distribute the property.
  • Under Shia law, the latter, per strip distribution, is utilized.
  • In this case, the property will be divided among the heirs in accordance with the group or class to which they belong.
  • As a result, the inheritance is determined by the branch and the number of members of that branch.
  • The property passes to the other branch if the first branch has no legal heirs and to the third branch if there is no second branch under the Muslim law of Inheritance.


  • The Hindu Succession Act is a single legislation, whereas the Muslim succession act in India is made up of numerous separate laws. 
  • But under the Muslim law of Inheritance, depending on the sect a person belongs to, they apply to them differently. This blog has touched on a few of the many distinctions between Shia and Sunni inheritance rules.
  • Furthermore, it is significant that all members of society must abide by the general tenets of Islamic law. 
  • The laws are a product of centuries of norms and practices observed by the Islamic community worldwide, albeit they are not entirely codified. Will registration and other queries about the Muslim law of inheritance should be dealt with the legal consultation. 

Muslim law of inheritance is technical, and one must take help from a professional to understand the same.

Bhavya Choudhary

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Bhavya Choudhary

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