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Chapter thirty-eight » Miscellaneous rules of inheritance

Ruling 2791. The deceased’s Qur’an, ring, sword, and clothes which he had worn or had kept in order to wear, belong to the eldest son. If the deceased had more than one of the first three things – for example he left two copies of the Qur’an or two rings – the obligatory precaution is that the eldest son must arrive at a settlement with the other heirs regarding those things. The same applies to the reading stand (riḥāl) for the Qur’an and the gun, dagger, and other weapons. The sheath of the sword and bookmark for the Qur’an are regarded as being part of those items.

Ruling 2792. If the deceased has more than one eldest son – for example, two sons are born of two wives at the same time – the items mentioned earlier must be divided equally among them. This rule is specific to the eldest son even though there may be daughters older than him.

Ruling 2793. If the deceased has a debt which is equal to his estate or more, the eldest son must give those things mentioned earlier that belong to him to settle the debt, or he must pay their equivalent worth from his own wealth. If the debt of the deceased is less than his estate but his estate without those items that belong to the eldest son is not sufficient to settle his debt, then the eldest son must give from those items or from his own wealth to settle the debt. However, if the rest of his estate is adequate to clear the debt, then the obligatory precaution is that the eldest son must still participate in clearing the debt in the manner mentioned previously. For example, if the estate of the deceased is worth £600 and the items that belong to the eldest son are worth £200 and the deceased has a debt of £300, the eldest son must pay £100 from the items he received to pay off the debt.

Ruling 2794. A Muslim inherits from a disbeliever (kāfir) but a disbeliever does not inherit from a deceased Muslim, even if he is the deceased’s father or son.

Ruling 2795. If a person kills one of his relatives intentionally (ʿamdan) and unjustly, he does not inherit from him. However, if the killing was justified – for example, it was a retributory punishment (qiṣāṣ) [as sanctioned by a judge], or the legal execution of a punishment, or it was in self-defence – then he does inherit from him. The same applies if the killing was due to some error. For example, if he threw a stone in the air and by chance it hit one of his relatives and killed him, he inherits from him; however, he does not inherit from the blood money (diyah) that his relatives pay for the killing. As for manslaughter – i.e. killing someone, without intending to, by intentionally doing something to the person that would not usually result in death – this does not prevent him from inheriting.

Ruling 2796. Whenever it is proposed to divide the inheritance, the share of a child who is in its mother’s womb and will inherit if it is born alive must be kept safe. This is on condition that it is known whether it is one child or more and whether it is male or female, even if this is discovered using scientific instruments. If it is not known but a reliable probability exists that there is more than one child in the womb, the share of one son multiplied by the probable number of children must be put aside. And in the event that, for example, one son or one daughter is born, the extra amount must be divided between the heirs.
← Chapter thirty-eight » Inheritance of husband and wife
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