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Inheritance in Permanent Marriage

Adopted from the Book : "Temporary Marriage in Islamic Laws" by : "Sachiko Murata"

VIII. Inheritance (Mirath)

Husband and wife inherit from each other according to set rules. The only condition for inheritance is a valid marriage contract, not consummation of the marriage.

If the wife should die childless, the husband inherits one-half of her property; if she had a child or children, he inherits one-fourth. If the husband should die childless, the wife inherits one-fourth of her property; if he had children, she inherits one-eighth.

If the deceased wife should have no other relatives, all property goes to the husband. If the deceased husband should have no other relatives, the wife will inherit one-half the property and the rest will go to the bayt al-mal (the community treasury), except according to one of two Shi'i opinions, which holds that she inherits all the property.1 If the deceased husband had more than one wife, the wife's share is divided among them equally.
The husband inherits from everything left by the wife. According to the Sunni schools, the wife also inherits from everything left by the husband; in general the Shi'is hold that if she does not have any children from the husband, she inherits from all property except land, though she does inherit from the value of property situated upon the land, such as buildings, trees, implements, etc.2

If a woman should be in a period of revocable divorce when she or her husband dies, her situation is the same as that of an ordinary wife. But when irrevocable divorce has taken place, there is no inheritance, with the exception of divorce during illness. If the husband should be ill and divorce his wife irrevocably, and if she should then die, he does not inherit from her; but if the husband should die as a result of the illness, the schools differ as to the situation. The Hanbalis hold that the wife inherits as long as she has not remarried. The Hanafis say that she inherits as long as she is still in her waiting period. The Malikis hold that she inherits in any case. The Shafi'is have two opinions, one that there is no inheritance, the other that the situation is as the Hanafis say. The Shi'is maintain that she may inherit within one year of the divorce provided she has not remarried.3

1. Sharh al-lum'a, VIII, 65-66; Riyad, II, 366.

2. Sharh al-lum'a, VIII, 172 74; Riyad, II, 367.

3. Sharh al-lum'a, VIII, 172; Riyad, II, 367, 369.

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