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A woman waiving her right to her share of inheritance

Published: 27/08/2011 05:58:00 PM GMT
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Is it possible for a woman to waive her right to her share of her father’s estate without knowing what the value of her share is and without first taking possession of it? May she waive her right to her share without first seeking her husband’s permission or at least soliciting his opinion? Does the family home in which they all live constitute part of the divisible estate?


Answered by

Sheikh Hamad al-Haydarî, professor at al-Imâm University

The majority of scholars hold the view that it is not lawful to give a gift that is unknown. Therefore, if this woman is ignorant of the value of her share of her father’s estate, then her waiving it – essentially her giving it over as a gift – is invalid.

As for the question of her taking possession of her share, possession is construed to be automatic from the moment of her father’s death. No formal acceptance on her part is needed for it to be considered her property.

She is permitted to waive her right to her share of the inheritance without seeking her husband’s permission. She is the owner of the property and she is free to do with her wealth as she pleases. She might regard soliciting his opinion to be a good gesture that would fall under the general prescription of living with one’s spouse in an amicable manner. If this is the case, then consulting with him first would be a good thing.

However, I need to point out the sad fact that in some cultures a woman is expected to the point of compulsion to waive her right to the inheritance, so that the entire estate will be left to the male inheritors. If she does not do so, then she is looked upon with disdain and derision. This is a great social injustice against the woman that is diametrically opposed to Islamic Law.

If the family home had been the property of the deceased and he had neither made it part of a trust nor transferred ownership of it while he was still alive, then the house will be part of the divisible estate.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today




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