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Islamic Inheritance law is a field of jurisprudence (fiqh) in Islamic Law (Sharia). While most detailed topics of Islamic law are not discussed in the Qur'an, Islamic inheritance law is unique as it takes up multiple pages of the holy book. While the inheritance laws revealed to Muhammad in the Qur'an generally improved the fate of female heirs relative to their fate in pre-Islamic Arabia, Islamic inheritance laws do favor male heirs, since, according to the Qur'an, "Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient..." (tr. Pickthall; emphasis added).
So while Islamic inheritance law stopped the practice of inheriting widows and guaranteed female heirs a share of their deceased male relatives' estates, its also required that one's daughter inherit just half of what one's son would inherit. Thus, while the reforms brought by Islam were progressive by the standards of 7th century Arabia, they stifle the advancement of women's rights today.
Wasiyah, or bequest
While the specifics of inheritance are outlined in Islamic scriptures in great (and sometimes contradictory) detail, leaving little choice for deliberation, there is a portion of a person's inheritance that they are allowed to distribute as they please - so long as no part of this third is given to a family member whose share is already outlined by the Qur'an (though this requirement can sometimes be overturned if all inheriting family members agree to allowing some of their group to inherit more than they are due). This segment is called the wasiyah and can be up to one third of one's estate.
And whoso changeth (the will) after he hath heard it - the sin thereof is only upon those who change it. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower.But he who feareth from a testator some unjust or sinful clause, and maketh peace between the parties, (it shall be) no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And when kinsfolk and orphans and the needy are present at the division (of the heritage), bestow on them therefrom and speak kindly unto them.And let those fear (in their behaviour toward orphans) who if they left behind them weak offspring would be afraid for them. So let them mind their duty to Allah, and speak justly.
And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid). And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) have a brother or a sister (only on the mother's side) then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth, and if they be more than two, then they shall be sharers in the third, after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted) not injuring (the heirs by willing away more than a third of the heritage) hath been paid. A commandment from Allah. Allah is Knower, Indulgent.
But then, if it is afterwards ascertained that both of them merit (the suspicion of) sin, let two others take their place of those nearly concerned, and let them swear by Allah, (saying): Verily our testimony is truer than their testimony and we have not transgressed (the bounds of duty), for them indeed we should be of the evil-doers.Thus it is more likely that they will bear true witness or fear that after their oaths the oaths (of others) will be taken. So be mindful of your duty (to Allah) and hearken. Allah guideth not the froward folk.