What is Warasath?

Warasath can be called as Faraid in Arabic and Inheritance in English. The word Fara’id is a plural form of Faridah meaning mafrudah that is the share that has been predetermined. Faraid is one of the tools in estate distribution for Muslims. This is a set of laws pertaining to estate distribution among the heirs on how distribution is to be made on the deceased estate. The law of inheritance is derived from the Quran and Al-Hadiths. For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much a share ordained. Al Quran 4:7.

Islamic Inheritance law the Warasath or Miras is comprehensive system which provide total solution for the project. So Islam the religion of the creator of this world has clearly listed out the proportion of each individual.

Importance of Warasath

Since Islam acknowledges the right of individuals to own wealth and rights of community members and family to get a portion of the wealth. As and when a person end his life he leave whatever earned by him to let his kin and kith be in the prosperity. Since human incapable to decide and distinguish the portion of the relatives and always fall in confuse to evaluate the most closet with the right relation and portion.

As large numbers of Muslims reside in non-Muslim countries and not much aware of Islamic Inheritance law.  As such, the distribution of inheritance has caused controversies and fervent debates over the years. When there is no provision and/or there is no consensus, agreeable conclusion over the proportion of each and every are not clearly mentioned, the difference in opinion lead to quarrels and disunity.

Further the inheritance is a position where injustice take place when a person bequeath all his legacy to a particular non relative or group and leave inheritors bare handed and some bequest the total wealth or part of it to an inherited. All these acts are malpractices forbidden by Islam. The laws of Inheritance in Islam help in spreading wealth so that it cannot remain concentrated among a few individuals. On person’s death all his wealth is calculated and distributed among his heirs male and female in prescribed proportions.

As Islam has provided total life solutions. Also it is most obliged matter that a Muslim should have the family tie unbroken. The inheritance is a major cause for the breaking apart and disharmony of families. It is obligatory on Muslim theologians and heads to identify different issues and restrictions in wealth distribution faced by Muslims in upholding Islamic Inheritance law and acknowledge Muslims how these issues are resolved. 

If a Muslim due to non-accordance to apply Islamic law if any unjust took place in wealth distribution the portion he gets or give or assist to be transferred will not going to be Halal legal for him and He is obliged to return what is not his or his right as civil law or common law is not acceptable in this regard in the sight of Islam since divine law is contradicting it.

There should be legal provisions to challenge a predicted Warasath on the circumstances such as one or more of the beneficiaries were left out or allocated more or the less than the right of him. And Wasiyyath should be subject to be challenged if it exceeds the one third or bequeathed to an inheritor.

Common or Civil Law in Inheritance

In inheritance, the civil common rules permits us to give the inheritance to anyone that the testatrix wish, be it a family member, outsiders or even pets. The civil law recognizes such desires and upholds these wishes even though we deprive our heirs from receiving it, especially so where estates worth millions are left to pets. It can be considered as an injustice to the heirs but they are helpless even when challenging the legitimacy of such wills.

The civil courts tend to recognize and uphold the wills to be valid. In the Islamic context, Islamic law protects the rights of an individual to own or to inherit the estate or wealth but it does not allow any means or tools to hoard money. It is a balanced economic system that allows free movement and circulation of wealth among the masses.

Islamic Law specially Inheritance

Islam is a religion that covers all aspects of life of a Muslim through guidance of revealed knowledge, mainly Al-Quran and as-Sunnah. The two authorities Al-Quran and as-Sunnah have been the sources of Islamic law which govern the interaction between a Muslim with his social groups and economic organizations.  Miras, the Islamic Inheritance or Farail, is an integral part of Islamic Law. It is a systematic distribution process of wealth from predecessor to successor.

 Islam develops laws and an ethical system that enforces legal and halal means to accumulating wealth and a balanced way of spending and distributing it. It recognises the rights of others to such wealth through the Zakat, Charity and Inheritance. The introduction of Fara’id has replaced the inheritance laws of the jahiliyah and elevated the status of women by safeguarding their social and economic interest.  The Quran has raised the status of women by bestowing them a share of inheritance which was not the case before the advent of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. 

The law of inheritance is a comprehensive legal system that allows legal beneficiaries who are eligible to claim their share of the inheritance as guided in the Qur’an. No one is being deprived from his/her rights in the inheritance. The rights of the state are also upheld where taxes on inheritance or even debts are to be paid prior to distribution. Under certain circumstances the state can also be one of the beneficiaries of the inheritance under Islamic jurisprudence. Islam also did not submerge the total inheritance rather has left a portion for the Testator to be utilized for his after death life by bequest a portion of one third. The bequest the will the Wasiyyath is detailed separately in its page and Manual.

Characteristics of Islamic Inheritance law and some clarifications

The introduction of Fara’id has replaced the inheritance laws of the jahiliyah and elevated the status of women by safeguarding their social and economic interest.  The Quran has raised the status of women by bestowing them a share of inheritance which was not the case before the advent of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. 

In Indian Civil law even now women are not included in Inheritance or not allocated a portion for her as mentioned by a legal expert who is a higher ranked in race of Brahmin clan. Some other faith brothers query that if In Islamic Inheritance a male child offspring receives twice the share of a female child as equity and how society functions takes precedence over equality. This is a place where people just have overview to say that equality is not done. But in Islamic perspective men are given total family responsibility, obligations and burdens to look after his family.

According to Jurisprudence woman has no financial obligation at all. For an example Man has to pay Mahr to marry and He has to do the wedding in his expenditure, He has to provide the woman cloth, shelter and food. Woman even not obliged to feed milk for her child but man has to spend. Even the Zakath the Sadaka al fitr of woman has to be paid by the man whereby his failure constitutes sin. In this manner the inheritance portion of female child is exclusively her own and she need not share it with others. Now we need review out view whether more priority given to women.

Islamic ruling on Inheritance (Farail/ Miras)

Fara’id is a complete and comprehensive system for the legal heirs that outline the portions of each rightful beneficiary and the non-rightful beneficiaries applying the al-Hajb method. Inheritance originates from the Arabic word of ‘irs’ which means inheritance, heritage and bequest.  Similarly, the word ‘miras’ has the same meaning of inheritance which derives from ‘Warisa’ that means ‘to inherit’.  The person who inherits is called ‘waris’ which means heir, inheritor or successor.  Islamic inheritance law or Fara’il is an important branch of Shariah of which its application is made mandatory by Allah in Islamic society.  The Quran, as the principle divine source of Shariah, is unequivocally clear that Muslims inherits from each other as in An-Nisa (4:7):

“There is a share for men and a share for women for what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large – a legal share.” (Al Quran 4:7). Similarly, as narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas, the Prophet (pbuh) in relation to inheritance also said:  “Give the the shares (of the inheritance that are prescribed in the Quran) to those who are entitled to receive it. Then whatever remains, should be given to the closest male relative of the deceased.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)[1]. The sources of Fara’id can be seen in the Quran, Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and ijtihad of companions and tabi’in.  The Quran contains three verses of 11, 12 and 176 of surah An-Nisaa’ which give specific details of the rights of inheritors which are applied by Muslim jurists as stated.

Further details and rulings on Faraid can be found in Articles section.