Faraid is that section of the Islamic law that deals with the distribution of the estate of a deceased person among his heirs in accordance with Allah’s (God) decree in the Holy Quran and according to the hadith or tradition of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
The Syariah Court (Islamic Court) in Singapore has jurisdiction over the method of distribution of a deceased person’s estate among his next of kin in accordance with Islamic law, as provided for under sections 112 and 115 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA).
What is an estate?
Estate is all the assets and liabilities of a deceased person, which, according to Islamic law, may be inherited by the deceased person’s heirs.
What are the types of estates?
– Immovable property such as a building, a piece of land, a plantation, etc.
– Movable property such as money, shares, jewelry, equipment, vehicles, clothes, etc.
– Money owed to a deceased person.
– Property that has been mortgaged or pawned by a deceased person and that is redeemable.
– Property purchased by a deceased person during his lifetime for which payment has been made by
him but which has not been delivered to him until his death.
– Mahr (Dowry) that has yet to be paid to a wife until the wife’s death.
– Other assets such as savings, CPF money, shares, unit trusts, bonds and insurance policies approved by Islamic law.
– All the aforesaid property in and outside the residence of a deceased person.
– All other assets of material value.
What is the basis of Faraid?
Faraid is based on:
“Allah enjoins you concerning your children: the male shall have the equal of the portion of two females; if there are more than two females, they shall have two-thirds of what he has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have the sixth of what he has left if he has a child: but if he has no child and only his two parents inherit from him, then his mother shall have the third; but if he has brothers, his mother shall have the sixth after the payment of any bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt. You know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (4:11)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Give the appointed portions to those entitled to them. Then whatever remains is for the nearest male.” (Narrated by Bukhari).
Ijmak and Ijtihad of the companions of the Messenger of Allah, imams of mazhab and mujtahid of proven knowledge.
A substantial part of Faraid and the section governing the distribution of property among heirs are provided for in the Quran. Only a small part is determined on the basis of Hadith and Ijmak.
Who are the beneficiaries?
Beneficiaries are the persons who have the right to inherit the estate of a deceased person on the basis of their relationship with the deceased by descent and marriage.
Male: son, grandson (and his direct male descendants), father, paternal grandfather, brother, half-brother (by the same father), half-brother (by the same mother), nephew (brother’s son), nephew (half-brother’s son), paternal uncle, father’s half-brother (by the same father), son of paternal uncle, son of father’s half-brother (by the same father), husband
Female: daughter, granddaughter (son’s daughter), mother, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, sister, half-sister (by the same father), half-sister (by the same mother), wife
What is Baitulmal?
Baitulmal is the body or institution that functions as a trustee of the Muslims. It looks after assets from which members of the Muslim public can benefit.
In Singapore, the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura [MUIS] administers the Baitulmal. The estate of a deceased person goes to the Baitulmal under the following circumstances:
– There is no rightful beneficiary to the estate.
– All beneficiaries have received their shares, yet there is still a portion that remains of the estate.
– There is no claimant to the estate.
– The deceased person leaves no heir.
Order of sequence of rights on the estate
When a person dies, those living must do the following with the estate that the deceased leaves behind, in the following order:
i) To discharge all his obligations relating to zakat, various kaffarah or penalties for oath, zihar, coition whilst fasting in the month of Ramadan, coition whilst in the state of ihram during hajj or umrah, homicide, etc.
ii) To pay for his funeral expenses.
iii) To settle all his debts to his fellow beings. The settlement of such debts shall include the performance of the hajj on his behalf if he had not already done so in his lifetime, and the payment of mahr if payment had not already been made. Even if the deceased died testate, the settlement of all his debts must precede the disposal of his estate that is spelt out in his testament.
iv) To execute his will. A will is not for a person’s heirs. The amount of estate provided for in a will for disposal shall not exceed one-third of the remaining estate after the settlement of (i) to (iii) above.
v) To distribute the remaining estate among his heirs after settlement of (i) to (iv) above.
The next of kin of a deceased person are entitled to the deceased’s estate regardless of the amount. The estate must therefore be distributed among them in accordance with the law of Allah except to those who disclaim their right thereto. In the event that a beneficiary is away from the country or is missing, his share of the estate must be set aside for him until his return.
Concealing the estate of a deceased person from those who are entitled to it is an act of deceit. It is haram (forbidden) and cruel to do so. Any beneficiary who is involved in such an act, either directly or indirectly, shall be answerable to Allah in this world and in the hereafter.
A Muslim cannot ignore the rule of Allah and dispose of the estate of a deceased person according to the rule or custom of a particular country.
Why is a woman’s share half that of a man?
Daughter inherits 1/2 of what the son inherits
Wife inherits 1/4 and husband 1/2 if the deceased has no children
Wife inherits 1/8 and husband 1/4 if the deceased has children
If the deceased has no ascendant or descendants, the sister inherits 1/2 share that of the brother
Male inherits double than female because he financially supports the family. In Islam, a woman has no financial obligation. Financial responsibility lies on the shoulder of the man. Before a woman is married, it is the duty of the father and brother to look after her financial requirements. After she is married, it is her husband’s or son’s duty. Islam holds the man financially responsible for the needs of his family. In order to fulfill the responsibility, the men get double the share of inheritance.
What is the wisdom behind Faraid?
Faraid is ordained in great detail by Allah in the Quran. Muslims must abide by this rule of Allah in all circumstances. Allah has decided upon the rights of inheritance on the basis of the responsibilities of men and women. Allah has fairly and systematically made the choice of beneficiaries.
Under the Islamic social system, women are not obliged to work for a living. It is the responsibility of the male members of families to earn a living and to provide for their womenfolk. When a woman weds, she receives a mahr the quantum of which she herself determines. She has the absolute right to decide on the manner in which the mahr is to be used. The mahr is given to her by the man she marries. Given the fact that women have the privilege of protection by men, it is clear that what has been decided as their share vis-à-vis the distribution of estate is equitable.