Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Who are the legal heirs of a deceased married woman and at what proportion her estate will be divided among legal heirs..?

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)



Firstly, please allow us to explain the fundamental laws regarding the distribution of inheritance:

The first things that must be paid from the wealth of the deceased are his debts.

If anything remains after paying his debts, then the next thing that must be acted upon is the will of the deceased.  In Shariah, the deceased has a right to will upto a maximum of 1/3 (one-third) of his wealth to be given to anyone of his choice after his death, except that he cannot will anything to any of his legal heirs. 

After the fulfillment of the debts and the will of the deceased, the balance amount will be distributed amongst his legal heirs, exactly according to the distribution parameters of the laws of inheritance of Allah Subhanah, as stated in the Glorious Quran.

Your statement: Who are the legal heirs of a deceased married woman and at what proportion her estate will be divided among legal heirs..?

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verses 11-14:

11      Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance): to the male a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters two or more their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one her share is a half.  For parents a sixth share of the inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children and the parents are the (only) heirs the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth.  (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye 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.

12      In what your wives leave your share is a half if they leave no child; but if they leave a child ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts.  In what ye leave their share is a fourth if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts.  If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants but has left a brother or a sister each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone).  Thus is it ordained by Allah and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing.

13      Those are limits set by Allah: those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath to abide therein (for ever) and that will be the Supreme achievement.

14      But those who disobey Allah and His Messenger, and transgress His limits will be admitted to a Fire to abide therein: and they shall have a humiliating punishment.

At the death of the wife, the wealth which she left behind would be distributed amongst her legal heirs (her father, her mother, her husband, her children, etc.)

Because you have not provided us with all the relevant details, we will have to make some assumptions:

We will assume that both the parents of the woman in question died before her.

  1. We will assume that the total value of the house/lands/properties/cash/jewelry, etc. left behind by the woman at the time of her death was 100,000.00.

Thus, assuming the above, the woman in question was survived by her husband and one daughter at the time of her death. Thus the wealth she left behind will be distributed as follows according to Shariah Law:

Her husband would receive 1/4th or 25% or (in this assumption) 25,000.00

  1. Her daughter would receive ˝ or 50% or 50,000.00.
  2. The balance (100,000 – 25,000 -50,000) 25,000.00 will be distributed amongst her other legal heirs, ie brothers and sisters; if no brothers/sisters survived her, then the children of her brothers and sisters; or if she had no brothers/sisters, then to her uncles/aunts who survived her, etc.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brother in Islam,



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