Muslims have clear and precise rules regarding the distribution of inheritance. They believe that these laws are divinely laid down infallibly in the Qur’an, leaving no room for doubt. However, it’s important to note that the Quranic laws are not compatible with the existing Indian Succession Act of 1925, the 1956 Hindu Succession Act, and its 2005 amendment, The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. These legal systems differ fundamentally from Islamic principles. Implementing a Uniform Civil Code based on these laws could harm the religious freedom of Muslims. Let’s now delve into the key points where Islamic Shari’a disagrees with Indian laws regarding the rights of inheritance.
The fundamental basis of Indian law rests on the notion that the ultimate owner of the property is the individual who acquired it. As a result, this individual holds the right to determine how their property should be distributed and to whom it should be bequeathed, both during their lifetime and after their passing. Conversely, Islamic law is founded on the belief that Allah is the ultimate owner of all property and that He has entrusted it to certain individuals. Accordingly, the distribution and transfer of this property should be carried out under His instructions, even after the owner’s demise.
This distinction in foundations is first evident in the laws concerning wills. Under Indian law, a person has the freedom to decide, during their lifetime, how their self-earned property should be distributed upon their death. If someone chooses to allocate specific portions to their loved ones and drafts a will accordingly, the property will be distributed according to their wishes, known as testate succession. Indian law grants individuals the right to allocate their entire property to anyone of their choosing and to exclude those they do not wish to benefit, all under their will.
According to Islamic law, two-thirds of a person’s property, regardless of whether it was self-earned or inherited, is rightfully allocated to their heirs after their demise. Islam permits making a will for one-third of one’s property and not beyond that so that the rights of the legal heirs are not adversely affected. Legal heirs, such as the mother, father, wife, husband, son, or daughter, are entitled to fixed shares from the property regardless of the individual’s personal preferences. Islamic principles do not allow anyone to disregard the inheritance rights of their heirs simply because they may not favour them. On the other hand, Indian laws allow an individual to bequeath their entire property through a will. This is not in line with Islamic values. Islam considers such an action a grave injustice to the rightful heirs. Even in situations where a person has multiple children or spouses, Indian law permits an individual to distribute their property unevenly among their chosen son, daughter, wife, or girlfriend through testate succession, disregarding the rights of others. This disparity between Islamic and Indian laws highlights the potential for one heir to inherit the entire property while others may be left with little or nothing, which contradicts the principles of fairness and equality upheld by Islamic teachings.
Under Islamic law, the concept of inheritance through a will is not permitted. According to Islamic principles, only one-third of a person’s property can be bequeathed to non-heirs or preferred individuals, while the remaining two-thirds are distributed among the rightful heirs as prescribed by Islamic Shari’a. This ensures that the heirs cannot be influenced or strategize to inherit more than their entitled share. Islamic Shari’a establishes testamentary rules in a manner that eliminates any potential loopholes for exploitation. None of the heirs, whether spouses, children, or parents, can exert influence or inherit more property than the stipulated amount at the time of the individual’s passing. This system guarantees that the one-third designated for distribution through the will is safeguarded for its rightful recipients and cannot be manipulated or overridden by any party.