Author (williamcruse). Submitted on Sun, 25 Mar 2012
Islamic Inheritance is a an obligation, a fara’id, for all Muslims of all “schools of thought” without exception. I had often heard from clients in my private practice, particularly those from Lebanon, that for the Shia, the rules are different in that boys and girls get exactly the same share of inheritance, while the Sunni get inheritance in the proportions mandated in the Quran (4:11), which is to say two shares for the boy for every one share for the girl.
While I can’t be certain whats going on in Lebanon, a recent story on how civil marriages still cannot take place and how part of the problem are these different rules of inheritance and that religious leaders cannot do interfaith or inter-sectarian marriages (an absurd notion, since a Sunni marrying a Shia does not make each person half of each school of thought, it would only be one way regardless of who the person is married to) highlighted this issue. in any event, this is not Islam, Shia or Sunni. There is no special Shia Quran that abrogates 4:11 of the Quran. The proportion is the same. The idea they are different is simply a myth.
What does happen that is different, is that Muslims, all Muslims of all schools of thought, can give up to 1/3 of their assets to a wasiyyah. This is typically to charity or other beneficial purposes. Sunnis cannot use this 1/3 to give to people who are already entitled to inheritance under the Islamic Rules of Inheritance. This is because of a hadith “no bequest must be made to an heir” (reported in Abu Dawud and others). In all Sunni schools of thought, giving inheritance to an heir is absolutely prohibited.
Shias can and do make bequests to heirs, including daughters. Not only that, they can do this in islamicinheritance.com, though its not a built in option. This is how you do it:
1) Follow the wizard with all family information
2) In the wasiyyah section, name whoever you want. If you want someone who is already an heir (thus prohibited to inherit based on all Sunni schools of thought) you are free to write it in.
3) Follow the wizard as normal, make payment.
Thats all. By writing this, I am not encouraging this kind of planning or commenting on its validity or invalidity, only the facts. I happen to hold the view that in Islam giving more to a child then the allotted shares is prohibited, but realize there are many Muslims who disagree. However islamicinheritance.com is a help yourself solution and is not meant to exclude anyone in the Muslim community who wants to plan based on their own values. Indeed, there are no religious restrictions on use of the website at all. We hope you use it to do justice.