The eldest son, even if he is in the womb, will receive habwah
from his father – i.e. some particular personal items as gift – which are his copy of the Holy Quran, his ring, his sword, and his clothes, even if they are more than one. However, this will come in priority after a debt which the estate can fully pay off. Furthermore, the habwah
is only for the eldest immediate son, and it is not given to the grandchildren.
Inheritance of the Second Category
Ruling 801: If there is nobody in the first category to inherit from the deceased, those in the second category will inherit, i.e. the grandparents and siblings. If there is only one person from this category, he will inherit the whole estate.
Ruling 802: If heirs of the deceased are his siblings, whether by both parents or one of them, they will receive the whole estate, and it will be divided equally amongst them if they are all of the same gender or if they are all the deceased’s siblings by his mother only – whether they are of the same gender or not. If they are siblings by the same parents or by the father only and their genders are different, the males will inherit twice the amount as the females.
Ruling 803: If the deceased has siblings, some of them being by both parents or by the father, and some of them being by the mother, if the sibling by the mother is only one he will receive one-sixth. If they are more than one, they will all receive a total of one-third of the estate which will be divided equally amongst them. The rest will be inherited by the other siblings by both parents or by the father only, and will be divided equally if they are all of the same gender, or each male will receive double the amount received by each female.
Ruling 804: A sibling by the father only will not inherit if there is a sibling by both parents.
Ruling 805: A grandparent of the deceased will block the inheritance of a great-grandparent. So if the deceased has grandparents, and their parents are also alive, the former only will inherit, and the latter will not.
Ruling 806: If the deceased is survived only by his grandfather and grandmother, if they are his father’s parents the grandfather will receive two-thirds and the grandmother will receive one-third. If they are his mother’s parents they will both receive a half each.
Ruling 807: If the deceased is survived by his grandparents and siblings, the grandfather will inherit the amount that a brother by both parents will receive, and the grandmother will inherit the amount that a sister by both parents will receive, whether they (the grandfather and grandmother) are paternal or maternal.
Ruling 808: The children of one’s siblings will stand in place of their fathers or mothers only if all the siblings are deceased. If a brother or sister is present, the nephews and nieces will not inherit.
Inheritance of the Third Category
Ruling 809: If there is nobody in the first of second category, those in the third category will inherit; and if there is only one uncle or aunt, he or she will be the sole heir.
Ruling 810: If there is an uncle or aunt who is a brother or sister of the deceased’s father by his father only (i.e. his half-brother or sister), then he will not inherit if there is a brother or sister of the deceased’s father by both parents (i.e. his real brother or sister). In fact, the presence of a cousin whose father is a real brother to the deceased will prevent the deceased’s uncles from inheriting if the uncle is the deceased’s father’s half-brother by the father only.
Ruling 811: If the deceased is survived by only his paternal uncles and aunts, then his estate will be divided amongst them equally if their gender is the same. If some of them are uncles and some are aunts, the uncles will get double the amount received by the aunts, whether they are the siblings of his parents by both parents or by either one of them.
Ruling 812: The maternal uncle who is the deceased’s mother’s brother by the father only will not inherit if there is a maternal uncle who is his mother’s brother by both parents.
Ruling 813: If the deceased is survived by only his maternal uncles and aunts, then his estate will be divided equally.
Ruling 814: If paternal and maternal uncles and aunts are the heirs, the maternal uncles and aunts will receive a third of the total which will be divided amongst them equally, and the rest will be divided amongst the paternal uncles and aunts as explained above.
Ruling 815: The children of the uncles and aunts will inherit only if all the uncles and aunts are deceased, in which case each of them will inherit the portion of his father or mother – i.e. the uncle or aunt of the deceased.
Inheritance on the Basis of Guardianship
Ruling 816: Inheritance by guardianship will not be applicable unless nobody in the above-mentioned three categories of heirs is present. As mentioned above, the inheritance here is also of three categories in order of priority, so nobody in the second and third categories will inherit unless there is nobody in the preceding category to inherit.
Ruling 817: The three categories are as follows:
(1) Guardianship of Liberation: Whoever liberates a slave, he is his heir. The details of this category are not relevant nowadays.
(2) Guardianship of the Liability of the Diyah in Mistaken Killing: The details of this category have been explained in other detailed books of Islamic laws.
(3) Guardianship of the Imam (peace be upon him): If a person has nobody in the preceding categories, the Imam (peace be upon him) will be the heir of the one who has no heir.
This is so provided that:
(a) The deceased does not have an heir except his wife, as she will receive a quarter of the estate, and the remainder will go to the Imam (peace be upon him).
(b) The deceased is not a woman who is survived only by her husband, in which case the husband will inherit all her wealth.
(c) The deceased has not willed that all his wealth will go to the Muslims and the poor and the stranded travellers; such a will is valid for such a person. However, if he willed for other causes it can only be executed in respect to a third of one’s estate and the remainder will go the Imam (peace be upon him).
In the time of the occultation of the Imam (peace be upon him), this category of inheritance will be treated in the same manner the Imam’s share of the khums is treated, i.e. one should revert to the hakim shar’i.
Other Important Rules about Inheritance
Ruling 818: The husband and wife in a permanent marriage inherit from each other, despite which category of heirs is present.
Ruling 819: The husband will inherit from his wife his portion from all parts of her wealth, just like the other heirs; however, the wife will not inherit from the land of her husband, whether it is used or not; she will inherit from what is on the land, like buildings, trees, crops, etc. If another inheritor offers to buy what she inherits, she is obligated to accept it.
Ruling 820: A person who was born illegitimately will not inherit from his parents who committed the adultery and those who are related through them, such as siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents, nor will they inherit from him. He will inherit from other relatives, such as his children and spouse, and they will inherit from him.
Ruling 821: An unborn child at the time of the death of the deceased will inherit from him if it is born alive.
Ruling 822: If somebody is missing and has been absent, and it is not known whether he is alive or dead, his wealth should be kept aside for him for four years with searching, or ten years without searching. Thereafter, it should be divided amongst his heirs. Excluded from this ruling is if the missing person has somebody who he was obligated to provide for, like his needy children, in which case they should be provided for from the wealth of the missing person before the end of the waiting period.
Ruling 823: The diyah of the killed person and the diyah of his body parts while he was alive are to be included in his estate. As for the diyah of his body parts after his death, it will not be included in it and will not be inherited – rather, it will be spent on his behalf for good purposes, amongst which is the payment of his debts if this is the only means to do so.
Ruling 824: The inheritable diyah is inherited by all heirs, except his siblings by his mother only.
Ruling 825: If the heir of the deceased is not from the Shia Ithna-Ashari sect, and he establishes that a believer has a portion of the deceased’s estate according to his method of distributing the estate, while he does not actually have such a portion according to us, the believer is permitted to take it.