Impediments to Inheritance

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Certain factors/circumstances can bar one from inheriting. These are explained below:


  1. When a person kills his murith (the one in whose estate one inherits), the heir is deprived of inheriting in his estate. Whether he had killed by design or by mistake, he is deprived.
  2. An insane person and a minor will not be deprived of their inheritance if they killed their murith.
  3. If the heir killed the murith in self-defense, e.g. the murith attacked and their heir defended himself, then he will not be deprived of his inheritance.
  4. If a man kills his wife whom he caught in the act of committing zina (adultery), he will not be deprived from inheriting in her estate provided that the crime of the woman is evidenced by witnesses. Although it is not permissible for a man to kill his wife whom he apprehends in the act of zina, nevertheless, the extreme provocation and infidelity of the wife mitigate in his favor, hence the shari`ah does not deprive him of his inheritance.

Difference of Religion

There are no ties of inheritance between Muslims and non-Muslims.


Since a slave cannot own anything, he can neither be a murith, nor a warith (heir).

Simultaneous Deaths

When people (in this context, close relatives) die in a common tragedy, e.g. plane-crash, ship-wreck, fire etc; and there is no way of establishing who had died first, it will be decreed that the deaths were simultaneous. The one will not inherit in the estate of the other in view of the moments of their respective deaths being unknown. Their estate will be inherited by those heirs who are alive.


Zaid (father) and Abdullah (son) were both killed in an accident. It could not be ascertained who had died first, hence it will be said that both had died at the same time. The question of inheritance between the father and son thus does not arise.

On the other hand, if it was established that the father, Zaid, has died even a minute before his son, Abdullah, then the latter inherits in his father’s estate. Since he too has died, his share of inheritance will be transferred to his (Abdullah’s) heirs.


Taken from Kitaabul Meeraath by Majlisul Ulama of South Africa

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