Video: Can a Muslim convert inherit from their non-Muslim relative?

Joe Bradford

| 03/28/2019

In this video I discuss three issues:

1- Can Muslims inherit from non-Muslims? Here I go over the classical opinions on the topic.

2- The difference between a testamentary gift and inheritance. The former being allowed in all cases.

3- The principle of the appropriate preservation of wealth that may go to waste.

Addendum (3 Apr 19):

In this video I cover a few issues related to inheritance & testamentary gifts from non-Muslim relatives. Inevitably, I will be asked if this position is normative in Sunni law or not. Let’s talk about that.

Inevitably I will answer “Yes it is” to that question. Usually the retort is “Well I’ve never heard that before!” Well true, you’ve probably never heard *anything* about Islamic probate law either, and probably never studied a basic Fiqh text back to front either.

So here are a few texts from the 4 Sunni schools that point about this:

  • al-Sawi al-Maliki – “Or a kāfir, his testamentary gift is valid so long as he does not gift to a Muslim something like wine (i.e., property which the Muslim may not validly own).”
  • Ibn Qudama al-Hanbali – “It is permitted from a sane adult, sinful or righteous, man or woman, muslim or kafir…”
  • al-Nawawi al-Shafi’i – “The testamentary gift of every legally liable free adult is permitted, even if he is a kafir…” Notice that the phrase “even if” is to reject the idea that doing so is illegitimate.
  • al-Marghinani al-Hanafi – “and it is permitted for a Muslim to leave a testamentary gift to a Kafir, and a Kafir to leave one to a Muslim…”

This is not to be trite, but the border-line neurotic reaction to stating things that are so normative in Sunni law they almost don’t need to be stated explicitly shows the need for more teaching and study in our community, especially from those labeled community workers/leaders.


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