Inheritance is distributed among the heirs that should -according to the Islamic rules- fulfill one of the following characters, marriage or blood relation or Wala’: which is a contract between two persons. 


Fara’id is a branch of Islamic law that deals specifically with inheritance, its rules and how each heir’s share is calculated. The word is taken from a root that means ‘to assign, determine, etc.’ In Islamic law, fard, means a share assigned by Islam to its recipient. In Islam, inheritance means the ‘rightful share due to an heir on the death of a relative.[1]

What makes an heir

Three situations result in making heirs[2]

1-Marriage: This means a valid marital contract must exist that has been made in the presence of the woman’s guardian and two witnesses. Heirs are created even if the death occurs before the marriage is consummated, and even if the husband and wife have never been alone together.

:Allah says

‘You shall inherit one half of what your wives leave behind’


This is a general statement that applies in all cases.

2-Blood relations: This refers to a relationship created by reason of birth, and applies to near or distant relatives. It includes parents, ancestors, offspring and others.

3-Wala: which is a contractual relationship between two persons, one of whom has no heir through blood relations. He says to the other person: “You are my waliy (i.e. relation). You inherit me when I die, and you pay the compensation due of me if I commit a crime of manslaughter or a lesser crime.” According to the Hanafi school of Fiqh, such a contract initiates a reason of inheritance, but the majority of scholars do not uphold this relationship.


  1. Ibn Abidin, Al-Durr al-Mukhtar, vol. 5, p. 345.
  2. Ibid,, vol. 5; p. 538; Al-Dardir, Al-Sharh al-Saghir, vol. 4, p. 619; Ibn Rushd, Bidayat al-Mujtahid, vol. 2, p. 355; al-Khatib al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, vol. 3, p. 4; al-Bahuti, Kashshaf al-Qina[, vol. 4, p. 448. Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 6, pp. 304 and 326.