Expert on Laws of Islamic-Inheritance Lectures at ISGW
By Tahir Ali
Worcester: The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester ( ISGW) had the privilege of hosting Dr Samia Mahmood Hambazaza to deliver a lecture on the subject of "Inheritance in Islam". Dr Samia, hailing from Saudi Arabia, has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh and has served as the chairperson of Islamic Studies at the Women College in Jeddah. She has published several books and articles, including a book on inheritance in Islam.
The event was very informative and interactive and was organized on the pattern of a town hall meeting. The captive audience asked many searching questions, including specifics about how to write a will, what is allowed and what is not allowed. She highlighted the principles of inheritance and how they are not gender-biased. She mentioned circumstances where females actuallyinherit more than males.
In response to a question whether a person is allowed to write in his will to give all his wealth to charity, DrSamia said that wealth has to be distributed according to the law of inheritance that is clearly explained in Surah Al-Nisa. Some put forth a few scenarios which DrSamia with the use of a whiteboard was able to explain with ease and resolved the issues quotingAyats from Sura Al-Nisa.
The law of inheritance has been given in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Nisaa (the fourth chapter) verses 11 and 12 and also in verse 176.
According to these verses of the Qur'an the first right on the property of a deceased is that of the creditors. After the payment to the creditors, any will made by the deceased shall be executed. The remainder of the property and assets of the deceased, if any, shall be distributed among the inheritors in specified proportions.
A close analysis of these verses shows that according to this law, there are basically two kinds of inheritors:
Inheritors who are to be given a fixed proportion of the total inheritance; and inheritors who are to share, in a specified proportion, the balance of the inheritance after the share of inheritors of the first category has been given.
The topic of inheritance is quite vast and can be complicated. DrSamia agreed to hold a course on the subject.
DrAmjadBahnassi, Chairman ISGW Board, moderated the event by providing English translation of DrSamias' narrative, as well as contributing to the write-up. Amjad Bhatti, President ISGW, thanked DrSamia and DrBahnassi and the attentive audience. The ladies continued their discussion with DrSamia over dinner.