Caliphate, Economy

Islamic Inheritance vs Freedom of Ownership

A fundamental principle of western civilisation is the freedom to own and dispose of wealth. This means in relation to inheritance that if a man has ten daughters and one son, he can disinherit all his daughters and leave his wealth to his son. He can favour siblings or relatives or friends as he deems fit, and even leave the entirety of his estate to the family dog! Countess Karlotta Libenstein of Germany left approximately $106 million to her dog in 1992 and she is not alone. The richest dogs in the world can be seen here.

Islam believes that Allah is the owner of all wealth and that human beings are simply custodians of this wealth.

وَآتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي آتَاكُمْ

“And give them from the property of Allah, which He gave to you.” (An-Nur: 24:33)

وَأَنفِقُوا مِمَّا جَعَلَكُم مُّسْتَخْلَفِينَ فِيهِ

“And spend from what He put you in charge of.” (Al-Hadid: 57:7)

In relation to inheritance, Allah has removed the right of a man or a woman to decide who can inherit from them. Regardless of whether they prefer their son over their daughter, or they want to disinherit some of their relatives, the sharia has removed this right. Only Allah, the Creator of men and women, decides who can and cannot inherit. This is elaborated further in the article Islamic Inheritance: Clarifying the Misconceptions but a summary of inheritance rules in sharia for women is shown below.


Inheritance is just one problem of many problems where following freedom of ownership as opposed to the sharia economic rules leads to misery and ruin. Allah (Most High) says:

وَلَوِ اتَّبَعَ الْحَقُّ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ لَفَسَدَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ ۚ بَلْ أَتَيْنَاهُمْ بِذِكْرِهِمْ فَهُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِهِمْ مُعْرِضُونَ

“If the truth were to follow their whims and desires, the heavens and the earth and everyone in them would have been brought to ruin. No indeed! We have given them their Reminder, but they have turned away from it.” (Al-Muminun, 71)