Inheritance of a house


As-salaamu alaykum respected Mufti   My dad has a wife; he was married to her about 10 years ago only by the Imam, and they got separated with one talaq. They haven’t stayed together since. My dad got married to her again only by the Imam in January this year, and she is currently living with him. They have three kids who are all under 10 years old. My dad also has me, who is 26, and my 24-year-old sister from my mother. I have been staying with my dad ever since and currently reside in a separate entrance. My dad has a Will at FNB bank, and the Will states that he wants me and my 24-year-old sister to inherit the house when he is no longer here in the dunya, as he promised us. Both my sister and I are married. He intends to leave his Life Policy for the other three kids. We are concerned that my father’s wife may try to claim the house under sharia law. We recently discovered that she confessed to a friend that she married my dad only for his house and that she loves someone else. We have voice notes on our phones as proof of her confession. My dad is really worried now. What can he do to prevent this woman from benefiting from his house when he is no longer here? He now knows that she only wants his house and that she may bring the other man into his house after he’s gone. We need urgent assistance, inshallah. If, however, you can’t assist me, please refer me to someone who can.
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


  1. In terms of inheritance under the Sharīʿah, all the heirs will share in the collective estate to the proportionate degree of each one’s specific share. A wife, for example, does not automatically inherit the house; all she has is a one-eighth share of the entire undivided estate.
  2. Accordingly, no specific heir has a pre-emptive right to the house, neither your father’s wife, nor even you and your sister. If your father’s will states that the house should go to you and your sister, it is not in line with Sharīʿah; neither is it in accordance for him to assign the proceeds from his policy to the other children. Each heir, children and wife included, has a right to an unallocated percentage share in the entire estate.
  3. When a person does eventually die, his heirs may then come to an arrangement between themselves, by mutual agreement, for certain heirs to take certain parts of the estate in lieu of their respective shares in the estate. For example, you and your sister can take the house, with the consent of the others, in lieu of your share.
  4. What your father should do is to redraft his will in a manner that complies with Sharīʿah. To this end the MJC is able to assist.

والله تعالى أعلم

And Allah knows best.

(Date issued: May 2019)


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