Thursday, 7 June 2007

Learning The Laws Of Inheritance In Islam - An Obligation

Allah SWT in His infinite Mercy has revealed many Commandments in the Holy Qur'an and through our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW. This Allah SWT has done to guide mankind to the Straight Path, the path which leads us to entry into Paradise. One can only achieve this goal by following the religion of Islam.

Islam being a complete religion gave rights to every living creature. In the times of Jahiliyah (ignorance) of the pre-Islamic era: orphans, women and the weaker links in the human chain had become prey of many injustices and had no rights whatsoever. However, after the advent of Islam, this brought a change and a revelation that history had never witnessed before. Women, regardless of their dependency on men or their sensitive nature, were given rights which were previously either non-existent or ignored. Out of the many rights which were given to women at the dawn of Islam is - Inheritance.

In the Arabic language, Inheritance is known as "Faraa-idh", which is the plural of "Fareedah", which means something that has been fixed, set or determined. This branch of knowledge is known as "Faraa-idh" because it has been fixed by Allah in the Holy Qur'an.

The Holy Qur'an and our beloved Prophet Muhammed SAW laid much emphasis on the importance of Inheritance in Islam. In many Ahadith, our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW talks of the importance of Inheritance in the Islamic manner and Allah informs humanity in the Holy Qur'an of its procedure.

The Prophet Muhammad SAW has said regarding learning Islamic inheritance and its importance: (mafhum)

"Indeed I am a man who will be taken away, therefore learn Fara-idh (The Laws of Inheritance) and teach it. The time of the disappearance of knowledge will come close, when two persons will dispute regarding an Islamic ruling and they will find no one to decide the dispute."

The above prophecy is indeed distressing, but true - and we have observed this occurring not only once, but numerous times in all parts of the world.

In another Hadith, our beloved Prophet SAW says: (mafhum)

"Learn Fara-idh and teach it; indeed it is Half of Knowledge."

In another narration, the Prophet Muhammad SAW has hinted to us about the importance and future of Fara-idh:

"It is my way and it is the first thing that will be taken away from my Ummah."

The great Companion of the Prophet Muhammad SAW - Saiyidina Umar Al-Khattab RA used to say:

"O people, learn Fara-idh with the same concern and effort with which you learn from the Qur'an."

It is reported that Umar RA also used to say:

"O Muslims, learn Fara-idh, it is an essential part of the knowledge of your Religion."

Through the light of the Holy Qur'an, the sayings of our Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Noble Companions RA - we can understand the importance of Inheritance in Islam. However, we have unfortunately begun to ignore our Islamic teachings, and we have started to follow the ways and the practices of non-Muslims, whereby these man-made laws will only allow one person or a few to receive inheritance. Such notions even reach ridiculous levels to the pinnacle of stupidity where we hear inheritance is passed to even a pet of the deceased.

Violation of Islamic rulings, and injustices to mankind leads to breaking ties which we witness clearly in this day and age. At times, the main cause of these broken relationships were all due to the lack of Islamic knowledge, and the abandonment of the Islamic rulings pertaining to Inheritance.

This brief reminder only serves as an encouragement to us all, so that we put it incumbent upon ourselves to learn and practice the Laws of Inheritance actioned under Islamic methodology. At all times, we should be ever ready to turn and refer to our Ulama who will guide us to live our lives - correctly and balanced on the Straight Path, using the Light of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

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