In this article, we would be examining the three categories of Residuaries in the Islamic Law of inheritance. Before delving into that, did you know that Residuaries must be related through the male link in order for them to be able to inherit a Muslim’s estate upon his death?
This question and many more are what we would be providing answers to in today’s article; so, relax and read through till the end to understand more about Residuaries and their place in Islamic law of inheritance.
WHO IS A RESIDUARY UNDER THE ISLAMIC LAW OF INHERITANCE?
An Asabah or Residuary is a beneficiary who inherits a share of the estate through male relations. Put more simply, they can only inherit from the estate of a Muslim upon his death if they are related to him through a male link.
There is no specific or fixed portion entitled to Residuaries in the Quran; however, they are entitled to inherit the entire estate in the absence of any Quranic (primary) heir. Otherwise, they would receive the residue or remainder of the estate after the estate must have been shared between the Quranic heirs.
WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES OF RESIDUARIES IN ISLAMIC LAW OF INHERITANCE?
Residuary heirs can be divided into three categories, namely:
A.) Asabat Nasabiyah Binafsi (Residuary Heir in his own Right).
This category of residuary heirs consists of beneficiaries who are all males (agnatic heirs). They are listed below, in descending order, in their degree of blood ties to the deceased Muslim.
- Agnatic Grandson (son’s son)
- Agnatic grandfather (father’s father)
- Germane brother (male sibling of the deceased Muslim who shares the same father and mother)
- Consanguine brother (male sibling of the deceased Muslim who shares the same father only)
- Son of germane brother (nephew)
- Son of consanguine brother (nephew)
- Germane brother of father (paternal uncle)
- Consanguine brother of father (paternal uncle)
- Son of germane brother of father (male cousin) and
- Son of consanguine brother of father (male cousin)
Do you know that the entitlement of Residuary heirs to benefit from the estate of the deceased is subjected to a priority rule based on the degree of blood relationship to the deceased Muslim? The rule is that, when determining who is to inherit from the deceased Muslim’s estate, the person closest to the deceased in the degree of blood ties will be prioritized in inheriting to the exclusion of the other Residuary heirs.
For example, if a Muslim passes away leaving a son, then all other persons in the list above who appear below the son lose their entitlement to the Muslim’s estate. However, if a Muslim passes away without having a son (which automatically includes not having a grandson) and the Muslim also lost his father before his death, the next person entitled to inherit his estate is the Agnatic grandfather (father’s father).
B.) Asabat Nasabiyah Bilghayr (Residuary heir through another).
This category of Residuaries consists of four female heirs. They include the following:
- Daughter, with the male counterpart being the son.
- Agnatic granddaughter (son’s daughter) with the male counterpart being the Agnatic grandson (son’s son).
- Germane sister (female sibling of the deceased Muslim who shares the same father and mother) with the male counterpart being the germane brother.
- Consanguine sister (female sibling of the deceased Muslim who shares the same father only) with the male counterpart being the consanguine brother (male sibling of the deceased Muslim who shares the same father only).
Residuary heirs through another are only entitled to their share of the deceased
Muslim’s estate if they have a male counterpart of the same class and degree of blood ties to the deceased. Thus, if there is a male counterpart for them, they shall share the residue of the estate in the ratio of 2:1 with that male counterpart; the male counterpart shall receive two portions, thus leaving one portion for them.
In this category of Residuaries, entitlement to inherit or not is also based on the order of priority determined by the degree of relationship by blood to the deceased Muslim, as is applicable above.
C.) Asabat Nasabiyah Maalghayr (Residuary heir in the company of another)
This category consists of two female heirs: the germane sister and the consanguine sister. They are entitled to inherit the remainder of the estate where the deceased has no male counterparts, father, or other male descendants related to him.
However, this category of Residuaries is not entitled to inherit the entire estate under any circumstance; they may only inherit the residual part of the estate.
Conclusively, it is essential to note that Residuaries are not always promised a share of the deceased Muslim’s estate as; if the estate gets exhausted during division between the Quranic heirs and there is no leftover, the Residuaries receive nothing. The exception to this rule is the son and father, who are Quranic/basic heirs. However, the grandson (or his descendant) and the grandfather (or his ascendant) can replace them to become the basic heirs in their absence.
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Shukran Jazeelan for reading.