Dear brother what do you say about the following criticism by Salim Morgan. I would appreciate if you could reply to me with your answer. At the same time I would like to mention that there are a few typos in the article (on inheritance law) on your web page. Please correct them whenever you get time. I have included all previous communication for your reference.
(Letters Have been arranged in the chronological order)
The First Letter
On Wed, 19 May 1999, Ahmad Qamar wrote:
OK guys, no responsibilities here. I didn’t read the article. Besides I don’t know much about the inheritance stuff except for Salim’s lecture that he delivered some time in Spring or Summer 1997. That’s why I am not sending it on the list.
You can also follow the link ‘Articles’ from the main page and then ‘Quran’ to reach the index page for articles related to Quran including this one.
You can contact the authors thru email, too. You may want to check their sites for other stuff, too:
The Second Letter
On Thu, 20 May 1999, Irfan Iqbal wrote:
Did anyone get a chance to visit the site Muaz mentioned? Please let me know what you think about the article.
I am not sending this to MSA List because, like Muaz, I don’t want to create any confusion or win points against anyone. My only desire is to acquire better understanding of Qur’an.
The Third letter
I have read what Al-Tabari said about kalaalah. I have read what Al-Bukhari said about Kalaalah (his saying not hadith). I have read what a dictionary named “The end of the strange words of hadith and athar” about Kalaalah. The explanation of the word uses other hadiths that use the same root…
I have come to disagreement where the vast mejority consider Kalaalah to be a human who dies without parents and children. The other opinions that disagree are mentioned in Al-Tabari only and they are: A man died without children or a man died without parents (not necessarily both).
The nomination of a person, relative or not, to get the rest of the inheretence does not seem right. What is his source to support this point? Did the Quran mention it?! No book nor dictionary refared to nomination!!!
Another IMPORTANT point:
I reached the case when the sum is greater than 1. He solves it by giving the parents their share then the daughters 2/3 of what is left. This way he will never have greater than one.
That is completely wrong and against the clear verse. Read the three translations we have for the verse 4.11 and compare it to his way of solving the problem. The verse clearly says “2/3 of what he (died person) left” NOT “what is left”.
The Fourth Letter
I have some “recollections” (please NOTE DISCLAIMER) from when I studied this subject in college.
1) Kalaala has the two meanings as you have said. However, the meaning in the verse is the first one (no parents OR offspring) because that is the only way it makes sense in that context. In the area of inheritance law, I don’t believe this is an area of any difference of opinion among the scholars.
2) The application of the hadith “Laa wasiyyata liy waarithin” (You cannot will anything to any heir) is that you cannot make a wasiya to ANY of the “potential” heirs even if they are not inheriting anything in the current situation due to the presence of those who supercede them. This would include those mentioned in the verse of kalaala. This is the only way which makes sense, actually, since you must make wasiya while still alive and you do not have knowledge of who your heirs will be at death. Can you check on this question? I remember for certain that you can make wasiya to persons who would never inherit from you regardless of the configuration of survivors such as an unrelated friend or a charitable organization. Also, I was taught that you can make wasiya to a non-Muslim relative (even parent or child) since they too would also never inherit from you. I’m not sure if there is a difference of opinion in that one. What you definitely cannot do is make a wasiya to someone who will inherit from you in order to distort the portions which Allah has assigned. I believe this includes a portion of “zero”, i.e., that you cannot make wasiya to an uncle for example who is not inheriting anything because of the presence of other heirs.
Just in case anyone is not aware, let me just include here that the will of a Muslim can only involve AT MOST one third of his/her property. The rest MUST be distributed according to the portions assigned by Allah.
I hope someone can check on this last point (number 2 above) before I can as I am very busy and my house is still torn up after a plumbing leak under the floor.
— Salim Morgan
Jazak Allah Khair
It is primarily the third and the fourth letter which criticises the point of view that I have expressed in my original article. I shall first of all try to summarise the points of criticism in these letters and after that give my comments on these points.
- The first point that is mentioned in the third letter is related to Mr. Sultan’s opinion of the word Kalaalah. Unfortunately, I am completely unable to understand his point of view regarding the implication of this word as used in the Qur’an. He writes: “I have come to disagreement where the vast mejority consider Kalaalah to be a human who dies without parents and children. The other openions that disagree are mentioned in Al-Tabari only and they are: A man died without children or a man died without parents ( not necessarily both).” I am unable to understand his opinion about the implication of the word Kalaalah, and therefore would refrain from commenting on it.
- The second point that is mentioned in the third letter is related to the issue of nominating any person (whether related or unrelated) in case any balance of the deceased’s property is left undistributed. Mr. Sultan writes that such a nomination, in his opinion is not allowed. He has asked me to provide the source to support my point of view.
- The third point that is mentioned in the third letter is related to the method of distributing the shares. I had expressed my opinion that the share of the daughter(s) shall be given after the shares of the inheritors of the first category are distributed. Mr. Sultan has stressed that my interpretation is not according to the words of the Qur’an. According to Mr. Sultan, the words of the Qur’an require us to give the daughters two-thrids of the total property left by the deceased, not that of the balance left after giving away other shares.
- The fourth point that is mentioned in the fourth letter relates to the meaning of word Kalaalah in the Qur’an. According to Mr. Salim Morgan, the word “Kalaalah” is used in two meanings. In the verse under consideration, the word is used to imply “a person who has no parents or no offspring.
- The fifth point that is mentioned in the fourth letter relates to the implication of a saying ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) regarding the right to will. Mr. Salim Morgan writes that the implication of a narrative ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) is that no person can bequeath in favor of any other such person who is a potential inheritor of the first person.
- Finally, the sixth point that is mentioned in the fourth letter relates to the ratio of property regarding which a person is allowed to bequeath. According to Mr. Salim Morgan, this ratio cannot exceed one-third of the total property of the bequeathing person.
Now, besides the first point mentioned above, I shall give my point of view regarding these points. Because of the length and nature of my responses, I have posted these in separate files. The following links shall take you to these responses (the last two comments have been covered together in the last link):
I hope this helps. In case any aspect of my answers remain unclear, please feel free to write back to me at your convenience.