Property in the UK was purchased in joint names of husband and wife. The property is known as a ‘joint tenancy’ i.e the couple own the whole of the proeprty jointly and upon death the property transfers in whole to the remaining party.
The altnerative form of purchainsing a property in the UK is as t’enants in common’ which means that each party owns 50% of the property and upon death of one party only that section is subject to inheritiacne tax.
Please would you advise what is the position in Sharia inheritace of the above situation where the property is a joint tenancy purchase. Does the whole of the property still go to the surviving partner as in English law or do the family have an entitlment to inheritance?
The surviving wife has four children ( 3 girls and a boy). The first wife who was divorced had 2 girls and a boy from the marriage. She is now married to the brother of the deceased.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
‘Joint tenancy’ is a catalyst of depriving the heirs of their rights in order to retain a security for the surviving spouse after the demise of one spouse. In many instances the wife obtains more than what she is really entitled to at the cost of depriving the other heirs from their stipulated portions. Like in the present case, the entire house would transfer to the wife of the second marriage and the children of the first marriage will not receive anything.
The stipulation of shares in inheritance is a divine obligation which Allah has elucidated in the Quran. There is stern rebuke for one who alters, adjusts or modifies any of these portions. Consider the following verse
((وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَلَهُ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ)) (14)
((Whoever disobeys Allah and his messenger (in laws of inheritance) and violates his boundaries, Allah will enter him in the fire wherein he will abide forever, and for him there will a disgraceful punishment)) (Aal Imraan 14)
If the spouse purchased a property as a ‘joint tenancy’ and passes away, it would not be permissible for the surviving spouse to take the entire property. It would still be compulsory to divide the estate in accordance with the Shariah.
And Allah knows best
Ml. Ismail Moosa,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah