Inheritance of spouses sharing ownership of half of a house

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by TheMufti.com

Q. My mother and father jointly owned a house. Half the house belonged to my mother and half the house belonged to my father. After my mother passed away, my father remarried and gave my mother’s half of the house to his second wife. My father says that my mother’s share of the house belongs to him because they were married to each other and he has the right to do what he wishes with it. Is this correct?

A. According to Shariah, spouses do not legally share in each other’s possessions by virtue of marriage. The possessions of each spouse belongs to each one of them respectively.

Hence, if your mother owned a share of 50 % of the house, it was incorrect for your father to take your mother’s 50 % share of house and give it to his second wife after your mother’s demise. Your mother’s 50 % of the house forms part of her estate and should be distributed amongst her rightful heirs in accordance to the Islamic Laws of Inheritance and Succession.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa

This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.