Inheritance: Forgoing One’s Right
Q: A person who is entitled to receive a share of inheritance finds himself forced to forgo it because other heirs who are in possession of the property, resort to delaying tactics in order to prolong procedures. How far can their action be tolerated?
A: I understand that those other heirs are already in possession of the property and their tactics are really intended to tire the other heir out so that he would forgo his share partly or totally. If the case is such then these people are guilty of an act of injustice. God has forbidden injustice most emphatically in all situations. There is an additional aspect to injustice in matters of inheritance. As you are aware, God has provided the details of inheritance in the Qur’an, assigning well-defined shares to different heirs. He has done so in order to prevent arguments and quarrels between heirs who are normally close relatives. When people ignore all that and resort to different tactics in order to usurp the rights of others who may be their brothers and sisters, or other close relatives, they are committing an offense against other heirs and an offense against God Himself. They would be on their guard because their action could land them in serious trouble.
My advice to the person concerned in this question is that he should not forgo his share, because by doing so, he hands the other people what they want. He should make it clear to them that he does not intend to abandon his right. He should claim it as forcefully as he can, even going to court if necessary. Sometimes, however, going to court is not very wise, because the amount he will get at the end may be less than the costs he would have to bear. He should plan his action well in order to get what belongs to him without incurring any loss.
Sometimes, however, it is very good to forgo one’s portion of inheritance. Suppose a brother who is doing well in his life inherits a share in a house, which he will have together with his sister who is married to a poor man. She has a number of children and her family lives in a rented accommodation in a poor area. If the brother forgoes his share in the house in favor of his sister, he helps her to have a house of her own for her family. She will not have to pay rent any more. What her family used to pay in rent may be used for other family expenses. If he forgoes his share in her favor, he stands to earn a generous reward from God.