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Last Updated: 2012/09/24
Summary of question
If a Shia deceased man’s mother and brothers are non-Muslims while his paternal or maternal aunt is Sunni, how is his property distributed among the heirs.
A Shia Muslim lady dies without leaving a Will. She is survived by her mother, brothers, and a maternal aunt. Mother and brothers are non-Muslims and the maternal aunt is a Sunni Muslim. Please advise how her estate should be distributed.
Concise answer

1. A Muslim inherits from a non-Muslim, but a non-Muslim does not inherit from a deceased Muslim, even if he be his/her father or son.[1] If some of the heirs are Muslims and some are non-Muslims, only the Muslim heirs inherit from him/her.[2] Also, a Muslim inherits from a Muslim irrespective of whether he/she is Shia or Sunni.[3]

2. If the heirs of the deceased is one maternal aunt or one paternal aunt (regardless of her being full paternal or maternal aunt (that is, they are from the same parents) or related from father's or mother's side, all the properties will be inherited by her.[4]  Now if the deceased had been a woman and her husband is alive, her properties are divided among her paternal or maternal aunt and her husband equally.[5]


[1] Imam Khomeini, Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation), vol.2, p. 750, issue 2783, Islamic Publications Office, Qom, eighth edition, 1424 A.H.

[2] Ibid, p. 757.

[3] Khurasani, Ali Muhammadi, Sharh Tabseratul Muta’allemin, vol.2, p. 340, Dar-ul Fikr, Qom (date not mention).

[4] Imam Khomeini, Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation), vol.2, p. 731, issue 2759, and p. 728, issue 2756.

[5] Adib, Abbas Ali, Inheritance and Its Divisions, p. 70, Bustan-e Kitab, Qom, 1386 (2007).


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