Father's property

Q217 :My father has four sons and he wants to divide his property through a sale deed among his three sons, giving no share to his eldest son, for the following reasons:

A217 : My elder brother has never contributed to the family finances, nor has he ever undertaken any responsibilities with respect to the marriage of our sisters or their family matters. Moreover, the three of us shared physically and financially in the construction of an extension to our father's house. Besides, my eldest brother was always disobedient to my father. At times, he went as far as hurting his father's feelings. My father says that if he allows his property to be divided equally among his four sons, he is doing an injustice to the three of us who shared in the building. I will be grateful for your advice. May I ask you why are you giving only the possibilities of a division among the four sons or three of them only, excluding your sisters who are, I understand, married? If we are speaking of inheritance, daughters, whether married or not, have shares in their deceased parents' property. Allah states in the Qur'an : "Allah commands you (in matters of inheritance) with respect to your children that a male child inherits an amount equal to the shares of two females." This is a perfectly clear order which assigns a share of inheritance to every daughter. If it is a gift by a father to some of his children that we are talking about, I would like to remind you that the Prophet has condemned this as injustice. He refused to witness it. Having said that, I do understand your father's feelings. There is an element of injustice if he does not compensate you and your two brothers for the shares you have contributed to the extension of the family home. However, in order not to be guilty of injustice, your father should compensate you for what you have contributed. A fair value on the contribution of each one of you should be determined by mutual agreement. He may effect a real deed of sale of the house to the three of you. What this means is that what each one of you has contributed should be determined. The house can be then divided into four portions, one to your father and one to each one of you, according to his contribution. The sale may be effected and registered. In this case, your father would be giving you back what you have contributed in order to bring about justice among not only his four sons, but also his daughters. When he dies, the family home does not count as part of his estate to be inherited by his heirs, but only his portion in the house is counted as such. The other heirs will [Added: also] have their shares as Allah has given to them. In this way, no disinheritance of the eldest son is made. Nor are your sisters deprived of their shares either. Alternatively, the three of you may buy the house as a whole and pay your father for his share. But this should be an actual purchase. You should pay the price which must be a fair one, not a nominal one. In either of these ways, you help your father act within the rules of Islamic law.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )