Assalamualaikum w.b.t. I would like to ask on inheritance. My question is, what is the faraid portion for the grandmother if one passes away leaving only a grandmother? Hope for an explanation. Thank you.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We start this with the saying of Allah SWT:
وَلِأَبَوَيْهِ لِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَانَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلَدٌ وَوَرِثَهُ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ الثُّلُثُ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ إِخْوَةٌ فَلِأُمِّهِ السُّدُسُ
And for one's parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth,
Surah al-Nisaa’ (11)
In verse eleven of surah al-Nisaa’, Allah SWT describes the division of inheritance, starting from the portion for the children, then for both parents. And from this verse, it can be understood that if a deceased leaves some children, then the faraid portion for both of his or her parents is 1/6 each. And if he or she does not leave any child, then the portion for the mother is one third. And if the deceased has siblings, then the portion of the mother goes back to being one-sixth.
Coming back to the question presented on the faraid portion for the grandmother, the division of inheritance for a grandmother, even if it is not mentioned in al-Quran, it is mentioned in a hadith narrated by Qobisoh bin Dzuaib RA on Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH where:
جَاءَتِ الْجَدَّةُ إِلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ تَسْأَلُهُ مِيرَاثَهَا . قَالَ فَقَالَ لَهَا مَا لَكِ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ شَيْءٌ وَمَا لَكِ فِي سُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم شَيْءٌ فَارْجِعِي حَتَّى أَسْأَلَ النَّاسَ . فَسَأَلَ النَّاسَ فَقَالَ الْمُغِيرَةُ بْنُ شُعْبَةَ حَضَرْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَعْطَاهَا السُّدُسَ . فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ هَلْ مَعَكَ غَيْرُكَ فَقَامَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ الأَنْصَارِيُّ فَقَالَ مِثْلَ مَا قَالَ الْمُغِيرَةُ بْنُ شُعْبَةَ فَأَنْفَذَهُ لَهَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ . قَالَ ثُمَّ جَاءَتِ الْجَدَّةُ الأُخْرَى إِلَى عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ تَسْأَلُهُ مِيرَاثَهَا فَقَالَ مَا لَكِ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ شَيْءٌ وَلَكِنْ هُوَ ذَاكَ السُّدُسُ فَإِنِ اجْتَمَعْتُمَا فِيهِ فَهُوَ بَيْنَكُمَا وَأَيَّتُكُمَا خَلَتْ بِهِ فَهُوَ لَهَا
"A grandmother came to Abu Bakr to ask him about her inheritance. He said to her, 'There is nothing for you in the Book of Allah and there is nothing for you in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W). So, return until I ask the people. So he asked the people and Al-Mughirah bin Shu'bah said: 'I was present when the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) gave her (case) a sixth.' So he said: 'Was anyone else with you?' Muhammad bin Maslamah stood to say the same as what Al-Mughirah bin Shu'bah said. So Abu Bakr implemented that for her." Then the other grandmother came to 'Umar bin Al-Khattab to ask him about her inheritance. He said: 'There is nothing in the Book of Allah for you, but there is that sixth. So if the two of you are together then it is for both of you, and whichever of you remains), then it is for her.'"”
Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (2101), Sunan Abu Dawud (2894) and Sunan Ibn Majah (2724). Imam al-Tirmidhi evaluated this hadith as hassan sahih. [See: Sunan al-Tirmizi; 4/420]
This hadith clearly shows that faraid portion for a grandmother is one-sixth (1/6). The scholars have reached their consensus (ijma’) that a grandmother will only receive one-sixth (1/6) whether when she is alone or when there is more than one. If it is more, then it is divided equally among them for that one-sixth.
The grandmother meant here is the mother of the mother and above, the mother of the father and above, the mother of the grandfather and above, with the condition that there is no grandfather (dhawi al-arham) who can inherit through fardh or ta’sib, among them and the deceased. While for grandmothers who are categorised as not sahih ones (other than the above mentioned), then she is not an heir but is categorised as dhawi al-arham.
Still, there are some conditions and situations to make the grandmother receive her share of one-sixth. The conditions are as the following:
- The presence of the mother. This is because a grandmother takes the place of the mother when she already passed away. So, if the mother is still alive, she blocks the grandmother from receiving her share in the inheritance whether the grandmother is alone or more.
However, a grandmother takes or replaces the position of the mother with the share of one-sixth only, and it will never change to one third like the condition where the deceased does not leave any child or siblings more than two where a mother will inherit one-third of the property.
Therefore, the condition of the existence of the mother is in accordance with another hadith narrated by Buraidah RA:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم جَعَلَ لِلْجَدَّةِ السُّدُسَ إِذَا لَمْ تَكُنْ دُونَهَا أُمٌّ
The Prophet (ﷺ) appointed a sixth to a grandmother if no mother is left to inherit before her
Sunan Abu Dawud (2895)
- There is no hindrance which hinders her from getting the inheritance. A father blocks the mother of the father, and grandfather blocks the mother of the grandfather. The nearer grandmother to the deceased (in lineage) blocks the further grandmother due to its قربة qurbah which is closeness.
In other words, the grandmother; the mother of the father may be blocked by her own son which is the father of the deceased if he is still alive. This is in accordance with the maxim “One who is connected to the deceased through someone, that someone will become a hindrance for him or her (will block him or her from receiving the inheritance).”
[See: al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’i; 4/376-377]
In conclusion, a sahih grandmother is rightful for the inheritance and her portion is as mentioned in the hadith which is one-sixth. Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give us understanding in His religion, firms our faith, bless us with honesty and strength to worship Him as well as blessings to all our actions.