Question # 232: May I know the share of inheritance for grandchildren?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The grandchildren may be the children of a son or of a daughter. The children of a daughter do not inherit from their grandfather, whether their mother is alive or dead. As for the children of a son inheriting from their grandfather, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen (may Allah have mercy on him) said “…if their father dies before his own father, they do not inherit from their grandfather if he has a son or sons of his own, because a son is a closer than a son’s son. If the grandfather does not have any other son but he has daughters, then the grandchildren inherit whatever is left after the daughters have been given their [share of] inheritance. Similarly, they inherit from their grandfather, if he does not have any sons or daughters, so they take the place of his children, and each male is given the share of two females.” (Majallat al-Haras al-Watani, issue no. 264, dated 1/6/2004) (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

Long Answer: All grandchildren are totally excluded by the son. However, in the absence of any children as heirs, the ‘grandchildren through sons’ have the same position as children so that grandsons are like sons and granddaughters are like daughters.

Grandson through Son

  • ‘Grandson through Son’ is totally excluded by a son.
  • In the absence of a son, the ‘grandson through a son’ inherits in a similar manner to the son. Although, the ‘Grandson through Son’ substitutes the son in his absence, he is not a representative for the son. The son always inherits something but the ‘Grandson through Son’ may not inherit anything as in the case of a deceased leaving behind both parents and two daughters when there is no residue left for the grandson.
  • In the absence of any daughters, the ‘Grandson through Son’ inherits in an identical manner to the son in the latter’s absence.
  • After all the sharers who have a fixed share in the inheritance have been given their allotted share, the residue in the absence of the son devolves upon the ‘grandson through a son’ and ‘granddaughter through son’, if any.
  • The general rule that the males takes the double the share of the female will apply [here in the sense of ‘grandson through son’ and ‘granddaughter through son’].
  • If the grandson is the sole heir, then he takes the whole estate.

Granddaughter through Son

  • ‘Granddaughter through Son’ is totally excluded by a son.
  • ‘Granddaughter through Son’ is also excluded by the presence of two or more daughters except when there is son’s son, however low soever, who converts the ‘Granddaughter through Son’ into residuary (principle of Ta’sib).
  • In the absence of any daughters as heirs, the ‘Granddaughter through Son’ inherits in a similar manner to daughter.
  • ‘Granddaughter through Son’ may inherit as a sharer or as a residuary.
  • ‘Granddaughter through Son’ inherits on a per capita basis. This means that the total share allocated to the ‘Granddaughters through Son’ is divided equally amongst them irrespective of the number of sons through whom they are related to the deceased.

Grandson/Granddaughter through Daughter

  • According to the Hanafi Fiqh, the ‘Grandson/Granddaughter through Daughter’ belongs to Class I distant kindred, [according to which, the nearer in degree excludes the more remote] and will only inherit in the absence of all of the following [(not an exhaustive list)]:
    • children
    • son of son, son of son of son, and so on, however low soever
    • daughter of son, daughter of son of son, and so on, however low soever
    • parents
    • true grandparents, however high soever
    • brother (full, consanguine or uterine)
    • sister (full, consanguine or uterine)
    • full brother’s son, however high soever
    • full paternal uncle
  • It is not possible to list all heirs that exclude the ‘Grandson/Granddaughter through Daughter’ under Hanafi Fiqh. However, the above list demonstrates how long down the line of inheritance the ‘Grandson/Granddaughter through Daughter’ is.
  • If the only other claimant is the husband [(widower)]/widow, the husband [(widower)]/widow is given his/her share and the residue is inherited by the ‘Grandson/Granddaughter through Daughter’.
  • The system of inheritance used by the Shafi’i and Hanbali Fiqh amongst the distant kindred is based on the principle of Tanzil (representation). In this system, a claimant of the distant kindred class inherits in the capacity of a sharer or residuary heir whom he/she represents.
  • The ‘Grandson/Granddaughter through Daughter’ is not entitled to inherit at all according to the traditional Maliki Fiqh.

(The above reply is based on the book ‘The Islamic Law of Succession’ by Dr. A Hussain)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.