Children’s Rulings in Islam Inheritance and Expenditure
* The Child has Financial Rights in Islam such as:
(1) Inheritance: The child has the right to inherit when his inherited dies. The baby is eligible for inheritance when he is separated from his mother by birth and when he shows a sign of life like sneezing, crying, breastfeeding or any of these vital processes. If he dies afterwards, he is also eligible to inherit and be inherited. If he is alive and inherits a fortune, it should be kept safe for him till he reaches the age of majority. First and foremost, the inheritance should not be divided except after knowing the sex of the baby, a boy or a girl, and the number, one baby or twins etc ().
(2) Expenditure: It is the child’s right since being just a fetus in his mother’s womb. The pregnant divorced woman should be given alimony till she gives birth, and her child has to be sustained and provided for by the father till he reaches majority and becomes able to earn his livelihood. As for the daughter, her right of being provided for and getting her expenses does not drop out of the father till she gets married and the marriages is consummated. In case the daughter is divorced, her expenses are passed back to her custodian or guardian ().
The parent/educator has to be fair in spending on children. Fairness means to give each of them what he/she needs. The child who studies needs school stationery unlike the child who is not enrolled at school. The father should help the adult child who needs to get married, but the father doesn’t have to give the same financial aid to the rest of children till they reach the age of majority and need to get married too as expenditure should be according to children’s needs ().
(3) Gifts/Grants: The parent is required to be fair in giving gifts or grants to children. He should give them as Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an, namely the male to take double the female. Almighty Allah says: “Allah commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females.” (An-Nisa’: 11) The father may regain his gift or grant back, and take it from his children, but this is only permitted for the father (). The father is entitled to get back his donation from his children if he finds it contrary to the laws and spirit of the Shari’ah. The right to revoke a gift is called Raj’. This act of revocation can be done according to the decree of a competent court.
Yet, it is a reprehensible and hateful act to take back a present, grant or charity that you gave to another Muslim for the negative feelings it causes. Ibn ‘Abbas (My Allah be pleased with them) reported that Allah’s Apostle (Peace Be upon Him) having said this: “He who gets back his charity is like a dog which vomits, and then returns to that and eats it. (Sahih Muslim, Book 12, Number 3955). In another situation, Salim reported from Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) that Umar donated a horse in the path of Allah and then found it being sold, and he decided to buy that. He asked Allah’s Apostle (Peace Be upon Him) about it, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) said: Umar, do not get back what you gave as charity. (Sahih Muslim, Book 12, Number 3954)
(4) Waqf: It is an inalienable religious endowment in Shariah or Islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes.The child has the right to take his share from Waqf if he was alive when the Waqf was given ().
(5) Will: It is an endowment with the property of anything after death. Wills may be given to the child when he is just a fetus in his mother’s womb, provided that he/she is born alive and that he/she lives at the time of the testator’s death. The will of the child is counted if he turns ten years old, as for the seven year old, there is a disagreement between scholars in that regard ().
() Al Tifl Fi Al-Sharia Al-Islamiyah by Mohamed Al-Saleh: Page 76.
() Al-Mughni (the most widely known textbook of Hanbali fiqh) by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi: 9/260.
() So’al Ala Al-Hatif Radio Program, Al-Qur’an Al-Karim Radio Station, episode of Tuesday 23/6/1419 Hijri, by Sheikh Muhammad ben Saleh ben Othaymen.
() Al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi: 6/262.
() Al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi: 6/205.
() Al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi: 6/474-477.