It is stated in the Quran:

Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one's estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. 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, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children - you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah . Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

And for you is half of what your wives leave if they have no child. But if they have a child, for you is one fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they [may have] made or debt. And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you [may have] made or debt. And if a man or woman leaves neither ascendants nor descendants but has a brother or a sister, then for each one of them is a sixth. But if they are more than two, they share a third, after any bequest which was made or debt, as long as there is no detriment [caused]. [This is] an ordinance from Allah , and Allah is Knowing and Forbearing. Surat An-Nisā' 4:11-12

Thus in short the Quran stipulates what is the share of whom when someone dies.

I'm taking one of the cases in which a husband dies and leaves behind a wife, a daughters and his parents.

Man dies leaving behind
Wife is 1/8 = 3/24
Daughters 1/2 = 12/24
Father 1/6 = 4/24
Mother1/6 = 4/24
Total = 23/24 = .9583333333333333333

As you see the total is less than one.

Another case of the same kind in which a husband dies and leaves behind a wife, 3 daughters and his parents.

Man dies leaving behind
Wife is 1/8 = 3/24
Daughters 2/3 = 16/24
Father 1/6 = 4/24
Mother1/6 = 4/24
Total = 27/24 = 1.125

Here the total is more than one.

Am I calculating something wrong?


5 Answers 5


No your calculation is right. In calculating the inheritance there are even cases, that I don't know, which have similar results. And those have even bigger Least common multiples like 64.

I was told that in those cases you need to go to those who are specialized in the calculation of inheritance and they would give you the answer on it.

I think that the Quran puts the rules and the framework. The details for that are to be searched in the Sunna or even in the Idjtihad of the scholars.


Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, had a similar problem more than three decades ago as you are going through now. However, since he had the gift of proper understanding of the classical Arabic, he solved the problem in the following manner: The parents and the widow are going to get their respective shares from the total inheritance. It’s only then the left over inheritance shall be available for the sons and daughters. Going by this understanding, there will be some amount still left, which, according to Quran, can either be willed to be distributed in some charitable avenue or another relative (kalala) can be appointed to receive that amount.

Suppose an individual leaves twenty-four units, his widow shall receive 3 units (1/8th) and the parents 4 units (1/6th) each. From the thirteen units left, daughters shall be eligible to get 2/3rd and the 1/3rd can either be willed or a close relative (kalala) can also be appointed for the purpose.


According to Jafari Fiqh The wife inherits 1/8 (i.e. 12.5%) of her husband's estate, in the presence of all categories of heirs. If there are no children her share is 1/4 (i.e.25%).

First the inheritance if first category is separated and paid. Then second category. Then 3th category.

The calculation method of heritage is different in Shia Fiqh and Sunni Fiqh.

In Shia method there is not error.

After death of prophet same problem happened and Imam Ali S.A. explained the related verses and error related to misunderstanding Quran solved.




Rules Regarding Will (Wasiyyat)

  • Firstly this does not answer my question. Secondly By shia method there is not error- i would like you to show that or at lest show where my error is. Thirdly wife inherits 1/8 & If there are no children her share is 1/4 is given in the quran (in the verse i mentioned). I dont think that is related to Jafari Fiqh. Fourtly in SE you are not allowed to keep signatures (the paragraph at the end mentioning about Jafari Fiqh - shia muslim's schools). Please remove it.
    – Ashu
    Jul 10, 2012 at 5:12
  • it means first the 1/8 is separated then others is distributed. there are categories and priorities in Quran also that is not considered in sunni Fiqh. please read again carefully. wife and child are not same category. Jul 10, 2012 at 5:21
  • I think you must phrase your answers properly. there is no mention of first the 1/8 is separated then others is distributed in your answer.
    – Ashu
    Jul 10, 2012 at 5:29
  • @Ashu OK. thanks. I add it. its not signature. its nothing about myself. I use it on some answers.not all as signature. Jul 10, 2012 at 5:40
  • 3
    Anything not related to the question should not be put in the answer.
    – Ashu
    Jul 10, 2012 at 5:43

Man dies leaving behind Wife is 1/8 = 3/24 Daughters 1/2 = 12/24 Father 1/6 = 4/24 Mother1/6 = 4/24 Total = 23/24 = .9583333333333333333

Ignore the denominator. Look at the numerator only, which is 23 for this case. So, divide shares by 23. Suppose I am leaving behind $1000. I have to divide this by 23 ($1000/23=$43.48), which is equal to $43.48. Now distribution of $1000 is shown in the table below.

Distribution of $1000 to the following members

Wife 3*$43.48 = $130.43 Daughter 12*$43.48 = $521.74 Father 4*$43.48 = $173.91 Mother 4*$43.48 =$173.91

Total 1000


Your (or others) understanding of the distribution of inheritance is incorrect of what the Quran says.

According to my own understanding of the translation of the verses

Response #1:

Wife will get 1/8

Daughters will get 1/2

The parents will take the rest because of parental right – Why?

The verse says if the deceased left children - children means more than one child so 1/6 is not applicable here in this case

Response #2:

Daughters will get 2/3

Father will get 1/6

Mother will get 1/6

Wife will get nothing

So sum is equal to 1

Why the share of a wife is zero? - According to the verse

"But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave" – a child means one child so 1/8 is not applicable

Since the deceased left 2 children not a child, therefore, the share of wife is zero however her children will get the said 2/3 of estate when she (or mothers) dies

Hope this will help

Allah says clearly in aforementioned verses

1- Indeed, Allah is ever knowing and wise 2- And Allah is knowing and forbearing

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