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Islamic Law of Succession

By: Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
We have been given to understand that the Government intends to make changes in the Islamic Law of Succession. We are extremely perturbed by this news. As we have submitted earlier, the Qur'an has laid down with utmost precision the rules concerning succession, very elaborately allotting to various heirs their shares in a deceased Muslim's estate. The Islamic Law is a well-knit entity. We cannot change or amend one or two aspect of it without destroying the entire fabric. For example, in Islamic law a person cannot use anything which is obtained unlawfully (in religious sense), either for worldly or religious purpose. If therefore a change is made in Law of Succession, someone will naturally get thereby more than his or her due share (that was allotted to him or her by the Qur'an). That unlawful gain would render his or her whole life miserable. His/Her daily life would become a long list of sins and transgressions. His/Her prayer will be invalid; his/her pilgrimage, null and void; even his food and clothing would become, in religious sense, unlawful. Such a person can never expect peace in the life hereafter.
14. We do not know what the main idea behind this exercise is. Therefore, we cannot say any more at present. But we reiterate that these laws are based on the Qur'an, and it is not possible to draw a fine line between these laws and the Qur'an. Any attempt to change the Qur’anic allocations would be tantamount to change the Qur'an.
15. However, in this connection, we would like to draw Your Excellency's attention to the Tanzania Govt.'s Restatement of Islamic Law Act (No. 56 of 1964), under which work was started to codify the Islamic laws, giving due recognition to various schools of thoughts. Four chapters related to Marriage, Guardianship of children etc. were even published as a Subsidiary Legislation under that Law in The Gazette Supplement No. 34 of 27th June, 1967. It was a move which had pleased the whole Muslim population of the country. Unfortunately that scheme was abandoned. Yet, if that plan is revived by which rules of every school of thought are recognized as the law applicable to that community, and those laws codified in one volume for easy reference by the courts of law, it will be a highly commendable step for which the entire Muslim population of Tanzania will ever remain grateful to Your Excellency.

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