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Disinherit/ Repudiation (ʿĀq)

بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ

Disinheriting an heir under Sharīʿa law is deemed forbidden and sinful. Moreover, it lacks legal validity within the framework of Pakistani law, contravening Article 227 of the Pakistan Constitution. A landmark ruling by the Lahore High Court, Case 697 in 2011, underscored the illegality of such actions.

In Sharīʿa, the act of disinheriting or repudiating a prospective or presumptive heir with the intention of depriving them of their rightful share of inheritance is deemed invalid and unlawful. Such disowning or repudiation holds no legal consequence in matters of inheritance. In the Indian subcontinent, this practice is referred to as ʿaq in Urdu (عاق).

The Qurʾān, specifically in sūrah al-Nisā’ verses 13-14, warns against tampering with the entitlement of heirs to their legal share of inheritance. It states, "These are the Ḥudūd of Allāh (), and whosoever obeys Allāh () and His Messenger () will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success. And whosoever disobeys Allāh () and His Messenger (), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment" (Qurʾān 4:13-14).

Imām al-Shawkānī (d. 1834) elucidates this further in his tafsīr of the Qurʾān, Fata al-Qadīr, stating that the term "these" in the aforementioned verse pertains to the laws of inheritance discussed in the preceding verses. Allāh () refers to these laws as "limits" because it is impermissible to exceed or violate them. He emphasizes that whoever adheres to these laws as instructed by Allāh () and His messenger will attain Paradise.

Imām al-Shawkānī further cites a hadith related by Ibn Mājah on the authority of Anas ibn Mālik (), wherein the Prophet of Allāh () stated, "Whoever deprives an heir of his inheritance share, Allāh () will deprive him of Paradise on the Day of Judgment" (Sunan Ibn Majah 2703, also Ibn Abī Shaybah no. 31032).


A. Hussain