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The Rules of Succession and the Related Rules of International Private Law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Rules of Succession and the Related Rules of International Private Law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


A. Brief Overview on the Legal Environment in Saudi Arabia

Being a conservative Islamic country, the only source for law in Saudi Arabia [1] is the Islamic Shari’ah [2] (“Shari’ah”). Shari’ah is a set of rules regulating the various aspects of life. These rules are derived from the Qur’an [3] and the Sunnah [4] as the main sources of Shari’ah [5] . In addition to these sources, there are other secondary sources; amongst them are the Consensus of the Muslim Scholars [6] , Measurement [7] and Diligence [8] .

Legislation is carried out by scholars who elicits provisions from the sources of Shari’ah or from other sources as long as it does not contradict with the rules of Shari’ah and draft them in the form of statutes (laws), to be promulgated eventually by royal decrees.

Regulations enacted in the Kingdom may not contain any provisions contrary to any of the rules of the Shari’ah. Actually, the regulations are considered to be enacted to reveal the rules that are set out in Shari’ah in general wording and to organize the implementation of these rules [9] .

In addition to their main rule of observing the execution of the regulations, the concerned local authorities are usually entitled by the provisions of these regulations to issue implementing regulations for clarifying and setting up more detailed rules for the execution of such regulations.

B. Brief Overview Inheritance Rules in Accordance with the Shari’ah

In line with the purposes of Shari’ah to organize the relationship of the people among each other, Shari’ah has developed a detailed system for distributing the legacy of the deceased Muslim amongst his/her relatives who are alive at the time of his/her death.

I. The Definition of the Legacy in Accordance with the Shari’ah

Legacy has been defined in several definitions by Muslim scholars. One of the most common definitions for legacy is “it is what was left by the deceased from funds and financial rights net of any attached rights of third party”.

II. Sources of Inheritance System in Accordance with the Shari’ah

1. Qur’an

Qur’an has clarified the full system of inheritance in accordance to the Islamic view in details. The shares of the heirs are stated as follows in Surat [10] An-Nisa’ [11] of the Qur’an:

a) Verse No. 11, Surat an-Nisa’ States the Following:

“Allah [12] 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.”.

b) Verse No. 12, Surat an-Nisa States the Following:

“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.”.

c) Verse No. 176, Surat an-Nisa’ States the Following:

“They request from you a [legal] ruling. Say, “Allah gives you a ruling concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs].” If a man dies, leaving no child but [only] a sister, she will have half of what he left. And he inherits from her if she [dies and] has no child. But if there are two sisters [or more], they will have two-thirds of what he left. If there are both brothers and sisters, the male will have the share of two females. Allah makes clear to you [His law], lest you go astray. And Allah is Knowing of all things.”

2. Sunnah

Sunnah has set out some rules for inheritance as well. Partly it has set these rules as a clarification to some of those in Qur’an and partly to set new rules.

Example:

Usama bin Zaid narrated from Prophet Muhammad his saying that: “A Muslim does not inherit the non-Muslim, and the non-Muslim does not inherit the Muslim”.

3. The Consensus of the Muslim Scholars

 New rules of inheritance were set as it gained the consensus of the scholars.

Example:

Scholars has agreed on granting the grandfather the same share of the father at his absence, and granting the grandmother the same share of the mother at her absence.

4. Diligence

When the diligence of one or some of the scholars is not approved by the rest of the scholars it is not considered as consensus. However, it is still considered as source for rules of inheritance as long as it does not contradict with other rules of higher degree.

III. The Main Features of the Inheritance System in Accordance with the Shari’ah

  1. Inheritance is mandatory for the heir and the inheritor alike. The inheritor is not entitled to deprive any/all of his/her heirs from their share in the inheritance. The heir is not entitled to return his/her share of the inheritance.
  2. The share of each heir is definitively identified in the Qur’an.
  3. The Shari’ah has granted the shares based on the level of kinship of the heir to the deceased, e.g. the share of the father is larger than the share of the grandfather, etc.
  4. The Shari’ah has included the legitimate marriage amongst the causes for inheritance. Both spouses inherit each other, if he/she dies before him/her.

IV. The Rights Related to the Legacy in Accordance with the Shari’ah

In line with the above mentioned definition of the legacy, there are several rights that have to be settled first before the heirs are entitled to inherit in the legacy.

These rights are as follows:

1. The Preparation

The preparation is the required procedures to prepare the deceased to be buried from the moment of his/her death till he/she is buried in his/her tomb. The costs for such preparation are to be deducted from the legacy before settling any other rights in it.

The preparation right includes preparing those whom the deceased are obliged to spend on them during his life, e.g. his/her children, in case they died before him/her evenby one moment. Otherwise, the expenses of their preparation shall be deducted from their share in the legacy after settling all the related rights.

2. Paying Off Debts

Paying the debts of the deceased are the 2 nd right to be settled after preparation. The debts of the deceased are two kinds in accordance with the Shari’ah:

a) Religious Debts

These are the due debts according to the religious obligations of the deceased. Such debts are not demanded by any one or by any authority.

The religious debts are not deducted from the legacy, unless the deceased has requested that such debts are to be deducted by his/her bequest. These amounts shall not exceed one third (1/3) of the legacy. This as the maximum amount allowed for the deceased to bequest from his/her legacy in accordance with Shari’ah is one third of the legacy [13] . In case it does exceed the one third of the legacy, deducting such amounts will be subject to the approval of the heirs.

b) Debts Due for Others

The normal debts due to third parties shall be deducted from the legacy regardless of its amount. It is only possible to distribute the legacy on the heirs after such debts are deducted first.

If the legacy does not accommodate all the debts, the following order shall be followed in settling the debts:

(i) Debts in Kind

These are the debts, which are related to certain item of the legacy.

(ii) Ultimate Debts

These debts are divided into two sections, which are to be settled in the same order as follows:

  • Debts of health: the debts, which are supported by evidence, which were sustained while the deceased was at good health.
  • Debts of illness: the debts, which are proved by the acknowledgment of the deceased at his/her illness of death, with no other proof.

V. The Bequest in Accordance with the Shari’ah

1. Definition of the Bequest

The Bequest was defined as “the disposal in the legacy added to after death”.

2. Conditions of the Bequest

  1. The bequest to an heir is subject to the approval of the rest of the heirs [14] , i.e. the bequest to an heir will not be enforced unless the rest of the heirs approve it.
  2. The bequest shall not exceed one third (1/3) of the total amount of the legacy [15] . Bequest with more than 1/3 is subject to the approval of the heirs.

VI. The Causes for Inheritance in Accordance with the Shari’ah

1. Marriage

Either spouse is entitled to inherit the other spouse as has been imposed by the Qur’an as stated below:

“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. …..” [16]

The Conditions of Valid Marriage

a) Legitimate Marriage

The marriage should be duly concluded in accordance with the requirements of Shari’ah [17] . These requirements include the approval of the bride, a dowry to be paid to her, and the presence of two Muslim witnesses. Marriage from non-Muslims is only permitted from Jews or Christians [18] , e.g. the marriage from Atheist, Hindu, etc. is not approved.

In addition to the requirements of Shari’ah, Saudi Arabia has issued the Saudi Regulation of the Marriage of the Saudi from Non-Saudi (SA-RMSN) [19] to organize such marriages. The SA-RMSN prevents the marriage of certain categories of Saudis from non-Saudis at all. These categories are mostly composed of government employees; however, it includes the Chairmen of the Board of the Directors or the Managing Directors of Joint Stock Companies and the students studying abroad as well.

Citizens who do not fall within such categories and desire to marry from non-Saudis of any nationalities except for the citizens of the GCC [20] have to obtain the prior approval of the Minister of Interior.  However, the Saudi embassy should check whether he/she have any impediment from a Shari’ah point of view. The Courts, as will be more clarified in section “C. Brief Overview on the Application of the Inheritance Rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, are the competent authorities of registering such marriages in coordination with the Saudi embassies all over the world.

 Results of Violation the Requirements of the SA-RMSN

The SA-RMSN provides that violating the requirements of the SA-RMSN have the following consequences [21] :

  1. The Saudi who married in violation to these requirements shall be subject to a disciplinary trial in front of the Board of Grievances.
  2. The Marriage will not be registered by the Saudi competent authorities.
  3. The non-Saudi husband or wife will not be allowed to enter the Kingdom, and his/her residence in the Kingdom will be terminated if he/she was residing in the Kingdom.

Notwithstanding the above, the Minister of Interior is authorized to license the marriages, which were concluded without obtaining his prior approval, while the King is authorized to allow citizens from the categories which are banned from marrying from non-Saudi to marry from them [22] .

This means that marriages of Saudis, which were concluded outside the Kingdom, are not approved in the Kingdom unless the Minister of Interior has granted his approval on such marriage and after registering it with the local competent authorities. In case the prior approval was not obtained, it is possible to obtain a subsequent approval as well. Prior to registration it has to be concluded accordance to Shari’ah as clarified above. Unregistered marriages do not have any legal effects prior to registration in the Kingdom.

b) The Marriage Is Valid At the Moment of the Death of the Deceased

The spouse is eligible to have his/her share from the legacy of the deceased spouse under the condition that the marriage relation is still ongoing at the time of the death of the other spouse, i.e. the spouses shall not be divorced at the time of the death of the other spouse [23] .

However, if the deceased husband died during the period of Iddah [24] , the marriage relation will still considered being ongoing, and the wife will still be entitled for getting its share from the legacy.

Furthermore, if the husband has divorced his wife with the intention to deprive her from her share in his legacy, e.g. he did so while he was in his illness of death without her approval, then the wife will be entitled to get her share despite the divorce. Such intention is to be proved by evidence(s).

2. Kinship

The kinship includes the filiations, e.g. sons and daughters, paternity e.g. the parents, cousins and other relatives as detailed in the abovementioned sources.

VII. The Relatives Who Are Eligible for Inheritance and their Levels in Accordance with the Shari’ah

The heirs are not all at the same level in the entitlement of the inheritance. Some heirs are entitled to inherit larger shares than others. Further, some heirs are not entitled to inherit their share as long other heirs of higher level exist.

1. Owners of Hypotheses

These are the heirs who are entitled, due to their level, to receive their share in the inheritance before any other heirs of other levels. Heirs of other levels are not entitled to their share in the inheritance unless the Owners of Hypotheses have received their shares first.

The Owners of Hypotheses are:

No.

Relative

Share of the Legacy

Conditions

1.

The Husband [25]

Half (½)

If his wife does not have any descendant at all.

One Fourth (1/4)

If his wife have a descendant.

2.

The Wife [26]

One Fourth (¼)

If her husband does not have any descendant.

Eighth (1/8)

If her husband have a descendant.

3.

The Daughter [27]

Half (1/2)

If she was only one and no one of the same level (i.e. Son) exists.

Two Third (2/3)

If more than one daughter exists with no one of the same level (i.e. Son) exists. Their share shall be divided on them equally.

Agnation by Others [28]

If a son or more exists, then the legacy shall be divided on them, where the son inherits double her share [29] . The owners of hypotheses should receive their share first, except for the daughter, where she shall get the rest of the legacy in partnership with the son(s) that exists in accordance to the mentioned shares.

4.

The Daughter of the Son [30]

Half (½)

If she was only one daughter of son with no one of the same level (i.e. Son of son) or daughter exists.

Two Thirds (2/3)

If more than one daughter of the son exists with no one of the same level (i.e. Son of son) or daughter exists. Their share shall be divided on them equally.

Sixth (1/6)

If a daughter or a daughter of a son of higher level exists.

Agnation by Others

If a son of a son or more exists, then they shall form agnation, where the son will inherit double her share.

Blocked

If a son exists, or two daughters, or son of a son having higher level than her or by daughter of son of higher level.

5.

The Father [31]

Sixth (1/6)

If the deceased have a male descendant (the son or the son of the son, etc.).

Sixth (1/6) + the rest Agnation

If the deceased have a female descendant (the daughter or the daughter of the son, etc.).

Agnation

If the deceased have no descendant at all, he will be entitled to what left of the legacy after the shares of the owners of hypotheses, or will be entitled to the whole legacy if no owners of hypotheses, neither descendant exists.

6.

True Grandfather [32]

Sixth (1/6)

If the deceased have a male descendant (the son or the son of the son, etc.) and the father does not exist.

Sixth + the rest Agnation

If the deceased have a female descendant (the daughter or the daughter of the son, etc.) and the father does not exist.

Agnation

If the deceased have no descendant at all, and no father exists, he will be entitled to what is left of the legacy after the shares of the owners of hypotheses, or will be entitled to the whole legacy if no owners of hypotheses, neither descendant exist.

Blocked

If the father exists.

7.

The Mother [33]

Sixth (1/6)

If the deceased have a descendant, or if the descendant has two or more brothers or sisters.

One Third (1/3)

If the deceased have no descendant at all and has no two brothers or sisters or more.

One Third (1/3) of what left after the share of the spouse of the deceased.

If one of the spouses exists.

8.

True Grandmother [34]

Sixth (1/6)

Under the condition that the mother does not exist. And the father does not exist for the grandmother of his relatives. The grandfather blocks the grandmother of his relatives as well. The grandmother who is closer to the deceased blocks the one who is of lower degree.

Blocked

The mother blocks the grandmother at all. The father blocks the grandmother of his relatives only. The grandfather. The grandfather blocks the grandmother of his relatives. The grandmother blocks the grandmother of lower level at all.

9.

The Sister

Half (1/2)

One sister, no brother, no daughter or daughter of son of the deceased.

Two Third (2/3)

More than one, no brother, no daughter or daughter of son for the deceased.

Agnation by Others

If a brother(s) exists, she inherits half of his share, e.g. if one brother and one sister exists, the legacy shall be divided on 3 equal shares, where the brother shall get 2 shares and the sister get 1share..

Agnation with Others

If a female descendant exists.

Blocked

The sister is blocked by the male descendant and by the father only; the grandfather does not block her.

10.

Half Sister from Father

Half (1/2)

One, no brother from a father only or daughter or daughter of a son or sister for the deceased.

Two Third (2/3)

More than one, no brother from a father only, no daughter or sister.

Sixth (1/6)

If a sister exists, with no daughters.

Agnation By Others

If a brother from a father only exists, where she gets half of his share.

Agnation With Others

If a female descendant exists.

Blocked

If two or more sisters exists, by the male descendant and by the father, by the brother, and by the sister.

11

Half Brothers and Sisters from a Mother

Sixth (1/6)

If only one exists whether male or female.

One Third (1/3)

If more than one exists, and to be divided into equal shares with no differentiate between males and females.

Blocked

If a descendant exists, or if a father or grandfather exists.

2. Agnation by Kinship

Those are the heirs who do not have specified shares in the legacy and inherit their shares, if any amount left, after the owners of hypotheses inherits their shares.

a) Types of Agnation by Kinship

(i) Agnation by Self

They are all the male heirs with no female intermediate in their kinship to the deceased. The agnation by self are composed of 4 sections (filiation, fatherhood, brotherhood and cousin).

The agnation by self will be entitled to inherit the entire legacy if he was alone. If one of the owners of hypotheses exists, then the agnation by self will be entitled to inherit after the owner of hypotheses inherits his/her share from the legacy, if any amount left.

Example:

A legacy of ten thousand Saudi Riyals (S.R. 10,000) of a deceased Muslim are to be distributed amongst a wife and son. Te shares of each heir shall be as follows:

a) Wife (Owner of Hypotheses):

She gets 1/8 of the legacy as her husband has descendant.

b) Son (Agnation by Self Who Inherits what left of the legacy after the existing Owner of Hypotheses gets her share of the legacy):

He will inherit the rest of the legacy after deducting the share of the wife 1/8 of the legacy.

Calculation:

No. Heir Share Note
1. Wife 1/8 of S.R. 10,000 = S.R. 1,250. The rest of the legacy after deducting the ratio of the wife is S.R. 10,000 – S.R.1, 250 = S.R. 8,750.
The son shall inherit the rest of the legacy in partnership, which shall be S.R. 8,759.
2. Son S.R. 10,000 – 1,250 = S.R. 8,759  

(ii) Agnation by Others

The agnation by others are all the females heirs from the owners of hypotheses, where an Agnation by Self of the same degree of her (e.g., daughter and son, in that case the daughter instead of inheriting by getting its share ½ or 2/3 as owner of hypotheses, it shall inherit in accordance to the agnation by others as will be clarified below) exists. Agnation by others is composed of (Daughter with son, Daughter of son with the Son of son, Sister with Brother, Sister of Father with a Brother of Father).

If there are owner(s) of hypotheses rather than the agnation by others exists, then they shall get their shares first. Thereafter the agnation by others shall inherit the rest of the legacy in partnership with the agnation by self of the same level of her. The rest of the legacy shall be divided amongst the agnation by self and the agnation by others, where the agnation by self get double the share of the agnation by others.

Example:

A legacy of ten thousand Saudi Riyals (S.R. 10,000) of a deceased Muslim are to be distributed amongst a wife, daughter and son. The shares of each heir shall be as follows:

a) Wife (Owner of Hypotheses):

She gets 1/8 of the legacy as her husband has descendant.

b) Daughter (Owner of Hypotheses, Who Inherits by Agnation by Others as an Agnation by Self of the Same Level Exists):

She will inherit in partnership with the agnation by self. However, their share will be divided, where she gets half of his share.

It is only possible to calculate her share after the owners of hypotheses get their shares. In our case here the wife gets 1/8 of the legacy.

Kindly note that in case no son exists, the daughter will be entitled then for ½ the legacy if she was only one daughter and 2/3 of the legacy if there were more than one daughter and no son exists.

Son (Agnation by Self Who Inherits in Partnership as an Owner of Hypotheses of the Same Level Exists):

He will inherit in partnership with her, where he will get double her share.

It is not possible to calculate his share before the owners of hypotheses gets their share first (in our case here the wife gets 1/8 of the legacy).

 Calculation:

No. Heir Share Note
1. Wife 1/8 of S.R. 10,000 = S.R. 1,250. The rest of the legacy after deducting the ratio of the wife is S.R. 10,000 – S.R.1, 250 = S.R. 8,750.
The son and the daughter shall inherit the rest of the legacy in partnership, which shall be S.R. 8,759.
However, the share of the son and the daughter are not equal, as he gets double her share.
The rest are to be divided to 3 shares, which shall be S.R. 8750 ÷ 3 = S.R. 2,916.67.
2. Son S.R. 2,916.67 x 2 = S.R. 5,833.33  
3. Daughter S.R. 2,916.67  
Total
  Wife share 1,250
  Son share 5,833
  Daughter share 2,916.67
Total   10,000

(iii)Agnation with Others:

These are all the female heirs from the owners of hypotheses needs in its Agnation for other female, who did not join her in her agnation. The agnation with others are the Sister with the daughter, and the Sister of Father with the Daughter.

This under the condition that an agnation by self “brother” does not exist, as then it will group with him. She takes what left after the owners of hypotheses.

Example:

A legacy of ten thousand Saudi Riyals (S.R. 10,000) of a deceased Muslim are to be distributed amongst a wife and son. The shares of each heir shall be as follows:

a) Wife (Owner of Hypotheses):

She gets 1/8 of the legacy as her husband has descendant.

b) Daughter (Owner of Hypotheses):

She gets ½ of the legacy, plus the rest agnation with others (Sister).

c) Sister (Agnation with Others):

She gets what left of the legacy in partnership with the one she is in agnation with (the daughter) after the owners of hypotheses – including the daughter gets their shares.

Calculation:

No. Heir Share Note
1. Wife 1/8 of S.R. 10,000 = S.R. 1,250.  
2. Daughter ½ of S.R. 10,000= S.R. 5,000 +The rest of the legacy agnation with the sister (S.R. 1875 as clarified in the note and below) = S.R. 6875 The rest of the legacy after deducting the shares of the owners of hypotheses S.R. 10,000 – (S.R. 5,000 + S.R. 1,250 = S.R. 6,250) = S.R. 3,750
  Sister Get the rest in agnation with the daughter to be distribute it amongst them in equal shares = S.R. 1875 S.R. 3,750 ÷ 2 = S.R. 1875

 VIII. Blocking of Inheritance

The blocking of inheritance is composed of two sections.

1. Total Blocking

An heir is prevented from inheritance totally while he/she is eligible to inherit as there is another heir who is more eligible from him to inherit, e.g. the father blocks the grandfather, and the son blocks the son of the son.

2. Partially Blocking

An heir is prevented from his higher share to get the lower share as there is another heir who exists, e.g. the husband gets ¼ of the legacy instead of ½ of the legacy as a descendant of the wife exists.

IX. The Inheritance of the Pregnancy in Accordance with the Shari’ah

The Pregnancy is defined as “the fetus in the womb of his mother” The fetus is entitled to inherit under certain conditions.

1. Conditions for the Inheritance of the Pregnancy

  1. The assurance of the existence of the fetus in the womb of his/her mother at the death of the deceased. The fetus does not inherit unless he/she does exist at the womb of his/her mother at the moment of the death of deceased.
  2. The fetus should be born alive.

2. Cases of the Inheritance of the Pregnancy

  1. If the fetus only inherits if he is a male, then, the legacy is divided amongst the heirs assuming that the fetus is a male. The distributing of the shares will be suspended till the fetus is born. If the fetus was a male, then he shall be entitled for his share then. If he was a female, then the shares shall be re-divided and redistributed accordingly.
  2. The same if the fetus only inherits if he is a female.
  3. If the fetus inherits the same share whether he is a male or female, as if he was a half sister from father or half brother from father, then his/her share shall be suspended to him/her, while the rest of the shares shall be distributed amongst the other heirs.
  4. If there are no other heirs, or heirs who are blocked if he/she exists, the legacy shall be suspended till he/she is born. If he/she was born alive he/she will be entitled to inherit the legacy. If he was born dead, the heirs who follow him/her in the level of inheritance.
  5. If the fetus inherits different shares in accordance with his/her gender, the largest share shall be suspended to him/her till he/she is born.

C. Brief Overview on the Application of the Inheritance Rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The shares of the heirs in the legacy are calculated in Saudi Arabia in accordance with the above mentioned rules. While the procedures for claiming the distributions of the share are governed by the Saudi Arabian Statute (Law) of Legitimate Pleadings (SA-LLP) [35] .

These procedures can be summarized as follows:

Those who are requesting to demonstrate death and determination of heirs shall apply to the competent court with this request. The request is only accepted from one of the heirs or his/her legitimate delegate. The request shall include the following [36] :

  1. The name of the deceased.
  2. The date of the death.
  3. The place of residence of the deceased.
  4. The witness of the death or a medical certificate with the death.
  5. Determination of the heirs, including their names, eligibility and their kinship to the deceased.
  6. The court is entitled to request from the applicant to publish the demonstration of the death and the determination of heirs at a newspaper issued at the residence of the deceased. The court is entitled to request from the concerned authorities to check the information submitted by the applicant [37] .

D. Brief Overview on the Rules of Conflict  of Conflict in the International Private Law in Saudi Arabia

The rules of conflict of the international private law are distributed amongst several regulations in Saudi Arabia, such as the Statute of the Saudi Nationality, the Statute of the Legitimate Pleadings.

However, the rules of conflict that are related to inheritance of a non-resident Saudi citizen can be derived directly from Shari’ah. It is provided in the Shari’ah that the inheritance rules shall be applied on all Muslims despite the nationality, residence or the location. Accordingly such rules are mandatory in Saudi Arabia having the Shari’ah as the governing regulation.

Therefore, the rules of conflict for the international private law in accordance with the Saudi regulations provides that the Saudi regulations are the governing regulations for the inheritance of a Saudi citizen even for those who are not resident of the Kingdom.

Further, Saudi Arabia recognizes the principle of the Personality of the Law. This principle is related to what known in the Private International Law by the Rules of Attribution. The Rules of Attribution shall be applied on subjects such as the Personal Status Matters of marriage, divorce and succession. These rules shall identify the Applicable law and competent court.

The principle is based on the idea that local laws form the total system accepted by the members of the community for regulating their life affairs. Therefore, it does apply on all Saudis whether they are resident inSaudi Arabia or abroad.

This means that according to the Saudi regulations, the Saudi Inheritance system as stated above does apply on cases where it is a matter related to the personal status of a Saudi citizen, it is governed by the law of the nationality of the individual regardless of his/her residence.

In line with the above principals, the Saudi Statute (Law) of the Legitimate Pleadings (SA-LLP) [38] provides that the Saudi courts are competent with all the lawsuits raised against a Saudi citizen, even if he/she does not have a place of residence in the Kingdom [39] . Moreover, the determination of the heirs of the deceased are amongst the competency of the General courts in the Kingdom as provided in the Implementing Regulation of the SA-LLP.

However, in order to enforce such rules, it is a necessity to review the similar provisions of the foreign regulations.

 

[1] <u >Source: The Saudi Arabian Basic Statute (Law) of Governance (SA-BLG), promulgated by the Royal Decree No. A/90 dated 27.08.1412 A.H. corresponding to 02.03.1992 G, published in the Official Gazette “Umm Al Qura” No. 3397, dated 02.09.1412 A.H. corresponding to 07.03.1992 G.

Art. 1, SA-BLG states that “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is an Arab Islamic state, with full sovereignty, its religion is Islam, <u >its Constitution is the Book of Allah Almighty [i.e. Qur’an], <u >and the Sunnah of his messenger, its language is Arabic, and its capital city is Riyadh”.

[2] <i >Shari’ah in Arabic “شريعة” means in the term of the scholars “<i >Legalization”. Muslim believes that Shari’ah is what God legitimized for the human being of creeds, worship, morality, life systems and how to behave with others. The aim of the Shari’ah is to organize the relationship of the people with their God and their relation to each other and to achieve happiness in this life and thereafter. For more information about Shari’ah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

[3] <i >Qur’an in Arabic “القرأن” literally means “The recitation”. Quran is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims consider it the verbatim word of God. It is the primary source of legalization in Islam. The indications of the provisions in Qur’an are either peremptory or presumptive. These indications are considered peremptory if the text is providing intolerable meaning, while it is considered presumptive if the text provides more than one meaning. For more information about Qur’an, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran

[4] <i >Sunnah in Arabic “سنه” means “<i >Method” or “<i >A clear and well trodden path”. The Sunnah includes all the saying of Prophet Mohamed, his actions and approval of the actions of others with regard to the public affairs. For more information about Sunnah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnah

[5] For more information about the Sources of Shari’ah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sources_of_Islamic_law

[6] For more information about<i > the Consensus of the Muslim Scholars as a source for Shari’ah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ijma

[7] For more information about the <i >Measurement as a source for Shari’ah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qiyas

[8] Fore more information about the Diligence as a source for Shari’ah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ijtihad

[9] In line with the abovementioned purposes of the regulations enacted in Saudi Arabia, regulations are enacted there under the title “Statute” or “<i >System”, in Arabic “نظام”, pronounced “<i >Nezam”. This unlike the rest of the Arab countries, where as Shari’ah is not the only source for legalization, basic regulations are enacted under the title “<i >Law”, in Arabic “قانون”, pronounced “<i >Qanon”.

[10] Surat is a division of the Qur’an. Fore more information about the meaning of the Surat, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sura

[11] Surat An-Nisa’ is the fourth chapter of the Qur’an, with 176 verses, as its name suggests, Nisa’ means “Women” in Arabic, it deals extensively with matters relating to women and their rights and obligations. For more information about Surat An-Nisa’, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An-Nisa

[12] Allah is an Arabic word, which means “God”. For more information about the meaning of Allah, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allah

[13] For more information about Bequest in Shari’ah, Kindly revert to section “B. V.. The Bequest in Accordance with the Shari’ah”.

[14] <u >Source: Farewell speech of Prophet Muhammad “Allah has granted each his/her right, thus, no bequest for heir”.

[15] <u >Source: the Saying of Prophet Muhammad “One third, and the One third is a lot, if you left your heirs rich is better than leaving them poor begging from others”.

[16] Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’, Verse No. 12.

[17] For more information about Marriage and Marriage requirements in Islam, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_marital_jurisprudence 

[18] <u >Source: Qur’an, Surat Al-Mā’idah, Verse No. 4.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam, from Islamic point of view, have common roots together. For more information about the common roots of the three religions or what so called “Abrahamic Religions”, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions

[19] The Saudi Arabian Regulation for the Marriage of the Saudi from the Non-Saudi (SA-RMSN), promulgated by his Royal Highness the Minister of Interior No. (6874) dated 20.12.1422 A.H. corresponding to 04.03.2002 G, published in the Official Gazette “Umm Al Qura” No. 3886 dated 29.01.1423 A.H. corresponding 12.04.2002 G.

[20] The Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), for more information about the GCC, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Cooperation_Council

[21] Art. 9, SA-RMSN

[22] Art. 10, SA-RMSN

[23] For more information about Divorce in Islam, kindly revert to the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_(Islamic)

[24] Iddah is the period, which the wife has to wait before she is able to marry again after she is divorced.

[25] Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’, Verse 12 “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 ……”.

[26] Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’, Verse 12 “… 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. …..”.

[27] Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’, Verse 11 “…. 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 …..”.

[28] For more information about Agnation, kindly revert to section “B.VII. 2. Agnation by Kinship”.

[29] Shari’ah has granted some of the male heirs double the share of the female heir of the same kinship level as the financial obligations of the male in accordance with Shari’ah are more than the female’s obligations. As an example, the husband is obliged in accordance to Shari’ah to spend on his family, while the wife is not obliged even to spend on herself as it is the duty of the husband to spend on her. This despite that wife is financially independent in Islam and is not obliged to participate in spending with the husband, unless she decides to do so with her own free will.

On the other hand, in other cases the female heir does inherits the same share as the male heir where the reason for granting the male more than the female was not sustained from the point of view of the Shari’ah, e.g. if a deceased have only half sister and brother from mother, both of them inherit sixth (1/6) of the share equally.

[30] She is the Daughter of the Son of the Deceased. Provided that the Son of the Deceased (her Father) does not exist, i.e. died before the death of his father (the deceased).

[31] Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’, Verse 11 “……And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. …”.

[32] True Grandfathers are those who are related to the deceased with <u >no female as intermediate between them, e.g. the father of the mother of the deceased are not a true grandfather. Only true grandfather are entitled to inherit in the legacy.

[33] Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’, Verse 11 “……And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. …”.

[34] True Grandmothers are those who are related to the deceased with no grandfather who is not a true grandfather as clarified in Pt. 6 of this table, or having no grandfather at all as intermediate between them, e.g. if the father of the mother of the deceased exists as intermediate between the grandmother and the deceased then she is not a true grandmother. Only true grandfather are entitled to inherit in the legacy.

[35] The Saudi Arabian Statute (Law) for Legitimate Pleadings (SA-LLP), promulgated by the Royal Decree No. M/21 dated 20.05.1421 A.H. corresponding to 20.08.2000 G.

[36] Art. 260, SA-LLP

[37] Art. 261, SA-LLP.

[38] The Saudi Arabian Statute (Law) of the Legitimate Pleadings (SA-LLP), promulgated by the Royal Decree No. M/21 dated 20.05.1421 A.H. corresponding to 20.08.2000 G

[39] Art. 24, Implementing Regulation of the SA-LLP, P17.

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