Contemporary Islam

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 251–266 | Cite as

Islamic inheritance in Australia and family provision law: are Sharia wills valid?

  • Malcolm Voyce


This article explains the context of Islamic inheritance and the distinctive nature of what is called in a preliminary sense as ‘Muslim intergenerational property’. The article suggests that a wider view of inheritance should be taken on the basis that inheritance is an intergenerational process that, in the case of Muslims, incorporates religious notions. Secondly, the article describes family provision law and the particular nature of the English transplant of inheritance law into Australia. Thirdly, the article describes the nature of legal services provided to Islamic families and the drafting of Sharia wills. Fourthly, in the light of the law under the State and Federal family provision legislation, the article considers the validity of Islamic wills.


Islamic law Inheritance Family provision Legal services 


  1. Abrahams, R. (1991). A place of their own: Family farming in eastern Finland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed, F. (2016). Remedying personal law systems. International Journal of Law Policy Family, 30(3), 248–273.Google Scholar
  3. Albertini, M., & Kohli, M. (2013). The generational contract in the family: An analysis of transfer regimes in Europe. European Sociological Review, 29(4), 828–840.Google Scholar
  4. Alma’amun, S. (2010). Islamic estate planning: Analyzing the Malaysian perceptions of Wasiyyah (Will) and Bequest practices. Durham University (p. 60).Google Scholar
  5. Arshad, R. (2010). Islamic family law. London: Thomson Reuters.Google Scholar
  6. Atherton, R. (1988). Expectation without right: testamentary freedom and the position of women in 19th century New South Wales. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 11, 133.Google Scholar
  7. Atherton, R. (1993). “Family” and “property”: A history of testamentary freedom in new South Wales with particular reference to widows and children. PhD Thesis, University of New South Wales (pp. 76–95).Google Scholar
  8. Atherton, R. (1999). The concept of moral duty in the law of family provision - a gloss or a critical understanding? Australian Journal of Legal History, 5(1), 5.Google Scholar
  9. Atherton, R., & Vines, P. (2013). Australian succession law: Commentary and materials. Butterworths.Google Scholar
  10. Basu, S. (2005). She comes to take her rights: Indian women, property, and propriety women. SUNY Press (p. 5).Google Scholar
  11. Batts, D. A. (1990). “I didn't ask to be born”: the American law of disinheritance and a proposal for change to a system of protected inheritance. Hastings Law Journal, 41, 1197.Google Scholar
  12. Bellamy, R. (1990). Introduction.’ In Victorian liberalism: Nineteenth-century political thought and practice (p. 1011) Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Black, A., Esmaeili, H., & Hosen, N. (2013). Modern perspectives on Islamic law (pp. 108–109). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bourdieu, P. (1976). Marriage strategies as strategies of social reproduction. In R. Forster & O. Ranum (Eds.), Family and society: Selections from the ‘Annales’, Économies, Sociétiés and Civilzations (p. 117). Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J.-C. (1979). The inheritors: French students and their relation to culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Pres.Google Scholar
  16. Cain, M. (1979). The general practice lawyer and the client: towards a radical conception. International Journal of the Sociology of the Law, 7(4), 331.Google Scholar
  17. Clignet, R. (1992). Death, deeds and descendants: Inheritance in modern America (p. 31). New York: Aldine De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  18. Coulson, N. (1971). Succession in Muslim family law. Sweet and Maxwell.Google Scholar
  19. Cover, R.M. (1983). Nomos and Narrative. Harvard Law Review, 97. Google Scholar
  20. Croucher, R. (2007). Conflicting narratives in succession law – a review of recent cases. Australian Property Law Journal, 14, 179–180.Google Scholar
  21. Croucher, R. (2012). ‘How free is free? Testamentary freedom and the battle between “family” and “property”. Australian Society of Legal Philosophy, 37, 9-11.Google Scholar
  22. Croucher, R., & Vines, P. (2013). Succession families property and death. LexisNexis (p. 644).Google Scholar
  23. Dal Pont, G., & Mackie, K. (2012). Family provision in Australia. LexisNexis.Google Scholar
  24. De Groot, J.K., & Nickel, B.W. (2012). Family provision in Australia and New Zealand. Butterworths.Google Scholar
  25. Doppelt, G. (2001–2002). Illiberal cultures and group rights: a critique of multiculturalism in Kymlicka, Taylor and Nussbaum. Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues, 12, 661–665.Google Scholar
  26. Englefield, L. (2011). Australian family provision law. Lawbook.Google Scholar
  27. Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality. Penguin.Google Scholar
  28. Foucault, M. (1982). Afterword: The subject and power. In H. Dreyfus & P. Rabinow (Eds.), Michael Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (pp. 208–209). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gasson, R., Errington, A. (1993). The farm family business (p. 18) CAB International.Google Scholar
  30. Goody, J. (1976). J. Thirsk and E. Thompson (Eds.), Family and inheritance: Rural society in western Europe, 1200–1800 Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Halley, J. (2011). What is family law?: A genealogy part I. Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, 23, 1–2.Google Scholar
  32. Halley, J., & Rittich, K. (2010). Critical directions in comparative family law: genealogies and contemporary studies of family law exceptionalism. American Journal of Comparative Law, 56, 753.Google Scholar
  33. Harrington, C. (1994). Outlining a theory of legal practice. In M. Cain & C. Harrington (Eds.), Lawyers in postmodern world (p. 49). Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Harrison, R., & Mort, F. (1981). Patriarchal aspects of nineteenth-century state formation: Property relations, marriage and divorce and sexuality. In P. Corrigan (Ed.), Capitalism, state formation and marxist theory. (p. 79) London.Google Scholar
  35. Hussain, J. (2011). Islam its law and society. Federation Press.Google Scholar
  36. Idriss, M.M., & Abbas, T. (2011). Honour, Violence, Women and Islam. Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Kreiczer-Levy, S. (2011). The riddle of inheritance: connecting continuity and property. SSRN Electronic Journal, 2.Google Scholar
  38. Kreiczer-Levy, S. (2012a). Inheritance legal systems and the intergenerational bond. Real Property Trust and Estate Law Journal, 46(3), 495.Google Scholar
  39. Kreiczer-Levy, S. (2012b). Deliberative accountability rules: promoting accountability in inheritance law. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, 45(4), 937.Google Scholar
  40. Kreiczer-Levy, S. (2013). Succession law in Israel: individualism and the family. Israel Studies Review, 28(2), 300.Google Scholar
  41. Kreiczer-Levy, S. (2014). Intergenerational relations and the family home. Law & Ethics of Human Rights, 8(1), 131–150.Google Scholar
  42. Kreiczer-Levy, S., & Pinto, M. (2011). Property and belongingness: Rethinking gender-based disinheritance. Texas Journal of Women and the Law, 21(1), 119 129.Google Scholar
  43. Mason, D., & McHugh, J.J. (1994). Singer v Berghouse (No 2) 123 ALR 481, 487.Google Scholar
  44. McGregor-Lowndes, M., & Hannah, F. (2009). Reforming Australian inheritance law: tyrannical testators vs. greying heirs? Australian Property Law Journal, 17, 179 63.Google Scholar
  45. Phillip McMichael, Settlers and the agrarian question: Foundations of capitalism in colonial Australia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  46. Murphy, J. (1979). Hughes v national trustees, Executors and Agency Company of Australasia Ltd (pp. 143, 158).Google Scholar
  47. Pateman, C. (1988). The sexual contract. Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  48. Pearl, D., & Menski, W. (1998). Muslim Family Law. London: Sweet & Maxwell.Google Scholar
  49. Peart, N. (2010). New Zealand report on new developments in succession law. Electronic Journal of Comparative Law, 14(2), 19.Google Scholar
  50. Poulter, S. (1990). The claim of a separate Islamic system of personal law for British Muslims. In C. Mallet & J. Conners (Eds.), Islamic Family Law (p. 147). London: Graham and Trotman.Google Scholar
  51. Pradhan, R. (1990). Family, inheritance and the Care of the Aged: Contractual relations and the axiom of kinship Amity. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  52. Radin, M.J. (1993). Reinterpreting property. University of Chicago Press (p. 121).Google Scholar
  53. Ridge, P. (2005). Moral duty, religious faith and the regulation of testation. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 28(3), 720.Google Scholar
  54. Sugerman, D. (1983). The legal boundaries of liberty: dicey, liberalism and legal science. Modern Law Review, 46, 102.Google Scholar
  55. Tate, J. C. (2008). Caregiving and the case for testamentary freedom. University of California Davis Law Review, 42, 129.Google Scholar
  56. Tilse, C., et al (2015). Having the last word? Will making and contestation in Australia. The University of Queensland.Google Scholar
  57. Turner, C. (2006). Wealth as an Immortality Symbol in the Quran: a Reconsideration of the Mal/Amwal Verses. Journal of Quranic Studies, 8(2), 58.Google Scholar
  58. Twomey, C. (2002). Deserted and destitute: Motherhood, wife desertion and colonial welfare (pp. 11–12). Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.Google Scholar
  59. Unger, J. (2006). Family Customs and Farmland Reallocations in Contemporary Chinese Villages. Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 1, 113.Google Scholar
  60. von Benda-Beckman, F. (1979). Property in social continuity: Continuity and change in the maintenance of property relationships through time in Minangkabau, West Sumatra (pp. 45–55). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Voyce, M. (1994). The impact of testators family maintenance as law and ideology on the family farm. Australian Journal of Family Law, 7(3), 191.Google Scholar
  62. Voyce, M. (2009). “Sexualised economics”, divorce and the division of farming property’ in Australia. In A. Parashar and A. Dhanda (Eds.), Decolonization of legal knowledge (pp. 152–177). Routledge Delhi.Google Scholar
  63. Voyce, M. (2014). Family provision, the family farm and rural patriarchy: Three actors in search of a play. Deakin Law Review, 19(2), 1–53.Google Scholar
  64. Voyce, M., & Possamai, A. (2011). Legal pluralism, family personal laws, and the rejection of Sharia in Australia: a case of multiple or “clashing” modernities? Democracy and Security, 7(4), 338–339.Google Scholar
  65. Voyce, M., et al. (2013). Sharia Law and Family Provision. Retirement and Estate Planning Bulletin, 15(9), 174.Google Scholar
  66. Voyce, M., et al. (2016). Islamic inheritance and Sharia wills: The recognition of Muslim inheritance traditions in Australia. In E. Kolig & M. Voyce (Eds.), Muslim integration: Pluralism and multiculturalism in Australia and New Zealand (pp. 211–228). Lanham, USA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  67. Welchman, L. (2004). Women’s rights and Islamic family law: Perspectives on reform. Zed Press.Google Scholar
  68. White, B., et al. (2015). Estate contestation in Australia: an empirical study of a year of case law. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 38(3), 880–906.Google Scholar
  69. Wilson, J. (2016). Cultural considerations in will–making in Australia. Alternative Law Journal, 41(1), 23.Google Scholar
  70. Young, J. (1992). Wentworth v Wentworth (NSW SC, No 3748/1989, 11 June 1992, unreported).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations