Ndawula says if President Museveni assents to the law, it is likely to be resisted by many Muslims, noting that issues of succession are taken as a matter of faith.
Farooq Kasule
Journalist @New Vision

RELIGION | MUSLIMS | SUCCESSION

KAMPALA - Muslim leaders have appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to reject the Succession Amendment Act, 2021 passed by Parliament on April 30 this year.

Sheikh Swidiq Ndawula says several provisions in the law contradict the tenets of the Islamic faith under Mirath, which guides the distribution of two-thirds of a deceased person’s property or wealth, whether he or she left behind a Will or not.   

“We appeal to the President not to assent to this law because it contradicts the tenets of the Islamic succession law and hence it violates the freedom of worship enshrined in the Constitution,” Ndawula says. 

Ndawula says under the Islamic teaching, all the property left behind by the deceased must be distributed as per the Quranic requirements to the beneficiaries, who include spouses, children, parents and other family members.

Dr Sowedi Mayanja, a lecturer at the Islamic University in Uganda and the Imam of Makerere University Mosque, says under Islamic law, one cannot disinherit any of the beneficiaries since Allah (God) already allocated a specific formula for inheritance in the Quran. 

“Property inheritance issues are governed by the Sharia law. Unlike other cultures or secular laws, where a person may freely give their property as they choose, Islamic law governs who can receive your wealth, and in what proportions, so it would be wrong for this law to be imposed on Muslims,” Mayanja adds.

Ndawula says if President Museveni assents to the law, it is likely to be resisted by many Muslims, noting that issues of succession are taken as a matter of faith.

“We are not advocating for a separate law, but the law must cater for the interests of all the different faiths in the country. Succession is one of the few religious aspects which was clearly explained in the Quran and this shows how important it is to Muslims,” Ndawula said.

Unlike in the old law, there will no longer be illegitimate children in homes because the new law now recognises all of them as children of the deceased.   

This, according to Sheikh Mayanja, contradicts the Islamic teaching because children born out of the legally recognised marriage are not entitled to a share of the property of the deceased.

“An illegitimate child can only benefit if the deceased allocated the share to him or her when still alive,” Mayanja notes.

However, under the law passed by Parliament, children born outside wedlock, as well as adopted children, will now partake of the 75% share of the property when their father dies.

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