Fatwa on Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah states that the person who takes part in developing the family’s wealth, such as the wife who mixes her wealth with that of her husband and the sons/daughters who trade with their father, shall be given a certain share of the estate equal to the participant’s share (money or efforts) if it can be clearly defined. In case the share of the participant cannot be defined, judicious people and experts shall estimate the share to be given to him/her from the estate before distributing it among the heirs.
His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Ahmed Al-Taiyeb called for the necessity of maintaining the right of "Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah" for the wife in her husband’s estate in line with Al-Azhar Al-Sharif's efforts to cope with latest, realistic developments.
The Fatwa on the women’s right to "Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah" is an old one that is based on the well-established evidence of the Glorious Quran that states the undeniable fact that woman in Islam has an independent financial authority. Allah, the Most High, says, "For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much - an obligatory share." (Al-Nisa’:32) Besides, it is reported that the Rightly-Guided Caliph ‘Umar Ibn Al-Kattab (May Allah be pleased with him) has decreed that the wife who took part in developing the wealth of her husband should be given a right from his estate before distributing it among the heirs. Muslim jurists, particularly the Malikis, have been applying this fatwa throughout different times.
The right of Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah is not an exclusive right for the wife only in her husband’s wealth; rather, it is entitled to any person who contributed with money or efforts in developing the business and property of another. This means that in case the son and the daughter participates in developing the wealth of their father with money, effort or even both of them, they deserve a share from his estate equal to their money/efforts.
In case the wife participates in developing her husband’s wealth with her own wealth, work or both of them, she has a due share in his wealth. The list of the woman’s forms of practical participation in her husband’s wealth includes working with him in a project, a company, etc., whereas the forms of financial participation include gifting him from her own wealth.
The wife’s right to Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah is not restricted exclusively to half or third of the husband’s estate; rather, it shall be evaluated in light of the wife’s wealth added to her husband’s along with the following: the profits and her wage for working with him. She has the right to claim it totally or even part of it, or not to do so at all.
The wife has the right to agree with her husband on documenting her due right in his work or wealth before participating with him in developing his wealth, either with her own money, effort or both of them. However, it is of cardinal importance to take into account the point that the wife’s house work has nothing to do with her right to Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah and that the wife’s right to Al-Kadd Wa Al-Sa‘ayah is not restricted to the husband’s inheritance; rather, she can have her dues from his wealth while he is still alive as long as she took part in developing that wealth.