By: Rogia al-Shafee
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - This is one of the strangest legal cases seen by the Sudanese judiciary. It so happened during the 1980s that three men came into court in one of the towns of the Gezira District and told the sitting judge that they, with their own free will, wanted to disown a vast inherited wealth to a poor orphaned young man they were taking with them.
They said they had no kinship with the young man and that they were doing so just for the sake of justice.
Related to Sudanow by Attorney Mustafa Mohamed Mustafa, the story says that a well off man had espoused a girl from his village and lived with her in great happiness. One year later the young wife died during birth of her first son, Mohamed. The bereaved husband was so shocked by the death of his dear wife that he did not even think of having another wife. But after lots of pressure from his family members he espoused another wife and put the orphaned kid in the custody of his mother and sisters, though under his own care and attention. The care the man took of his orphaned kid raised the demons of jealousy in the heart of his new wife, though she already had seven children, boys and girls. When the young man was about 25 years old, his father helped him marry a beautiful but poor girl from another village. The bride was brought home to live with her husband and his rich father, who did everything to make his son and his wife happy.
Two years later the young man, Mohamed, died leaving his wife pregnant with a baby. After the mourning was over, the wife left for her home village to live with her family. The bereaved grandfather continued to take care of her until she gave birth to her orphaned son, whom the grandfather named after his deceased son: Mohamed. The grandfather kept visiting and looking after his grandson and his mother, always providing them with whatever they needed. This attention again raised jealousy in the hearts of the grandfather’s second wife and her sons and daughters.
One day the grandfather thought of gifting some of his property to his orphaned grandson, a move his wife and her children categorically rejected. They argued that if the law does not give Mohamed anything because his father had died before the death of his father (now the grandfather), he (the grandfather) should not give him anything. In the law the deceased son has no right to inherit his living father.
The wife and her children went even further to ask the man to sever his relations with his grandson and his mother. He apparently succumbed to this demand, but kept visiting his grandson and his mother in secret.
When the young Mohamed was ten years old his grandfather died. Mohamed attended the mourning in the company of his cousins (his mother’s brothers). After a week’s stay, the young Mohamed noticed that his uncles and aunts did not want him to stay with them. His cousins took him back home and he never saw his uncles and aunts again.
The death of the grandfather meant that his only heirs were his living sons, daughters and wife. The latter deserved one eighth of what the husband had left behind.
Seven years later the young Mohamed’s uncles and aunts and their mother were taking a wooden boat to attend a wedding party across the river. The boat capsized and all on board drowned, save the mother who was in bad condition. Her condition deteriorated even further when she learned that all her sons and daughters were dead. She eventually died out of grief.
Here her brothers appeared as possible heirs of what she inherited from her husband (Mohamed’s grandfather) and from her sons and daughters who died before her.
But Mohamed, the grandson, also had a share in the wealth because he had a right to inherit part of the wealth his dead uncles and aunts had inherited from their dead father (Mohamed’s grandfather).
Panicked by what had happened to their sister and her sons and daughters, the brothers thought it over and took Mohamed to court and told the judge that they were ceding all what they had inherited from their sister and her children to the orphaned Mohamed, by way of doing justice to him after his uncles, his aunts and their mother had denied him a small gift his grandfather had intended to give him.
So, Mohamed had taken it all: What he inherited from his uncles and aunts and what was ceded to him by the brothers of his grandfather’s deceased wife.
It was a legal case won without the presence of a plaintiff or an accused. It was heaven’s justice. The young man had lost everything because of human greed and at the end owned everything.
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