To start with, we would like to state that a valid marriage contract entitles either spouse to receive the legal share of inheritance. Therefore, Muslim scholars have agreed that if a husband dies after concluding the marriage contract and before consummating the marriage, his wife is entitled to receive the whole dower as well as her share in the inheritance. This is also applicable in case that the wife dies before consummating the marriage; her husband has the right to inherit from her.
Dr. Husam al-Din Ibn Musa `Afana, professor of Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence at Al-Quds University, Palestine, states the following: Muslim scholars have unanimously agreed that if one of the spouses dies, then the whole dower becomes the right of the wife even if death happens before consummating the marriage as long as the dower has been specified in the contract. In his book Bidayat Al-Mujtahid, Ibn Rushd (Averroës) states, “Scholars have unanimously agreed that the dowry becomes the wife’s right either after consummating the marriage or after death.” (Vol. 6 – p. 409)

Some scholars say:
“The dower becomes the wife’s right once the marriage contract is concluded. They further say that the contract is not deemed to be cancelled when the husband dies, but it rather has come to its end. They base their opinion on the fact that the marriage contract works only during the lives of the spouses and thus it ends by the end of their lives. Whenever it ends, its past obligations become binding as well as its future ones. In other words, all the obligations of the contract are to be fulfilled. Moreover, according to the contract, the whole dower has become like a debt which the husband has to pay, and since death does not nullify the right of the debt, then nothing of the dower should be neglected by death.” (See Al-Mufassal fi Ahkam Al-Mar’ah, vol.7- p. 90)
The following authentic hadith substantiates the above-mentioned opinion; `Alqamah reported that some people differed on the ruling of a woman whose husband had died without specifying a dower for her and before consummating the marriage with her. They referred her case to `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, “She should receive a dower as given to women of her class, have her share of inheritance, and observe the waiting period (`iddah).” Thereupon Ma`qil bin Sinan Al-Ashja`i bore witness that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) had passed the same judgment regarding Birwa` bint Washiq.
As regards the wife’s inheritance from the estate of her husband with whom she has not consummated the marriage, she undoubtedly has the right to inherit. According to Shari`ah (Islamic Law), marriage is one of the relations which entail receiving a share of inheritance. Allah Almighty says, (And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them be
longeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid)…
) (An-Nisaa’ 4: 12)
No doubt, the phrase “your wives” mentioned in the aforementioned verse means the wives either before or after consummating marriage. This is because a woman is considered a wife once a valid marriage contract is concluded. Thus, once a valid marriage contract is concluded, she becomes a wife, so she is entitled to receive a share of the inheritance. In addition, this noble verse clearly points out that inheritance becomes a right of either of the spouses once the marriage contract is concluded whether or not they have consummated the marriage. As illustrated in the above-mentioned hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) decreed that Birwa` Bint Washiq would receive the inheritance after her husband’s death that had occurred before the consummation of the marriage.