Inheritance Issues

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

It’s a Monday 1st March 2021.

Today I would like to talk about ‘Inheritance Issues’.

In my last message about Divorce, I touched upon the distribution of the property, savings and also child maintenance. Continuing with the theme of distribution, a very important teaching of Islām, which is very rarely practised upon today, is the sharing of the belongings of the deceased, known as ‘Inheritance’.

The Sharī’ah very clearly outlines that once a person passes away, all his or her belongings are now the property of the inheritors. Depending on who has departed from this temporary world, the inheritors are generally the remaining partner, sons, daughters and parents. For the technicalities of who gets how much, etc., it would be necessary to contact a Mufti Ṣāḥib or Dārul Iftā, who will provide the correct guidance, اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ.

The purpose of this message is to outline the importance of this issue. Many people spend a life of obedience, but do not have their will prepared. Although the inheritance will be distributed according to the Sharī’ah, by having a will in place, you will make life really easy for your family, whom you have left behind.

You can stipulate where you want (up to) one third of your assets to go, in your will. Remember, a will in which the allocation of assets goes against Shar’ī teachings is invalid.

As soon as a person passes away, the next of kin should make the necessary arrangements for the distribution of the inheritance at the first available opportunity. This must not be delayed at all. If the family is aware of any outstanding debts, then pay them off from his or her belongings, even if this is before the burial. Do not wait till after the Janāzah, or later on. However, this doesn’t mean that Janāzah should be delayed, either.

Once you have worked out the shares to be distributed, after taking into account deductions, do not ask the inheritors if they want their share or not. Your duty is to go and give them their share, or make an agreement with them, informing them of their share, outlining the timeframe, etc.

The subject of inheritance is very sensitive and, in many cases, it splits families. The best way forward is to try and sort out all your matters during your lifetime, so that your inheritors do not fall out with each other.

If, for example, you have 3 sons and one has looked after you all his life, give him as much as you want during your lifetime, bearing in mind that, after you pass away, all 3 sons will get an equal share.

This is where the argument starts. The son looking after the parents feels he deserves much more than the other two, because of his sacrifices. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. Therefore, sort it all and make it clear during your lifetime.

Who owns the property you live in? If you have a joint bank account, how much belongs to who? If you have many assets, make it clear who owns what.

Mum and dad try so hard to keep all their children happy and united, throughout their lives. Unfortunately, due to not making inheritance matters clear, many families break up after mum and dad have left this world. Make sure this does not happen in your family.

Almighty Allāh give us all the guidance to ensure we keep all our financial matters nice and clear, according to the Sharī’ah, Āmeen.

جَزَاكَ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا
Request for Du’ās
وَالسَّلَامُ Hanif Dudhwala


Supplementary Resources

An Introduction to Inheritance in Islām – Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Muḥammad Saleem Dhorāt Ḥafizahullāh

Testators Asset and Finance Identifier – Shaykh Ebrahim Noor

Inheritance Fatwas – Mufti Yūsuf Shabbir

Will Writing – Why? When? How? – Shaykh Mufti ‘Abdullāh Patel

Inheritance Fatwas – Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari