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The Islamic Will

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وصلى الله على النبي الكريم

There have been three known economical systems in the world; communism, capitalism and the economical-system of Islām. Communism states that everything belongs to the government. The doctrines of capitalism establish that the rich keeps on getting richer and the poor keeps on getting poorer. And the teachings of Islām states that:

Everything we have in this world, our wealth, properties and assets are from Allāh Ta’ālā.    While we are alive we are required to utilize these blessings in accordance to the teachings of Islām. On the day of Qiyāmah Allāh Ta’ālā will question His servants as to how they used and managed His given trusts and blessings? When we die, part of that trust is to pass our wealth and property along appropriately.  Aside from having non-Muslim families who may not know the Shariah, many countries do not recognize or follow the laws of Allāh.

Therefore, we have to ascertain that we protect our rights and that of our close ones and most importantly that our assets and belongings are dispersed in accordance to the Shariah.

VIRTUES OF THE ISLĀMIC WILL

  1. Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم  said: “It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequest not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.” (Sahīh al-Bukhāri)

Hadhrat Ibn Umar (r.a) commented: “Ever since I heard this statement from Allāh’s Messenger, no night has passed, but I keep my will ready with me.” (Muslim Shareef)

  1. Hadhrat Jābir (r.a)narrates that Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “A person has followed the path of righteousness and Islām if he writes his will before his death. He is a man of piety and verily, he will be blessed with Allāh Ta’āla’s forgiveness.” (Ibn Mājāh)

SOME IMPORTANT POINTS REGARDING AN ISLĀMIC WILL:

  • BEWARE OF INJUSTICE AND DISCRIMINATION:

The will must not be discriminating, meaning that the testator must designate his inheritance without committing any injustice against his qualified inheritors and without any extravagance or stinginess.

  1. Hadhrat Sā’d bin Abū Waqqās (r.a) said: O Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم! I have some money and only a daughter inherits from me, should I bequeath all my remaining property (to others besides her)”

Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم answered in the negative.

Hadhrat Sā’d (r.a) said, “Then may I bequeath half of it”

Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم again answered in the negative.

Hadhrat Sā’d (r.a) said:  “One-third”

Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم answered: “Yes, one-third, yet even one-third is too much. It is better for you to leave your inheritors wealthy than to leave them poor, begging from others.”

“A man may do good deeds for seventy years but if he acts unjustly when he leaves his last testament, the wickedness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Fire of Jahannum. If, (on the other hand), a man acts wickedly for seventy years but is just in his last will and testament, the goodness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter Jannah.” (Ahmad and Ibn Mājāh)

  • ALTERING THE TESTATOR’S WILL AFTER HIS/HER DEMISE:

Allāh Ta’ala states in the Glorious Qurān:

Then whoever alters it after hearing it (the will), the sin shall be on those who make the change. Truly, Allāh is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

This verse denotes that whoever changed the will and testament or altered it by addition or deletion, including hiding the will as is obvious, then: The sin shall be on those who make the change

Hadhrat Ibn `Abbās (r.a) said: “The deceased person’s reward will be preserved for him by Allāh Ta’ālā, while the sin is acquired by those who change the will.”

  • RECTIFYING THE MISHAPS OF THE TESTATOR IS NOT CONSIDERED AS ALTERING THE WILL:

Ibn `Abbas (r.a), Abū Āliyah (Rahimahullah), Mujāhid (Rahimahullah) , and Dahhāk (Rahimahullah)  have commented that wrongdoings such as when the inheritor indirectly acquires more than his fair share or, the testator might include his daughter’s son in the legacy to increase his daughter’s share in the inheritance, and so forth. These wrongdoings might have occurred out of the kindness of the testator’s heart without thinking about the consequences of these actions but nonetheless  an oppression is an oppression and each person will be have to answer for his deeds. Therefore, in such cases, the executives of the will are allowed to correct these errors. This act would not constitute as an alteration in the will and this is why Allāh Ta’ālā has mentioned it specifically, so that it is excluded from the prohibition of altering the bequest.

  • MARRIAGE IN COMMUNITY OF PROPERTY:

Many Muslims carelessly have their marriages registered in community of property. Although their intent is not to upset the Islāmic proportion of inheritance, such registration and the consequent claim by surviving spouse is not recognised in Islām. Those who have contracted such marriages must ensure that no share of their rightful heirs is decreased because of this un-Islāmic practice and that the surviving spouse receives only his/her Islāmic share in the distribution of estates.BASIC ELEMENTS OF A WILL

IZHĀR (DECLARATION)

Declaration is Wājib (obligatory) in respect of:

  1. Unrecorded debts
  2. Unrecorded Amānah ( trust items)
  3. Unrecorded assets
  4. Unknown heirs

CATEGORIES OF WASIYYAH:

  1. Obligatory Wasiyyah:

Wasiyyah (bequest) is obligatory regarding:

  1. Unpaid Zakāh
  2. Unperformed Hajj
  3. Fidyah for default of Ramaḍān fasts
  4. Fidyah for daily Fardh and Wājib prayers
  5. Kaffārah (payment) for broken oaths etc…
  6. Other outstanding and unperformed Shariah injunctions such as Qurbāni, Sadaqatul Fitr etc…
  1. Desirable Wasiyyah

If there is sufficient money, Wasiyyah is Mustahab (desirable) for:

  1. Needy relatives who are not heirs
  2. Deserving pious persons
  3. Worthy Islāmic causes
  1. Allowed Wasiyyah:

It is Mubāh (allowed) to leave by way of Wasiyyah, money for well to do persons

  1. Forbidden Wasiyyah:

It is forbidden to leave Wasiyyah for people who are irreligious or for undesirable un-Islāmic causes

A Muslim is not allowed to make Wasiyyah in favour of an heir. Neither is he allowed to make Wasiyyah of more than one third of his estate. Hadhrat Amr bin Khārijah (r.a) narrates that he heard Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم saying:

“Allāh has given each heir his fixed share. Therefore there is no will for a deserving heir.”

GENERAL RULE:

ANY WASIYYAH MADE BY THE DECEASED MAY ONLY BE DISCHARGED FROM ONE THIRD OF THE NET AMOUNT OF THE ESTATE

DISTRIBUTION OF ESTATE:

The process of settling an Islāmic estate is as follows:

  1. Tajhīz and Takfīn (Kafan and burial expenses)
  2. All debts (including unrecorded ones for which declaration is Wājib)
  3. All Wasiyyah-amounts from one third of the estate after discharging items A and B
  4. The balance to be distributed among the heirs in accordance to the shariah laws of inheritance

May Allāh Ta’ala bless us with the understanding that ultimate and eternal success is only in the teachings of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم and May Allāh Ta’ala blesse us and the entire Ummah with the ability of practising and adhering to the teachings of the Shariah.

Islamic Wills can be picked up from Jamiat KZN Office at 223 Alpine Road Durban or

Contact 031 2077099.

www.jamiat.org.za

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