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What is the ruling of distributing one’s wealth during one’s lifetime?

Question:

Assalamu alaykum,

What is the ruling of distributing one’s wealth during one’s lifetime?

Secondly, If one wants to distribute the wealth then would it be permissible to distribute it according to the Islamic method of distributing inheritance?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The Sharʿī distribution of an estate only occurs upon death and not before death. Distribution of wealth whilst one has sound health is merely a gift of one’s wealth. However, distribution or gifts at a stage when one’s health severely and critically deteriorates immobilising and incapacitating a person will be regarded as a bequest.

In this scenario, a gift to a heir is invalid unless the rest of the heirs permit it after the death of the bequeather.

In principle, when one distributes his wealth during sound health, he may distribute it in the manner he pleases. However, the following must be considered when gifting to one’s children:

1) It is preferable to give sons and daughters the same amount when gifting. To deprive a child unjustly is Makrūh Taḥrīmī (severely disliked).

2) If there is no intention of committing injustice to a specific child but one just gives more to another child without a genuine reason, such an action is Makrūh Tanzīh (somewhat disliked).

3) If one child excels other siblings in matters of Sharīʿah or is engrossed in seeking sacred knowledge, it is permissible to gift him more than others.

And Allah Ta’ālā Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,
www.darulfiqh.com

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