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Inheritance between different faiths

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Nasihah (Advice): Muslims protect one another

 

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu Anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “The believer is a mirror to a believer, and the believer is the brother of a believer who guards him against loss and protects him when he is absent.” (Abu Dawood)

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Question and Answer:

 

  1. In South Africa, can a Muslim inherit or accept a bequest from a non-Muslim?

 

(Question published as received)

 

 

  1. In principle, if a non-Muslim passes away and is survived by Muslims heirs, it will not be permissible for the deceased’s (non-Muslim) Muslim heirs to inherit from his/her estate. This ruling is applicable to an Islamic State.

 

In a secular state, like South Africa, the above ruling does not apply. Hence, if a non-Muslim passes away and is survived by Muslims heirs, it will be permissible for the deceased’s Muslim heirs to inherit from his/her estate.

 

In the case of a non-Muslim bequeathing from his/her estate to his/her Muslim heirs or any Muslim, it will be permissible for Muslim heirs or Muslims to accept a non-Muslims bequest without any limitation to the value of one third of the estate. A Muslim can accept a bequest from a non-Muslim over and above the one-third value of the estate.

 

Note: The above ruling is primarily based on the premise that Islamic Laws are not binding on non-Muslims in a non-Muslim/secular state. (Shaami 6/655/Imadaadul Ahkaam 4/627-628)

 

In terms of non-Muslims inheriting from Muslims or Muslims making bequests in favour of non-Muslims, it is binding upon Muslims to adhere to the Islamic Laws and Principles of Shariah. Therefore, a Muslim cannot make a non-Muslim an heir and neither can a Muslim bequeath more than one third of his/her estate to a non-Muslim. Bequests up to the value of one third of the estate are permitted.

 

It is necessary (Waajib) upon Muslims living in non-Muslim/secular states to sign an Islamic-compliant Will ensuring that the distribution of their estates are according to the Islamic Laws of Succession and Inheritance.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

 

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa

 

Confirmation:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

 

 

Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians
223 Alpine Road, Overport

Durban, South Africa
Tel : +27 (0) 31 2077099

Email: fatwa@jamiat.org.za
Fax : +27(0) 31 2074163
Website : www.jamiat.org.za

 

 

 

 

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