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Asset division between spouses

Q. I’m married and I possess assets. My wife also possesses her own assets. However, there are certain items in the house that we both use jointly, like the furniture, crockery, etc. I fear that there will be confusion in ascertaining our assets upon our demise. Please advise me what to do.

(There may be grammatical and spelling errors in the above question. Questions are published as received)

A. When two people come together under the unique union of nikaah, they envisage sharing everything about each other. Their interactive lives mean that the husband and wife share in each other’s joys, sorrows, and ups and downs. They share their successes, failures, secrets and emotions. They virtually share just about everything.

This emotive sharing experience does have an exception though. It is this very exception that could be the cause of unhappiness and a basis for dispute. The exception is regarding material assets, property and finances. Material assets remain the property and the belonging of the person who owns it. Therefore, if the husband purchases a property, an appliance or any asset, it will belong solely to him, though the family members may be permitted to use it. Similarly if the wife purchases an appliance or furniture for the usage of the home, it will remain her property, though other family members may be permitted to utilize it. Yes, if the spouse gifts the item to his or her partner, and the respective partner takes full possession of the item it will now belong to the one it was gifted to.

Therefore it is imperative for the husband and wife to clearly stipulate what item belongs to who in the home. This is necessary to avert problems and disputes in the instance of death or divorce.

Keeping our dealings clear and transparent is an important aspect of Muamalat (transacting). We will therefore find many examples of our pious elders and seniors, how particular they were regarding this aspect of their lives. In fact it has been recorded  that many of them would keep an inventory specifying what item belongs to who in the house. Thus, an inventory of some sort should be drawn up by all spouses and kept together with one’s Islamic Will. This will facilitate ease at the required time.

An example of an inventory is as follows:




Pots and crockery

Car (reg no.)

Stove and microwave

Dining table

Washing machine

Garden tools

Lounge suite

Computer and bookshelf

Gold jewellery


Diamond ring

 In this way every item that is generally not specified at the time of purchase should be included on to this inventory under the respective owner.

And Allah Knows Best

Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

Council of Muslim Theologians

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