Nasihah (Advice): Compensating people
Sayyiduna Ibn Umar Radhiyallahu Anhuma reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “If anyone asks you refuge for Allah’s sake, give him refuge, and if anyone asks you (for something) for Allah’s sake, give him.” Sahl and Sulaiman said: If anyone calls you, respond to him. If anyone has a need to be fulfilled, then fulfil it. Musaddad and Uthmaan said: If you do not afford to compensate him, pray to Allah for him until you know that you have compensated him. (Abu Dawood)
Question and Answer:
- In the apartheid times the government forcefully took away many properties from our parents and grandparents and gave them meagre sums of money as a form of compensation. The government is now compensating people who were affected by giving applicants claiming that their parents/grandparents properties had been expropriated, in lieu of the injustice done. My question is that would that now form part of the estate of the deceased to be distributed amongst the heirs or will they be the sole right and ownership of the applicant.
(Question published as received)
- A government does not hold the right to forcefully seize the wealth and property from its citizens/rightful owners. If a government forces its citizens to sell their wealth and property to them for a meagre value under duress, the citizens hold the right to take it back. Such a transaction is considered incomplete unless the citizens later agree to it. (Fathul Qadeer 8/167 – Maktabah Rasheediyyah/ Raddul Muhtar 4/180/1 – H.M. Sa’eed Company/ Jawaahirul Fiqh 2/315-338 – Maktabah Darul Uloom Karachi)
As such, if a person passed away whilst holding the right to take back his wealth and property from the government and the government is compensating for what they forcefully seized from him now, the compensation will form part of his estate and will be distributed amongst his surviving heirs.
The sole right of the compensation does not necessarily belong to the claimants. The sole right of compensation belongs to the heirs of the deceased.
Note: Generally, in such cases, there are many people who held a right to their wealth and property and passed away. The guidance of the Ulama should be sought as to who are the rightful claimants of the compensation. If one does not qualify as an heir, it will not be permissible for one to claim right to the compensation as it would constitute usurping the wealth and property of others, which is Haraam.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
(The answer hereby given is specifically based on the question asked and should be read together with the question asked. Islamic rulings on this Q&A newsletter are answered in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh unless otherwise stated.)