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Waiving debts in one’s will


Nasihah (Advice): Pay your debts as soon as possible

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu anhu reported that Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wa sallam said, “A delay in payment by a rich person is an act of injustice / oppression.” (Sahih Bukhari)



Question and Answer:


  1. A few Months before my father passed away, he recorded in his will that any debts owed to him by his debtors are waived upon his demise. The debts owed to my father are millions of rands. We would like to know if this is valid and if the heirs have any right to claim from the debtors what was owed to my father?


(Question published as received)


  1. If a man records in his will that any debts owed to him are waived upon his demise, this will be valid and will fall under the category of a bequest (Wasiyyah) which will be limited to one-third of the estate.


Therefore, in the enquired case, the bequest recorded by your father in his will is valid and his heirs are bound to honour his bequest to waive any debts owed to him up to one-third of the estate.


However, if there are remaining debts above one-third of the estate, the heirs have the right to claim them.


In such situations, a competent Aalim should be consulted to advise and guide the heirs.


And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best


Mufti Ismaeel Bassa

Mufti Moosa Salie


(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.) 


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