From Will to Inheritance
A man is a guardian to his family. Wills are important to any man possessing some sort of wealth. It is a duty of a Muslim to disperse his wealth before death either to his heirs or to charity as Sadaqah.
The Prophet SAW has said that no Muslim shall have passed three days without having written a will (Sahih Bukhari)
But wills are not important only so that a man is relieved of his belongings benefitting the world. It is a source for the family to survive as well. Allah SWT has designed Islam in a way that it takes care of every aspect of life. The sole provider of rizk, provides us with the blessing through ways we might not give much importance to but the concept of inheritance is must to be understood by every Muslim.
[quote]“Amir Ibn Saad ibn Abi Waqqas narrates that his father said, “The Messenger of Allah SAW came to me to treat me for a pain which became hard to bear in the year of the farewell hajj. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah SAW, you can see how far the pain has reached me. I have property and only my daughter inherits from me. Shall I give two thirds of my property as sadaqa?’ The Prophet SAW, said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Half?’ He said, ‘No.’ Then the Messenger of Allah SAW said, ‘A third, and a third is a lot. Leaving your heirs rich is better than leaving them poor to beg from people.” (Sahih Bukhari, Tirmizi, Muwatta)[/quote]
Whether or not a Muslim leaves a will for his wealth before death, there are rules in Shariah which automatically transfers the property to the heirs. Allah SWT has explicitly described the amount of share the family is going to get. This is very important to understand. Many areas specially the rural areas in many Muslim countries do not follow the rules of inheritance and the importance of wills and unfairly distribute the wealth of a dead person as if they have the right to distribution. It is sad to see the family members suffering from such unfair means of distribution that one could only wish to have a system of treating the family with justice. This calls out to the importance of wills in Islam.
The shares defined for each member in a relation is a legal right of that member however, there is a room for more share if the one making a will decides according to the needs and circumstances.
“It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leave any goods that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the Allah fearing. If anyone changes the bequest after hearing it, the guilt shall be on those who make the change. For Allah hears and knows (All things). But if anyone fears partiality or wrong-doing on the part of the testator, and makes peace between (The parties concerned), there is no wrong in him: For Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful”. (2: 180-182)
The prior thing to transferring of wealth is the generation of a will. The inheritance laws then follows. Parents, siblings, wife and children all come under this rule.
“From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large,-a determinate share. But if at the time of division other relatives, or orphans or poor, are present, feed them out of the (property), and speak to them words of kindness and justice.” (4:7-8)
This is very important in understanding that wills are necessary to lay out the inheritances by relatives and even other members of the society. I’m going to shed some light on the amount each member of the family should be liable for in the next part. However, my main concern is not to let go the ‘will’ part unnoticed. In case we make no will for the family, Allah SWT provides it for us by laying out the rules in Quran and we have to follow them to be fair to our families.
Sadaf Siddique holds a degree in Computers and a Masters in Business Administration. She is the mother of a 2-year-old boy, a part-time writer and a full-time homemaker.