Is there a Sharī‘a-permissible way to leave more property to an Islamic heir?
It depends on timing and niyaa.
Under the Sharī‘a, you may transfer assets to anyone during your lifetime—as long as the transfer was not done to circumvent the Islamic inheritance rules. For example, it is Sharī‘a-compliant to transfer an asset to a child in your lifetime if this child has devoted substantial time and effort to caring for you without compensation. Another example is a child that needs assistance with financial issues. You may help that child by giving them a gift in your lifetime.
If you want to leave the gift as a bequest upon your death, then all Islamic heirs that inherit under the Sharī‘a must consent to the alteration of the predetermined distribution. If they consent, then the bequest is permitted.
There are two schools of thought on this. The first opinion—the majority opinion—holds that consent of the Islamic heirs must take place after the death of the decedent. The second opinion is that such consent can take place during the life of the decedent—but must be reconfirmed after the death of the decedent.
If some – but not all – of the Islamic heir beneficiaries consent to reduce their share to a fellow Islamic heir, the receiver of the bequest can inherit the extra bequest minus the portion from the non-consenting Islamic heirs. This is, of course, on top of their Qur’anic share.
Would you like to leave a bequest to an Islamic heir, perhaps someone who has helped and cared for you during your lifetime or a child who needs financial assistance more than the others? Use our ISLAMIC WILL software to prepare your own customized Islamic estate plan that is legally valid for your state, which will allow you to make such a bequest.
I am an American Muslim. Does the Sharī‘a require me to have a will?
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyzVXkddFsg[/embed] Many Muslim scholars living in the United States suggest that American Muslims are obligated to have an Islamic will, because without one, the estate will be divided according to non-Islamic laws. If you leave a surviving spouse and you did not leave a will, your parents, for example, would not inherit, under many state intestacy laws. According to Sharī‘a, a will that leaves a bequest is either obligatory, recommended, disliked, or prohibited, depending on the circumstances. The obligatory bequest is one you must make. An example of this is when you owe someone a debt, but no one knows about this debt except you and the creditor. In this case, you must include the debt in your will. Another example is if you are wealthy and have poor relatives that are not eligible Sharī‘a heirs; you are obligated to leave them something. The recommended bequest is one you should strongly consider. For example, if your Islamic heirs and relatives are wealthy and not in need, leaving part of your estate for charity is recommended. The disliked bequest is not recommended. For example, if your estate is not large, your Islamic heirs and relatives are poor, and you leave part of your small estate to non-Islamic heirs, the scholars concluded such a bequest is disliked, because it will create hardship for your family. The prohibited bequest is not allowed under Sharī‘a. For example, it is prohibited to leave more than 1/3 of your estate to non-Islamic heirs or to give an Islamic heir more than his or her share as stated in the Qur’an. This is based on the famous Hadith of the Prophet that says “there shall be no bequest to an Islamic heir.” Unlike the Sunni opinion, the Ja‘fari (Shia) school permits a bequest to an Islamic heir as long as it does not exceed 1/3 of the estate. To summarize, if you want your estate to be distributed according to the Sharī‘a, you must have an Islamic will. Use our ISLAMIC WILL software to prepare your own customized Islamic estate plan that is legally valid for your state.Read More
What does the Qur’an say about wills? Does the Sunna mention wills?
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyzVXkddFsg[/embed] Yes, the Qur’an and the Sunna both cover wills. In the Qur’an, Allah directed Muslims to make a will: “It has been ordained upon you, when death is near one of you, leaving wealth behind, to make a will in favor of parents and close relatives, impartially. This is incumbent upon the pious” (2:180). Allah also says: “When death draws near one of you... it is time to make a bequest” (5:106). God also explained that you must deduct any bequests and debts from your gross estate before distribution to Islamic heirs (Qur’an 4:11). The Sunna has many traditions about wills. The collections of Hadith, including Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim and Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri, report that the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said: “It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his Last Will and Testament written and kept ready with him.” Check our other frequently asked questions below for more information about specific Sharī‘a inheritance rules and answers to numerous real-life Sharī‘a inheritance questions. You can also use our software to check how your estate will be distributed to your heirs or customize your own Islamic estate plan that is legally valid for your state.Read More