Gifting Property and Land

Feb 13, 2023 | Inheritance


Assalamu alaikum

50 years ago, my mother bought some land in India in my name as my father was retired and sick. My mother bought the land with the intention of helping us financially. For example, so that myself and my youngest brother could use it to pay for wedding expenses and the like, when our time came (my other siblings were well settled by this point). When we both got married, we ended up paying for expenses from our own salaries. After my mother passed away, as the papers for the land are in my name, I thought it appropriate to sell the land and give my youngest brother his share. I recently took help from my elder brother to do this. Now, after having sold the land, my elder brother is advising me that I should share the money I received in exchange for the land, with all siblings and family members according to the Shariah. I am a bit confused by this as this land was a gift from my mother to myself and my youngest brother (although the papers are in my name) during her lifetime. So I thought that I could give my youngest brother his share and retain the rest for myself to use as required. I wanted to know if I am Islamically obliged to share the wealth from the land with all of my siblings?
Jazak Allah Khairan


The fundamental question to answer in this case is whether the gifting of the land to you from your mother was complete or not from the perspective of the shari’ah. Gifting is complete from the perspective of the shari’ah, and the ownership of the gift is transferred from the giver to the recipient of the gift, only when the recipient takes possession of the gifted item. In your case, if your mother bought the land as a gift for you and gave you possession of the land, so that you had access to the legal documents and were free to do whatever you wanted with the land, then you will be considered its owner. However, if the legal documents were not made available to you, nor were you allowed to do as you wished with the land (for example, sell it if you wanted), that means you were not given possession of it, and hence the gifting was not complete and your ownership over the property was never established.

In the first case, whereby the gifting was complete, the property belongs to you, and you are not obliged to share it with anyone, not even with your younger brother.

In the second case, whereby the gifting was incomplete, the property does not belong to you but rather to your mother, and with her death it will become part of her estate to be distributed to the rightful heirs as per the shares specified in the shari’ah. If your father is not alive, this means that the entire estate, including this property, will be divided between you and your siblings, with each of your brothers getting twice as much as you and each of your sisters. This is if there are no other heirs of your mother or father.

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel