Inheritance Questions

Jul 27, 2021 | Inheritance



I wanted to follow up to provide more information.

My father passed away on April 9th 2021. The family he leaves behind is:
• Wife
• 2 Daughters
• 1 Son
• No surviving Parents
• In addition: he has 2 surviving brothers and 6 surviving sisters and 2 half sisters.

In the written will he bequeathed everything to my mother and it says that after she passes then everything will be distributed Islamically. Is this will valid? If it is not, then how should his assets be distributed.

Assets: House, cash, stocks/shares, personal belongings, and a business these are all split 50/50 between him and his wife. Both on paper and understood by the full family.

How should the following be distributed:
• House – Currently my mother and my brother and his wife are living in that house.
• Cash – On hand and in the bank.
• Shares/Stocks – Do we sell the shares, or can we distribute the stocks.
• Personal Belongings – Clothes, shoes, etc
• Business – The business was incorporated and had a total of 101 shares, 48 shares belonged to my Dad , 48 shares to my Mom and 1 share to each child.

The additional questions we had are as follows:

1. The assets that he left behind can we use that to cover his funeral expenses and any taxes owing? The follow up to this would be any other outstanding debts.
2. There is money owed to him; some of it was a loan that he and my mother gave together (split 50/50). The other is a loan he gave on his own. How is this to be distributed?
3. He had completed his Zakaat calculations and started the distribution however he did not complete the distribution, does this obligation still stand?
4. He had a life insurance policy, how do we deal with that money; from an Islamic perspective of life insurance and that money in general?
5. Once the calculations are completed does the wealth need to be distributed immediately or can this be done on paper for now
6. Lastly for the house and the business do we have to get a valuation done to understand its value.


Based on the information provided the inheritance distribution will be as follows:

Wife: 12.5%, Daughters 21.875% each, Son 43.75%. The siblings will not inherit.

It is not permissible for a person to bequeath all their assets to their spouse. Hence, any such statements within the will, will be considered invalid. After burial costs and debt repayments the remaining assets must be distributed according to the shares above.

If it is known that all of your father’s assets were co-owned by him and your mother at 50% each, then your mother will retain ownership of her 50% and the remaining 50% will be distributed according to the shares above. This will apply to all of the assets listed in your question.

Bare in mind that it is not necessary for each asset its self to be distributed between all of the inheritors to share. Rather, the total assets will be valued and then with mutual agreement of the heirs distributed according to their value between the inheritors. For example, if the value of the house equals the amount of inheritance your mother is entitled to, then she can take ownership of the house whilst others take ownership of the shares etc. An heir can also take something of higher value and pay the others for their shares. However, if they cannot mutually reach an agreement then each asset will become jointly owned by the inheritors according to their rightful shares.

Distribution of inheritance is a sensitive matter and care should be taken to ensure that family relations and ties are not impacted. The distribution should be done in a tactful manner whereby all inheritors receive their rightful share, and at the same time the best possible outcome is found for all family members. At times, certain family members are placed into great difficulty due to others not taking into consideration their practical needs. A reasonable solution that suits all should be reached, baring in mind the importance our religion gives to maintaining and strengthening family ties.

As for the house, your mother will retain 50% ownership and the remaining 50% will be distributed according to the shares above. If, all members are happy for your mother, brother and his wife to continue living in the house then that would be extremely rewarding. Alternatively, those residing in the house could pay rent to the inheritors who own part of the house and are not living there at an agreed upon rate. If they cannot agree a rental rate, then they will be owed rent corresponding to their ownership. Another option is to have the house rented out to a third party or sold off and the funds distributed between the inheritors according to their shares. In this case your mother and brother would have to re-locate and rent or purchase another property. Depending on their financial situation this could put them in a difficult situation hence this option should be considered carefully. If the family are intending to go down this route we would advise giving the occupants of the house plenty of notice so that they can start making preparations for alternative accommodation.

The cash, shares and belongings that belong to your father will be divided according to the shares above. You can either sell the shares or distribute them according to their value. As for your father’s 48 shares in the business, that will also be divided between the inheritors according to their shares of inheritance.

1. The estate should first be spent on funeral expenses and any outstanding debts including unpaid taxes that are due.

2. Money that was owed to your father should be collected and distributed between the inheritors. In the case where 50% of the loan belonged to your mother, then only 50% will be distributed between the inheritors and the rest will go to your mother. As for the other loans the entire loan will be distributed.

3. The zakat debt will be outstanding on your father. If your father included his outstanding zakat debts in his will and made a bequest for it to be fulfilled then up to 1/3 of his estate (1/3 of that which remains after burial and debt expenses are deducted) will be used in paying off the outstanding zakat. If he did not make a bequest then the estate will not be used to pay for his zakat liability, though if the family members wish to do fulfil it on his behalf this would be best.

4. Life insurance policies are unlawful. One would only be permitted to take that amount of money which was paid into the policy. This should then be distributed between the inheritors according to their share of inheritance. As for the remaining amount this should be disposed of by giving it away in charity without having any expectation of reward.

5. If the heirs are happy to defer the distribution of the estate for practical reasons then this would be permissible. However, the earlier the wealth is distributed the better. It would not be permissible to prevent someone from accessing their rightful share.

6. If the house or business are going to be sold then a valuation would need to be done as part of the selling process. If they are not going to be sold then there is no need to value the property, as the inheritors will automictically become owners of the property according to their share regardless of their value. Hence, if the value of the house or business increases each share holders share value will also increase.

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

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

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (6/ 760)

وأما دين الله تعالى فإن أوصى به وجب تنفيذه من ثلث الباقي وإلا لا

قوله وأما دين الله تعالى إلخ) محترز قوله من جهة العباد وذلك كالزكاة والكفارات ونحوها قال الزيلعي فإنها تسقط بالموت فلا يلزم الورثة أداؤها إلا إذا أوصى بها؛ أو تبرعوا بها هم من عندهم، لأن الركن في العبادات نية المكلف وفعله، وقد فات بموته فلا يتصور بقاء الواجب اهـ وتمامه فيه، أقول: وظاهر التعليل أن الورثة لو تبرعوا بها لا يسقط الواجب عنه لعدم النية منه ولأن فعلهم لا يقوم مقام فعله بدون إذنه تأمل (قوله من ثلث الباقي) أي الفاضل عن الحقوق المتقدمة، وعن دين العباد فإنه يقدم لو اجتمع مع دين الله تعالى، لأنه تعالى هو الغني ونحن الفقراء كما في الدر المنتقى

تبيين الحقائق شرح كنز الدقائق وحاشية الشلبي (6/ 230)
وَالْمُرَادُ بِالدَّيْنِ دَيْنٌ لَهُ مُطَالِبٌ مِنْ جِهَةِ الْعِبَادِ لَا دَيْنُ الزَّكَاةِ وَالْكَفَّارَاتِ وَنَحْوِهَا لِأَنَّ هَذِهِ الدُّيُونَ تَسْقُطُ بِالْمَوْتِ فَلَا يَلْزَمُ الْوَرَثَةَ أَدَاؤُهَا إلَّا إذَا أَوْصَى بِهَا أَوْ تَبَرَّعُوا بِهَا هُمْ مِنْ عِنْدِهِمْ لِأَنَّ الرُّكْنَ فِي الْعِبَادَاتِ نِيَّةُ الْمُكَلَّفِ وَفِعْلُهُ، وَقَدْ فَاتَ بِمَوْتِهِ فَلَا يُتَصَوَّرُ بَقَاءُ الْوَاجِبِ يُحَقِّقُهُ أَنَّ الدُّنْيَا دَارُ التَّكْلِيفِ، وَالْآخِرَةَ دَارُ الْجَزَاءِ، وَالْعِبَادَةُ اخْتِيَارِيَّةٌ، وَلَيْسَتْ بِجَبْرِيَّةٍ فَلَا يُتَصَوَّرُ بَقَاءُ الْوَاجِبِ لِأَنَّ الْآخِرَةَ لَيْسَتْ بِدَارِ الِابْتِلَاءِ حَتَّى يَلْزَمَهُ الْفِعْلُ فِيهَا، وَلَا الْعِبَادَةَ جَبْرِيَّةٌ حَتَّى يُجْتَزَأَ بِفِعْلِ غَيْرِهِ مِنْ غَيْرِ اخْتِيَارِهِ فَلَمْ يَبْقَ إلَّا جَزَاءُ الْفِعْلِ أَوْ تَرْكُهُ ضَرُورَةً

 وَلَا كَذَلِكَ حَقُّ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى لِأَنَّ الْمَقْصُودَ فِيهَا فِعْلُهُ وَنِيَّتُهُ ابْتِلَاءً، وَاَللَّهُ غَنِيٌّ عَنْ مَالِهِ، وَعَنْ الْعَالَمِينَ جَمِيعًا غَيْرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى تَصَدَّقَ عَلَى الْعَبْدِ بِثُلُثِ مَالِهِ فِي آخِرِ عُمْرِهِ يَضَعُهَا فِيمَا فَرَّطَ فِيهِ تَفَضُّلًا مِنْهُ مِنْ غَيْرِ حَاجَةٍ إلَيْهِ فَإِنْ أَوْصَى بِهِ قَامَ فِعْلُ الْوَرَثَةِ مَقَامَ فِعْلِهِ لِوُجُودِ اخْتِيَارِهِ بِالْإِيصَاءِ، وَإِلَّا فَلَا

درر الحكام شرح غرر الأحكام (2/ 428)
وَوَجَبَتْ إذَا كَانَ عَلَيْهِ حَقُّ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى كَالْحَجِّ، وَالزَّكَاةِ) لِأَنَّهُ لَمَّا قَصَّرَ فِيهِ فِي حَيَاتِهِ وَجَبَ عَلَيْهِ التَّدَارُكُ بَعْدَ مَمَاتِهِ تَخْلِيَةً لِذِمَّتِهِ

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (5/ 168)
باب الربا هو لغة: مطلق الزيادة وشرعا (فضل) ولو حكما فدخل ربا النسيئة والبيوع الفاسدة فكلها من الربا فيجب رد عين الربا لو قائما لا رد ضمانه لأنه يملك بالقبض قنية وبحر

قوله فيجب رد عين الربا لو قائما لا رد ضمانه إلخ) يعني وإنما يجب رد ضمانه لو استهلكه، وفي التفريع خفاء، لأن المذكور قبله أن البيع الفاسد من جملة الربا، وإنما يظهر لو ذكر قبله أن الربا من جملة البيع الفاسد، لأن حكم البيع الفاسد أنه يملك بالقبض ويجب رده لو قائما ورد مثله أو قيمته لو مستهلكا

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (5/ 89)
(ملكه) إلا في ثلاث في بيع الهازل وفي شراء الأب من ماله لطفله