Inheritance & Wills
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: Allah’s Apostle 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.” (Sahih al Bukhari)
Narrated Abu Huraira: A man asked the Prophet, “O Allah’s Apostle! What kind of charity is the best?” He replied.
“To give in charity when you are healthy and greedy hoping to be wealthy and afraid of becoming poor. Don’t delay giving in charity till the time when you are on the death bed when you say, ‘Give so much to so-and-so and so much to so-and so,’ and at that time the property is not yours but it belongs to so-and-so (i.e. your inheritors).” (Sahih al Bukhari)
A ‘Will’ is a legal document that spells out the wishes of deceased person for the distribution of his/her assets. In Australia, if a person passes away without leaving a legally valid will, his/her assets will be distributed according to the ‘laws of intestacy’. The Will Probate and Administration Act sets out a strict list of beneficiaries of an estate when a person dies without a ‘Will’.
Why an Islamic ‘Will’?
A legally valid Islamic ‘Will’ guarantees that the wishes of the deceased person and his assets are dealt with according to his/her wishes. Distribution of assets, guardianship of minor children, burial rites, paying off debts and unpaid zakath, bequest options, dealing with unforseen medical conditions (eg. brain death, dementia), organ donation, autopsy and similar issues can be set out in accordance with Shariah principles in a legally valid Islamic ‘Will’.