Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Inheritance - writing a will/ waseeya?|
|08/14/01 at 07:44:11|
i understand that a married bro or sister would have to leave their wealth to be islamically divided between their offspring.
however what about me? who am i allowed to give my meagre wealth to??? (no i dont have masses of wealth :) ) just curious!
am i allowed to write a will which uses my wealth to build a mosque or house for people who are in need or do my next of kin have first right to it?
i was reflecting on the following.
every soul shall taste death.
hence i need to know real soon. jazahkallah
|Re: Inheritance - writing a will/ waseeya?|
|08/16/01 at 00:46:23|
|wa alaykum as salaam wa rahmatAllah,|
Hmm.. I know this question was asked before and no one responded. I don't think any of us here are well versed in inheritance laws.
You can check out ISNA's last will and testament [url=http://www.isna.net/forms.asp]here[/url].
|Re: Inheritance - writing a will/ waseeya?|
|08/16/01 at 11:14:09|
Here is what Dr. Siddiqi (ISNA's president said when he was asked this question)
Q 1. Please explain how important is the writing of will for Muslims in America. Also please give us some guidelines for preparing our wills according to Islamic rules.
A 1. It is very important for Muslims who are living in America to write their wills before their death. Since one does not know when the death may come, one should have one's will ready all the time. Periodically one should also update the will to reflect any changes in the family circumstances and/or in one's financial assets.
A Muslim's wealth should be distributed among his/her heirs according to the laws of Allah. It is obligatory on every Muslim to follow the laws of inheritance (irth or wirathah) unless the heirs themselves by their own choice give up their rights in the inheritance. Allah has mentioned the rules of inheritance in several places in the Qur'an. In Surah al-Nisa' after mentioning these rules Allah says, "... an obligation (faridah) from Allah and Allah knows every thing and is most Wise. These are the limits of Allah and he who obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will enter him in heavens beneath which rivers flow, abiding there forever and that is a great success. But he who disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses His limits, He will enter him in hell to live there for ever and for him is a humiliating punishment. "(4:11-14)) In a Hadith that is reported by Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Abu Da'ud, the Prophet is reported to have said, "A man or a woman may worship Allah for sixty years, but then when their death comes they hurt someone in the will and thus entitle themselves for the punishment in hell."
Islam has special laws of inheritance. The Qur'an and Sunnah have specified the relatives who may inherit and have also specified their shares in the inheritance. A person is free to give whomsoever he/she wills during his or her life but after death every thing has to be distributed according to the laws of Allah. One can consult books on Islamic laws of inheritance to learn more details, but basic principles are as follows:
All outstanding loans or debts should be paid before the distribution of one's wealth. The will of the deceased should be followed very strictly unless it is against the laws of Allah.
A person has a right to donate up to one third of his or her wealth to someone or some institution according to his/her choice, however a person cannot give more to someone who is supposed to inherit under the laws of inheritance. The rest of the inheritance must be distributed according to the rules of the Shari'ah.
Only a Muslim can inherit a Muslim. Non-Muslim relatives cannot inherit from Muslims, nor Muslims can inherit from their non-Muslim relatives. If a Muslim has a non-Muslim spouse or some other relatives and he wants to give something to that person then he must make a special will for that person and it should not be more than one third of his/her wealth. If a non-Muslim relative writes a Muslim's name among his/her heirs and leaves something for a Muslim, a Muslim may take it as a gift, but should not claim it as a right in inheritance.
Only legitimate children can inherit from a person. Illegitimate or adopted children cannot inherit under the Islamic law of inheritance.
A murderer or a person who was accessory to the murder of a person cannot be a beneficiary of person whom he/she murdered.
Among the surviving relatives spouses, parents and children always inherit. If any of them is predeceased then other relatives receive their shares, but the rule is that the near relatives exclude those who are a step distant from them in their relation to the deceased.
All shares must be according to the designated and specified percentage.
It is very important that Muslims in America prepare their wills before their death. The reason is that in America, the Islamic laws of inheritance is not recognized. If a Muslim dies intestate, i.e. without have a will, then his/her wealth most probably will be distributed according to the state laws where he or she lived, not according to Allah's laws. A Muslim in this case may be held responsible on the Day of Judgment because of his/her negligence in a very important matter. There are other disadvantages in not writing the will. The states may impose some taxes that you may be able to avoid by writing your will. In some cases these taxes reach to almost 70-80 % of one's assets. Because the Probate courts often take a long time to make decision, the heirs may have to wait and may undergo some hardship. The court appointed executor may be a non-Muslim and the inventorying and appraisal of assets may involve a lot of unnecessary expenses. Also if the deceased leaves minor children, the court may appoint a non-Muslim as a guardian of his/her Muslim children. In case a Muslim dies without any relatives his/her wealth may not go to Islamic causes but may go to state and non-Islamic institutions. To avoid all these things it is necessary that we Muslims living in America or any other country where the Islamic laws of inheritance are not recognized, we have our wills prepared.
There are some ready made Islamic will forms available through ISNA (P. O. Box 38, Plainfield, Indiana 46168. Telephone 317 839-8157 or Fax 317 839-1840). These forms can help as guidelines for preparing a will. Those who have substantial assets should consult a will attorney to make their will properly legal in the state of their residence. Now a days may people make a "Living Trust" instead of will. A Living Trust can also be developed on the model of will. In the living trust one has more flexibility of change as well as tax advantages. There are many attorneys who for a nominal fee can give you advice on living trusts.
Allah says in the Qur'an, "It is prescribed for you that when any of you approach death, if he leaves any good, let him make a will for the parents and other relatives. This is a duty for those who are God-fearing." (2:180)
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