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Published: 10 March 2012
Islamic Will / al- Wasiyya
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (RA): Allah’s Messenger (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.”
"It is prescribed for you, when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth, that he
bequeaths unto parents and near relatives in goodness; (that is) a duty on those who safeguard
themselves with full awareness of divine laws." 2:180 The Holy Quran.
What are the Main Inheritance Laws in Islam?
A Muslim's wealth must be distributed on his death is as described below:
First, all of his funeral expenses must be paid;
Second, all his debts must be paid
Third, he may leave a gift of up to one third of the remainder to anyone not entitled to a fixed share, such as to charity, more distant relatives, or adopted children.
In the absence of any gifts, the entire estate will be distributed to the closest relatives
Last, the remainder must be distributed to the surviving close relatives according to what is prescribed in the Qur'an. This is normally your parents, spouse and children.
Why should I have one?
If you die (living in non-Muslim countries) without leaving a Will you are deemed to have died ‘intestate’ and so your wealth will be distributed in accordance with the rules on intestacy for your location – which do not apply the same criteria as those laid down by the Shariah.
It helps in avoiding family disputes after you have passed away.
If you have children under the age of 18, and you and your spouse should die, then the courts may take the decision as to who looks after them. By appointing legal guardians in your Will you can ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Why is an "Islamic" Will verses a regular will important?
In an Islamic will, you can stipulate that you want an Islamic burial, which is very crucial for converts to Islam, where their parents tend to be non-Muslim and try to bury them according to their own religious standards and practices. An Islamic will also ensures that your estate is properly distributed to the proper individuals according to how it is prescribed in the Qur'an. It can have many other facets that the standard non-Islamic will does not have.
Who should have one?
Everyone, especially reverts to Islam as well as those who adopt children
Where Can I get one?
We have several Islamic Will templates available for download or to view for your convenience:Islamic Will - Canada - ISNA
Should I have someone assist me in writing my will?
We suggest that you have someone assist you that is knowledgeable on the legal aspects and local laws for your area, so it is best to find a Muslim attorney that can assist you with it without difficulty. Non-Muslim Attorneys may have trouble pairing the Islamic will with the laws for your area, whereas a Muslim attorney will most likely have full understanding, and have it set up already, making it a simple process. It is possible to make your own Will, but because it is a legal document, you are strongly recommended to seek professional advice, especially if you wish to make several specific bequests or if your financial and property affairs are complicated.
Calculating Qur'anic Shares - Calculator
If your executors do not know how to calculate the Qur’anic shares, they can either find an ‘alim who has this knowledge to assist them, or they can use the software at islamicsoftware.org which does the calculation for you. This software is also useful if you would like to know, "Who would inherit what, if I were to die tomorrow?"
Determine figures Quickly using the Inheritance Calculator
Changes to your Will - Keep it up to date
Make sure that if you have any life changing events take place (children, deaths, marriage, divorce, large purchases) that you alter your will to reflect it so that there will not be issues executing your will. Keep it up to date and do not cross out things in the existing will....you need to make a new one that doesn't have manual changes made to it becuase it can make it invalid, so take the time to redo it if necessary.
Who Should Execute my Will?
You will need to choose up to four people to carry out the wishes expressed in your Will. Executors can also be beneficiaries in your Will. If you are choosing friends or relatives, make sure they are willing to accept what can be a lengthy and time consuming responsibility. If you are choosing lawyers, remember that they will probably expect to be paid for their services from your estate. The more complicated your affairs, the more prudent it is to choose a specialist lawyer.
Choosing a guardian for children
If you have children under the age of 18 when you die, you should appoint a guardian to look after them in the event of both you and your spouse dying while they are still minors. This point is particularly important for those who have non-Muslim relatives and want their children to be brought up as Muslims.
There should also be a clause dealing with how any minors’ shares should be held on trust and invested and expended for the children’s maintenance, education or benefit. Most Muslims will want to stipulate that any investment made should not involve usury, since this was expressly forbidden by all of the Prophets, including Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, blessings and peace be on them.
It is preferable to choose two trustworthy Muslim men to witness the signing of your Will. If it is not possible, then two non-Muslim men may be taken as witnesses. Women may also act as witnesses. Under Shariah, two women may act as witnesses instead of one man.
Where to keep my Will?
You should make several copies of your will, and the original should be kept in a very safe place and the executors and/or witnesses should know where it is and have the ability to gain access to it in the event of your death. It wouldn't do much good if it can't be found. It is prefered to have the copies in the possession of the witnesses, as well as the executor, your attorney, and a few close friends or family members.
Related Articles in our site:
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