Importance of a Will in Islam
In countries where the intestate succession law is different from Islamic law it becomes absolutely necessary to write a Will. England and Wales is one such jurisdiction. It is however relatively straightforward to write a Will that complies with Islamic law and ensure that your estate is distributed correctly according to the rules laid down in the Qur’an.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly your Will is also used to appoint guardians for your children. It can also clarify the nature of joint accounts, and the position of those living in commensality. We offer specialist advice and professionally drawn documents. For your convenience we can meet you at your home or you can choose to visit our offices or meet us at the Iqbal Centre in Peterborough.
Islamic Wills specialist, Mariam Khan talks to Ansar Ali, Peterborough Councillor & Salaam Radio Presenter. Mariam discusses her family connections as a third-generation Muslim in the Peterborough area and the importance of having an Islamic Will.
A Will is a straightforward & inexpensive document to arrange. However very few people in the Muslim population have taken this important step, and according to shariah, one of the most important duties in a Muslim persons life is to write an Islamic Will. Our Will writing specialist ensure that your requirements are documented according to Islamic Law.
It is extremely important for a Muslim to leave a Will that is in accordance with Islamic Guidelines, as the absence of one will result in the person’s estate being distributed in a non-Islamic manner.
If a Muslim dies without leaving an Islamic Will, there is very little the beneficiaries can do in ensuring for forcing distribution of the deceased’s estate according to the Qur’an. However if you find yourself in this situation we can help you with your options.
The four duties when a muslim dies…
Payment of funeral expenses
Payment of his/her debts
Execution of his/her Will
Distribution of the remaining estate according to Sharia
We can assist your family in carrying out these duties.
Rules of Islamic Inheritance
The Qur’an mentions in great detail the fixed-shares of those who inherit the estate from the deceased. Failure to distribute the estate according to these guidelines set in the Qur’an constitutes a great sin and punishment from Allah Most High.
After mentioning these laws of estate-distribution/inheritance, Allah Most High says in the Qur’an:
“These are the limits set by Allah, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messanger, He will admit them into gardens beneath which rivers flow, remaining therein forever. And that is great success. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger [in distributing inheritance] and crosses the limits set by Him, He shall admit them into the fire, remaining therein forever. Amd for them there is a humiliating punishment.” (Surah al-Nisa, V 12-13).
As such, it is extremely important for a Muslim to leave a Will that is in accordance with Islamic guidelines, especially in a country where not leaving such a Will results in the estate being distributed in a non-Islamic manner. If someone dies without leaving an Islamic Wills, as your father did in this case, then it becomes necessary upon all the heirs/inheritors (wuratha) of the deceased to ensure that the estate is distributed according to Islamic guidelines; otherwise it will amount to a grave sin in the sight of Allah Almighty. There are severe warnings of punishment mentioned in the sacred Islamic texts for not distibuting the estate according to Islamic law.
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messanger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever deprives an heir of his/her inheritance-share [as fixed by Qur’anic guidelines], Allah will deprive him/her of Paradise on the day judgement.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, no 2703).
For a practising Muslim, this is an extemely serious matter which must not be taken lighly. Indeed, if one is not a proper/practising Muslim, he/she will go ahead and have the estate distibuted in a non-Islamic manner.
In regard to a specific situation, the Islamic law of inheritance is as follows. All the wealth left behind by the deceased at the time of his death, which includes everything he owned, such as cash, gold, silver, properties, all chattels, all contents; hence every big and small item that belonged to him at the time of his death will be totalled and termed as the estate.
From this, after taking out burial expenses, if there are any debts owed to fellow human beings, they must be paid off. The remaining amount will be distributed amongst the various heirs. The wife of the deceased will be entitled to one eighth of the total and the remaining seven parts will be distributed between the sons and daughters share in accordance with the Qur’anic verse:
“As regards your children’s (inheritance) to the male a portion of that of two females.” (Surah al-Nisa, V:11)
Breakdown of inheritance is:
1) Husband Gets 1/2 (Deceased does not have any offspring) or gets 1/4 if Deceased has offspring.
2) Wife Gets 1/4 if Deceased does not have any offspring or gets 1/8 if Deceased has offspring.
3) Daughter (Divided equally among all daughters). Gets 1/2 if Deceased has only 1 daughter, and Deceased does not have any sons. Or gets 2/3 if Deceased has multiple daughters, and Deceased does not have any sons.
4) Son and Daughter share in the ratio of 2:1.
5) Father gets 1/6 if Deceased has offspring.
6) Mother gets 1/3 if Deceased does not have any offspring, and Deceased does not have multiple siblings (full, paternal, maternal). Alternatively, mother gets 1/6 if Deceased has offspring, or Deceased has multiple siblings (full, paternal, maternal).
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney are the legal documents that enable A son to manage his father’s money if his father is unable to do so himself, a mother’s children to arrange care for her when she needs it in old age or parent to continue to manage the affairs of their disabled child as the child turns 18.
If these important documents are not in place your family will be left in the hands of the courts and the adult social care system run by your local authority. Nobody wants that for their loved ones.
None of us wants to think about getting ill, however data from the 2001 census reveals that our community has the highest levels of illness and disability. In particular our high levels of diabetes mean that we are at high risk of Strokes.
Each of us will have two LPAs the first deals with our property and finances, the second deals with our health and welfare. In each document we can appoint up to four people to deal with our affairs.
We turn to our family at times of need – LPA’s mean that our family will have the legal power to help us.