Even though death is not a conversation that many may want to have with their families and friends, it is also an internal conversation many don’t want to have with themselves. Death is inevitable, and so we must prepare for it - Islam shows us the way.
Assembling a will is a sufficient way to prepare yourself and your family for your departure. Preparing an Islamic will allows you to put your worries at rest as your family and belongings will be taken care of, in accordance with Islamic guidelines and personal requests.
Our blessed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said to us: “It is the duty of a Muslim who has something which is to be given as a bequest not to have it for two nights without having his will written down regarding it.” (Muslim)
Conducting a will is a duty upon us Muslims in which we must fulfil accordingly. However, you should only conduct the creation of a will if you have belongings and items that you wish to distribute amongst family members, charity, or both.
An Islamic will is extremely important as it takes care of all your inheritance and your final wishes, according to your Islamic religious beliefs. This type of will is different compared to standard wills which are available. An Islamic will handles inheritance according to Islamic principles and requirements, while still abiding by the law of the land.
Without an Islamic will, all your assets, savings, and possessions will be taken care of and distributed as per the domestic law system, rather than in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
Al-Wasiyya is the term given for an Islamic will which is an important requirement for all Muslims that have assets as mentioned in a number of hadiths. It is understood that carrying out an Islamic will can provide you with the potential to obtain great blessings and mercy from Allah (SWT).
An Islamic will is a legally binding contract that specifically gives instructions that are laid down by the individual in accordance with Sharia law. Regarding the individuals’ assets and wishes about what they decide to leave behind, and how it will be taken care of and how it will be distributed.
Different from other available wills, an Islamic will predetermines who is eligible for inheriting your assets. These instructions given by Allah (SWT) can be found within the early verses of Surah an-Nisa (chapter four) within the Holy Qur’an.
In Islam, where the inheritors of your assets are already predetermined, there is room for flexibility. Islamic wills are flexible as the individual is able to change who can inherit specific parts of their assets. In an Islamic will, there is a predetermined percentage of how much each eligible predetermined individual is allowed to inherit from you. This can be changed, however.
An example of how it can be changed is by getting signed proof that an eligible inheritor is signing over their percentage to another rightly eligible inheritor. If the individual has a wife and finds the allotted percentage for her to be problematic due to a personal situation, you are allowed to request more provisions for your wife. You can do this by receiving written consent to take another eligible inheritor's provision as they may have a predetermined higher percentage; individuals such as parents do. Only after receiving written consent, can you conduct a redraft of your will so that this change is clearly written.
In an Islamic will, the assets which you have left should first be used to pay off funeral expenses, outstanding debts, and any other remaining payments you may have. After all previous obligations are taken care of, your remaining assets will then be distributed amongst rightful inheritors. Some individuals also request in their will that some of their money be given in bequest (optional) which is money often given to charity. Predetermined rightful inheritors are the immediate family members of the individual, spouse, parents, and children. Besides rightful inheritance, you are also able to gift certain possessions to other family members. In most cases, gifts are given to female family members.
Bequests are one of the main differences between an Islamic and other wills. This allows flexibility for the individual to do whatever they want with remaining assets and belongings. However, it must be done within the maximum one-third spectrum and should not exceed that value for it to be a bequest.
One-third of the individual’s assets are available to be accepted from individuals who are not entitled to receive the inheritance of the two-thirds of assets. This is an optional decision and is done at the whim of the individual. Bequests are allowed to be given to anyone, however, most Muslims who choose to add a bequest give it charity
In Islam, charity is highly praised and as Muslims, we believe that good actions as such will help benefit us on our journey to the afterlife. If you decide to include a bequest in your will, you must ensure that you are specific about who or where your bequest will be going and how you wish for it to be distributed.
There are two methods on how to write an Islamic will and how it can be conducted, with the first being through an online process in which you create your will by yourself with minimal assistance. The second method is through a trained specialist who will be able to ask every question and query and can efficiently help guide you through the process, along with the Islamic requirements.
If you are leaning towards the second option here at Muslim Aid, we are able to support and guide you through his process. We have partnered with Farani Taylor Solicitors who are experts in Islamic wills and inheritance. They will be able to advise you in the best possible way to create an Islamic will.
You can book an appointment with us today and receive expert advice on making an Islamic will.