Friday’s Sermon - Wills

Imam: Yousuf Saleh’s - 7th May 2010 - 23 Jamadu Al-Awwal 1431

All praise is due to Allah (swt) who is the sustainer of all the universe, may the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Muhammad (saw), his family, his companions, and all those who follow him in righteousness until the day of resurrection. Respected Brothers and sisters at home. Today’s topic is about the importance of making a will. Writing and preparing a Will is undoubtedly very important, especially in non-Muslim countries, insuring that upon death, ones wealth and assets are distributed according to Shariah.

There are a number of Islamic texts, both in the Quran and Sunnah, which point to the importance of Will-making, for example:

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (ra) narrates in Sahih al-Bukhari, that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: It is not befitting for a Muslim who has something to make a Will of, to remain for two nights without having ones last Will and testament written and kept ready with one.

The narrator of this Hadith (Abd Allah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab) stated after hearing this from the Messenger of Allah (saws): I did not let even one night pass by except that my Will would be kept by me. (Musnad Ahmad, 2/4)

Making a Will becomes even more important in non-Muslim countries, such as the United Kingdom and US. The reason being is that, failing to leave a valid written Will can result in the law of the land deciding on how your estate is to be distributed, which obviously will not be in accordance with Shariah (Islamic law). Therefore, it is essential that all Muslims leave a valid written Will. Those who have, as yet, not made a Will should haste and prepare a Will. Writing a Will is not only for old people, rather all those who have reached puberty should quickly get their Will prepared, for there is no guarantee of when one will die. Today we are discussing about how the will should be written. The first part of how to write a will shall be related to the time of dying and funeral. And next week we will be discussing about the will of estate and wealth.

We should put down in our wills:

1. O My family, brothers and sisters, if I happen to be sick, try to seek a means of recovering for me. And do not prevent me from treatment. And do not be disturbed with my sickness. Because just some few moments ago I was strong and healthy like you. And who ever visits me should not prolong his stay. That is according to the Sunna. The Prophet (saw) says- If a person visits the sick, He is called from above (in the heavens) that, you have done a good thing, and you have drawn closer to paradise. And do not speak, unless good words. Because the Prophet (saw) says: If you visit the sick or the dead, do not say unless good words. Because what ever you say the Angels respond Ameen.
2. If I happen to be in the state of death, remind me to say Laa Ilaaha Illallah muhammadur rasoolullah. Because the one whose last words in this world is Laa Ilaaha Illallah, will enter paradise.
3. If I die, close my eyes (Because when the soul leaves the body, the eyes traces it) then turn my face towards the direction of Qibla (facing the Ka`aba). And cover me with a cloth.
4. Do not allow my body to be operated, but bury me in full. And without delay.
5. Do not allow a woman in her menstrual period, or a person who is Junub (impurity due to Sexual Intercourse without washing the body), to come in. This is because of the presence of Angels.
6. Allah says in Al Qur’an-But give glad tidings to the patient Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. sura 1- verse 155, 156. So exercise patience, and be content with the decree of Allah.
7. Abstain from wailing, moaning, and shouting. And rather say-To Allah we belong, and to Him we shall return, O Allah! Reward me in my calamity, and reward me with what is better than what I use to have.
8. Inform my close relatives, and the closest ISLAMIC CENTER about my death. And also, inform my neighbors and brothers who use to pray with me in the same mosque and other Muslims.

9. Let the Muslim brother who is pious and good at washing the dead, to wash me

10. Use three white pieces of cloth (Shroud) to wrap me. or five pieces if decesed a female.

11. Group as much Muslims you can within the faithful, to pray on my body

12. Hurry with my body for burial and and bury me in a Muslim Graveyard. When you lower me in my grave say- Bismillah, Wa Alaa millati Rasoulu llah. (meaning, By the name of Allah, and on the way of the Messenger of Allah). And pray to Allah to bless me with what I will answer the Angels.

13. And know that when the human being dies, every deed of his comes to an end, except three things. 1) To leave a charity that will benefit people after your death (like building a well, orphanage, etc) 2) To teach knowledge that will guide people after you, 3. Or to leave a good child who will pray for you. So keep remembering me in your prayers, and give charity in my favor.

14. And desist from celebrating the forty days, one year, etc. because that is not within the practice of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be onto him).

15.O my descendents, my family, my last words to you is ;stay firmly in creed of millathe ibrahim , all the time remember your faith declaration, which shahadathain.hold fast Quran and sunnah ,because; the prophet (saw) said ;I have left among you two thing , if you follow them , you would 'not go astray ,which are Quran and sunnah. In another important hadith the prophet (saw) said; Halal is very clear, haram is very clear too, in between doubtful maters, if you avoid all doubtful things. You can save your iman and houner.; so you will be prosper in your final day, which has fallen on me today .

Now put down your name, signature and date. Ideally, choose two trustworthy Muslim men to witness the signing of your will. Once you have your will and it has been signed and witnessed; store it in a safe place, or give it a trustworthy relative or friend. May Allah save us all from all types of destructions, and show us the path, which reaches to Allah's satisfactions.

All praise is due to Allah (swt) who is the sustainer of all the universe, may the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Muhammad (saw), his family, his companions, and all those who follow him in righteousness until the day of resurrection. Respected brothers and sisters at home. Today’s topic is about the importance of making a will of estates and wealth.

The word 'will' is mentioned in the Qur'an eight times. I am going to mention one example; ch2 v80 Allah (swt) said, "It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves any goods, that he makes a bequest to Parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage. This is due from those mindful of god" According to this verse, writing a last will before death, was made obligatory on all Muslims’. This is why details of the inheritance system were sent down to the Prophet (saw) in chapter four suratun Nisaa.

According to the great majority of Muslim scholars including shafii, hanaf, maliki and hanbali, writing a will is highly recommended. In non-Muslim countries it is incumbent on Muslims to make a will. However it is forbidden to write a will that excludes the shariah. The first and foremost aspect worth noticing here is that many Muslims are mistaken in believing that, writing a Will means distributing ones wealth and estate amongst the inheritors during ones lifetime.

This is incorrect, as making a Will does not mean one must divide ones wealth amongst the various inheritors in ones life; rather, one must merely stipulate in the Will that upon my death, my executors will distribute my wealth according to Shariah. One may also state that this will be determined by a local Muslim scholar, who will be contacted and appointed by my executors upon my death. The reason behind this is that the inheritance portions have been determined and allotted by Allah in the Quran. These portions vary according to who is alive at the time of ones death.

As such, one cannot determine in ones lifetime as to how much percentage of ones wealth will be exactly allocated to each individual, for one is unaware who will be alive at the time of ones death. Even the death of one person can make a big difference in the division and distribution of the estate.

The beauty of Shariah is its simplicity and certainty. When you are writing your Islamic Will, you do not have to try and figure out which of your relatives will still be alive when you die in order to make sure that they will receive something. Whoever administers your estate will ascertain which of your relatives are still alive and what fixed shares they are automatically entitled to inherit by applying the criteria of Shariah.

Moreover, it is unlawful and invalid to make a bequest (Wasiyya) in favour of an individual who automatically is entitled to receiving a share of the estate, such as ones spouse, children and parents, etc. The prophet(saw) said in his historic sermon (khutba) of his farewell hajj (haj al-Wada): Verily Allah has given each rightful person their right, thus there is no bequest in favour of an inheritor. (Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 2120, narrated by Sayyiduna Abu Umama al-Bahili) The meaning of this Hadith is that Allah Almighty has already fixed and allotted the shares of those who are entitled to inherit from ones estate. As such, if one was to make a Will in their favour, one will be going against the shares fixed for them in the Quran and Sunnah.

However, if one wished to make a bequest/Will for a non-relative, or for a charity, then this would be allowed (and rewarded), but only up to a third of ones total wealth. The remaining two thirds will be left to be distributed amongst the relatives according to the fixed shares prescribed by Allah . If one does not make a bequest of up to one third of the estate, then all of the estate will be divided between the surviving relatives. The prophet (saw) forbade from making a bequest of giving ones wealth in charity which is more than one third, and regarding a third also, he stated: And a third is also more (although permissible). (Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 2116) Respected brothers and sisters at home. Look how Allah has simplified such important matters for us.

May Allah (swt) give us the thawfeeq to draw up a will that will be in accordance to the shariah, and may he give us the ability to understand the importance in writing a will. Ameen. This topic will continue next week insh Allah. All praise is due to Allah (swt) who is the sustainer of all the universe, may the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Muhammad (saw), his family, his companions, and all those who follow him in righteousness until the day of resurrection. Respected brothers and sisters at home. After last week I am going to continue to discuss the points of making a will with regards to material wealth.

The first point I would like to discuss is, when a person passes away, all the expenses for his ghusl, kafan, burial, etc. will be paid from his estate. Thereafter, all his debts will be paid. If the entire estate of the deceased is exhausted in paying off his debts, it is still necessary to pay off all the debts and the inheritors will not receive anything. Even if all his money is exhausted in fulfilling his wasiyyah of debts, it will have to be followed. In fact, even if he does not make any wasiyyah with regard to his debts, they will still have to be paid off first.

Apart from debts, the person can only make a wasiyyah from one third of his entire estate. If a person still has his fasts to fulfil, zakah to be paid, kaffarah to be paid for certain oaths, then at the time of death, it is wajib upon him to make a wasiyyah in this regard. If his wassiyyah can be fulfilled from one third of his wealth, it will have to be fulfilled. It will not be wajib on the inheritors to use more than one third in order to fulfill his wasiyyah. However if all the inheritors happily agree to forego their share in order to fulfill his wasiyyah, then it will be permissible to use more than one third. Minors cannot decide to forego their shares. The second point to remember here, which is very important, is that one must distinguish between a bequest (wasyah) and a gift (hiba). Many people fail to differentiate between the two, thus a grave error is committed.

What a person gives to another in ones lifetime is considered a gift and giving of something after ones death is a bequest or Will (Wasiyya). For example, if I give my house to a friend whilst I am alive, then that will be a gift, but if I was to say that my friend will take ownership of my house after I pass away, then that is a bequest. At times, one would like to distribute ones estate amongst the children whilst one is alive. This will be as a gift and not a bequest, because to make a bequest (or Will) for a relative who already qualifies to inherit is invalid, as mentioned previously. As such, if one desires to distribute the estate amongst the children whilst one is alive, then it does not have to be in accordance with the Shariah laws of inheritance, for it is merely a gift.

However, the question arises is it necessary to distribute the estate equally between the children? The answer to this is that it is permissible to give the male children twofold of that given to the female children, as it would have been distributed as inheritance. It is also permissible to give all the children, male and female, equal shares. However, to give less than this to the daughters or to completely deprive them of any share, or to be unjust in the distribution of the wealth among the sons, without a valid Shari reason, is considered to be blameworthy and sinful. One will be sinful for favouring one child over the other, although the gift will stand as valid. Yet, if there is an Islamically valid reason, such as one child being extremely disobedient or involved in open sinning, it would be permitted to give him/her less. (It is mentioned in Radd al Muhtar.)

A point worth noting here is that Islamically a gift is only valid and complete when the one to whom the gift is given, takes full ownership and possession of the item. or the gift will be considered invalid. The third point to note with regards to inheritance is that at times the deceased makes an unlawful and invalid bequest, such as saying that, my eldest son will take such and such property, the other such and such, my daughter will take the house, my body should be buried in another country, etc.

In this case, it will be unlawful (Haram) and a grave sin for the relatives to distribute the inheritance according to the bequest made by the deceased, and fulfill his or her unlawful wishes. This unlawful bequest must be overlooked, and The estate and wishes must be distributed and fulfilled in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. Most importantly, one must make sure that ones Will meets the requirements of the law of the land, for failing to do this may well render ones Will invalid. So in order to ensure that ones assets are distributed in accordance with the Shariah after ones death, one must write a Will, and that Will must comply with the requirements of the country one is residing in. Therefore, it is advisable that one seeks the advice of an expert practising Muslim solicitor.

Respected Brothers and sisters at home, Normally when making a Will, one would stipulate these ; Revoking of all previous Wills. Naming the executors of the Will. Payment of funeral and burial expenses. Signing of the document by both the Will-maker and the relevant witnesses. It is worth remembering here that along with ones written Will, one should have a separate document stipulating the number of unperformed prayers, missed fasts, unpaid Zakat, unperformed Hajj, any other religious obligations and debts payable to the servants of Allah.

One must strive in accomplishing these obligations in ones life, and make the necessary amendments to the document whenever an obligation is fulfilled. Finally, the responsibility of the relatives is that they haste in distributing the estate of the deceased as quick as humanely possible. Being negligent in this regard will be highly sinful. All the inheritors will be jointly responsible for this distribution. Also, when totalling the deceased's assets, the inheritors must include every big and small item left behind by the deceased at the time he/she passed away, which includes Properties, house, car, financial instruments, cash, gold, silver, clothes, furniture, etc. At times, people overlook small items and give them away in charity without the prior consent of all the inheritors, which is unlawful (haram).

The permission and full consent of all the inheritors must be sought before giving away any item to anybody. I hope the above has been helpful in simplifying the laws governing the great responsibility of Will-making and inheritance. May Allah (swt) forgive our shortcomings and keep us steadfast on his Deen, Ameen. All praise is due to Allah (swt) who is the sustainer of all the universe, may the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Muhammad (saw), his family, his companions, and all those who follow him in righteousness until the day of resurrection. Respected brothers and sisters at home. Todays topic is based on the reasons behind the revelation of the laws of inheritors.

Jabir ibne Abdullah has reported a hadith in Abu Dawood. He said, "Once we went out with the Messenger of Allah (swt) until we passed by an Ansari woman in the neighbourhood of Aswaf. The woman came along with her two girls and said; O Messenger of Allah. These two girls are daughters of Tabith ibne Qays, who was my husband. He was with you in the battle of Uhud, where he was martyred. The girls uncles have seized the whole property and left nothing for them. Who will now marry these girls? What do you say about it O Messenger of Allah? Then the Prophet (saws) said; Await. Allah will decide in this matter.

Jabir said; When this verse of Surah Nisaa- verse 11 was revealed, the Prophet (saws) said; call that woman and the men who had taken possession of her deceased husbands property. Then he said to the uncles of the girls; give the girls two thirds of the entire property, their mother one eighth and what remains is for you. Brothers and sisters at home. From that time Allah (swt) had established the right of women as inheritors.

It is very important to understand that the distribution of the inheritance shall be on the principle of al aqrabu fal aqrab, the nearest then the nearest. Since the children of the deceased and his parents are the nearest, therefore they inherit under all conditions. And children are the most near to parents, so the Quran gives children shares priority first. At the beginning of Ayah 11 it says, "Allah directs you concerning your children. For a male there is a share equal to that of two females."

So brothers and sisters at home. According to this Ayah, each boy gets twice that of a girl. For instance if someone leaves behind one boy and two girls, the property will be split into four portions or shares, out of which two quarters will be given to the boy and one quarter to each girl.

The reason that mens portions are twice that of women ,is that since Islamic law imposes greater financial obligations on men in respect of family life and relieves women of a number of such obligations, justice demands that a womans share should be less than that of a man.

Another important thing to reflect upon this ayah is, we can understand that the importance of giving the females share. Allah (swt) instead of saying, "for two females there is a share equal to that of one male" - Allah said, "For a male there is a share equal to that of two females." Allah (swt) has made a females share based on a males share.

Those who do not give shares to sisters, they are committing a deadly sin. Usually sisters do not forgo their rights willingly, but they do so for the sake of safeguarding their kinship, by remaining silent, or forgiving them. Such an act of forgiving is not valid under Islamic Law. Respected brothers and sisters at home. Those who usurp inheritance, they are terrible sinners. Everyone of us should be aware of this grave matter.

Moreover, the share of the girl has been described by saying...... It means that if there is no male child and there are only girls and they are more than one, and then they shall get two thirds of the inherited Property in which all girls will have equal shares. The remaining one third will go to the other rightful heirs of inheritance, such as parents of the deceased or the wife or husband.

After that it was said;.....It means; If the deceased left behind one girl only and no other children, then she will get one half of what her father and mother have left behind. The rest will go to other inheritors. But if the deceased has only one son, there is a consensus amongst jurists that in the absence of other heirs, he is entitled to ALL the property.

May Allah (swt) give us the Thawfeeq to understand the hikma of the Quran, where every person's right has been detailed very carefully indeed. Subhanallah!! We will continue this subject next week insh Allah.

All praise is due to Allah (swt) who is the sustainer of all the universe, may the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Muhammad (saw), his family, his companions, and all those who follow him in righteousness until the day of resurrection. Respected Brothers and sisters at home. During the last few weeks, we have been discussing about the rules of inheritors. As this is a vast subject that needs to be addressed, we shall continue to discuss this topic. In the Quran, chapter 4, verse 11, Allah mentions the shares of children. Last week we touched on this, then the ayah, moving onto the share of the parents of the deceased.

The Quran points out three conditions of parents:

Firstly - The deceased may have left parents, and children too, irrespective only of daughters, only of sons, or both sons and daughters, or just one son or just one daughter, in which case the father and mother will get one-sixth each. The remaining two-thirds will be distributed among the rest of the heirs, for instance, children, wife or husband.

Secondly - If there are no other heirs other than the parents, the mother will get onethird while the father will get the remaining two-thirds. If the husband or wife is present, their share will be taken out first and from what remains, one-third will go to the mother and two-thirds to the father.

Thirdly - Under a situation where the deceased has no children, but does have brothers and sisters, the mother will get one-sixth and, if there are no other heirs, the remaining five-sixths will go to the father. As evident, the presence of brothers and sisters has reduced the share of the mother, but the brothers and sisters will get nothing because the father is nearer as compared to brothers and sisters.

What remains will go to the father because in this circumstance, the fathers’ obligations are heavier. In this situation, the share of the mother has come to one-sixth instead of one-third. In the terminology of 'Fariad', this is known as 'Hajb al Nuqsaan'. The presence of these brothers and sisters causing reduction in the share of the mother. Respected brothers and sisters at home. Then Allah (swt) described the share of the husband and the wife in part of the verse 12. In case the deceased wife has left no child behind, the husband will get one-half of the total property left by the deceased. Out of the remaining half, other heirs, such as parents, brothers and sisters, will get their shares according to rules set for them.

If the deceased wife has left children - one or more than one whether male or female, either from the same husband or some previous husband - then the present husband will get one-fourth of the total property left by the deceased woman. The remaining three-fourths will go to other heirs. If the husband dies leaving his wife, and leaves no children, the wife will get onefourth of the total property, and if he has left a child, either from the present wife or some other wife, she will get one eighth. If the deceased husband has more than one wife, all alive at the time of his death, every woman will not get a share of one-fourth and one-eighth. Instead, all the wives will share the one-fourth or one-eighth equally.

But if however the deceased has not paid the Mahr of his wife, this will be taken as debt, and will have to be paid first from the total property. Like all other debts, it should be noted that the woman, after having received her mahr, shall go on to receive her fixed share in the inheritance as a competent inheritor. Even if the property left by the deceased is not more than the value of the dower, and nothing remains after it is paid, the entire property will be given to the woman as her debt of mahr, very much like other debts, and all other inheritors will be deprived from their shares.

After that Allah (swt) describes in the same verse the inheritance of 'Kalalah'. The definition of Kalalah is a person who dies leaving no ascendants and descendants. In gist, if a person, man or woman, dies and leaves behind neither father nor grandfather nor children, but does leave a brother or sister , then there is a need to clarify whether or not they are full brothers and sisters or half brothers and sisters. half brothers and sisters from the fathers side are referred to at the end of this verse, and hold different laws.

Whereas half brothers and sisters on the mothers side (that is same mother but different fathers), each of these shall inherit one-sixth, but if they are more than two, then they shall inherit one-third of the inheritance. The remaining two-thirds of the inheritance goes to the legal heirs, if any. If there are no legal heirs, the person concerned is entitled to make a bequest with regard to the remaining part of the inheritance.

Brothers and sisters at home. During the last few weeks I have been trying to eliminate many misconceptions about inheritance according to the Quran and sunnah and have tried to emphasise the importance of making a will. May Allah (swt) accept all our efforts and open our heart to understand, accept and appreciate the divine rules.

By Imam: Yousuf Saleh’s Friday’s sermon (Wills 1) 7th May 2010

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