A Few Points Regarding Inheritance
- A Muslim cannot inherit from a non-Muslim, nor can a non-Muslim inherit from a Muslim
- A person who intentionally murdered someone, from whom he could inherit, would be deprived of his inheritance.
- Upon the demise of a person, his/her entire estate will be inherited by the heirs of the deceased, excluding any bequests that the deceased may have made to the maximum of one third of the total Estate.
- The heirs of a person can only be determined upon his/her demise.
- The exact share of the heirs is already prefixed in the Qur’an.
- The heirs will be the absolute owners of their respective share. Hence they may sell or dispose of their respective share.
- A bequest cannot be made in favour of an heir.
- If a person wishes to give something to his/her heir, the person may do so during his/her lifetime. Merely mentioning it in one’s Will, will not suffice. The ibaadah of gifting something is only complete when that person takes possession of the gifted item.
- A bequest of not more than one third of the estate may be made to a non-heir (or any organization, institution, etc.)
- Distribution of an Estate will only commence once all funeral expenses and debts have been settled.
- Feeding those who come to attend the funeral is not part of the funeral expenses and hence cannot be paid for from the Estate.
- A Waqf means to offer the benefits of an asset to any person or organization. However the final avenue of the Waqf must have an indefinite ending, for example Masjid, Islamic organization, etc. that cannot be sold.
- The beneficiaries of the waqf do not own the Waqf and therefore cannot sell or dispose the assets of the Waqf. The owner may make out some rules of the Waqf to be carried out upon his/her demise and appoint a group of reliable Allah-fearing Trustees to administrate the Waqf. Trustees of the waqf do not own the Waqf. They merely administer it.
- A Waqf must be made in one’s lifetime. If a person did not make the Waqf in his/her lifetime, the assets of the estate will be inherited by the heirs.
- A Waqf – contrary to a bequest in inheritance – can be formed for heirs. In this case too the Heirs will not own the assets. They will merely benefit from the income as stipulated in the Waqf Deed.