Assalamu ‘alaykum. If my mother has stated that she wants to transfer her property to myself and my wife and child and has repeated this of her own accord in front of a solicitor, am I still Islamically obliged to give equal shares to my 3 brothers who all are living in their own homes. I am the youngest son who decided to stay at home with my mother as I felt that this is my responsibility. I have also invested money in this property through extensions since my brothers have moved home, so would the share still be equal?
I pray you are well.
Inheritance Is Automatic
When a person dies, after the funeral costs and debts – if any – are paid for from the estate, the remainder automatically becomes the property of the heirs – if no will of up to a third is left to someone who won’t automatically inherit. Those who automatically inherit cannot be recipients through a will.
This means if she does not actually gift the property to you and your wife and child in her lifetime – and before the occurrence of a terminal illness – then you and your brothers are all equal inheritors, and your wife and child will not get anything. Stating something in front of the solicitor might make the transfer happen legally, but not in the Shari’a.
Inheritance is not something you want to wrong anyone in. Please listen to the second half of this lesson and the next for an explanation of the severity of the threats in the Qur’an regarding this matter.
Fairness to One’s Children
Your mother could gift it all to you in her lifetime. It would be a valid transfer, but she would be sinful for her unfair treatment of her children. They will also, most likely, resent her for it. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Fear Allah, and be fair to you children.“ (Bukhari)
It’s best to divide it according to the Shari’a. That will prevent animosity and arguments. The life of the dunya is short. It ends, and there is a judgment on the other side. Don’t let something like money and property be something that causes a rift between you and your siblings, and be a cause for your mother to potentially go to Hell for.
As for what you have invested in the properties, if you did not state that you want reimbursement then the default assumption is that it was a gift to your mother when you invested in the property. If you are not happy with this, then speak to her and your siblings now, before it’s too late, and come to an agreement whilst you can.
(Maydani, al Lubab)
May Allah facilitate all matters for you.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.