Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
Quite a few years back, my father was employed with Sun Life, where he had a life insurance policy issued by the company. Policyholders of Sun Life, a few years later, were issued ordinary shares of stock as a demutualization benefit.
My father left the company a little later and forgot about these shares. We recently discovered he is holding these shares after many years have passed. Can we sell these shares and use the money to buy other shares or spend it?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Company Deducted Life Insurance
If your father took the life insurance policy through company deduction, and not willfully, then scholars have permitted him to avail of the money. All the inheritors of your father will now have to decide what to do with the money, as to invest it in other shares or use it. This has to be unanimously agreed upon, and its dividends distributed according to the inheritance laws (mirath) of the shari’a. [Taqi Usmani, Contemporary Fatawa]
Wilfully and Voluntarily entered the Insurance
If your father took the life insurance policy wilfully, in this case, he would only be permitted to use the amount paid as premiums to the insurance company. Any excess amount would be a combination of interest (riba) and gambling money; it is impure and unlawful and has to be given to the poor.
I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.
He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.
He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.
He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.