Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I wanted to clarify how inheritance laws are applied to family situations. I am one of 7 sons. My father passed away a couple of years ago, and there is a dispute among my siblings.
I wanted to know if the shari’a law considers the context of the family situation and dynamic when dividing assets.
During his last moments, my father indicated to my older siblings that his assets should go to me, and he also indicated this to me many times when he was alive.
This is being challenged, and they have changed their account of his statement a few times. Can I talk to someone in detail to get help in this situation?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Gifting of an item or asset will only occur if possessive ownership occurs after being gifted. Islamically, a mere indication of intending to give the assets is insufficient.
Gifting is Full Possessive Ownership
In your case, your beloved father indicated that you get the assets. This is insufficient. In Islam, if a person intends to gift an item, or an asset, a mere verbal indication is not enough; a clear statement of gifting and accepting with full possession has to take place for it to be valid, such as putting the asset in your name, handing the key, or moving others’ belongings off the property.
Quranic Distribution of Shares
Your father’s assets and estate will now be distributed according to the Quranic designated shares based on whom the deceased left behind after his demise,
After subtracting the funeral costs,
Debts of the deceased,
And one-third of the will – if he had left one.
Unless all of the heirs agree to a mutual distribution where everyone agrees to their share. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
Given the considerations, scholars say the best way is to consult with a reliable local scholar in such matters as this topic has many technicalities. At the very least, we know that Allah’s distribution is rooted in wisdom, which benefits entire extended families and wider society.
How to Resolve a Financial Dispute
Islam has an easier solution to property disputes and financial disagreements than resorting to expensive, often fruitless legal battles:
All select a reliable and qualified scholar with deep knowledge of inheritance law.
Everyone agrees in writing beforehand that they will accept the scholar’s decision as final.
Everyone presents their side to the scholar, submitting evidence to support their case.
The scholar issues an expert legal opinion (fatwa), and both parties act according to this final judgment
Please, read the detailed answers below for a deeper understanding of inheritance.
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I pray this helps in your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey.
He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then traveled 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 the UK with his wife. His personal interest is the love of books and gardening.