What Kind of Debts Are Included in a Will or Trust?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


In a recent gathering, I heard an Imam mention the priority of distribution in inheritance. It included 1) costs of funeral and burial, 2) paying of debts, and then distribution of and inheritance shares. My question relates to paying off debts. It was mentioned that this should include debts to others and debts to Allah Most High. This could consist of unperformed Hajj, unpaid Zakat, missed fasts, etc. How would one include that in a will or trust? It might depend on when death occurs in the year for zakat or fasts. I had never heard of this or seen it written on DIY templates.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question and for seeking an Islamic answer.

The wealth of the deceased is distributed in the following manner:

  1. Payment of funeral and burial expenses,
  2. Payment of all monetary debts,
  3. Payment of any Islamic will (wasiyya) from one-third of one’s wealth, including any religious liabilities, such as unpaid Zakat, fidya, etc.
  4. You may leave a will stating your concerns and urge the heirs to support each other after the demise of each parent and distribute it accordingly.
  5. Distribution of the remaining assets and wealth by Sunni Islamic law among the inheritors, in consultation with a reliable scholar or Mufti.

[Ibn ’Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Separate Document for Unperformed Religious Obligations

It is worth remembering here that along with one’s 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 people.

One must strive to accomplish these obligations in one’s life and make the necessary amendments to the document whenever an obligation is fulfilled. For example, One had 500 unperformed prayers. In such a case, one should stipulate this in the document. After that, whenever a prayer is made up, it should be deducted from the total of 500. This “important” document should be attached to the will to inform the relatives of one’s obligations and liabilities after death.

I would advise you to consult local scholars always regarding – people who are reliable, pious, have wisdom, and understand all kinds of Islamic issues, from worship, family issues, transactions, social issues, etc.

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.


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I pray this helps answer your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel has received traditional education in various countries. He started his schooling in the UK and completed his hifz of the Quran in India. After that, he joined an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied secular and Aalimiyya sciences. Later, he traveled to Karachi, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern countries to further his education. Mawlana has served as an Imam in the Republic of Ireland for several years and taught the Quran and other Islamic sciences to both children and adults. He also worked as a teacher and librarian at a local Islamic seminary in the UK for 12 years. Presently, he lives in the UK with his wife and is interested in books and gardening.