Will Claims of Expenses be Accepted Without Proof in Inheritance?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question

If a shop is purchased by a father and then, after his death, the elder son claims that he paid half of the money to buy the shop, but he has nothing to verify his claims. All he can do is say Allah knows this is true. 

Will his claim be accepted? And if so, should he be given directly half the profit of the shop and the remaining half to be distributed to heirs as per rules on a monthly basis? 

Answer

The basis here would be that the shop belonged to your father, fully; so, after his death, it would have been distributed amongst his wife and children according to the rules of inheritance. This is if your brother cannot provide any actual proof for contributing to it. The basis is the legal principle ‘matters remain as they were.’ [Zarqa, Sharh al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyya]

Even if he can provide proof, there is also the possibility that your father borrowed the money from him, and didn’t necessarily enter into a partnership with him.

Therefore, without proof, you would not have to give him anything beyond what his share is through his part of the inheritance.

Maintaining Family Ties

Matters like this are complicated. Everyone feels like they are in the right, and where it cannot be decisively proven, tensions can arise. With inheritance, people see it as their right, and as a means of providing for their dependents too. 

It is a very common scenario for people to fall out with their siblings and relatives over such matters. It is a huge problem. 

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said,There is no crime more deserving to have Allah Most High hasten its punishment in the dunya – along what is reserved for it in the Afterlife – than rebellion (baghi) and severing family ties.” [Abu Dawud]

For this reason, I advise you to deal with the matter with due deliberation and consideration. It may be that he is speaking the truth. What then? 

Please gather the heirs and discuss the matter with them in light of the above hadith. You don’t want things to lead to that. Consider what is best for your relationships long term. Money comes and money goes. Relationships like this do not.

If he is being dishonest, then he will have wronged you, but he will have to answer for that before Allah. No one gets away with things like this.

It’s better to lose some money short term than to face the consequences of the hadith. Work something out, and consider anything you give from your share to be charity. Allah will replace it in ways you can’t imagine.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
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. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.