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Inheritance of a Missing Person

Question: A member of our family has been lost for many years. How should we deal with his the inheritance that he is owed? Also, can we assume he has passed away and divide up his estate?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

When someone has been lost for a long time, he is assumed to be still alive until the court rules otherwise. This means that his estate is not divided up between her heirs.

If it has been a very long time, the family may raise the issue to an Islamic magistrate who may rule that the lost person is deemed legally deceased. Thereafter, his heirs may inherit his estate. (Al Fiqh al Islami wa Adillatuh, Zuhayli)

If there is no Islamic magistrate and it is not possible to agree to arbitration, one may resort to a conventional court. (Al Fiqh al Islami wa Adillatuh, Zuhayli)

I pray this helps.

[Shaykh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Estate with No Muslim Heirs

Ustadh Farid Dingle advises on how to apportion one’s estate and designate one’s heirs when one is the only Muslim in the family.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am the only Muslim in my family, as I am a convert. My immediate family have passed away including my brother. My brother had a daughter, but she said that she does not believe in God. I have learnt that it is important to leave a will and was wondering who I can leave my estate to if I die?

Many thanks.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

You should just leave your estate to a good and reliable Muslim charity that benefits Muslims. That is what is supposed to happen in Muslim countries: when someone dies without any heirs, the money goes to the Muslim common fund for the general benefit of society. If that doesn’t exist, as is the case in question, then as long as it goes to the benefit of some Muslims somewhere then it is acceptable.

You may also put in your will that it goes to any friend or family member, even if they are not Muslim, such as your niece. However it can only one third of your total heritage. If you have this recorded legally, you should make sure it says that.

I pray Allah grant all of your family and friends faith in Him and His Messenger. Amin.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
 


 

Converts and Inheritance

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have a question regarding inheritance. My husband and I are both converts. Recently, my mother converted alhamdulillah; otherwise we have no Muslim relatives. We also have two adopted children who are young (8 year old twins).

How should we structure are wills, so that my mother gets her rightful share (which I am not sure what it is – 1/6?) and so that we can provide for our girls? Their birth parents left them at an orphanage without providing any information about themselves and therefore they will not be receive an inheritance through them.

 

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

There is scholarly consensus that a non-Muslim does not inherit from a Muslim. [Ibn Qudama, Mughni]

As such, your only rightful heirs are your husband and your mother. Your husband is entitled to 1/2 of your estate. Your mother is entitled to 1/3 of your estate, and then the remaining 1/6 also goes to your mother [by returning of what remains (radd)].

As for your husband, you are his only rightful heir and hence you are entitled to his entire estate (1/4 is your rightful share, and then the remaining estate goes to you as well).

As for the twins for whom you both are caretakers, each of you may give them a bequest (wasiyya) of up to 1/3 of the estate (without need of anyone’s approval). If you wish to give them more than 1/3 of your estate, your mother and husband would have to approve after your demise. If he wishes to give them more than 1/3 of his estate, you would need to approve after his demise. [Maydani, Lubab]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Does Islamic Law Require that My Property be Divided in Particular Way in the Event that I Die?

Inheritance Laws: Can I Stipulate Other Than the Determined Amounts Mentioned in the Qur’an?

Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners