Have you written yours? If your answer is ‘No’ then this article is a must read
YOU may be wondering what all the fuss is about, but did you know that preparing a Will has been clearly encouraged in the Quran and Hadith and many scholars consider having a Will to be an obligatory (Wajib) duty for British Muslims? Verses eleven and twelve of Surah Nisaa in the Quran explain in great detail how the wealth of a deceased person is to be shared amongst their family members and a famous Hadith also states:
“It is a duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath not to let two night pass without including it in his will” (Bukhari).
Importance of Inheritance Planning
The above Hadith suggests the importance of making a Will as a fundamental part of Islamic law. To this extent, there is a famous saying amongst the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which says “Learn the laws of inheritance and teach it to people, for it is half of knowledge”.
It is a sad reflection upon our general condition, that whilst many Muslims are scrupulous in ensuring the funeral rites, for example the funeral prayer (janazah), the ritual washing of the body (ghusl) and the funeral shroud (kafn) are all properly observed, there is less emphasis in ensuring the wealth and assets of the deceased are distributed amongst family in accordance with Qur’anic requirements.
Hence from a Shariah perspective, inheritance planning and ensuring the correct distribution of wealth is of paramount importance.
Peace of MindIn addition to carrying out an important Islamic duty, preparing a Will means that the right of your partner and children to have a share in your wealth can easily be protected – thereby giving peace of mind to both you and your family members.
Just think for a minute, if both you and your partner were to pass away suddenly, would questions over guardianship of any surviving young children be resolved amicably? By preparing a will, the family of the deceased are left in no doubt as to knowing the wishes of the deceased. On the other hand, to die without a Will could lead to all sorts of disputes and unwanted consequences.
The implications of dying without a Will in the UK are further aggravated by legal concerns. As British Muslims, it is vital that our Will complies not only with Shariah principles but also acts in accordance with English Law. Thus a Will needs to be Shariah compliant as well as legally valid.
Obvious to say, any Will that is not prepared in accordance to English Law has no legal standing in this country. If the deceased fails to leave a legally valid Will and family disputes occur as a result, then the ‘Laws of Intestacy’ will be enforced and the matter will invariably be resolved in the Court of Law.
These ‘Laws of Intestacy’ are at complete odds with the principles of Shariah when it comes to distribution of wealth – hence, the consequences of dying without a legally valid Will are unsuitable for those wishing to distribute their wealth in accordance with Quranic injunctions. Once the matter reaches the Court of Law, there will be no option but to comply.
Nonetheless it is important to note, it is very much possible to practice principles of Shariah without breaching the English Law and vice versa. In creating a suitable option, one could argue, there has never been a better time for British Muslims to understand both English & Shariah legal systems.
For those who are wealthy, and have assets worth over £325,000, then you may be faced with 40% inheritance tax liability – specialist Wills exist which can mitigate this tax, but these need the advice of a qualified lawyer and/ or a tax adviser.
Write your Islamic Will Today
In light of Quran and Sunnah, one cannot ignore the importance of making a Will. It is essential for British Muslims to write a legally valid Will which on one hand fulfils the law of the land and on the other hand, conforms to the principles of Shariah.
For those individuals who do not have any tax liabilities, 1st Ethical Charitable Trust is a registered charity which offers a free online Islamic Will service – visit www.1stethical.com and download your Free Online Guide & Wills template and step-by-step Webtorial on how to ‘Complete Your Islamic Will in 10 mins’.
For just 10 minutes of your time, you will obtain peace of mind and greatly reduce the risk of family disputes occurring. Act today to do something of lasting value for you and your family in this world, and the next.
Razina Bargit works for 1st Ethical Charitable Trust, which seeks to empower British Muslims with necessary information needed to conduct their financial, legal and business affairs in a manner consistent with Shariah principles.