Shazia Akhtar is a Trainee Solicitor in the immigration department
Deo Volente Solicitors offer our Muslim clients Wills that are compliant with Shariah Law as well as complying with the requirements of UK law. We would like to give our clients piece of mind that after their passing their affairs will be dealt with according to their faith yet valid under English Law.
By making an Islamic you will be fulfilling an Islamic obligation which is compulsory. It is therefore a duty upon every Muslim to have a Will which ensures that upon death, his/her wealth and assets are distributed according to Shariah Law.
The importance of Will-making, has been mentioned in Quran and Sunnah for example:
“It is not befitting for a Muslim who has something to make a Will of, to remain for two nights without having one’s last Will and testament written and kept ready with one” (Sahih al-Bukhari,no:2587)
There are also other important reasons why you should consider making an Islamic Will.
- An Islamic Will ensures that before your wealth is distributed, any debts, funeral expenses and liabilities are paid.
- It removes any uncertainty towards who you want your estate or money to go to, avoiding potential family disputes.
- You can leave one third of your estate to anyone who does not automatically inherit under the Islamic laws of inheritance. Many Muslims choose to make a bequest to charity as a means of ensuring some good deeds continue to benefit them even after their death.
In absence of a valid written Will, wealth is divided by agreement of the surviving family members. If there is a dispute, the English Courts would apply the ‘laws of intestacy’, which do not follow Shariah principles. It is also important to note that English law does not recognise Islamic marriages that have not been registered under a civil ceremony.
It is essential that all Muslims leave a valid written Will. There is no guarantee on life expectancy and it is recommended a Will should be drafted as soon as a person reaches puberty (considered as adulthood within Islam).
The actual distribution depends entirely upon the number of surviving family members, but most likely involves parents receiving one-sixth of the assets each, and a wife (in the case of her husband passing away) one-eighth, or a husband (in the case of his wife passing away) one-quarter, with the balance shared between the children, such that sons receive twice what daughters receive.
The inheritance portions have been determined and allotted by Allah in the Quran. These portions cannot be changed, but vary according to who is alive at the time of death. The death of one person can have a significant impact on division and distribution of the estate. When the estate is administered, it is the executor’s duty to ascertain which of your relatives are still alive and what fixed shares they are automatically entitled to inherit by applying the criteria of Shariah. A Will can also state that this can be determined by the help of a Muslim scholar, who will be appointed by the executors upon one’s death.
Do not leave your loved ones with the difficult task of dealing with your estate without a legally valid Will. If you are considering making an Islamic Will, please contact the Islamic Wills department.