What is a will?

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This image has a will and shows a feather pen being used to draft it.

Life is full of surprises, and none of us can predict what the future holds. While it might seem like something only grown-ups worry about, understanding the concept of a will and Islamic rules of inheritance is important for everyone.

So, what is a will, why should you care, and how does it relate to Islamic principles? Let’s dive into this important topic and find out.

What’s a will?

A will, known in Islamic terms as a ‘wasiyah,’ is a legal document that outlines your wishes for what should happen to your belongings and assets after you pass away. These belongings can include money, property, possessions, and even sentimental items like family heirlooms.

In Islam, a wasiyah is a way to ensure that your wishes are respected and that your assets are distributed as you see fit following Islamic principles.

Islamic rules of inheritance

Islamic rules of inheritance are a set of guidelines outlined in the Quran and Hadith that dictate how a deceased person’s estate should be distributed among their heirs.

These rules are essential to ensure justice and fairness in the distribution of wealth, as prescribed by Islamic law.

Here are some key principles:
  1. Mandatory heirs: In Islam, there are certain family members who are considered mandatory heirs, including spouses, children, parents, and sometimes siblings, depending on the circumstances.
    • These heirs have a predetermined share of the estate.
  2. Fixed shares: Islamic law assigns specific shares to each mandatory heir. For example, a wife typically receives one-eighth of her husband’s estate, while a son receives twice the share of a daughter.
    • These shares are designed to provide for the financial well-being of the family members.
  3. Discretionary shares: A person creating a will (Wasiyah) in Islam can allocate up to one-third of their estate to non-mandatory heirs or charitable causes as they see fit.
    • This portion allows for flexibility in distributing assets, as long as it doesn’t exceed one-third.
Why do you need an Islamic will?

Creating an Islamic will is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Fulfilling religious obligations: By having an Islamic will, you can ensure that your wealth is distributed according to Islamic principles, fulfilling your religious obligations.
  2. Providing for loved ones: Your Islamic will allows you to specify how you want to provide for your family members, ensuring their financial well-being.
  3. Avoiding conflict: A wasiyah can help prevent disputes among family members by clearly outlining your intentions and the distribution of your assets.
  4. Making charitable contributions: Your Islamic will can also be a means to make donations to charitable causes that align with your values and beliefs.

A wasiyah (or Islamic will), is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets in accordance with Islamic principles. Islamic rules of inheritance provide guidelines for the fair distribution of wealth among heirs, ensuring justice and fairness as prescribed by Islamic law.

You may not need to create a will right now, but understanding the importance of an Islamic will and the rules of inheritance is a crucial step toward aligning your financial planning with your faith.

Learn about these principles now, and when the time is right, seek guidance to create an Islamic will that adheres to your beliefs.

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