Inheritance - delay
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I have drafted a will requiring my inheritors (a son, a daughter and wife) to follow certain options relating to the inheritance of the house that I possess. In one of the option, I said that if my son and daughter agree to sell the house and divide the amount according the their respectice share as prescribed by Islamic Law, they may do so, but only after the death of my wife, who I willed,shall continue to reside in the said house till she breathes her last. Is this in order as per the Islamic Laws.
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah Subhanah has prescribed the share of each surviving inheritor in His Book of Guidance, The Al-Quran; and the son, daughter and wife of a deceased are indeed amongst the legal heirs of the deceased. A will is only required if one wishes to bequeath something from amongst his wealth after his death to someone who is not ones legal inheritor.
Your Question: In one of the option, I said that if my son and daughter agree to sell the house and divide the amount according the their respectice share as prescribed by Islamic Law, they may do so, but only after the death of my wife, who I willed,shall continue to reside in the said house till she breathes her last. Is this in order as per the Islamic Laws.
When one dies, the wealth one leaves behind does not belong to him, but rather it belongs to his inheritors. Thus it would not be appropriate for a believer to apply such a condition in his will that the distribution be delayed until after the death of his wife or anyone else. If the son or the daughter do not agree to the condition and wish to contest the will in a Shariah Court, the condition of the will to delay the distribution until after the death of the deceaseds wife will not hold any weight and will be disregarded by the Judge.
Rather than making a will to delay the distribution and trying to bind ones inheritors to follow the condition by law, what one can or may do is request his son and daughter in his lifetime to follow his bidding to delay the selling of the house until after the death of his wife. Alternatively, one of the children could buy the house at fair value from the other legal inheritors and allow his mother to live in that house, thus fulfilling and obeying his deceased fathers request.
But to try to legally bind the inheritors to delay the distribution of inheritance in the form of a will would not be appropriate nor would the will stand or be enforced in a Court of Islamic Law.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,