In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Why is an Islāmic Will so important for Muslims

بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ

The Islāmic law of inheritance is so important that Allāh () has taken it upon Himself to give details of inheritance shares in the Qurʾān. Even details of how to perform obligatory prayers (salawāt), the second pillar of Islām, are not detailed in the Qurʾān. This emphasises the importance of the obligation regarding inheritance shares. When Allāh () has decreed a matter a true Muslim does not have an option whether to obey the command or not. Allāh () has warned those who transgress His limits with reference to inheritance shares in ayāt 4:13-14 of the Qurʾān, thus: 

“These are limits (set by) Allāh (or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance), and whosoever obeys Allāh and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success. 

And whosoever disobeys Allāh and His Messenger, and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.”  (Qurʾān 4:13-14) 

In non-Islāmic countries this obligation, of distributing the deceased’s estate according to the commandments of Allāh (), can only be achieved by way of a valid Islāmic Will, which must comply with the law of the land as well as Islāmic law. 

“It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequest not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī) 

Abū Hurayrah () narrated that the Prophet () said: “A man may do good deeds for seventy years but if he acts unjustly when he leaves his last testament, the wickedness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Fire. If, (on the other hand), a man acts wickedly for seventy years but is just in his last Will and testament, the goodness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Garden.” (Musnad Ibn Ḥanbal and Ibn Mājah) 

Although it is essential that your Will must be in accordance with Islāmic law, equally important is that your earnings are also in accordance with Islāmic law. Wealth acquired by harām means such as by selling alcohol, gambling, ribā, theft, cheating, deception, misrepresentation, extortion, breach of trust etc. do not form part of the deceased’s estate. If possible such ill-acquired wealth must be retuned to its rightful owners, if the owner(s) cannot be identified it should be given away in charity on behalf of the real owner(s).

 With the new opt-out organ donation law in the UK, Muslims in the UK will need to decide whether or not to donate their organs for transplantation after death. If you decide to donate your organs after death this will be part of your Will ( a bequest/ a gift after death), Islamic Will on includes this question as part of your Will but you should register your decision on the NHS website. FAQs on the new opt-out organ donation law for Muslims are available here.

What is an Islāmic Will?


Dr. A. Hussain