A Proper Will in Shari’a
Author: ustadz Aris Munandar MPI
Misunderstanding a will brings fatal effect. Mistake in will means transgression of right. Thus, as a good muslim, we shall understand about this matter, since we’re all heading to our death.
Several days before I wrote this article, I had a conversation with a man who comes from a polygamous family – his father had two wives, and he was his son from the second wife. From the first wife, his father had nine child, whereas from his second wife, he had five child. Before his father died, he wrote a will contains arrangement of division of inheritance of his wealth. Children of the second wife were given inheritance of two locations, whereas children of the first wife were given inheritance of one location but with greater value. This is the example of will that is not allowed in shari’a.
A question arises, “Why it is considered as prohibited will?”. Find the answer in the article below.
Definition of Will
The word “wasiat” (will) is one of the Arabic words that has been adopted in Indonesia language. In its mother language, it means a stressed (emphasized) order.
In a broader term, will can be defined as an advice given to a close person, such as kids, sibling, or close friend, to make them do good or avoid a bad thing. The definition of will as leaving an important message when one is about to bid farewell to its receiver usually given at the deathbed, before departing to a long journey, or other causes.
Our discussion here is confined into the meaning of will as a message left by a person who is bout to die. This kind of will is divided into two categories; Firstly, a will given to certain person so that he’ll do something, for example, pay for debt. return borrowed or entrusted goods, take care of the children of the dying one. Secondly, a will given in the form of wealth to certain parties and this gift is handed over after the death of the giver.
Ruling of Will
Ruling of will depends on condition of the person who gives it. Stipulations regarding the ruling of will are:
Giving a will is compulsory for anyone who has debt or is keeping entrusted goods or is being responsible of other people’s right, and it is feared that if he doesn’t leave any will, that right will not be given to its owner.
Giving a will is suggested for anyone who has plenty of wealth and his heir is living comfortably. He is suggested to leave a will to donate some of his wealth; one-third of the total wealth or less, to his kins who do not get his inheritance or to social activities.
Giving a will about wealth is detested if it is only small and the heir is living tightly. Most of the companions -may Allah have mercy on them- died without leaving any will about their wealth.
From Abu Huraira, (he said that) the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Indeed, Allah bequeath to you with one-third of your wealth when you’re about to die, as an addition of virtue for you.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja and classed good by Al Albani)
From Ibn Umar, (he said that) the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “O mankind, there are two things that are not the result of your effort. Firstly, I’ve decided half of your wealth for you when you’re about to die to clean and purify you. Secondly, prayers of My slave after your death.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja. Its a weak hadith)
Likewise, a hadith that narrated about how the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- permitted Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqash to give a will of donation as many as one-third of his total wealth. (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).
Requirements of Will
First: Regarding will in the form of asking other people to take charge of certain thing, such as paying for debt, or taking care of children he left; it is required that the person who receive that will is a Muslim and a sane man. Because if he’s not, it is feared that the mandate in his will will not be accomplished.
Second: The person who give will is a sane man who has wealth to bequeath.
Third: The content of will is something permitted. A will that contains forbidden thing is considered invalid, such as a will to people to cry over his death, or to give some of his wealth to church or to fund innovated events, hedonistic events, or other evil events.
Fourth: The person who receives will agrees to receive it. If he refuses, the will is cancelled and after his refusal, he doesn’t have any right over the will.
Conditions of Will
First: A person who give will may correct or change the content of his will. It is based on Umar’s saying, “A person is allowed to change the content of his will as he wishes.” (Narrated by Baihaqi)
Second: It is not allowed to give will more that one-third of the total wealth possessed. It is based on the Prophet’s saying -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- to Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqash, prohibiting him to give will of two-third or a half of his total wealth. When Sa’d asked the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, what if he give one third of it, the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- reply was, “One-third, and it is already a lot. You leave behind your heir in comfortable life is better than you leave them in poverty, thus they have to beg from others. ” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).
Third: It is suggested that the wealth given is less than one-third, as in Ibn Abbas’ explanation: “ If only people are willing to reduce the wealth that they leave in their will from one-third to one-fourth, as the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “One-third, but one-third is a lot.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).
Fourth: The best of will is by being enough with giving a will of one-fifth from the total wealth, as in Abu Bakr’s saying, “I am please with what Allah pleases for Himself, that is one-fifth.” (See: Syarh Riyadhus Shalihin oleh Ibnu Utsaimin, 1/44)
Article of www.Syaria.com