How to Make an Islamic Will

This is a basic guide to making an Islamic Will. This is not intended to be a religious authority and you are advised to always consult your local Imam for further guidance.

The steps you should take are:

  1. Assess what you have and value your assets

Go through and make a list of everything you own. This will be called your Estate and includes your home, its contents, your car, your clothes, your savings. You then have to deduct your debts such as unpaid dowry (mahr) and Zakah (charity).

If your assets are more than £325,000 then you will need to consider how to limit your inheritance tax payments on death. There are a number of different ways of doing this including making a lifetime gift, preferably seven years before death and making a bequest of up to a third of the estate to a charity (gifts to charities registered in the UK do not attract inheritance tax).

  1. Decide on your funeral and burial arrangements

You should specify in your Will that you would like your funeral and burial rites to be carried out in accordance with the practices of Islam. These including the request that a post mortem should not be carried out, having a Muslim burial, stating that you do not want your organs to be used and advising where and how your body is buried. If you do wish to be buried abroad then consider the cost of this.

  1. Decide what to leave to whom

After the payment of any taxes, debts, and funeral and administration expenses, up to a maximum of one third of your estate can be left to whomever you wish – this may include friends and family not entitled to inherit under Shari’a, as well as charities.

After that the division is to be made in accordance with Islamic principles as to who receives and how much. You will need to specify that the remainder of the estate (which will amount to a minimum of two thirds) is to be distributed in fixed shares amongst your legal heirs in accordance with whichever madhhab you follow.

As regards calculating the shares, the basic principles are these:

  • The closest relatives (husband, wife, son, daughter, father, and mother) will always inherit a share and will always have precedence over and exclude more distant relatives.
  • In the absence of the closest relatives, the more distant relatives (such as grandparents and grandchildren, for example) will then be entitled to inherit fixed shares.

It is prudent to have what is called a residuary clause dealing with what should happen to the estate if there are no surviving relatives.

  1. Choose your executor(s) wisely

You will need to choose up to four people to carry out the wishes expressed in your Will. Executors can also be beneficiaries in your Will. If you are choosing friends or relatives, make sure they are willing to accept what can be a lengthy and time-consuming responsibility. If you are choosing lawyers, remember that they will probably expect to be paid for their services from your estate. The more complicated your affairs, the more prudent it is to choose a specialist lawyer. There is no combination of relatives for which it is not possible to calculate their Qur’anic shares – so a properly drafted Islamic Will should never fail for uncertainty.

  1. Choose a guardian for children

If it is possible that you may have children under the age of 18 when you die, you should appoint a guardian to look after them in the unlikely event of both you and your spouse dying while they are still minors.

If you wish to make an Islamic Will then contact the Nayyars Team today. We can speak a number of different languages.

Fahad Tanveer

Solicitor

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