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Assalam o Allaikum everyone.

This question is from a very dear friend of mine and I'll narrate as she did to me:

"My mom recently died. We are 4 sisters in total and our father is still alive. Before her death, mom made 4 portions of her gold belongings, wrote our names on each of them and told everyone to open them after her death. Now when she died our father told us to take those gold portions as per the name written on them.

The issue arose when my brother-in-law told a mufti about it and now he is forcing us all to return the gold to our father as our mom only verbally told us but not in writing. I want to know even when my mom told in front of everyone that who should keep her belongings then why does this mufti say that her words don't matter anymore because she is dead."

Please assist me with this one. Thank You.

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First of all what I see here is rather a fatwa-request not a question about Islam and we are not a fatwa site.

Secondly even if you ask for a fatwa more information is needed: Because first of all if this woman died and had only daughters and her husband is one case, but she might have a father or mother or brothers and or sisters who are alive and this would be another case. -So far I still assume she had no son- which would make some of the earlier cases void.

Distribution of shares according Islam

Assuming she had no son then her daughters have a right on 2/3 of the inheritance and the husband by default on 1/4 and the remaining good must be divided between the remaining inheritors.

Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one's estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one's parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children - you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah . Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. (4:11)
And for you is half of what your wives leave if they have no child. But if they have a child, for you is one fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they [may have] made or debt. And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you [may have] made or debt. And if a man or woman leaves neither ascendants nor descendants but has a brother or a sister, then for each one of them is a sixth. But if they are more than two, they share a third, after any bequest which was made or debt, as long as there is no detriment [caused]. [This is] an ordinance from Allah , and Allah is Knowing and Forbearing. (4:12)

Basically if a person died, before distributing his belongings or wealth we must check if he/she has debts. If the debts are payed and there's no will (wassiyah) the inheritance can be distributed.

A will in Islam is part of the wealth of dead person which can be made for people who shall not inherit from her (so daughters, husband, brothers etc. are excluded by default). Even here if the inheritors didn't believe the claim that the dead person made a will to person X, then a proof of two male witnesses or a male and 2 female witnesses (some accept a vow of the person making the claim) are necessary.

In some Muslim countries this is done by default once the death of a person has been confirmed: A mufti or a specialist on inheritance gives a share calculation to the inheritors, after checking who is an inheritor and what must be distributed. While banks would close the account and wait for the document about the shares to distribute the wealth of the dead person. In case of a misunderstanding between inheritors the specialist mentioned above would do the distribution by himself.

Respecting the will vs. inheritance shares of shari'a law

But i guess what disturbs this lady is that her mom did a division and made it official. In my family we have a similar issue my father apparently made a verbal gift to my sisters -which he never fulfilled while alive-, but he died and only 3 female people are witnesses for this.
In Islam we know that witnesses for some kinds of contracts must at least be 1 men and two women. So if the father was present when the mother made the distribution he could support them. In this case assuming there are no other inheritors the topic can be clear the father may forgo on his part of the share, but must not. As the mother is not allowed to inherit on her own judgement her wealth and we don't know whether this gold is part, most or all of her wealth, therefore it must be considered.

What can be considered in any case is that the mother wanted her gold to be distributed to her 4 daughters in an equal way, so anything of this gold that is part of their shares can and should be given to them in respect of her will, but as said if there are more inheritors and they are not ready to forgo on their share the inheritance must be distributed based on the shari'a laws not based on the will -which might not be conform to them- of this lady.

And any inheritor could forgo of his part of the share, but he should at least take it and give it to whom he thinks or believes is in need (or should have it in respect of the will of the dead lady).

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  • Thank You so much brother. This does answer my question perfectly. As the verbal Will that she made was in front of 1 male witness and 4 female witnesses. Thanks once again :) Feb 25 at 19:57

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