Some people actually think that estate management can only be resolved through the distribution of faraa’id (inheritance) alone. Such an attitude can be deemed as among the cause of the delayed distribution of estate for the deceased.
The delays in the affairs of inheritance distribution will occur if all heirs do not know the status of the estate and who are actually deemed as heirs to the deceased. Such predicament will cause the estate of the deceased especially real estates (immovable properties) such as house, land, shop lot premise, as well as movable properties such as savings, stocks, company shares, jewelry, and others, will be frozen and cannot be properly managed.
The failure in properly managing the estate will contribute to a crisis within the family institution that can lead to strife between the heirs. This is because there are heirs that would occupy the deceased’s property without the consent of other heirs, or usurping the wealth of the deceased in a wrongful manner. Even more unfortunate, there are heirs that are willing to give a false statement in front of the judge, solely to seize those properties. Allah SWT mentions in verse 188 of Soorah al-Baqarah:
“And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful].”
Truthfully, to avoid the estate from being frozen and the heirs from fighting one another, it can be effectively managed if our society would make early planning, organized and systematic, before one passes away. The planning made for inheritance distribution is to attain four (4) objectives, namely:
First: That we perform ‘amal jaariyah (continuous deeds) for ourselves;
Second: That we provide wealth for our loved loves;
Third: To ensure our heirs will not have to beg for sympathy from others; and
Fourth: That we distribute our estate to those deserving.
As slaves of Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta‘aala who have been blessed with the opportunity to live on this earth, whether we can or not, we are highly encouraged to stock up on the provision of sadaqah jaariyah (continuous charity) before we meet Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta‘aala. In this regard, one can divide up his wealth while still living, through sadaqah (charity) and waqf (endowment), whether in the form of movable or immovable property. As mentioned in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah RA, where Rasulullah SAW said:
“When a person dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).” (Muslim)
We are also encouraged to give away our wealth to our loved ones such as our offspring by way of hibah (gift), so that it will further strengthen the ties of kinship. As in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah RA, where Rasulullah SAW said:
“Give gifts and you will love one another.”
The distribution as hibah is highly commendable and it can be done while one is still alive. It has no limitation and anyone can receive it including the heirs. If the division of the estate is to be done after one’s demise, one can plan to leave a wasiyyah (will) especially to an adopted child or heir who is prevented from receiving the estate. This means that one can prepare for such a plan while living, and it is to be executed right after passing away, at a total of not more than 1/3 of the estate. The society must fully realize upon the importance of writing a wasiyyah for it is a way that allows one who is prevented from receiving estate to actually enjoy a portion from the fruits of the toil and arduous effort exerted in earning wealth. The encouragement to write a wasiyyah was explained in the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar RA, where Rasulullah SAW:
“It is not befitting for a Muslim who has anything concerning which a will should be made, to abide for two nights without having a written will with him.” (al-Bukhaari)
However, the awareness regarding the need to write a will is very low, especially amongst the Muslims, while it should be made as part of their living necessities as Muslims.
Why did it become like that? The answer is because some Muslims do not even ponder upon death that will surely come at any time, or possibly that our knowledge and information pertaining to estate management is deficient and superficial. It is weird and perplexing that some Muslims are willing to spend hundreds of Ringgit (or Dollar) just to be able to use WhatsApp and send out ‘short messages’ daily, and yet they would fail to spend for the sake of ‘writing the last will” that is only done once in a lifetime.
The advantage of writing a will is that, among others, it facilitates in the estate division process, avoids misunderstanding and disputes between heirs, as well as being able to appoint a waasi (executor/trustee) or administrator who is deemed as responsible, trustworthy, and effective in administering our estates later.
As wealth proprietors, we should also ensure that the heirs would receive an inheritance from us. We definitely do not want to see, that one day, our heirs will beg from others or hoping for sympathy from any quarters. In the hadeeth of Sa‘ad bin Abi Waqqaas RA, Rasulullah SAW said:
“For you to leave your heirs independent of means is better than if you were to leave them poor, holding out their hands to people.” (al-Bukhaari)
Remember, verily wealth is an amaanah (trust) bestowed from Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta‘aala. All of our wealth will be questioned and held accountable with regard to how they were acquired and how they were spent. Hence, let us ensure that our wealth will be managed properly and channeled to those that are beloved and deserving, in the most equitable manner.
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