Who ever changes the bequest after hearing it, the sin shall be on those who make the change. But he who fears from a testator some unjust act or wrong-doing, and there upon he makes peace between the parties concerned, there shall be no sin on him. Quran 2: 181-182

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Quran: Chapter 2, ‘Sayaqoolu’ ‘People would say’, Sura: 2 ‘Al Baqarah’ ‘The Cow’, Verse 180- 182

Verse 180: It is prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves wealth, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable manner. (This is) a duty upon Al-Muttaqun, the God-Fearing.

Verse 181: Then who ever changes the bequest after hearing it, the sin shall be on those who make the change. Truly, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

Verse 182: But he who fears from a testator some unjust act or wrong-doing, and there upon he makes peace between the parties concerned, there shall be no sin on him. Certainly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Difficult words: Bequest: The act of giving or leaving personal property by a will. Testator: Noun: A person who has made a legally valid will before death.

Explanation by Ibne Kathir: [The respected Imam, Abu Al-Fida’, `Imad Ad-Din Isma il bin ‘Umar bin Kathir Al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi– born in Busra 701 H– died in Damascus in 774 H// b. 1301 Christian Era– d. 1373CE. http://www.dar-us-salam.com/authors/hafiz-ibn-kathir.htm ]

Including Parents and Relatives in the Will was later abrogated

Allah says;

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ إِن تَرَكَ خَيْرًا الْوَصِيَّةُ لِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالأقْرَبِينَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ ﴿١٨٠﴾

It is prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves wealth, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable manners. (This is) a duty upon Al-Muttaqin (the pious).

This Ayah contains the command to include parents and relatives in the will, which was obligatory, according to the most correct view, before the Ayah about inheritance was revealed.

When the Ayah of inheritance was revealed, this Ayah was abrogated, so fixed shares of the inheritance for deserving recipients were legislated by Allah. Therefore, deserving inheritors take their fixed inheritance without the need to be included in the will or to be reminded of the favor of the inherited person.

For this reason we see the Hadith narrated in the Sunan and other books that Amr bin Kharijah said:

I heard Allah’s Messenger saying in a speech:

إِنَّ اللهَ قَدْ أَعْطَى كُلَّ ذِي حَقَ حَقَّهُ، فَلَا وَصِيَّــةَ لِوَارِث

Allah has given each heir his fixed share. So there is no will for a deserving heir.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Muhammad bin Sirin said:

Ibn Abbas recited Surah Al-Baqarah until he reached the Ayah: إِن تَرَكَ خَيْرًا الْوَصِيَّةُ لِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالأقْرَبِينَ (…if he leaves wealth, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin), he then said,

“This Ayah was abrogated.”

This was recorded by Sa`id bin Mansur and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak.

Al-Hakim Said, “It is Sahih according to their criteria (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).”

Ibn Abu Hatim reported that Ibn Abbas said that Allah’s statement: الْوَصِيَّةُ لِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالأقْرَبِينَ (a bequest to parents and next of kin),

was abrogated by the Ayah:

لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصيِبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَآءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ نَصِيباً مَّفْرُوضاً

There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether the property be small or large ـ a legal share. (4:7) [added by samia2010oct; Quran: Chapter 4, ‘Lan Tanalu’ ‘By no means shall you attain’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’ Verse 7]

Ibn Abu Hatim then said,

“It was reported from Ibn Umar, Abu Musa, Sa`id bin Musayyib, Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Ata Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Sirin, Ikrimah, Zayd bin Aslam and Ar-Rabi bin Anas. Qatadah, As-Suddi, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Tawus, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Shurayh, Ad-Dahhak and Az-Zuhri said that;

this Ayah (2:180 above) was abrogated by the Ayah about the inheritors (4:7).”

The Will for the Relatives that do not qualify as Inheritors

It is recommended that the remaining relatives who do not have a designated fixed share of the inheritance, be willed up to a third, due to the general meaning of the Ayah about the will.

It is recorded in the Sahihayn that Ibn Umar said that;

Allah’s Messenger said:

مَا حَقُّ امْرِىءٍ مُسْلِمٍ لَهُ شَيْءٌ يُوصِي فِيه يَبِيتُ لَيْلَتَيْنِ إلَّا وَوَصِيَّتُهُ مَكْتُوبَةٌ عِنْدَه

It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.

Ibn Umar commented,

“Ever since I heard this statement from Allah’s Messenger, no night has passed, but my will is kept ready with me.”

There are many other Ayat and Hadiths ordering kindness and generosity to one’s relatives.

The Will should observe Justice

The will should be fair, in that one designates a part of the inheritance to his relatives without committing injustice against his qualified inheritors and without extravagance or stinginess.

It is recorded in the Sahihayn that Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas said,

“O Allah’s Messenger! I have some money and only a daughter inherits from me, should I will all my remaining property (to others)?”

He said, “No.”

Sa`d said, “Then may I will half of it?”

He said, “No.”

Sa`d said, “One-third?”

He said, “Yes, one-third, yet even one-third is too much. It is better for you to leave your inheritors wealthy than to leave them poor, begging from others.”

Al-Bukhari mentioned in his Sahih that Ibn Abbas said,

“I recommend that people reduce the proportion of what they bequeath by will to a fourth (of the whole legacy) rather than a third, for Allah’s Messenger said:

الثُّلُثُ وَالثُّلُثُ كَثِير

One-third, yet even one-third is too much.”

Allah’s statement:

فَمَن بَدَّلَهُ بَعْدَمَا سَمِعَهُ فَإِنَّمَا إِثْمُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يُبَدِّلُونَهُ …

Then whoever changes it after hearing it, the sin shall be on those who make the change.

means, whoever changed the will and testament or altered it by addition or deletion, including hiding the will as is obvious, then فَإِنَّمَا إِثْمُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يُبَدِّلُونَهُ (the sin shall be on those who make the change).

Ibn Abbas and others said,

“The dead person’s reward will be preserved for him by Allah, while the sin is acquired by those who change the will.”

… إِنَّ اللّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿١٨١﴾

Truly, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

means, Allah knows what the dead person has bequeathed and what the beneficiaries (or others) have changed in the will.

Allah’s statement:

فَمَنْ خَافَ مِن مُّوصٍ جَنَفًا أَوْ إِثْمًا فَأَصْلَحَ بَيْنَهُمْ فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿١٨٢﴾

But he who fears from a testator some unjust act or wrongdoing, and thereupon he makes peace between the parties concerned, there shall be no sin on him. Certainly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

فَمَنْ خَافَ مِن مُّوصٍ جَنَفًا أَوْ إِثْمًا (But he who fears from a testator some unjust act or wrongdoing),

Ibn Abbas, Abu Al-Aliyah, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and As-Suddi said,

“Error.”

These errors include such cases;

as when the inheritor indirectly acquires more than his fair share, such as by being allocated that a certain item mentioned in the legacy be sold to him.

Or, the testator might include his daughter’s son in the legacy to increase his daughter’s share in the inheritance, and so forth.

Such errors might occur out of the kindness of the heart without thinking about the consequences of these actions, or by sinful intention.

In such cases, the executive of the will and testament is allowed to correct the errors and to replace the unjust items in the will with a better solution, so that both the Islamic law and what the dead person had wished for are respected and observed. This act would not constitute an alteration in the will and this is why Allah mentioned it specifically, so that it is excluded from the prohibition (that prohibits altering the will and testament) mentioned in the previous Ayah.

And Allah knows best.

The Virtue of Fairness in the Will

Abdur-Razzaq reported that Abu Hurayrah said that Allah’s Messenger said:

إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْخَيْرِ سَبْعِينَ سَنَةً، فَإِذَا أَوْصَى حَافَ فِي وَصِيَّتِهِ، فَيُخْتَمُ لَه بِشَرِّ عَمَلِهِ، فَيَدْخُلُ النَّارَ.

وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الشَّرِّ سَبْعِينَ سَنَةً، فَيَعْدِلُ فِي وَصِيَّتِهِ، فَيُخْتَمُ لَهُ بِخَيْرِ عَمَلِهِ، فَيَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّــة

A man might perform the works of righteous people for seventy years, but when he dictates his will, he commits injustice and thus his works end with the worst of his deeds and he enters the Fire.

A man might perform the works of evil people for seventy years, but then dictates a just will and thus ends with the best of his deeds and then enters Paradise.

Abu Hurayrah then said, “Read if you wish:

تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلاَ تَعْتَدُوهَا

These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not transgress them.” (2:229)

http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/002%20Baqarah%20I.htm#١٨٠

Notes by samia2010oct: Quran: Chapter 4, ‘Lan Tanalu’ ‘By no means shall you attain’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’, From Verses 7- 14

Verse 7. There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large —– a legal share.

In Verses 11- 12, Allah give the laws of inheritance in clear description of who will get how much.

After these clear divisions of assets of the deceased Allah says in Verse 13: These are the limits (set by) Allah (or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance), and whoever obeys Allah and His Mssenger (PBUH) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide there in, and that will be the great success.

Verse 14: And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Mssenger (PBUH), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.

Following are some of the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him regarding shares of wealth for the blood relations of the deceased, writing a will, and giving wealth as gifts while one is living.  

Volume 4, Book 51, Number 3 : Narrated by Talha bin Musarrif: I asked ‘Abdullah bin Abu Aufa “Did the Prophet make a will?” He replied, “No,” I asked him, “How is it then that the making of a will has been enjoined on people, (or that they are ordered to make a will)?” He replied, “The Prophet bequeathed Allah’s Book (i.e. Quran).”

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 102 : Narrated by Ibn Abbas: (In the Pre-Islamic Period) the children used to inherit all the property but the parents used to inherit only through a will. So Allah cancelled that which He liked to cancel and put decreed that the share of a son was to be twice the share of a daughter, and for the parents one-sixth for each one of them, or one third, and for the wife one-eighth or one-fourth, and for the husband one-half, or one-fourth.

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 104 : Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: Regarding the Verse: “To everyone, We have appointed heirs.” (4.33) ‘Mawali’ means heirs. And regarding: “And those to whom your right hands have pledged.” When the Emigrants came to Medina, an Emigrant used to be the heir of an Ansari with the exclusion of the latter’s relatives, and that was because of the bond of brotherhood which the Prophet had established between them (i.e. the Emigrants and the Ansar). So when the Verses: “To everyone We have appointed heirs.” was revealed, (the inheritance through bond of brotherhood) was cancelled. Ibn Abbas then said: “And those to whom your right hands have pledged.” is concerned with the covenant of helping and advising each other. So allies are no longer to be the heir of each other, but they can bequeath each other some of their property by means of a will.

Volume 4, Book 51, Number 6 : Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: I recommend that people reduce the proportion of what they bequeath by will to the fourth (of the whole legacy), for Allah’s Apostle said, “One-third, yet even one third is too much.”

Volume 7, Book 64, Number 266 : Narrated by Sad: The Prophet visited me at Mecca while I was ill. I said (to him), “I have property; May I bequeath all my property in Allah’s Cause?” He said, “No.” I said, “Half of it?” He said, “No.” I said, “One third of it?” He said, “One-third (is alright), yet it is still too much, for you’d better leave your inheritors wealthy than leave them poor, begging of others. Whatever you spend will be considered a Sadaqa for you, even the mouthful of food you put in the mouth of your wife. Anyhow Allah may let you recover, so that some people may benefit by you and others be harmed by you.”

Volume 3, Book 47, Number 759 : Narrated by An-Nu’man bin Bashir: That his father took him to Allah’s Apostle and said, “I have given this son of mine a slave.” The Prophet asked, “Have you given all your sons the like?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet said, “Take back your gift then.”

Volume 6, Book 61, Number 540 : Narrated by Talha: I asked ‘Abdullah bin Abi ‘Aufa, “Did the Prophet make a will (to appoint his successor or bequeath wealth)?” He replied, “No.” I said, “How is it prescribed then for the people to make wills, and they are ordered to do so while the Prophet did not make any will?” He said, “He made a will wherein he recommended Allah’s Book.”

Volume 3, Book 47, Number 760 : Narrated by ‘Amir: I heard An-Nu’man bin Bashir on the pulpit saying, “My father gave me a gift but ‘Amra bint Rawaha (my mother) said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah’s Apostle as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah’s Apostle and said, ‘I have given a gift to my son from ‘Amra bint Rawaha, but she ordered me to make you as a witness to it, O Allah’s Apostle!’ Allah’s Apostle asked, ‘Have you given (the like of it) to everyone of your sons?’ He replied in the negative. Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children.’ My father then returned and took back his gift.”

Volume 3, Book 47, Number 762 : Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, “One who takes back his gift (which he has already given) is like a dog that swallows its vomit.”

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 818 : Narrated by An-Nu’man bin Bashir: My mother asked my father to present me a gift from his property; and he gave it to me after some hesitation. My mother said that she would not be satisfied unless the Prophet was made a witness to it. I being a young boy, my father held me by the hand and took me to the Prophet . He said to the Prophet, “His mother, bint Rawaha, requested me to give this boy a gift.” The Prophet said, “Do you have other sons besides him?” He said, “Yes.” The Prophet said, “Do not make me a witness for injustice.” Narrated Ash-Shabi that the Prophet said, “I will not become a witness for injustice.”

Volume 3, Book 49, Number 870 : Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “There is a Sadaqa to be given for every joint of the human body; and for every day on which the sun rises there is a reward of a Sadaqa (i.e. charitable gift) for the one who establishes justice among people.”

Taken from http://sahih-bukhari.com/Pages/results.php5

To sum up;

1] Law of inheritance is given in Quran by Allah. He SubHanWaTaala give clear description of who will get how much after a blood relation dies. Therefore a will cannot be written for blood relations because the shares to each blood relation has already been given in the Holy Quran.

2] A will can be written for people who are not one’s blood relations and that will must be from less than one third of the total property and assets of the deceased.

3] Living parents cannot give unequal gifts to their children even from their own properties and assets no matter how much they may like or dislike any one of their child.

4] Parents can not expel a child (of theirs) from inheriting their property or asset after their death no matter what the differences may be. In Urdu language this type of expulsion from inheritance is called ‘aaq karna’.

It is Big Sin, Gunaah e Kabira, to change the Divine Laws of Inheritance written in Quran by changing the shares or by writing a will so to give more to any one and deprive other. It is Big Sin, Gunaah e Kabira, for the parents who commit injustice by giving unequal gifts to their children and also that the parents cannot expel their child or children from their properties and assets. For Big Sins, Gunaah e Kabira, there is the punishment of unbearable burning of whole body by Unending Fire.

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