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They Ask You about The Written Will and Testament

 

They Ask You about The Written Will and Testament

 

Published in July 21, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

 

He said to us: My father is terminally ill; he has given me his written will and testament that includes slaughtering cattle to give away meat to the poor ones; shall I execute this will?

We said to him: This is not part of a will in Islam; written will and testament are not to the poor ones or to any other persons chosen by the dying ones; written will and testament should be to the nearest of kin who are the inheritors.

He said: What about the hadith about those who have inheritors should never have a written will and testament?

We said: All hadiths are nothing but lies; this particular hadith to which you refer has been refuted by us in our book about Naskh and our book about Quranic inheritance laws.

He said: Give me a brief idea about this topic, please!

We said: The nearest of kin are inheritors and there are relatives who do not have inheritance shares; yet, they along with orphans and poor ones can have charity from inheritance money: "If the distribution is attended by the relatives, and the orphans, and the needy, give them something out of it, and speak to them kindly." (4:8). Of course, debts of the deceased persons must be settled first and the written will and testament be executed BEFORE distributing shares of inheritance to the inheritors: "Men receive a share of what their parents and kin leave, and women receive a share of what their parents and kin leave; be it little or much - a legal share." (4:7). Thus, nearest of kin differ from merely relatives.   

He said: How would we differentiate between nearest of kin and relatives, then?!

We said: This depends on the degree of kinship; inheritors are parents, spouses (i.e., husbands/wives), brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons. Their shares are specified in certain Quranic verses; as for sons and daughters; we quote this verse: "God instructs you regarding your children: The male receives the equivalent of the share of two females..." (4:11). If the deceased person has no sons and daughters, s/he is inherited by their brothers and sisters; in contrast, if the deceased person has sons and daughters, they are inheritors as the nearest of kin, while brothers and sisters of the deceased person are relatives who have no legal shares at all within the inheritance money; if the deceased person has no sons and daughters and no living siblings, the progeny of such dead are siblings inheritors.

He said: Back to the written will and testament, please!

We said: God says in the Quran: "It is decreed for you: when death approaches one of you, and he leaves wealth, to make a testament in favor of the parents and the nearest of kin, fairly and correctly - a duty upon the pious ones." (2:180); thus, written will and testament are ONLY for inheritors or nearest of kin.

He said: What if a sinful person would change the written will and testament of a dead person after s/he wrote it before their death?

We said: God says in the Quran: "But whoever changes it after he has heard it, the guilt is upon those who change it. God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." (2:181).

He said: What if the written will and testament would contain a measure of injustice to any party?

We said: God entails that the pious ones should make the written will and testament fairly and correctly as per 2:180; this means that the pious ones should adhere to justice and equity; some inheritors, for some reason or the other, deserve larger shares; we have explained this in our book about Naskh; without this justice, the written will and testament might be unjust; e.g., when one specifies a share for someone who does not deserve; it is OK to advise the dying ones or those who write their will and testament to adhere to justice within piety: "Should someone suspect bias or injustice on the part of a testator, and then reconciles between them, he commits no sin. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (2:182). 

He said: So, the execution of the written will and testament precedes the distribution of inheritance shares, right?

We said: Exactly; God says in the Quran: "...After fulfilling the will and testament and paying off debts..." (4:11); "...After fulfilling the will and testament and paying off debts, without any prejudice..." (4:12).

He said: Shall I slaughter some cattle and give them away to the poor ones after my father is dead or not?

We said: This is not a will and testament; this is a wish to the poor; your father would better do this when he is still alive to be rewarded by the Lord God.

He said: What if a dying person makes a written will and testament about building a mosque or donating sums of money to charity?

We said: People should better perform these good deeds while they are alive to get rewarded by the Lord God on the Last Day as one's deeds are recorded and displayed: "And that the human being attains only what he strives for. And that his efforts will be witnessed." (53:39-40); "On that Day, the people will emerge in droves, to be shown their works. Whoever has done an atom's weight of good will see it. And whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will see it." (99:6-8); "On that Day you will be exposed, and no secret of yours will remain hidden." (69:18). Ones one dies, one's Book of Deeds is closed forever; no one can add anything to it; hence, even before inheritors receive their legal shares, the money is no longer owned by the deceased person. 

He said: Briefly, what about the case of my father and his written will and testament?

We said: If he is dying and wish to perform good deeds of charity, let him do them before he would die; the pious ones should race for good deed before the inevitable death; the predestined time of one's death cannot be postponed and no one will be given a second chance: "And race towards forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous ones." (3:133); "And give from what We have provided for you, before death approaches one of you, and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a short while, so that I may be charitable, and be one of the righteous ones." But God will not delay a soul when its time has come. God is Informed of what you do." (63:10-11).

He said: God commands believers to make will and testament before one dies; one should be able to talk/write before death visits one, right?

We said: Of course!

He said: Can one make will and testament during one's youth and health and not during old-age and ailment phases?

We said: Of course; this is perfectly right.

He said: But the Quran talks about will and testament made shortly before one dies; i.e., by dying persons.

We said: But there is nothing mentioned in the Quran against having one's written will and testament while one is young and healthy.

He said: But why does the verses talk about dying ones?

We said: Because most people forget about having will and testament and remember only when they are dying; besides, one can make changes to the written will and testament many times during one's lifetime; the last one when they are dying will be the final, verified, endorsed, revised version, as you know. 

He said: What in case that one dies alone or abroad and no inheritors are present?

We said: God says in the Quran: "O you who believe! When death approaches one of you, let two reliable persons from among you act as witnesses to the making of a bequest, or two persons from another people if you are travelling in the land and the event of death approaches you. Engage them after the prayer. If you have doubts, let them swear by God: "We will not sell our testimony for any price, even if he was a near relative, and we will not conceal God's testimony, for then we would be sinners." If it is discovered that they are guilty of perjury: let two others take their place, two from among those responsible for the claim, and have them swear by God, "Our testimony is more truthful than their testimony, and we will not be biased, for then we would be unjust ones." That makes it more likely that they will give true testimony, fearing that their oaths might be contradicted by subsequent oaths. So fear God, and listen. God does not guide the disobedient people. " (5:106-108).

He said: The presence of at least two witnesses is obligatory, right?

We said: The verses 5:106-108 are very clear and hardly require any explanation.

He said: What in cases of no witnesses available while one dies during traveling abroad?

We said: One should leave a written will and testament at home before traveling abroad?

He said: The will and testament should be in written form, right?

We said: Yes. Yet, one can make a video of oneself uttering it, of course.

He said: What if someone (e.g., a lawyer) edited this video or falsified the written will and testament?

We said: One should make sure to entrust copies of one's will and testament to several good people; if any change occurs after one is dead, the sinners are the falsifiers who will be punished by God.

He said: So, will and testament can be made in video or audiovisual form instead of being written, right?

We said: Yes, and executors (and witnesses) should attend the oversee the execution of the will and testament, settlement of debts, and the distribution of inheritance shares.

He said: Is it OK to resort to man-made laws in any given country to execute will and testament of deceased persons?

We said: Yes, only in case these valid laws apply and uphold justice.

He said: My paternal uncle is indebted to my dying father; he is to pay a large sum of money to settle this debt; yet, my father's will and testament includes not to settle this debt as a gift to this brother; is this OK?

We said: The written will and testament of your father should not include your paternal uncle; he is not among the inheritors, as we have explained earlier.

He said: My step-mother (my father's wife) at one point in time sold her gold and jewelry and gave the money to my father; he has mentioned in his written will and testament to give her the same sum she gave him; is this OK?

We said: Yes, since she is one of his inheritors.

He said: What if my father never made this part of his will?

We said: This would be a debt to be settled after his death before distribution of inheritance shares and executing written wills and testament. This is besides her legal inheritance share; i.e., 1/8 of the money left by their father.

He said: Would written will and testament include anything else?

We said: Yes; dying persons should advise those who surround them to adhere to monotheism of (There is no God but Allah); Abraham and Jacob did that: "And Abraham exhorted his sons, and Jacob, "O my sons, God has chosen this religion for you, so do not die unless you have submitted." Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, and he said to his sons, "What will you worship after Me?" They said, "We will worship your God, and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac; One God; and to Him we submit."" (2:132-133).

He said: This is simple and easy; all Muslims testify that (There is no God but Allah).

We said: This is neither simple nor easy; most people are polytheists; e.g., the Muhammadans insist on adding names of Ali and/or Muhammad to (There is no God but Allah) within a dual/triple testimony; this is sheer deification of Ali and Muhammad as saintly or holy 'immortal' allies of God or deities besides Him. When one is dying, one should advise one's progeny to adhere to the monotheism of (There is no God but Allah), which means never to deify Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hussein, Omar, Abou Bakr, Othman, Al-Bokhary, Al-Shafei, Malik, etc.

He said: To urge polytheists to stop adhering to their polytheism is very difficult indeed! This is an arduous task!

We said: God says that most human beings never believe in God except within polytheism: "And most of them do not believe in God unless they associate others alongside with Him." (12:106); when Quranists advise the Muhammadans to adhere only to (There is no God but Allah) without deifying mortals (prophets and non-prophets). When those polytheists enter into Hell, this will be told to them: "That is because when God alone was called upon, you disbelieved; but when others were associated with Him, you believed. Judgment rests with God the Sublime, the Majestic." (40:12).  

He said: As always, God says nothing but the Absolute Truth.


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