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Sharia Law Wills

Wills have legal implications, but when it comes to the Muslim faith and Sharia Law, then wills also have a religious impact as well, and are incredibly important. There is a duty for every Muslim to write a will, and for it to be executed within three days of death. To comply with religion, Muslims must ensure that their will is compliant with Sharia Law, as well as English and Welsh laws.

Making a will is important in the Muslim culture because without one, the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate’. This means that the rules of intestacy will be used to determine who should inherit their estate, which is not what the Koran says should happen.

The Koran states that a minimum of two thirds of the deceased’s estate should be bequeathed to family. The final third can be inherited by anyone else, including charities.

Islamic wills usually also set out exactly how the deceased wishes their body to be dealt with after death (ie they must not be subjected to a post mortem).

In order to make an Islamic or Sharia Law will, you must first value your estate (money, property, assets, and possessions) minus any debts, mahr (unpaid dowries), and zakah (a 2.5% ‘tax’ to be paid to those less fortunate) so that you know how much to put aside for family, and how much can be given to others.

Regarding who should receive what, many Muslims choose to simply state that they wish two thirds of their estate to be given to their surviving relatives. This works well in most circumstances, and the family will be given equal shares in the estate, starting with the closest relatives, and working out from there. This means that the surviving spouse would be the first to inherit, then any children, surviving parents, and siblings. If there are no surviving relatives, then, unless you expressly stipulate within your will what should happen to your estate (a residuary clause), everything would go to the bayt al-mal (Islamic financial institution) to be distributed within the community.

Make sure that the will is properly witnessed, and that you comply with all the restrictions laid out in English law – you must be over the age of 18, you must be of sound mind, you must sign the will, and you must not write the will under any form of duress.

If any of the above sounds like something you may need to think about, then please simply contact us for more advice.

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