Contrary to popular belief that Muslims do not make wills, several evidence point to the fact that a Muslim must make a will, in fact, he mustn't sleep two nights without updating his will...as far as he has acquired something worthy of bequest. Allah states in Q2:180-181 that 'It is prescribed on you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage. This is due on those who fear God...If anyone changes the bequest after hearing it, the guilt shall be on those who make the change, for God hears and knows (all things). Similarly, it was narrated by Ibn Omar RA that the Prophet SAW said 'it is not right for a Muslim who has anything of value to sleep for two nights unless his will is written with him.(Bukhari)
Now, the difference between the Wassiyyah and the secular /regular will is that a Muslim individual cannot bequeath all his properties, the Wassiyyah he makes shall constitute only the portion that a Muslim has the discretion to distribute. This portion is not more than 1/3rd of the total value of his estate. The reason behind this is that the Quran in Surah Nisa verses 11,12 &176 has already highlighted the heirs to ones estates, the rights of these heirs are guaranteed in the Quran and they should not be taken away. Therefore, the bane Of a Muslim's will evolves round 1/3rd of his property and not more. Note should be taken to the effect that the heirs mentioned in the Quran should not have a share of the 1/3rd. An individual shouldn't distribute his property during his 'last illness' to circumvent the Islamic principles of inheritance.
Furthermore, the Wassiyyah does not only constitute devolution of property, it also highlights the desire or request one may have after death. It is also necessary to state in the Wassiyyah those one is owing. This is to secure the rights of the creditors after death, it's not bad to also list out ones debtors so that they could be asked to pay up after ones death which will be added to the estate. Remember that the most important debt in your custody are debts towards Allah, the fasting you owe, the missed salat, the Zakat you haven't paid, ensure they are paid after your death if you didn't pay them during your life.
I shall now proceed to give a sample of how a Wassiyyah should look. I hope this will guide you in making yours, you may add or remove according to your circumstance.
SAMPLE OF WASSIYYAH
I, ....... make this Will on this day, the....of Shabaan 1434, in line with the Quran and the Sunnah, with Allah as my witness, I demand the following ;
- If you find me at the point of death, please call a righteous person to pray for me and make excessive supplication beside me and everyone should be encouraged to pray for me.
- At my death, I forbid anyone from screaming, tearing at faces, clothes or bodies
- I would like...........to wash my body in the Islamic manner, and if he is unavailable, any righteous person. should do it. He should use the cloth I used for hajj, which is wrapped under my bed, to shroud me
- All the expenses relating to preparing me for burial and the actual burial should be paid from my estate.
- My burial shouldn't be delayed, do not wait for anyone before burying me. And bury me In the town where I died.
- Three days should be observed for mourning and condolences., on no account should it exceed that.
- I ask those who can, to please remain for sometime after my burial in order to keep me company while I am being questioned by the angels of Allah. They should use the period to reflect on death and also pray for Allah's mercy on my soul.
- Behind this will is a list of my creditors, please pay back from my estate and give my apologies. Payment should be immediately after I am buried
- Behind this will is also a list of my debtors, please ask them to pay as soon as I am buried, and add the amount to my estate
- I beseech my kids to constantly keep in touch with relatives and be generous in making constant dua for me, as well as sadaqa on my behalf
- I trust my wife, who has been of immense support, to raise my children in the ways of Allah and the Rasul, if she has any desire to remarry, she should do so but put the interest of the kids at heart.
- I donate my private library to the Iman international schools located at....
This Wassiyyah was witnessed by:
The importance of Making a will cannot be overemphasized. It s a duty incumbent on every Muslim in obedience to Allah SWT. It is something you can do yourself, it need not be as formal as the sample above, but if you need someone to help in drafting your Wassiyyah, you may contact me.
I sincerely hope you found this very enlightening and useful. I would appreciate your comments. Ma salam.