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Have you got your Will in place?

By Muhammad Bham

Al Baraka’s Wills week highlights the importance of having a will and creating awareness around its importance.

Al Baraka’s Moulana Safwaan Navlakhi, speaking to Radio Islam International, explained that we all own wealth according to what Allah has given us, and this wealth has to, upon our demise, devolve around our Islamic heirs. It is, therefore, necessary for a person to have a will following Islamic Law to facilitate that process.

In the absence of an Islamic will or a will, a person’s estate will be distributed under South African Law, particularly the intestate succession act, which is not compliant with Islamic requirements. Therefore, we must have a will which is valid in terms of the law and will facilitate the distribution of our estate per Islamic requirements.

According to Moulana Navlakhi, people tend to include various problematic elements or clauses within the wills. For example, a person seeks to give a particular asset to a specific heir or pre-distribute assets between sons, daughters, or other people.

There is a Wasiyyah, one-third (1/3) stipulation that can be given from a person’s estate to non-heirs; however, beyond the Wasiyyah, a person does not have the discretion and the right to distribute any particular assets to any heirs as a matter of principle.

Another common fact that people include in their wills is to prejudice people or heirs who have not fulfilled their rights during their lifetime. Hence, a person feels that a particular child or a certain sibling has not really been there for them during their lifetime and to get back at them, they seek to exclude them from the will, thereby preventing that person from benefitting from the estate.

However, this is detrimental not only for the person and their family because it further breaks down family ties, but there are far worse consequences in the Aakhirah.

Rasulullah (S.A.W) has mentioned in a hadith that a person lives for 60-70 years, spends a lifetime in the obedience of Allah (S.W.T), and when the end of their life comes, they prejudice one or more of their heirs. This act destines them for hellfire. On the other hand, those who act justly in terms of their will, as Allah (S.W.T) prescribed in the Holy Quran, will be the gardens of paradise. These are two common examples of problematic clauses people tend to include in their wills.

In terms of the law, the most recently signed valid will is what will be the basis for the distribution of a person’s estate. Should a person need to update a Will due to problematic clauses, a new one, preferably an Islamic Will, should be done immediately.

There is no need to stipulate specific heirs and so forth. Once a person does that, and that will is signed validly and meets all the other legal requirements, that would replace any previous Wills. A person will have saved themselves from any harm in this World and the Aakhirah from previously signing a non-compliant will.

As much as specific clauses seem to be justified, they will be impermissible in light of the hadith mentioned above. This all boils down to our belief that Allah (S.W.T) is the ultimate Owner of everything. Wealth is placed at our disposal as a trust, and we cannot do with it as we please. Instead, we must spend it specifically and be fair among our wives, children, and so forth.

Some laws apply to using the wealth at our disposal during our lifetime. After we return to Allah, highlighting that this wealth is not ours and where we extend beyond our reach. We now seek to control the wealth and do with it what we are not permitted to do, and we are interfering in Allah’s jurisdiction, which is why prejudicing one or more heirs has very severe consequences.

Annually, Al Baraka Bank participates in the initiative of the law society of South Africa, where it offers a free consultation to Muslim community members whether they are clients of the bank or not.

During Wills Week, commencing from 12 to 16 September 2022, Al Baraka Bank offers various free consults at multiple branches.

In providing details of the services offered, Moulana Navlakhi said that the bank would offer free consults to clients in the Durban region on the Monday and Tuesday of Wills Week.

The bank will offer consults at the Johannesburg branches from Tuesday through Thursday.

It will offer free consultations in the Western Cape at its Athlone branch on Thursday and Friday.

Further details can be found on the bank’s social media pages, and clients are encouraged and invited to visit and have their Wills signed at no charge. Legal professionals and attorneys will be on-site to assist with preparing and signing Wills, ensuring that all the legal requirements are met,

This allows people will be fulfilling this great responsibility that we have in terms of our Islamic conditions.

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