Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My mother just passed away but hasn’t left any sort of will to her name. She verbally said a few things to us her children but nothing written. How do we correctly deal with her finances in light of the Sharia?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. My deepest condolences to you and your family. May Allah magnify your reward, bring you solace, and forgive your mother, and grant her the very highest stations in Paradise. Amen. May Allah also reward you for striving to correctly deal with your affairs during this difficult time.

Division of inheritance

When dividing inheritance various factors have to be considered, such as any debts due, bequests, the range of possible inheritors present, such as children, spouse, parents, siblings etc., their specific numbers, as well as the male and female among them. These factors influence the way the inheritance is distributed. As such, one would need the full details to work out the estate division in each case.

For this reason, it would be necessary for you to consult a qualified and reliable local scholar and go through your specific case. If there is no Shafi’i scholar that you can access, then I would suggest that you consult any scholar who fulfils the above criteria, even if they follow another madhab, such as the Hanafi madhab, which may be more readily available in your area. At least this way, the estate inheritance division would be legally valid in one of the schools, and the obligation would be lifted.

Benefiting your mother

The Prophet ﷺ has said, ‘When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: Ongoing charity, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.’ [Muslim]

Despite the deep grief and sense of loss we feel when a loved one departs from this world, especially our mothers, God, through His Infinite Mercy, has made it that there are many ways to still benefit our departed loved ones. The best of these is giving charity on their behalf, making sincere supplication for their forgiveness and reward, and by the child themselves striving to be pious, so they can be a source of Mercy and honour for their parents.

Please also read this answer, which may be of further benefit: How Do We Deal With the Death of a Loved One?

May Allah grant your mother mercy and peace, and your hearts consolation, serenity, and deep faith.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)