BEFORE WE GO
Putting our Affairs in Order
What Al-Ghazali said about “leaving home”:
The Pilgrim should know that he has now left hearth and home, bound for God, Great and Glorious is He, on a journey unlike any other worldly voyage. He should be conscious in his heart of what he wishes, where he is heading and whom he intends to visit. He should be aware that he is wending his way toward the King of kings, along with a host of visitors who have been summoned and have answered the call, in whom a great longing has been awakened, who have been roused and have risen, who have severed connections and said farewell to relations, and who have set out for the House of God, Great and Glorious is He, which is splendid in majesty and of lofty esteem.
Whoever sets out from his home, migrating to Allah and His messenger, then death overtakes him; his recompense is incumbent upon Allah.
Imagine what you would do if you knew that you were never coming back.
[I’m not suggesting that you should sell the family silver and give it all to charity.]
A great chance to check our direction in life;
Stop a moment and take stock.
Practical arrangements are important.
More important still is our spiritual reckoning.
- Settling debts
- Arrangements for the children
- Telling your family & friends in case you don’t come back
- Writing your will (see below)
- Where do you keep the will? Spare keys? Important telephone no’s?
- Does your family know how to contact the Foundation?
- Any days to fast?
- Any fidya to pay?
- Any Zakat to pay?
- Any Sadaqa you’d like to make?
- Is now the time to clear out that cupboard and give the good clothes you never wear to the charity shop?
- Are there people (family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours) who we have hurt in the past and whose forgiveness we should seek?
Restoration of Wrongs: Every person will have to pay for the wrongs they committed against others. Their good deeds will be taken from them till there are none left and then they will receive the bad deeds of those they wronged.
Today each soul is requited for that which it acquired. No injustice is there this Day
THE ISLAMIC WILL
The importance of making a will cannot be over emphasised. The will, Wasiya, is mentioned eight times in the Qur'an, and the whole issue of inheritance is dealt with extensively.
It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves any goods, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the God fearing.
It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.
The Islamic Approach to the Will
It is good practice to begin your will with advice to your nearest and dearest. Instructions should be left for the correct procedure to be followed after death. The wealth is shared according to the shari'ah distribution, namely;
- Funeral expenses, i.e. shroud, coffin, plot of land and so on.
- Debts in order of merit.
- Bequests up to one third (1/3) of the estate.
- Remaining two thirds (2/3) inherited according to fixed shares.
Wills can be oral or written. A written will is preferable. There should be two witnesses to any will. To ensure that the will is correct it is advisable to seek the advice of a Muslim lawyer.
The Islamic Will; by 'Abdul Haqq and 'Aisha Bewley and Ahmad Thomson, Dar al-Taqwa, UK, 1995
Making your own will. (Fact sheet); Age Concern England Astral House, 1268 London Road, Norbury, London SW16 4ER Tel: 0181-679 8000 Web site: www.ace.org.uk
Wills and Probate; Which? Consumer Guides, Penguin Books, U.K. 1999 [ISBN: 0-85202-771-0]
Making your own will; The plain English guide to making a will: A.K. Biggs, Jordan Ltd, U.K. 1999.