Fatawa

Is a Writing a Will an Obligation and What is the Legislated Way [In Writing it]- Shaikh Bin Baz

Question: Is writing a will an obligation and is it necessary to have witnesses? I do not know the legislated way of writing it, so I hope for guidance [in writing it]. Jazakallahu Khairan

Answer: “Write the will according to the following form:

“I so and so the son of so and so or the daughter of so and so enjoin that: I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah alone without a partner and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger (ﷺ) . And that ‘Isa is the servant of Allah and His Messenger and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. And that Paradise is truth and the Hell-fire is truth and that the Hour is coming without a doubt and that Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves. I enjoin those I leave behind from my wife, children, and remaining relatives to fear Allah, to adjust all differences among you, to have obedience to Allah and His Messenger, and to recommend one another to have truth and patience upon it. I enjoin them with what Ibrahim enjoined on his son and Ya’qub to his:

يَا بَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَى لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ

O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (as Muslims – Islamic Monotheism).

[2:132]”

Then he should mention what he desires to bequeath from one-third of his wealth or less than that or a specific wealth that does not increase above one-third. Then he clarifies those who are legislated to receive this wealth. And he mentions the the authorized representative of that.

[Writing ] a will is not an obligation but rather a recommendation if he wishes to bequeath something. This is due to what is established on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar radiallahu anhumma from the Prophet (ﷺ) :

ما حق امرئ مسلم له شيء يريد أن يوصي فيه يبيت ليلتين إلا ووصيته مكتوبة عنده

It is the duty of a Muslim who has something which is to be given as a bequest not to have it for two nights without having his will written down regarding it

[Reported by al-Bukhari no. 2738 and Muslim no. 1627]

However, if he has debts or rights which he does not have documents establishing that for his family, then it is obligatory upon him to enjoin it so that the rights of the people are not wasted. It is necessary that two just witnesses bear witness to his will and it should be edited by one who is trustworthy in editing it from the people of knowledge until it can be relied upon. It is not necessary that he suffices with his writing alone because his writing maybe doubtful to the people and it will not be easy for the one who knows him from trustworthy of people [to prove it is from him]”

[Taken from: http://www.binbaz.org.sa/mat/1846]

Translator’s note:

This form of writing the will is actually the form the Companions radiallahu anhum used to use. It is reported from Anas ibn Malik radiallahu anhu that he said:

قال : كانوا يكتبون في صدور وصاياهم : بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ، هذا ما أوصى به فلان : إنه يشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأن محمدا عبده ورسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأن الساعة آتية لا ريب فيها وأن الله يبعث من في القبور وأوصى من ترك من أهله أن يتقوا الله ويصلحوا ذات بينهم ، ويطيعوا الله ورسوله إن كانوا مؤمنين ، وأوصاهم بما أوصى إبراهيم بنيه ويعقوب إن الله اصطفى لكم الدين فلا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون

They [the Companions] used to write in the issuance of their wills:

In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
“This is what so and so enjoins: That he bears witness that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah alone without a partner and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger (ﷺ) . And that the hour is coming without a doubt and that Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves. He enjoins those whom he left from his family to fear Allah, to adjust what is between them, to obey Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) if they are truly believers. They used to enjoin them with what Ibrahim enjoined on his son and Yaq’ub to his: O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (as Muslims – Islamic Monotheism).[2:132]

[Reported by Abdurrazaq in his Musannaf no. 16319 with a Saheeh chain]

Translated by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan

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