Reflections

Assalamu Alaikum

Qadr of Allah my grandfather on my father’s side just passed away at the age of 96.  He lived in in the Guangzhou Province in Southern China, in a very poor village with most of my father’s side of the family living there as well.  When I went to China a few summers ago, I was going to meet him for the first time.  Qadr of Allah I never made it to Guangzhou – I was extra sad because this is also where the first Masjid in China was built by Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (radiy Allahu anhu) and I really wanted to visit it with my father.  Next time Insha’Allah.

When I phoned my father to ask how he was doing, he told me he would be flying to China in 2 weeks for the burial.  When I asked why they were waiting 2 weeks to bury him, he replied, they had to look at the calendar for the best day (there are “good luck days” and “bad luck days” to perform certain actions like getting married, moving, burying a deceased, etc), and then everyone attending would go and make certain ritual prayers to the gods.  Subhan’Allah – these are but 2 common cultural traditions, totally based on shirk, that I grew up with almost ALL my life.  By Allah’s favor He has taken me far away from it to the point where I even forgot about them.  So when I was reminded about it from my father, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I used to live and follow these types of beliefs as if they were mere instructions in a manual, without even thinking twice about them. without even thinking that anything was even wrong with it.  Now Alhamdulillah I realize the magnitude of these baseless, DARK practices, and the great harm in them.  On one hand I was so grateful to reflect on where I was and how Allah SWT took me from that darkness into light, and how Allah SWT has guided me to Tawheed, for my son and myself Alhamdulillah.  Then on the other hand I listened to my father speaking and became very sad, because I understood my family’s mentality very well as I was raised by them with the same exact mentality.

I understood how my family sees there is nothing wrong with these things, as they are just cultural traditions.  I understand and greatly appreciate how Allah freed me from those shackles and guided me to Islam.  As much as I am thankful, I am also sad that my family is still in that state of darkness.  Hediya is from Allah SWT, and He will guide only those whom He wills.  I will not stop making du’aa for them and trying with them, as anyone can be guided at any moment if Allah wills – and I do not question His Qadr either way.  But this whole incident was a huge reminder to me on how temporary life is in this Dunya.  The means to Jannah are spelled out for us and through His mercy we can attain it, yet there are so many internal and external deterrances that distract us from our purpose here.  We fight so many demons and weaknesses on a daily basis, and without Allah’s mercy we would be losers.  Allah SWT gives us so many favors.  Although I am grateful for them, I personally feel I fall short in many ways and can do much more to show my appreciation.  May Allah SWT help us all to thank Him, remember Him and worship Him in the best way.  Subhan’Allah things can change in a person’s life in a split second, but when the angel of death comes, there is no turning back.  Whatever we have done in this life will earn us punishment or reward by His mercy, but our ending is what counts.  Death is always a reminder especially for the believers, and this was particularly a big reminder for me, as I reflected on my family and my personal path, by Allah’s will.  May Allah keep us all firm on the Deen and help us all to die in a state of Islam, leaving this Dunya with a good ending.  Please make du’aa for me and all of our Ummah.  Please, also make a du’aa for my family’s guidance Insha’Allah, as well as all of our families.  You are all in my du’aa as well.

Jazaka Allah Khayran

The Islamic Will (Al-Wasiya)

I wanted to post a *VERY* important reminder about the Islamic will (wasiyya).  I cannot express enough how important this is.  Here are some things I compiled about the will.  A really great book on this subject is “The Final Bequest – The Islamic Will and Testament” by Muhammad al-Jibaly.  He goes over the will and inheritance laws from A-Z.  

The Obligation of Writing a Will

Writing an Islamic will is unfortunately neglected today, or not stressed upon enough to say the least.  There are obvious reasons of not wanting to think about it, putting it off, or not knowing the importance of having one.   But for Muslims this should be the opposite attitude – it is very very *very* important to have a will, and we should make it a priority to have one ASAP if we don’t already have one, and update it as often as needed.   Nobody knows when they are going to die, so we should hasten to write our will.  When a Muslim dies their will should be read and executed.  Everyone has certain rights that need to be fulfilled, all of which were described and prescribed by Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam)   

  • “It is prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves wealth, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable manners. (This is) a duty upon Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” Surah al-Baqarah 2:180
  • “(The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts” Surah al-Nisa 4:11
  • “It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequest not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
  • Ibn Omar (radiyAllahu anhu) then noted, “Not even one night passed me, ever since I heard this from the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam), without having my will with me” (Bukhari, Muslim, and others)  
  • “A man may do good deeds for seventy years but if he acts unjustly when he leaves his last testament, the wickedness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Fire. If, (on the other hand), a man acts wickedly for seventy years but is just in his last will and testament, the goodness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Garden.” (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)  

Protecting Our Rights

As Muslims we have many rights over each other, with our families, our children, our friends, and with our own selves.  Having a wasiyya will insha’Allah ascertain with Allah that we did our best to make sure we fulfilled these rights.   Death comes to anyone at any given place and at any given time.  We are not guaranteed anything, not even another second.   We don’t want to die without giving someone their rights, nor do we want to die and not have our rights given to us.   Rights are so important that they will hang over us on Judgment Day until scores are settled – because Islam is a religion of justice.   Alhamdulillah.  We should take advantage and make our will while we are of sound mind and health.  We do not want to be on our deathbed, or sick, suffering from pain, incoherent, (may Allah protect us all) while trying to verbalize our will wishes.   We want to make sure that our instructions on what will happen to our family, children, wealth, property, assets, debts, and our bodies, etc are articulated and clearly understood.   We want to protect the rights of our kids, our families, and ourselves.  

Importance of an Islamic Will

  • Everything we have in this world, our wealth and our property, is from Allah and a trust from Him.    While we are alive we are required to utilize our wealth in the best way and we will be asked about that on Judgment Day.   When we die, part of that trust is to pass our wealth and property along appropriately.  Aside from having non-Muslim families who may not know the Islamic practices, many countries do not recognize or follow the laws of Allah.   We have to be very careful of this, and make sure we do what we can to protect our rights and be in accordance with the Shari’ah.
  • Certain rights and duties between people must be settled before a person’s estate can be divided according to the inheritance laws in the Qur’an.   Examples are loans, promises, unpaid bills, borrowed items, unpaid zakat, dowry, etc.   We have to give everyone their due right.  We can include names and contacts of anyone we owe loans to, creditors information, and so on in our wills. 
  • Islam is perfect and prescribes a way for everything.   Many practices today, including funeral procedures, washing, burying, and mourning, etc are not done in accordance with the Sunnah; there is a lot of innovation (may Allah protect us from that).   The will can specify the requests of the deceased to be honored – to have all practices and procedures done according to how Allah and His Messenger prescribed.  (Buried in a Muslim cemetary, buried as soon as possible, without structures on the grave, without excessive wailing, etc etc etc)

You can also specify and name certain people whom you want to wash your body.  The person should be pious, one who knows how to do the Ghusl and wrapping according to the Sunnah, one who will protect your dignity and honor (should they see anything on you that might harm your honor during the washing, they will never tell), and so on.   Before we get put in the grave, we want to be cleaned and wrapped in the best way insha’Allah. 

Basic Elements of a Will

There is no specific wording for a wasiyya, but basically it should have the following elements:

  • The testator’s expression of sound mental ability and health
  • Declaration of faith (the Shahadah)
  • Commanding the survivors to do good and avoid sins
  • Declaration of liabilites and assets
  • Appointing an executor of the will and guardian(s) of wealth and children
  • Bequeathed part of the estate (Naming beneficiaries and indicating the amount of your estate you wish to bequeath – up to 1/3) 
  • Emphasizing Islamic heirship (specifying legal heirs and their correct shares)

The will should be notarized and signed by 2 witnesses.  Legal advice is also recommended.  The will has a special sanctity and must be observed and executed.  Anyone who changes it or hides any part of it is sinful and liable for Allah’s punishment!

  • “And if (after the testator’s death) anyone alters such a provision after having come to know it, the sin of acting thus falls only upon those who have altered it.  Indeed Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”  (Surah al-Baqara 2:181)

My dear brothers and sisters, dont delay what we have to do today until tomorrow because we never know what can happen to us.  There are many standard wills available online, which can be modified according to specific requests/ needs:

http://icbr.org/Docs/LastWill_Testament.pdf

http://www.dremali.com/articles/current/last-will-testament.html

 ~Um Yusuf as-Siddiq