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My brother unfairly distributed my fathers wealth when he passed away years ago

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

My brother unfairly distributed my fathers wealth when he passed away 4 years ago. I only realised this now when I had a dispute with him and decided to get guidance from Shariah court.

I am not interested in financial gain anymore but worried about the punishment from Allah to my brother and my mother who is supporting him.

Can you please tell me how severe punishment is from Allah in the above case? And if it is not severe shall just drop it to please my mum


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

You refer to the dispute regarding fair distribution of your fathers’ estate. You claim the distribution was unfair. Your brother and mother may claim that the distribution was fair.

Therefore, in general and without reference to the issue in reference, we state the following.

Inheritance is a divine right. It is the law of Allah. We do not have any right in the laws of inheritance. Our responsibility is to submit to the laws of Allah in inheritance and give every heir his/her right. It is a serious offence to go against the laws of inheritance. Almighty Allah outlined the shares of the heirs and the basic laws of inheritance in Surah an-Nisaa, verse 11.

Thereafter Allah says:

تلك حدود الله ومن يطع الله ورسوله يدخله جنات تجري من تحتها الأنهار خالدين فيها وذلك الفوز العظيم

“These are the limits (set by) Allah (or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance), and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success”. [Surah an-Nisaa verse 13]

ومن يعص الله ورسوله ويتعد حدوده يدخله نارا خالدا فيها وله عذاب مهين

“And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment”. [Surah an-Nisaa verse 14]

There are also similar warnings in the Hadith for depriving the heirs of their rights of inheritance.

عن أنس بن مالك قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من فر من ميراث وارثه قطع الله ميراثه من الجنة يوم القيامة

“Anas bin Malik narrated that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, whoever flees from distributing his heirs inheritance, Allah will cut out his share from Jannah on the day of Qiyaamah”. [Sunan Ibn-Majah. Book 22, Hadith 2807]

عنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّهُ حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ وَالْمَرْأَةُ بِطَاعَةِ اللَّهِ سِتِّينَ سَنَةً ثُمَّ يَحْضُرُهُمَا الْمَوْتُ فَيُضَارَّانِ فِي الْوَصِيَّةِ فَتَجِبُ لَهُمَا النَّارُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ عَلَىَّ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَْ ‏:‏ ‏(‏مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصَى بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَارٍّ وَصِيَّةً مِنَ اللَّهِ ‏)‏ إِلَى قَوْلِهِ ‏:‏ ‏(‏ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ ‏)‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ غَرِيبٌ ‏.‏

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said:

“Indeed a man, and a woman, perform deeds in obedience to Allah for sixty years, then death presents itself to them, and they cause such harm in the will that the Fire becomes warranted for them. “Then he recited: After payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, without causing harm. This is a Commandment from Allah, up to His saying: That is the magnificent success. [Jami` at-Tirmithi 2117. Book 30, Hadith 2]

You state that you are not worried financial gain and you are worried about the punishment of Allah. That indeed is very courageous of you and speaks volumes of your sensitivity to Deen. 

In that case, you may make intention to forfeit your right in favour of the other heirs and encourage others to do the same. Then, your brother and mother will be saved from the punishment of injustice (if they are indeed guilty of injustice) and you will secure a great and magnificent reward of Sadaqah, which is far more than the worldly financial gain.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Issak

Student Darul Iftaa
Leicester, England, UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.