In Australia, there is something called Superannuation.
When a person works for an employer, the employer is mandated by government to contribute towards the employee’s Superannuation account, on top of their yearly salary. Usually it’s aroun 9.5% of their salary.
Example, if someone’s yearly salary is $50,000, the employer will pay the employee $50,000 as salary, and will contribute $4,750 into their Superannuation account.
There are many financial companies that can manage your Superannuation funds. It does not matter to the employer who you are with, as long as you are a member of a Superannuation management company that’s fine. The employer basically contributes towards your member number with that company.
My mother in law passed away. She was a member of XYZ super company that managed her super funds. By default, the XYZ super company offers death benefit because she’s was a member of their super fund.
After her passing away, the super company contacted her children wanting to hand over the death benefit amount to them. The death benefit money is basically a large amount of money which is more than what her employer may have contrbuted over the years.
My mother in law was aware of the death benefit program, though she didn’t know if it’s permissible or not. She made a note with the Super management company that in the event of her death, the money is paid between her son and daughter.
Will this money be permissible for the children to receive? I have inquired from a few religious scholars, and have found mixed answers.
Here are some reasons given to me:
1. It’s like any other insurance. So not permissible.
2. The money contributed to the Superfund is not from the mother in law’s salary. Rather it’s on top of that which is paid by the employer. So it’s an employer’s contribution. Thus it’s not like someone paying into an insurance company from own salary. So this should be permissible to use.
3. It’s like insurance, but it was a contract between the mother and the Super fund. But the children had nothing to do with it. So if they receive the fund after the passing away of the mother, then it’s permissible for them as they were never in any contract with the mother’s Super management company.
Which one is the correct ruling? Could we go with the fatwa that it’s permissible because the children had no dealing with the Super management company?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The contribution from the employer to the superannuation account is a gift from the employer to the employee. The death benefit is also a gift from the company to whosoever is the nominated beneficiary. [i]
The gift from the superannuation company is permissible and it will not be regulated by the Shari’ah law of inheritance.
In the enquired situation, if the son and daughter are nominated as beneficiaries of the death benefit, they may accept it.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mirza Mahmood Baig & Muhammed Al-Ameen Akoo
Students Darul Iftaa
Jeddah, KSA & Newcastle; KZN, South Africa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
For more details regarding super funds see here.
[i] البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق (20/ 162)
( قوله بل بالتعجيل أو بشرطه أو بالاستيفاء أو بالتمكن ) يعني لا يملك الأجرة إلا بواحد من هذه الأربعة والمراد أنه لا يستحقها المؤجر إلا بذلك كما أشار إليه القدوري في مختصره لأنها لو كانت دينا لا يقال أنه ملكه المؤجر قبل قبضه وإذا استحقها المؤجر قبل قبضها فله المطالبة بها وحبس المستأجر عليها وحبس العين عنه وله حق الفسخ إن لم يعجل له المستأجر كذا في المحيط لكن ليس له بيعها قبل قبضها
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