My late father left outstanding debts and left no wealth except his house. What should we do?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

I submitted my question before but haven’t received a reply yet. I need to know the fatwa regarding the following.

My father passed away 5 months ago. He is survived by his wife and 2 sons (including myself). He has debts outstanding and the only thing he left is his house which he and my mother occupied. My younger brother and his family wish to occupy the house with my mother. What is the shari ruling for this?

Also is it permissible for my bother to start doing anything in the house when nothing has been confirmed with all the heirs? Please let me know exactly how this matter should be resolved. Also how is a price for the house determined if he intends to purchase the house. Mufti sahib also please remember my family in your duaas. Remember my marhoom father in your esteemed duaas.


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

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

We make Dua Allah Ta’ālā bless your family with the best of both abodes and give your father a high and lofty status in the hereafter. Aameen.

To pay outstanding debts of the deceased has priority over distributing the estate amongst heirs.[1] Your father did not leave behind cash by means of which you could settle his debts. It is now be necessary to liquidate his assets in order to repay his debts. This means your family must make arrangements for the sale of your father’s home.

This could either be done by one of the heirs purchasing the property or by selling it to some other third party.[2] The heirs of the deceased can agree to a price for which they will sell the house.[3] The cash received from this sale must then be channeled in payment of the outstanding debts.

The heirs of the deceased are not obliged to pay a withstanding amount if all the cash received from the sale of the home has been exhausted. Though it would be preferred that they do so.[4]

If there is a surplus of cash after payment of the debts it will be distributed amongst the heirs.[5]  If the only heirs of your father are yourself, your brother and your mother the shares of each will be the following.

Total Shares of Estate-16

A) You – 7

B) Your Brother- 7

C) Your Mother-2

Your brother should not do anything to the house until he has established ownership of the house.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Ali bin Cassim
Student Darul Iftaa
Los Angeles, CA (USA)

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1]سراجي (ص3)

قال علماءنا رحمه الله تتعلق بتركة الميت حقوق اربعة مرتبة الاول بتكفينه و تجهيزه من غير تبذير و لا تفتير ثم تقضى ديونه من جميع ما بقي من ماله ثم تنفذ من وصاياه من ثلث ما بقي بعد الدين ثم يقسم الباقي بين ورثته

[2]الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (5/ 416(

قَيَّدَ بِالتَّرِكَةِ الْمُسْتَغْرَقَةِ؛ لِأَنَّ غَيْرَهَا مِلْكٌ لِلْوَرَثَةِ وَفِي جَامِعِ الْفُصُولَيْنِ: عَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ غَيْرُ مُسْتَغْرِقٍ فَلِلْحَاضِرِ مِنْ وَرَثَتِهِ بَيْعُ حِصَّتِهِ لِحِصَّتِهِ مِنْ الدَّيْنِ لَا بَيْعُ حِصَّةِ غَيْرِهِ لِلدَّيْنِ؛ لِأَنَّهَا مِلْكُ الْوَارِثِ الْآخَرِ؛ إذْ الدَّيْنُ لَمْ يَسْتَغْرِقْ فَلَوْ دَفَعَتْ الْوَرَثَةُ إلَى أَحَدِهِمْ كَرْمًا مِنْ التَّرِكَةِ لِيَقْضِيَ دَيْنَ مُوَرِّثِهِمْ وَهُوَ غَيْرُ مُسْتَغْرِقٍ فَقَضَاهُ صَحَّ؛ لِأَنَّهُ بَيْعٌ مِنْهُمْ لِحِصَّتِهِمْ مِنْهُ بِقَدْرِ الدَّيْنِ؛ لِأَنَّهُمْ لَوْ دَفَعُوهُ إلَى أَجْنَبِيٍّ لِأَدَاءِ الدَّيْنِ يَكُونُ بَيْعًا كَذَا هَذَا.


[3]الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (5/ 416)

وَرَأَيْت بِخَطِّ شَيْخِ مَشَايِخِنَا مُنْلَا عَلِيٍّ التُّرْكُمَانِيِّ مَا نَصُّهُ أَقُولُ فَلِذَا الْقُضَاةُ الْآنَ يَأْذَنُونَ لِبَعْضِ وَرَثَةِ الْمَيِّتِ الْمُسْتَغْرَقَةِ تَرِكَتُهُ بِالدَّيْنِ بِبَيْعِهَا لِوَفَاءِ دَيْنِهِ تَوْفِيقًا بَيْنَ الْقَوْلَيْنِ وَعَمَلًا بِهِمَا.

تقريرات الرافعي على حاشية ابن عابدين (ص197)

(تَوْفِيقًا بَيْنَ الْقَوْلَيْنِ وَعَمَلًا بِهِمَا) فيه انه لا يظهر العمل بالقولين الا اذا كان الاذن لكل الورثة اذ على قول الثاني الولاية لهم جميعا لا لبعضهم

[4]البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (8/ 558)

 لِأَنَّ هَذِهِ الدُّيُونَ تَسْقُطُ بِالْمَوْتِ فَلَا يَلْزَمُ الْوَرَثَةَ أَدَاؤُهَا إلَّا إذَا أَوْصَى بِهَا أَوْ تَبَرَّعَتْ الْوَرَثَةُ بِهَا مِنْ عِنْدِهِمْ

 [5]سراجي (ص3)

قال علماءنا رحمه الله تتعلق بتركة الميت حقوق اربعة مرتبة الاول بتكفينه و تجهيزه من غير تبذير و لا تفتير ثم تقضى ديونه من جميع ما بقي من ماله ثم تنفذ من وصاياه من ثلث ما بقي بعد الدين ثم يقسم الباقي بين ورثته

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

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