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Who gets what in a family business or property division?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta-Deoband.com
The help I need is as follows: We are four brothers in joint business. 3 elder brothers have equal share and the youngest one has less share. Two middle brothers were giving less opportunity to him and treating him unfairly. We were having differences in the business and one day in 2013 the youngest brother in the business meeting said that I don’t want to work with you guys…and give me my share and I want to split specially with the two middle brothers. Now we (all brothers) are splitting the business between all brothers and one middle brother has raised this issue that in 2013 you said in a meeting that I don’t want to work so we will do accounting till that specific date. The youngest brother says he doesn’t want to work with the other brothers multiple times but no accounts have been made or agreements have been made or clarity has been given even till now. None of the accounts have been settled till this date, all control of the business and properties are in the hands of the two middle brothers. The two middle brothers are insisting because you said in 2013 so we will not give your share after 2013. These two middle brothers only started mentioning the issue of 2013 since Aug/Sept of last year (2015). The youngest brother is still invested in business, still involved in business on minimal level. So far no division of any property or business has taken place so no clarity yet what is owed to each partner and hisabats are still pending. Please guide with fatwa if these two brothers are right or wrong for the sake of Allah. May Allah bless us all and reward you for your valuable time. —————————————————-
Just to clarify again. My youngest brother is still coming to office. He still has signatures in bank. He is still taking money when he needs. Everything is still as like always. No changes.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

(Fatwa: 1151/1024/N=10/1437)

In the question mentioned above, the words of youngest brother in the business meeting of 2013 that “I don’t want to work with you guys…and give me my share and I want to split specially with the two middle brothers”, are not used to terminate partnership of business as per the contexts, rather they express his desire and to end partnership and have mutual distribution among the partners. The reason is that he (youngest brother) still exercised his discretion in the business and no change took place in it. Thus when the youngest brother did not split practically after the meeting and the business was not divided among all of you then in such a case it is unlawful for the two middle brothers to deem the youngest brother separated from the business from 2013 and not to give him his shares in the profit etc. According to the Shariah, the partnership of all the brothers is still intact. All the brothers should divide the business and the profits till date among themselves as per the proportion of their partnership.

يستفاد ذلك مما فى رد المحتار عن البحر عن البزازية: اشتركا واشتريا أمتعة ثم قال أحدهما : لا أعمل معك بالشركة وغاب فباع الحاضر الأمتعة فالحاصل للبائع وعليه قيمة المتاع الخ (رد المحتار ، كتاب الشركة ، فصل فى الشركة الفاسدة 6:505، ط : مكتبة زكريا ديوبند)؛ لأن مفاهيم عبارات الفقهاء حجة كما قرره علماء المذهب . 

Allah knows Best!

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband

This answer was collected from the official ifta website of Darul Uloom Deoband in India.

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