Q: I have one issue being raised in our family regarding the share in a family business.
I will tell you a short introduction about the business condition.
I am the elder son in my family. My father wants to resolve this issue on behalf of our family and my cousins. My father has 5 brothers and my late grand father passed away about 20 year ago. Afterwards, all the brothers joined the business equally. No one withdrew their share from the business. Every expense was mutual and every purchase was mutual. Both my uncles and my father’s sons are included in the business some years after the death of my grandfather.
As we and our cousins were young and mature when joining, later we put our efforts and experience in the family business at the same level as our uncles were doing. Only two elder brother’s sons are in the family business.
One thing to note is that my uncles did not agree to do other business because they only agreed to expand the family business.
One of my cousins has 4 sons and he wants to separate the business but now my uncles (my father’s brothers) are saying that my cousin has no share in the business because he was included in the family business on behalf of his father. Everyone can see my cousin’s and my brother’s efforts and the expansion they made to the family business and that effort was not possible by any employee.
We gave new ideas of doing business which was successful for the expansion of the business. We made new businesses and branches in profit running positions.
My uncles are denying our efforts that we did in the business and they are saying that we, the cousins have no share in the business because it was 5 brothers who were partners in the business.
Please note: My cousins gave 20 years in the business and my brothers gave 16 years in the business.
Please tell us if we are eligible to ask for our share from the business and if so, what is the Islamic ruling in this condition. They used us for so long in the business and we never thought that we were not part of the family business. We were doing all this effort for them only.
Are the 5 brothers the only shareholders? Two of them joined the business at the same age when one of my cousins joined the business because they are about same age. All the brothers are still in a working position and active members in the business, none of them are sleeping partners. My father has done more than his share and is still working.
A: All your grandfather’s sons are partners in the business. The rest of you should be remunerated in proportion to the effort.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)