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Paying Off Debts of the Deceased

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: It is a question about paying off debt for the dead. I am sorry that the question became too long to explain.

My sister’s husband passed away two days ago at the age of 46, leaving behind two kids(age of 2 and 5).

After hearing from my friend about the importance of paying of all debts of the dead – i came up with a handful of people from whom my brother-in-law borrowed money.

He borrowed a pretty big amount of money from my mother. And i cannot advise her to withdraw her ownership from it – neither i can tell my sister to pay off the debt to my mother(as my sister does not have any income).

What should i do? I am in need to sort it out quickly as the soul will not be in rest until the loans are paid off.

To explain more, my brother-in-law purchased a property from the money he borrowed from my mother(where he lived since March 2011). With the 50 – 50 ownership between the two. With an agreement that – he will keep paying a lump sum money every month (50% of the supposed rent income) until he is able to pay off the total borrowed money all together.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Aside from basic funeral expenses, the first financial priority of the deceased’s estate is to pay off all debts, even if their payment takes up the entire estate.

So use all of his estate to pay off the debts. If this is not sufficient and there are still debts remaining, then the debtors will simply not receive their money due. If one or more of the deceased’s heirs volunteers to pay off the remaining debts, then that is a good deed that will be rewarded by Allah. However, it is by no means an obligation on the part of the heirs, but rather a recommended act.

[Maydani, Lubab]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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