By Mufti Mahmud Hasan Ajmeri
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami – 28 Rabi II 1437 | 8 February 2016
(1) Shroud and burial: First and foremost, pay the shroud and burial expenses from the deceased’s estate even if it requires that the entire estate be spent. You should be moderate in the funeral expenses. For example, the shroud should be of the standard which the deceased may have worn in jumua, the two Eids or when meeting friends.
(2) Debt payment: [Secondly,] repay [recognised] debts which are owed to people from the estate which remains after the payment of [necessary] funeral expenses even if it requires that the entire estate be spent.
If the estate is insufficient to repay all the debts, give priority to the payment of strong debts over weak debts. For example, debts incurred whilst the deceased was healthy or debts which are proven conclusively will be given priority over debts admitted (without any verifiable proof) whilst the person was dying . If multiple debts of equal standing have accumulated, divide the estate amongst the creditors according to their proportions.
Arrears of zakat and kaffarat are written off as a debt in this world. The reason being, it not associated with the rights of the people rather it is the right of Allah Almighty. Of course, the inheritors or someone else may give it from their own wealth as a form of compensation if they please. If the deceased at the time of their demise bequeathed that it be paid, it would be classified as a bequest.
(3) Bequest: [Thirdly,] fulfil the bequest (wasiyyat) of the deceased from one third of the estate (tarkah) which remains after the payment of [recognised] debts.
Wasiyyat (bequest) refers to the asset which the deceased expressed that it be given to a particular person or cause [upon their death].
In fulfilling the bequest, it is a requisite that (1) it not be more than a third, (2) it not be given to an heir automatically inheriting when the deceased died and (3) it not be a cause which contravenes the shari’ah.
If it is more than a third or the bequest was for an heir, it may not be fulfilled without the consent of the remaining heirs.
Keyword: Mal (estate: all the money and property owned by a person), Tarkah (the net asset of the deceased), Dayn pl. Duyun (debts), Wasiyyah (bequest).
Note: This schedule of payment which occurs before any heir receives their share is known as muqaddamah ‘alal irth.