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Termination of Life

Life is the place for action to achieve our aspirations. It is terminated by death which will transfer us to the Hereafter where we shall face the results of our deeds, beliefs, and ethics. The Quran asks both men and women to strive to put something aside for the Hereafter while they live.
And let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow.[Holy Quran: Hashr 59:18]

A very important issue to consider is a good will and testament as to how to best spend one third of one's property. Each person can explicitly will what to be done with this portion of his property, and should choose a good person to carry out his will. All the Prophets, the Imams and the saints paid close attention to this issue and none passed away without a will. We have been instructed to leave a will by the Prophet (Pbuh) and the Immaculate Imams and by verse 180 by Baqara.

It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leave any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the God-fearing. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:180]

The Prophet (Pbuh) said:

Every Muslim has the right to a will [Mizan al-Hikmat, V.10, pp.494-495]. He also said:

A Muslim should not sleep without a will [Ibid].

He also said:

Whoever passes away and has a will has died according to the traditions of God and His Prophet, and his death is based on virtue and martyrdom, and God's Forgiveness. [Ibid]

It is much better today for one to act upon his will before he dies since the laws are cumbersome and really bother the inheritors. One can do whatever he wants done after he died when he is still alive. He can spend his wealth and property in a good way , like providing for the means of marriage of his sons and daughters, paying for the expenses of the orphans, building schools, mosques, and housing for the poor, and he can get rewarded after he dies. Imam Ali has recommended this: O' son of Adam act upon your will regarding your own wealth and property, and do what you want done after you die now that you are alive. Anyway, try to leave lawfully earned property behind, since what is unlawfully earned cannot be inherited.

Do not will that more than one third of it to be spent as you wish, since this will not be effective. Divide the other two-thirds according to the Quran. This way none of the inheritors will be hurt. It is obligatory for the inheritors to act according to a will that is prepared according to the Holy Quran. Such an act is worship, and is rewarding for the one who has passed away, and the inheritors who act accordingly. The inheritors should pay off any business debts, alms, the nuptial gift of the wife, and personal debts or required pilgrimage expenses first. They cannot divide and use money which belongs to others, since this will result in God's Punishment. The share for the wife, the parents and the sons and daughters should strictly be considered according to the divine book. Otherwise, a breach of God's Limits has occurred which will deserve Divine Retribution.

Please consult the practical treatise of Muslim scholars regarding the division of inheritance, or go to visit an expert in Islamic jurisprudence. This way the soul of the one who has passed away will be pleased. The inheritors should remember that the person who has passed away has spent all his life working hard to run your lives, and he suffered much. He may have even made some fiscal sins, so do not forget him. Pray for him, fast for him, give charity, and do good deeds. Try to remember him and please his soul any time you can especially on the eve of Thursdays, the month of Ramazan and Rajab. This way your children too will learn to remember you after you die.

Go to visit their graves every once in a while since God will then grant their soul to become accustomed to you, then they may pray for you from Purgatory. I have a friend who said whenever he had a problem, he immediately went to Qum to visit the graves of his parents. He read the Fatihah chapter of the Quran, prayed and paid charity for them. Then he asked them to pray for him and he returns to Tehran. He has experienced that his parents’ prayers for him follow him and his problem gets resolved before sunset. It is not right to forget one's parents who spent all their life and energy to raise their children. Something should be done to help them be forgiven.'

Adopted from the book: "The Islamic Family Structure" by: "Husayn Ansarian"

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