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Islamic Will and Foundation

Creating an Islamic Will is not only obligatory for Muslims according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah but also necessary to ensure the proper distribution of estates.

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Despite Islamic teachings, many Muslims neglect to create a proper Islamic Will, often influenced by cultural practices rather than religious duties.

What is Islamic Will?

The term Islamic Will or Muslim Will comprises various names such as:

  • Wasiyat
  • Wasiyat nama
  • Wasiat
  • Wasiat nama
  • Wasiyyah
  • Wassiya
  • Wassiyya
  • Wassiyyah
  • Sharia-compliant will
  • Shariah Compliant Will
  • Saria-compliant will
What is Islamic Will

Without an Islamic Will, assets won’t follow Islamic law, and dying intestate results in government-appointed administrators determining distribution.

How Does an Islamic Will Work?

An Islamic will permits an individual to outline posthumous estate distribution following Sharia and legal regulations.

It may allocate at least two-thirds of assets to Islamic heirs like spouses, children, parents, etc., while the remaining one-third or less can be designated for charity or the needy.

Notably, an endowment, distinct from a testamentary bequest, involves gifting during one’s lifetime to organizations or educational institutions.

Under Islamic law, you have the option to either express your wishes verbally or draft a Will witnessed by two individuals.

It is essential to note that a verbal Will lacks legal validity, and reliance on it is not advisable.

Many Muslim-majority nations prohibit verbal Wills due to legal complications.

It is advisable to establish a Will upon reaching legal adulthood as defined by your country or jurisdiction.

Procrastinating until you face a decline in mental capacity or encounter adverse health events is not recommended.

Dying without an Islamic Will, known as dying “intestate,” means legal laws govern estate distribution.

The court appoints an executor or trustee, leading to delays and expenses. It doesn’t align with Muslim succession laws, risking non-compliance.

Creating a Will ensures assets follow your wishes and values.

Various Will types are available, including Single, Multi-Jurisdictional, and International Wills.

Testamentary Trusts in Wills manage minor children post-death but differ from non-Testamentary Trusts in revocability and tax impact.

How Does an Islamic Will Work


A foundation or a trust that is Shariah compliant is known as Waqf. In simple terms, waqf refers to a charitable endowment that is being held in a trust.

In the formal process of creating a waqf, the donor (waqīf) designates assets (mawqūf) for a specific charitable purpose.

Waqfs can be created by individuals, families, or communities. Once a waqf is created, the assets that are donated to it become inalienable, meaning that they cannot be sold, gifted, or inherited.

The income from the waqf’s assets is used to support the designated beneficiaries. For example, a waqf might be created to provide financial assistance to poor students, build a mosque, or support a hospital.

Islamic jurists debate whether ownership is “returned” to God or remains with the donor after completing the endowment.

Regardless, the assets are committed indefinitely for the specified purpose, with the donor relinquishing most ownership rights.

A custodian (mutawallī) manages the assets, although the donor can also act as the custodian.

Waqf arrangements historically safeguarded assets from debt payment, government confiscation, or misuse.

While waqf endowments played a key role in public services, their prevalence has diminished in the modern era.

Islamic countries now regulate waqf ministries and civil statutes to align with state regulations.


Writing an Islamic will is a religious duty to ensure fair asset distribution per Islamic law. The Quran advises giving one-third to charity and the rest to heirs.

Islamic foundations, called waqfs, support religious, social, and educational causes.

The Islamic finance industry is expected to grow further due to the rising global demand for Shariah-compliant financial services.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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