Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: It is not befitting for a Muslim who has something to make a Will of, to remain for two nights without having ones last Will and testament written and kept ready with one. (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 2587)
It is essential that all Muslims leave a valid written Will. Those who have, as yet, not made a Will should haste and prepare a Will. Writing a Will is not only for old people, rather all those who have reached puberty should quickly get their Will prepared, for there is no guarantee of when and how one will die
Points to note when making a Will, one would stipulate the following:
- Revoking of all previous Wills.
- Naming the executors of the Will.
- Payment of funeral and burial expenses.
- Payment of all debts connected to the servants of Allah: After ones death, paying off ones debts is given primary consideration. Thus, ones leftover wealth will first be utilized in repaying the debts, and then the remainder, if any, will be distributed amongst the inheritors according to the Shariah. Note that this is with regards to debts payable to the servants of Allah (and not with regards to liabilities due by Shariah, such as unpaid Zakat, etc). Also, there is no condition here of it being from only one third of ones wealth.
- Payment of any bequest (Wasiyya): This refers to any religious liabilities, such as unpaid Zakat, Fidya for Salat, etc, and also anything that one would like to give in charity. However, the condition here is that this is only permissible from one third of ones wealth.It is worth remembering here that along with ones written Will, one should have a separate document stipulating the number of unperformed prayers, missed fasts, unpaid Zakat, unperformed Hajj, any other religious obligations and debts payable to the servants of Allah.One must strive in accomplishing these obligations in ones life, and make the necessary amendments to the document whenever an obligation is fulfilled. For example: One had 500 unperformed prayers. In such a case one should stipulate this in the document. Thereafter, whenever, a prayer is made up, it should be deducted from the total of 500. This important document should be attached with the Will in order to let the relatives know of ones obligations and liabilities after ones death.
- Distribution of the remaining two thirds of ones estate (or full, if one does not include no. 5) among the inheritors in accordance with Sunni Islamic law, and in consultation with a qualified local scholar or Mufti.
- Signing of the document by both the Will-maker and the relevant witnesses.