Bequeath upto a maximum of third to charity.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Salam and thanks for your work. Some in my family I have talked to beleive that 1/3 of one`s net assets MUST go to outside the family (ie charitable casues). Most I have talked to say it is actually UP TO A MAXIMUM OF 1/3 but there is no amount that MUST go to charity. Can you point me to some specific strong hadiths (ie Bukhari) where this question is addressed. Of course it is better if possible to give as much of that 1/3 to charity but I want to understand the ruling and have the source so that people do not go around spreading misunderstandings of the Inheritance laws. ONe example I was told as to why the former does not make sense is that say it is a very poor family - would it be jsut for the rule to be that the father passing give away 1/3 to outside his already poor family? I look forward to your response. 


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Bequeath upto a maximum of third to charity

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Malik related from Ibn Shihab from Amir ibn Sad ibn Abi Waqqas that his father said, "The Messenger of Allah (saws) came to me to treat me for a pain which became hard to bear in the year of the farewell hajj. I said, 'O Messenger of Allah (saws), you can see how far the pain has reached me. I have property and only my daughter inherits from me. Shall I give two thirds of my property as ‘sadaqa’?' The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, 'No.' I asked 'Half?' He (saws) said, 'No.' Then the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, 'A third, and a third is a lot.  Leaving your heirs rich is better than leaving them poor to beg from people.’”


Firstly, one is under absolutely no obligation in Shariah to leave a will bequeathing any amount of one’s wealth to charity after one’s death; the complete wealth of the deceased will be distributed amongst their legal heirs after their death according to the shares prescribed by Shariah.


But if one does wish to make a will and bequeath a portion of one’s wealth to charity or anyone else other than one’s legal heirs, the absolute maximum one can lawfully bequeath in a will is a third of one’s wealth, and the Messenger of Allah (saws) guided that even a third is a too much!


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,






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