To make a will in excess of one third.

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:



I need a favour from you and this pertains to the position of law in the matter of muslim Wills in Saudi Arabia and other Arabic speaking Islamic countries.

The understanding in India on this issue is that a muslim cannot make a testametary disposition of properties in excess of 1/3 of his nett estate.And that such a Will cannot be in favour of one who would inherit from the testator.The translation of the Quran by Abdullah Yusuff Ali and by Pithall  would state this.

A point has been raised by a person known to me that the Arabic text does not impose any restrictions either on the extent that can be Willed or on who could be the beneficeries.

It is in this context I seek this clarifcation.References along with the opinon could be of help.

Hope you are doing good

Thanks and Regards



(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




To make a will in excess of one third

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.’”


Shariah Law dictates that the absolute maximum one is permitted to bequeath of one’s wealth in a will to be distributed to someone or something (other than one’s legal heirs) after one’s death, is one-third.


Allah and His Messenger (saws) have given the right to the believers to bequeath a maximum of a third of their wealth through a will to be given to anyone they wish other than their legal heirs (be it a charity, or to his friends, or to his adopted children, etc.)….and the balance two-thirds is the right of his surviving legal heirs. 


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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