I begin with the name of Allah the Kind, the Caring
What do the scholars and experts of Shariah say about: My non-Muslim mother wants to give her financial assets, cash, jewellery, and everything else as a gift to me, including a share of her residence. She expressed wanting to gift her grandchildren a share of the residence as well and appointed me the executor of her will upon her death. She has excluded my sister and brother from her gifts and residence because of their appalling behaviour towards her. My questions are:
- Am I allowed to execute her will?
- Am I allowed to take the gifts that she wants to give to me?
A Muslim daughter can execute the will of her mother, even if she is a non-Muslim. It is mentioned in Al-Mawsu’ah Al-Fiqhiyah:
“Muslim jurists from the Ahnaf, Hanabilah, and majority of the Shawaf’i agree on the validity of a will regardless if it is from a Muslim to a non-Muslim or from a non-Muslim to a Muslim, with the conditions set out for a will in sharia. The evidence from the Holy Qur’an is, “Allah does not forbid you from being good and just to those who have not fought against you due to religion, nor expelled you from your houses. Allah loves just people.” (Al-Mumtahinah:8) Disbelief does not negate a transaction or gift of a non-Muslim, so the will of a non-Muslim is valid. The Malikiyyah agree on the soundness of the will of non-Muslim to a Muslim.” Therefore, the will of a non-Muslim can be executed by a Muslim.
A narration in Abu Dawud corroborates it, Abdullah ibn Amr narrates that his father left a will to free one hundred slaves on his behalf. His son Hisham freed fifty slaves and his son Amr intended to free the remaining fifty, but he said: I should ask the Messenger of Allah ﷺ first. He came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: Messenger of Allah, my father made a will to free a hundred slaves, Hisham has freed fifty and fifty remain. Shall I free them on his behalf? The Messenger ﷺ said: Had he been a Muslim and you freed slaves on his behalf, or gave charity, or performed the pilgrimage, that would have reached him. (Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Wisaya)
So, the will of the non-Muslim is valid and can be executed by a Muslim irrespective if any acts of charity will benefit the deceased in terms of reward in the hereafter. A daughter can receive and give gifts to her non-Muslim mother. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim have mentioned the following hadith: Asma Bint Abi Bakr narrated, “My mother came to me during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger and she was a non-Muslim. I asked the Messenger of Allah, “My mother has come to me and she desires to receive a gift from me, shall I keep good relations with her?” The Prophet said, “Yes, keep good relationship with her.” (Agreed upon)
The beloved Prophet ﷺ ordered Asma to be kind to her non-Muslim mother. Taking and receiving gifts is also a means of maintaining good relations. Islam expects Muslims to keep good ties with all people, especially with the family.
Allah ﷻ knows the best
This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari