Malaysia Islamic Law

ISLAMIC LAWS

The Wills Act, 1959, Malaysia and the Wills Ordinance (Sabah) does not apply to Muslims.  Persons professing to the religion of Islam are governed by Islamic Laws (commonly known as Syariah Laws) which was founded on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad as well as on the Quran (the Islamic holy book).  There are four main mazhabs, or schools of figh (law): the Hanafi, Maliki, Hambali and Syafii. Since there are only slight variations between the four mazhabs, it is prudent to state clearly in the Will which mazhab’s figh should be applied when the estate is distributed.

 

 

Everything which is owned by a Muslim at the time of death (movable and immovable properties, jewellery, clothes, cash, loans given by the deceased and everything else, big or small) comes under the deceased’s estate.
When a Muslim dies,

1. the first consideration is payment of funeral expenses for shrouding and burying the deceased.
2. Then, the deceased’s debts are to be repaid according to merit.
3. After expenses and debts have been paid that the bequests can be taken into consideration.  This will be up to a third of the estate.  The remaining two thirds are distributed according to Syariah Law.
4. Bequests can be made to relatives, friends, people in need or public welfare, so long as the beneficiaries are not entitled to a fixed share under the Syariah Law.
5. A bequest can be made by a Muslim to a non-muslim, but not to anyone or anything that opposes Islam.
6. In the event that the deceased bequests more than a third of his estate, it can still be effected provided all who are entitled to a fixed share from the remaining two thirds of the estate agree to a corresponding reduction in their respective shares.
The remaining two thirds – even though the beneficiaries’ entitlement are fixed under Syariah Law, a Muslim is allowed to state in the Will that specific items to be given to certain relatives, provided the value of any such items does not exceed the value fixed by the Syariah.   Other beneficiaries’ agreement must be given to a corresponding reduction in their shares if that item is worth more than allotted share.
If the deceased had no debts to pay, nor did he make any bequests, whatever estate he has after payment of funeral expenses will go to the beneficiaries according to entitlement under the Syariah Law.
If there are no beneficiaries or if all of them have predeceased the deceased, the estate will go automatically to the Baitulmal (a public fund maintained by Syariah Law).
A Muslim may alter the prescribed shares during his/her lifetime by giving outright gifts or create a Trust.
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