This article discusses the manner and order in which the assets of a deceased Muslim are to be distributed in accordance with Muslim law.
The manner and order of distribution of a deceased Muslim’s assets are important aspects of the administration of the deceased’s estate. The rules which govern these matters are to be found in the Holy Quran, the sayings and traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the majority opinion of Muslim scholars. Generally, the assets of a deceased Muslim are to be distributed in the following order:
Step 1 – Settling the deceased’s debts to Allah: such debts include unpaid religious tax (zakat), compulsory pilgrimage (Haji Fardhu) which the deceased did not perform during his/her lifetime and all forms of unpaid Kafarah (compulsory donations on account of non-performance of certain religious obligations or on account of the commission of certain religious prohibitions by the deceased).
Step 2 – Paying the deceased’s medical and funeral expenses.
Step 3 – Paying the deceased’s debts which are secured against any of the deceased’s assets which is to be distributed to the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate (e.g. a secured loan, mortgage or pledge).
Step 4 – Paying the deceased’s debts to other persons.
Step 5 – Carrying out the deceased’s Will.
Step 6 – Distributing the remaining balance of the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate in accordance with the Muslim law of inheritance (Faraid).
Note: Other payments and deductions from the assets of the deceased’s estate prior to the distribution to the beneficiaries (after step 5 and before step 6) require the consent of all beneficiaries (e.g. donations to be made in the name of the deceased).