Differences Between an Islamic Will and a Secular Will

Differences Between an Islamic Will and a Secular Will

A Will is a legal document that clearly sets out how you wish your affairs to be managed after you pass away. Any Will, whether Islamic or secular, will allow for an executor to be appointed (being the person who is authorised to manage the Will makers affairs after they pass away).

It is important to note that there is no Shariah definition of an Islamic Will. However what Muslims have is a set of rules and guidelines that apply at the time of death and immediately post-death. A Will that covers off these Islamic obligations is what is termed an ‘Islamic Will’.

The following table summarises the key differences between and Islamic and a Secular Will:

Secular Will
Islamic Will
BurialNo restrictionsEmphasises that the burial be conducted according to the Quran & Sunnah.
Distribution of WealthNo restrictions. The Will maker can choose who the beneficiaries should be and the amount they are entitled to receive.The Will make is only entitled to distribute up to 1/3 of their wealth to beneficiaries who are not otherwise entitled to inherit under Islamic law. The remaining 2/3 must be distributed in the proportions specified to the beneficiaries stipulated in the Quran & Sunnah.
DebtsDoes not necessarily concern itself with the payment of outstanding debts.An Islamic Will directs that your debts be paid from your estate prior to distribution and also includes payment of outstanding obligations between yourself and Allah (SWT) as a debt to be paid (e.g. unperformed Hajj, outstanding Zakat etc).

In addition to the above the Islamic Wills prepared by Wasiyyah also covers off guardianship of children, charitable contributions and any special wishes that the Will maker may have.