Distributing a property owned in a joint venture

Q: My wife and I were working together in the Gulf for the last 17 years and we don't have any children. During our stay in the Gulf, we purchased two properties. One property is registered on both our names and since I couldn't travel to our home country for some reason, we registered the second property only on her name as the single owner... It was purchased through our savings as security for retirement and only our money was used in buying this property.

Unfortunately my wife passed away all of sudden 5 months ago. Now my mother in law, my sister in law and my brother in law are claiming their share in the property after consulting one Mufti in our city. It was purely our hard earned money and I came back to my home country after my wife's death and I don't have any job here. I want to follow Shari'a and I don't want to destroy my Aakhirah also. Are they entitled to their share in the property ?

A: If the understanding was that both the properties were owned jointly then it should be treated as a joint venture. And when it is a joint venture then you will own half of the property as well as half of your deceased wife's share, and the remainder of her share will go to her parents and other heirs.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

(شركة الملك أن يملك اثنان عينا إرثا أو شراء) وكذا استيلاء أو اتهابا أو ووصية أو اختلاط مال بغير صنع أو بصنعهما بحيث لا يتميز أو يعسر كالجنس بالجنس أو المائع بالمائع أو خلط الحنطة بالشعير وهذا النوع من الشركة كان واقعا في زمنه عليه الصلاة والسلام كالشركة في المواريث والغنائم ونحوهما (البحر الرائق 3/313)

وَلَكُمْ نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ أَزْوَاجُكُمْ إِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَلَكُمُ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْنَ مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِينَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ (النساء: 12)

Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)