Paying for a loan taken from the marhoom

Q: After our marhoom father's demise a few years back, he had left the house as inheritance to our marhoom mother and us, their 6 daughters Alhamdullillah.

However, our mother sold the house last year and paid each of us our shares and she kept hers. Our mother lived with my 1 sister while she was in Cape Town and with me while she would be in Johannesburg, and Alhamdullillah we had a very good relationship.

Now, since our mother is marhoom, we discovered that 2 of our siblings had taken a loan from our marhoom mother (inheritance) a few months ago, but our eldest sister without knowing how much exactly it was, she felt the need to make mashwurah with us the same night of our marhoom mother's demise (astaghfirullaah) and asked, if we can all agree to forgo those 2 loans (as sadaqah) to our 2 siblings, and pay whatever is the outstanding doctors bills, etc. from our marhoom mother's inheritance (which our mother still had from our marhoom father) then whatever is left, each of our 6 sisters must share it equally including the 2 siblings who have taken loans from our mother of more than R20 000 each (as we are only girls, we are aware that our share should be ⅔ each). Although my 1 sister insists she wants to repay the loan but our other sister seems to still want to keep that as sadaqah and still expects to receive a share from the inheritance. She's not saying it outright though but when I confronted her asking how much exactly she took as a loan, I was really disappointed that she took such a big amount as a loan from our marhoom mother knowing she's a pensioner, although she kept her inheritance separate. I even asked her, how could you take such a big loan from ma but yet each of us received our inheritance already and she said that ma agreed when she showed ma the proof why she needed it (her 2 boys school fees).

She got very upset crying and hung up on me and refused to take my call again after I attempted to call her again. This is heartbreaking that it's come to this as our parents have always been fair with all of us, no matter what.

Mufti, I respectfully ask, what is the Islamic way of dealing with this as my sister is very angry with me for questioning her about it and that I told her it's not fair towards the rest of us if she walks away with that loan and the other sister is paying it back? With all due respect, it's not as if she cannot afford to repay it. Please correct me if I'm wrong and guide us how to handle this with the qudrat of Allah Ta'ala.

We are a very close-knit family but I'm afraid this has now left a bad taste in our mouths. We have to do this the Islamic way.

A: After a person is deceased then the first step is to payout the burial expenses, the second is to discharge all debts and obligations. If the marhoom had her personal wealth then it should be discharged from her personal wealth. And if she does not have her personal wealth then it is not obligatory for the heirs to pay out the debts. If they do so then it is an act of virtue and the marhoom will be relieved and appreciative. The loan that was taken from the marhoom must be settled. If any heir wishes to forgo her right she has got the right to do so without imposing on others and provided all the daughters are over age.

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


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)