Q: I need clarity on a few issues pertaining to inheritence and the shar'i ruling. As I write this email I am currently handling the affairs of my father. He is currently sitting in debt over 1.2 million rands.

1. Firstly, there is a family business which is about 30 - 35 years old. This business was given to my marhooma mother by the previous owners on the strength and relationship the owners had with her marhoom father. No where up until today has anyone come forward to say mummy has or had handed over the business to my father. Years ago my father left his job and joined mummy in the business where he incurred large amounts of debt.My mother used to take out money quietly to pay of these debts and pay for our schooling and maktab costs. This had to be done because my dad would get angry when mummy gave us anything. I have suppliers and people that will attest that since daddy was there he will take stock and not pay for it. In all this time my mother never received any payment up until she passed away 2 years ago. Instead mummy was accused of stealing money by my dad. We have a few Aadil witnesses some of whom are ulama to attest to the business being owned by mummy. My father would give large amounts of stock for free to various organisations without any consent. He purchased 2 vehicles which again was on the strength of the business account. Everything he has bought was from the business. What is the shar'i ruling?

2. I decided to help in the business since 2012/2011. During this time i did not receive a salary or payment for work done, which included banking, collecting stock, packing stock, managing the business and even working over weekends while my dad was absent. My monthly income was made from me buying and selling items from home & school tutoring as well as my wife baking and selling from home. What is the shar'i rulling here?

3. The property on which the shop is, was offered to my parents on the strength of them been good tenants for a very long time. I must say this was only done on the strength of the old owner knowing the business. However for what ever reason the property now is on my dad's name which he is still paying off. The renovations made to the property was with money taken from the above business. There are tenants as well. My mother has passed on for 2 years now. What is the shar'i rulling to all of the above?

4. My dad was given a loan around 2010 by a friend of his who is an Aalim. There was no written agreement between them. The only verbal agreement which the Aalim gave my dad was "take the money and pay me back when you can and have the money". This Aalim is now bad mouthing my father which he has a right to as my dad owes him. The bad part is this Aalim is adding on zakaat to the original amount every year. Is this permissible and if my dad passes on are we as children liable for this debt?

5. My father has since remarried before ramadhaan this year. We as his children advised him to first settle his debts before remarrying. Does this effect any of the above in any way? There are still items in the house which belong to my mother which we have left behind to make daddy's life a little easy. It was not given to him. Do we have a right to claim this? As this marriage took place fast so we did not have time to clarify this. We kept quiet in order to avoid conflict with daddy.


1. As we understand, your father had purchased the vehicles. We do not know whether he purchased it for himself or for the business with your mother's consent or not.

2. If it was your mother's business then it was your kindness towards your parents that you had done this. You cannot ask for any return if there was no pre-arrangement about a remuneration package.

3. We will appreciate if you can tell us exactly who is the rightful purchaser and owner of the property because many a times for the convenience of official documents a person's name is used and he does not have to be the rightful owner or purchaser.

4. If there are proofs etc. to testify that your father had taken a loan from him then it should be settled, but he has no right to ask for anything more than that, for it is purely interest no matter what name you give it.

5. It is important that he settles his debts as soon as possible.

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


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)