A rich Muslim widow has no children, her parents died. She has 4 brothers and 4 sisters and some nephews & nieces.
1. She wants to donate all her property for charity projects like building a college and hospital, educate orphans and sponsor Quran Hafiz. Can she do it?
2. If she leaves some property when she dies, will her sisters get a share or not? If not, then can she give them money or some land as gifts now?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
The question will be looked at through two angles. Either the sister intends to donate all the property during her lifetime or after her death.
Starting with the former the jurists have said that giving all of one's property in sadaqah is permissible provided the donor is fit, patient, and steadfast, not in debt, nor has dependents for which adequate support from him or her is obligatory. If he does not fulfil these conditions, then his or her action will be considered disliked. (Taqrir Abu Dawud p.128 v.3)
Saaiduna Jabir Radiallahu Anhu narrated: "While we were with the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said “A man came with what was like an egg of gold. He said: 'O Prophet of Allah! I obtained this from buried treasure, so take it. It is sadaqah, and I do not possess anything other than it.' The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam turned away from him and he (the man) then approached him from the direction of his left side. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam then turned away from him again and he approached him from behind. Then the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam took it and threw it at him. If it had hit him, it would have injured him. Then he said: ’One of you comes with all his property to make sadaqah, then after (giving all he had) he sits (by the road) begging from the people. Sadaqah is given by the one who is rich.’ " (Sunan Abu Dawud p.242 v.1)
From the following hadith the permissibility of donating all your wealth to charity can be deduced. Saaiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu reports: "The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam instructed us to give sadaqah, and it applied to my property. I said: 'Today I shall better Abu Bakr. I have never bettered him.' Then I brought half my property. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said: 'What did you leave for your family?' I said: 'An amount like this.' Saaiduna Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu came with all his property, and the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam asked: 'What did you leave for your family?' He said: 'I have left Allah and His Messenger Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam.' Then I said: 'I shall never better you in anything.’” (Sunan Abu Dawud p.243 v.1)
The conclusion we can come to is that as long as the sister is not obliged to support anyone financially, nor is she in debt and she is fit and capable to earn it will be permissible for her to donate all her wealth to charity.
Some jurists have said that donating all your wealth to charity is only mubah (permissible) and not desirable. This is because there are many hadiths where the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam did not allow some companions in donating all their wealth (Taqrir Abu Dawud p.130 v.3). An example will be of Saaiduna Kaab Bin Malik Radiallahu Anhu when he wanted to donate all his money to charity after Allah (SWA) accepted his repentance. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam advised him to give only one-third to charity. (Sunan Abu Dawud p.114 v.2)
With regards to the second angle, it is not permissible to donate all the property to a charitable institution after ones death. This is because after ones death a Will is only executed up to one-third of the property. (Maariful Qur’an p.450 v.1)
If the sister in question left some property, then her four sisters will also inherit with her four brothers. However, their share will be half of what the brothers would receive.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham