Ancient civilisations used to know the concept of wills, including Arab civilisation before Islam.
They used to give will ‘Al Wasiya’. However, Islam comes with new principles to be followed.
In the Holy Quran and Hadith, there is reference to ‘Al Wasiya’.
In Quran, Sura An Nisa, “after, the payment of, any bequest that does not harm others. This is an ordinance from Allah”.
In Hadith, “it is not right for any Muslim who has something to be given as a bequest to spend two nights without writing a will about it”.
Al Wasiya, in Islam, is not obligatory like prayers, fasting, zakat, however, it is highly recommended.
In all cases, its amount shall not exceed one-third of the estate of the testator as the balance shall be left for legal eligible heirs.
The legal will in Islam, ‘Al Wasiya’ means the testamentary instruction to render the rights due to a deceased person, called the testator, and ensuring that his obligations are fulfilled after his death.
Related to Al Wasiya are legal terms that refer to the parties involved, the term ‘Al Musi’ testator, denotes the person who leaves a testament asking those in charge of his affairs to execute his testamentary wishes after his death.
He has the right, during his life, to abrogate or alter his will.
The person responsible for the execution of the will after the death of ‘Al Musi’, the testator, is called ‘Al Wasiyy’ or ‘Al Musa ilaihi’, the executor, and he does not have the right to alter the testament, except for rectification of any mistakes or elimination of sin.
A person to whom a testator bequeaths a financial or other benefit is known as ‘Al Musa Lahu’, the beneficiary. It is not permissible that such a beneficiary is from among the legal heirs ‘Al Waratha’ of the deceased except under certain conditions as approved by other heirs.
The legal heirs, ‘Al Waratha’, are those persons for whom Allah has prescribed definite shares in the estate of the deceased.
Notably, the Islamic inheritance calculator (Mawarith) is constructed in a very clear way.
Shares of heirs are given after including not only distribution to “Ashab Al Furud (sharers)” and “Al Asabat (residuaries)”, but also distributions arising from the issues of “Hajb (exclusion)”, “Awl (increase)” and “Radd (return)”.
Heirs are given specific shares in the estate, as detailed in Quran. Therefore, as a rule, heirs are excluded from ‘Al Wasiya’.