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Distributing inheritance while patient is in coma

Fatwaa ID: 762

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullah

If someone falls into coma and doctors are unable to decide whether or not they will come back from coma, is it permissible for the inheritors to distribute the wealth of that person before they are confirmed dead?

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

In principle, the estate of a person may only be distributed once he is confirmed dead. If he is in coma and has not yet passed away, then it will not be permissible to distribute his estate. There is a chance that the person may regain his consciousness and live thereafter. Likewise, it is possible that a potential heir may pass away before the passing of the person in coma. This would result in a change in the potential distribution ratios. Furthermore, upon the demise of a person, his wealth is first used to pay off funeral and burial expenses. This would not be possible with a person in coma.

Any wealth taken in the current situation will be deemed as ghasab, usurping of someone else’s wealth. That is a major sin. The family members and potential heirs are advised to fear Allaah Ta’aala. Any wealth acquired in a haraam manner will only be a source of regret and remorse for a person.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

08/10/1444 AH – 03/02/2023 CE

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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