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Inheriting haraam wealth

Fatwaa ID: 576

Dear Mufti Sahab,
A related question to the above:

If a person is an heir of someone whose estate includes wealth from impermissible sources, what should they do? Is the inheritance permissible for them? Does the answer depend on how the impermissible wealth was gained? Or whether it forms part or all of the estate?

A couple of examples to clarify:

1) Person X did not give his sisters their rightful share of their father’s property. Now that X has died, do X’s sons need to give their aunts (or their aunts’ heirs) their share?

2) Y’s father put his (halal sourced) money in bonds, savings accounts, and other impermissible investments. He has now died. It is not possible for his son to track all the way back what fraction of the estate is from the original halal income and what is from the profit from the investments. What should he do?

3) Z’s father worked all his career in a conventional bank. All his assets are sourced from his income. Is it permissible for Z to keep his share of his father’s wealth once he passes away?

Apologies if the question is too long/detailed and JazakAllahu Khair for your time and effort.

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

May Allaah Ta’aala forgive the deceased for his shortcomings. Haraam wealth which was supposed to be returned or given away may not be inherited. The heirs should right the wrong. Perhaps, this may alleviate the difficulties from the deceased in the afterlife. Hereunder are the answers to your queries.

  1. Yes. X’s heirs should give X’s sister, or her heirs in her absence, her rightful share that was wrongfully usurped by X. The heirs should also make istighfaar for him.
  2. In most cases, it is possible to track the capital amount. The capital would be halaal in most probable case and thus may be kept. In regards to the profits, each investment scheme or source would be different. In avenues such as bonds, savings accounts, etc. wherein all the profits are deemed haraam, all the profits therefrom must be given away in charity without any expectation of reward. As for other investments that have both sources, halaal and haraam, the profit from the halaal may be kept and the haraam must be given away. If it is not possible to track it or backdate it, then similar investments may be taken as a proxy to determine this.
  3. Working at a conventional bank is haraam and the income therefrom is also haraam. This question may require further clarifications and details. We suggest that you refer this to your local scholars. The funds available will be questionable but the assets in possession will be permissible for the heirs to inherit.

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

07/22/1444 AH – 02/13/2023 CE | AMG3-3347

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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