Monday 9 Rabi‘ al-awwal 1442 - 26 October 2020
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Will the deceased be rewarded for the wealth he left behind for his heirs?

Question

Will the one who dies and leaves behind wealth to be inherited have a reward for what he left behind, or will that only benefit him before he dies?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

Accumulating wealth through trade and other allowed means is permissible, and the Muslim will be rewarded for doing permissible things if he intends good thereby, because people’s actions are judged according to their intentions, as the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Deeds are but by intentions and each man will have but that which he intended.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1) and Muslim (1907).

With regard to the wealth that they leave behind, people are of two types:

The first one is the one who accumulates wealth intending to do good for his family and those on whose maintenance he spends, so that he may make them independent of means and treat them kindly, and so that they will not look with avarice to the wealth of other people, and he hopes by doing all of that that he will attain reward from Allah, may He be exalted. He will be rewarded for the wealth he leaves behind for his heirs, because this is showing kindness to the slaves of Allah; therefore Allah, may He be exalted, will recompense him by granting him an abundant reward.

Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Is the reward for good [anything] but good?”

[ar-Rahmaan 55:60].

Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan as-Sa‘di (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Is the reward for good [anything] but good” means: is the reward of the one who does well in worshipping the Creator and shows kindness to His slaves anything other than that he will be treated well, rewarded greatly and granted the ultimate triumph, eternal blessing and a life of ease? End quote from Tafseer as-Sa‘di, p. 831.

It was narrated that Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to visit me during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage, when I was very sick. I said: My pain is very severe, and I am wealthy, and no one will inherit from me except one daughter. Can I give two-thirds of my wealth in charity? He said: “No.”

I said: Half of it?

He said: “No.”

Then he said: “One third, and one third is a lot. If you leave your heirs independent of means, that is better than leaving them dependent and asking from people. You will never spend on maintenance, seeking thereby the Countenance of Allah, but you will be rewarded for it, even a morsel that you put in your wife’s mouth.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1295) and Muslim (1628).

Ibn Hubayrah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The words “If you leave your heirs independent of means, that is better” indicate that for a man to leave his heirs independent is better than leaving them poor, if he is able to do that, because people are dependent on Allah, and the one who gives charity is only giving his wealth to some of those who are dependent on Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. His heirs are also among those who are dependent on Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, so if he wants to give charity, the most appropriate thing to do is to start with those with whom he can combine giving charity and upholding ties of kinship, namely his heirs. Moreover, a man earns for his heirs whilst he is still alive, and he has worked hard for them all his life, so if he leaves something for them after he is gone, he will continue to be like one who is working hard for them, by means of what he leaves for them of his wealth. Hence the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said “”If you leave your heirs independent of means, that is better.

End quote from al-Ifsaah, 1/325.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Then the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If you leave your heirs independent of means, that is better than leaving them dependent and asking from people.”

That is, if you keep your wealth and do not give it in charity  until you die and your heirs inherit it and become independent thereby, that is better than leaving them dependent, not leaving them anything.

“and asking from people” means: holding out their hands to people and begging, saying, Give to us, give to us.

This indicates that if the deceased leaves behind wealth for his heirs, that is better for him.

No one should think that if he leaves behind wealth and it is inherited from him, that there is no reward for him in that. Rather there is indeed reward for him. In fact, the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If you leave your heirs independent of means, that is better than leaving them dependent …” because if you leave behind wealth for your heirs, they will benefit from it and they are your relatives, whereas if you give it in charity, strangers will benefit from it, and charity to a relative is better than charity to a stranger, because charity to a relative is both charity and upholding ties of kinship.

End quote from Sharh Riyadh as-Saaliheen, 1/44-45.

The second type is the one who accumulates wealth and hoards it out of stinginess and pride, and does not like any of his relatives to benefit from it after he dies, out of envy and ignorance, especially if he does not have any children, on the grounds that he worked hard and they did not.

There is fear for such a person, because he does not have any good intention regarding the wealth he leaves behind, and he does not want to show kindness to his relatives.

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A