Question # 316: My father in law died in 2006 and My brother in law has been delaying giving us our inheritance. Using an excuse of not wanting to sell the land. Even though he is able to give us the money without needing to sell the land. My question is does he need to give us profit on the amount of inheritance for delaying it?
Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: The wealth of the deceased should immediately pass on to the inheritors and it is disliked (makrooh) to delay or postpone the distribution of wealth among the legal heirs. Since the distribution has already been delayed in the case of your family, the value of the wealth should be worked out according to its value at the time of division, and not its value at the time of the father-in-law’s death for distribution among heirs. Moreover, if some rent or other revenue was derived from the land during this period, the same should also be distributed among the heirs in accordance to their Islamic share of inheritance or adjusted against the heir’s (brother in law’s) share, if he has benefitted from it all these years. Furthermore, you should resort to the court to enforce the distribution of the estate instead of staying under the mercy of the brother-in-law.
Long Answer: Please Refer Question # 135 for delayed distribution of inheritance. On death, the wealth of the deceased does not belong to him/her, but immediately passes on to the inheritors (after the payment of connected debts). Therefore, it is disliked (makrooh) to delay or postpone the distribution of wealth among the legal heirs for any reason whatsoever; nevertheless, if all the heirs agree to delay the distribution, there is nothing wrong in doing so.
[Since the distribution has already been delayed in the case of your family,] the value of the properties or other holdings should be worked out according to their value at the time of division, not according to their value at the time of the father-in-law’s death, then the price of the properties and other holdings should be divided among the heirs, each according to the share allocated to him or her by shari‘ah.
If some of them are rented out and are not included in the division, and they cannot be sold, then the rent should also be divided among the heirs, each according to the share allocated to him or her by shari‘ah even if the one who benefits from it is one of the heirs.
But if one of the heirs benefits from renting out some of the property in the sense that he gets more than the share allocated to him by shari‘ah, or he is the only one who benefits, to the exclusion of the other heirs, then what he has taken and benefitted from should be deducted from his share of the estate.
Furthermore, you should resort to the court to enforce the distribution of the estate instead of staying under the mercy of the brother-in-law.
(The above answer has been verified by Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.