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As salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu Respected Mufti Sahib Lot of times, there are disputes and fights in families at the time of deciding inheritance. Most of the problems are caused because we don't know how to account for individual assets/items in a family. sometimes it is joint ownership, sometimes we don't know who owns what etc Also zakah is difficult to calculate if we dont know what belongs to whom and how we calcuate zakah for assets which are owned jointly. Sometimes the concept of ownership in american culture may be different than the islamic concept. This can have a huge impact for purpose of estimating net worth of an individual for inheritance calculations. In America, a spouse is considered a joint owner of a home/property/asset etc in the paperwork regardless of whether that spouse has in fact put his/her share into the ownership of the asset. Kindly clarify the concept of ownership in islam. Kindly explain in detail, What does islam teach us about how to identify our milkiat for the purposes of zakah and also for the purposes of distribution of Inheritance of deceased. Kindly provide some good book to read about these concepts. Jazakallah

الجواب حامداومصليا

Islam has prescribed all the shares of inheritance with detail in the Quran and from the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam.

There was negligence in regard inheritance before Islam and unfortunately there is a lot of ignorance and negligence in this regard now. This ignorance and negligence results in needless disputes and relation problems among family members. Muslim must take the issue of inheritance  seriously and take steps towards resolving it.

The inheritance should be distributed after the demise of the person as soon as possible. Causing unnecessary delays will only give birth to more problems.

While living in non-Islamic countries the laws of inheritance are also non-Islamic. Therefore, it is the duty of every Muslim to prepare a will wherein instructions are given to the executors that all the wealth and assets of deceased should be distributed in accordance with the Islamic law of inheritance among the rightful recipients.

Islam prefers the idea of individual ownership and considers this to be original form. Joint ownership comes into being through various ways. Sometimes the joint ownership is through a business or inheritance.

In joint ownership each person is equally responsible. They may appoint one person as the leader who takes of affairs on behalf of others. Thereby all the owners will be absolved of their responsibility.

According to the teachings of Islam, no one is by default a co-owner with another person including one's wife. Only if the husband gives joint ownership to his wife in his house or wealth then she will become a joint owner. Even the children of a person are not considered co-owners unless the person declares his children as his partners.

It is important to keep financial matters crystal clear even among one's own siblings, parents and relatives. In absence of such clarity even the closest of relatives resort to disputes and bad relations.

Therefore, it is important to understand this point and adopt it.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Ikram ul Haq