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As Salam Alaykum respected Sir My understanding is that after death, the distribution of property has to be in accordance with shariah laws of inheritance (the deceased person has power over 1/3rd part to bequeth) However, While a person is alive, can a person distribute some or all of property to anyone of their liking (children or strangers) in any percentage of their liking ? For eg. a Person 'W' owns and runs a maternity hospital, she is Gynacologist. She is married with husband and 3 daughters and one son. All children are married. 'W' owns other properties as well, but the question is related to this hospital property. Now, one daughter 'D' is a Gynacologist and is the main doctor in her mother's hospital. It is the desire of 'W' to give away hospital ownership to 'D' during her lifetime. Is it permissible according to the laws of shariah. Kindly clarify the principles related to this circumstance. Jazakallah

الجواب حامداومصليا

When parents want to distribute something among their children in their lifetime then it should be done on equal terms i.e all children should receive equal shares regardless of their gender.

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam emphasized on this during his lifetime with some practical examples. For instance, when Basheer (R.A) appeared before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam and asked for his opinion about gifting a servant to one of his children and the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam asked; Did you give similar gift to each of your children? and his replied in negative.

Upon that, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe instructed Basheer (R.A) to take back his gift.

The Hadith above reflects the displeasure of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alainh Wa Sallam with such eneven distribution of gifts among one's own children.

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam also said: "Do justice among your children in distribution of gifts".

Imam Abu Yusaf (R.A.) has mentioned that if the parents intend to harm some children by the unequal distribution then it becomes obligatory to distribute the gift among the children on equal terms. Otherwise, it is preferred to make distribution on equal terms.

One should also understand that if one child is more needy than the others then the parents may give more to the needy child than the others and there shall be no harm in such distribution.

It is not permissible for any of the parents to give gifts to one child and leaving out the others with the intention of harm. (Fathul-Bari Kitabul Hibah).

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Ikram ul Haq

Fatwa Center of America

7 Muharram 1432/ December 12 2010