Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Though children will be sinful if they insist on boycotting their mother, your mother-in-law is not allowed to exclude any of them from her last will. Rather, she should deal with them equally and leave their accountability to God Most High.
Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:
After the death of parents, children are still bound to be dutiful to them by praying for their mercy and forgiveness, respecting their will and wishes, and maintaining good ties with their relatives and friends.
The Qur’an says,
“Your Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with you, say not ‘Fie’ unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.“ (Al-Isra’ 17:23)
Therefore, one should supplicate and do other acts that benefit the dead as much as possible for his or her parents after their death.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “When a son of Adam passes away, he is cut off from his deeds except for three things: a current or perpetual charity, good knowledge that benefits someone, and a good child who makes duaa (supplication) for him.” ) (Muslim)
As for parents, they should be kind, merciful, and just with their children. If a child fails to be dutiful to his or her parents, the parents are to maintain justice with all children hoping that Allah will guide them all to the correct and straight path.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was ever keen to remind the parents of their responsibility towards their children. Thus he not only ordered them to deal with their children justly but also warned them against any words or actions that may amount to be discriminatory.
He said, “Fear Allah and deal justly towards your children!” Once one of his Companions requested him to witness an offer of a present to one of his sons; the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked him, “Have you given a similar gift to all of your children?” When the man replied, “No,” he told him, “Go and find someone else to witness this act, for I cannot be a witness to an act of injustice!” (Muslim)
Given the above, your mother-in-law is to apply the Shari`ah teachings regarding inheritance when writing her last will. She should not exclude any of her children from the will. All children should receive their shares in inheritance as detailed by Shari`ah.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.