Navigating the Intricacies of Islamic Will and Trust

The wheel of life keeps turning, bringing with it a myriad of experiences, responsibilities, and changes. Amid this whirlwind, we often put the topic of our mortality on the back burner. However, Islamic teachings stress the importance of ‘planning ahead’ and preparing for the hereafter. Part of this planning includes understanding the legal and religious nuances of an Islamic Will and Trust.

The Significance of an Islamic Will and Trust

Making a Will, or ‘Wasiyyah,’ is a practice strongly recommended in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said, “It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.” So, understanding the differences between an Islamic Will and Trust is as essential as finding a compass before setting out on a journey.

The Islamic Will: Leaving a Legacy

In Islam, a will isn’t just a legal document; it’s a moral and religious responsibility. Your Islamic Will is your farewell letter, a testament to your life’s work and your commitment to Islamic teachings.

The Islamic Trust: A Shield for Your Assets

Also known as ‘Waqf,’ an Islamic Trust is a long-standing tradition dating back to the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It’s a system that protects your assets, ensuring they continue to benefit your loved ones and the community after your demise.

Contrasting an Islamic Will and Trust

The Islamic Will and Trust, while intertwined, have distinct characteristics and purposes. In this great debate, let’s break down the bare bones of these two constructs.

Defining Beneficiaries in a Will vs. a Trust

In an Islamic Will, you can outline your beneficiaries, but Sharia law prescribes specific inheritance shares. An Islamic Trust, on the other hand, gives you more flexibility to control how your assets are used and who benefits from them.

The Lifespan of a Will vs. a Trust

A Will typically comes into effect after your passing, while a Trust can be operational during your lifetime and continue after you’re gone. It’s like comparing a sprint (Will) with a marathon (Trust).

Creating an Islamic Will: Walking the Path of Righteousness

Establishing an Islamic Will requires careful consideration and adherence to Islamic principles.

Appointing an Executor

Choosing an executor for your will is like choosing a captain for your ship. They ensure your final wishes are carried out according to Sharia law.

Determining the Inheritance Shares

In Islam, inheritance shares are prescribed by the Quran. They’re not pulled out of thin air, and understanding these shares is critical in writing an Islamic Will.

Establishing an Islamic Trust: A Noble Endeavor

Selecting Your Trustees

Your trustees are the caretakers of your trust. Just like a gardener tending to a garden, they manage and protect the assets placed in the trust.

Setting Up the Trust

Establishing an Islamic Trust requires following certain rules and guidelines. It’s like setting up a tent—you need to know what goes where.

Deciding Between an Islamic Will and Trust: Which Way to Go?

When it comes to choosing between an Islamic Will and Trust, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It all boils down to your personal circumstances and objectives. Being informed can help you navigate this labyrinth.

When to Consider an Islamic Will

An Islamic Will is a vital document every Muslim should consider, regardless of the size of their estate. It provides a clear roadmap for your family and loved ones, ensuring a smooth transition of your worldly possessions according to Islamic principles.

When to Opt for an Islamic Trust

If you have specific needs, such as providing for a special needs child or managing a large estate, establishing an Islamic Trust might be a better fit. It allows for the protection and controlled distribution of your assets, ensuring they continue to be a source of ongoing reward (Sadaqah Jariyah) even after your demise.

FAQs About Islamic Will and Trust

1. Can I make changes to my Islamic Will or Trust after they are created? Yes, indeed! You have the flexibility to modify your Islamic Will or Trust as your circumstances change, provided the changes comply with Islamic laws.

2. Does an Islamic Trust protect my assets from creditors? An Islamic Trust, or Waqf, can provide some protection against creditors, depending on the terms of the trust and the laws of the jurisdiction where it’s established.

3. What happens if I die without an Islamic Will? If a Muslim dies without a Will, the estate will be divided according to the inheritance laws laid out in the Quran. However, without a Will, there may be potential for disputes among heirs, so it’s best to have one.

4. Can I establish both an Islamic Will and Trust? Absolutely! Many Muslims choose to have both an Islamic Will and Trust as part of a comprehensive estate plan.

5. Can an Islamic Trust be used for charitable purposes? Yes, indeed! In fact, using an Islamic Trust for charitable purposes is a common practice. It’s seen as a form of ongoing charity that continues to accumulate rewards for the benefactor even after their death.

6. Can non-Muslims be beneficiaries in my Islamic Will or Trust? Yes, non-Muslims can be beneficiaries in your Islamic Will or Trust. However, the portion allocated to non-Muslims should not exceed one-third of the total estate, as per Islamic law.


While the journey of understanding an Islamic Will and Trust can seem like a long haul, it needn’t be overwhelming. With the right guidance and a clear understanding of Islamic principles, the process becomes as easy as pie. And remember, estate planning isn’t just a mundane task; it’s about fulfilling our responsibilities, safeguarding our loved one’s future, and securing our place in eternal life.

At Islamic Wills Trust Services we have a team of experienced attorneys who can help you set up an Islamic living trust tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in protecting your assets for generations to come.

Schedule your free consultation in our offices in Maryland and Virginia or in your house or online. We’re also available to meet on weekends and after working hours. You may schedule your consultation by calling us at 855-559-4557 or by emailing us at Appointments are typically scheduled two weeks in advance.

Quran & Sunnah guidance on Islamic Inheritance