Q: My elder brother passed away about eleven years ago. I washed his body and swore before witnesses to pay off anything he might owe anyone. After observing the Prayer upon him [namely the Janazah (Funeral) Prayer], I likewise made the same declaration before witnesses and again when I buried him. After the condolences ceremony, I found many people coming up to me requesting that I pay off my brother's debts. I calculated all the debts and paid them off (Part No. 11; Page No. 299) within a period of approximately fifteen days. The sum was more than I could have imagined and some benevolent people assisted me, praise be to Allah. Afterwards, I found out that he was further indebted with a sum of 126.000 to the Agricultural Bank. I requested that the bank defer payment for eight years or more, but to no avail. The loan was against the farm and well. His children grew up and obtained jobs. The eldest who got married, is in the police force
and the second is a nurse in the Armed Forces Hospital. I asked them to pay the bank, fearing for their father but they did not agree even though I asked the eldest in the presence of one of his kin and told him that the financial obligations upon me are his father's. For this reason, I ask Allah and then you for a Fatwa on what is the consequence of this with regard to the deceased. Is it possible to transfer the debt from the deceased to one of the heirs? Is there anything upon me with regard to the mentioned debt? May Allah reward you with the best.
The debt is upon the estate of the deceased. It must be paid off before dividing up the inheritance as it is still owed from the deceased. You must go to the Shar`y (Islamic legal) court to pay off this debt from the estate and take it from the heirs for this cause.May Allah grant us success. May Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions.