Kind treatment and nursing do not entail having a share in inheritance

Q: There is a widow who has only one relative. She asked this relative, who is related to her through the fourth or fifth grandfather, to live with him and he accepted. Some months later, he and his family began to mistreat her and threatened to kick her out. After becoming unable to tolerate such bad treatment, she resorted to the court (Part No. 16; Page No. 492) and suggested to the judge that she wanted to live with the family of Muhammad Khalufah. She wanted that person to take care of her and her rights and to be appointed as a legal trustee of her property. The judge accepted and issued an instrument of Wakalah (appointment of a legally accountable person to act on behalf of another for a specific permissible matter) for the said person. She lived with the family of Muhammad who treated her well and were generous to her. They gave her a piece of land where she built accommodations for herself. She is about eighty years old and receives financial aid from social security in addition to some other charitable sources. The question is: Is it permissible for the person who was very generous to her to inherit from her, as she so wishes?

A: If the case is as you have mentioned, the person who was your trustee and was very generous to you is Ajnaby (a man other than a husband or unmarriageable male relatives) and not a close relative. He will not be entitled to inherit from you, nor should you will that all your property goes to him after your death because he is not a blood relative or included in Ahl Al-Fara'id (those entitled to Qur'anic prescribed shares of inheritance). This is based on the report narrated by Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) from the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said, Give the Fara'id (the shares of inheritance prescribed by the Qur'an) to those who are entitled to them, and whatever is left is for the closest male relatives. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) This is the wording of the version narrated by Al-Bukhari. Inheritance is determined by three factors: blood relationship, marriage and Wala' (manumitter's right of inheritance from their freed bondsman). Accordingly, all that you will leave after your death will go to your blood relative with whom (Part No. 16; Page No. 493) you are related through the fourth or fifth grandfather, in default of other closer blood relatives. After his death, his children will be the heirs. When there are neither blood relatives nor kinsmen, the property goes to Bayt-ul-Mal (Muslim treasury). Yet, the lawful option available for you is to make a bequest that this generous person, who donated the land where you built your house and took care of you, receives one-third of your property. He will be rewarded by Allah for whatever good he did towards you. You should be aware that he is Ajnaby and you are not allowed to uncover your face or body before him or be in Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex) with him. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!