Obligation of returning the amount lent by the wife to the husband and permissibility of taking the money if it was a grant
I had a wife who helped me from her own money at a time of need,
meaning, she gave me 30 Saudi silver Riyals at a time when silver coins were still in use. However, a dispute arose between me and her family which caused me to divorce her having given birth to our daughter. After her `Iddah (woman's prescribed waiting period after divorce or widowhood), she married another person (Part No. 16; Page No. 257) and gave birth to his son after which she died. Is the sum of money she gave me out of her free will, that she did not demand from me before her death, considered a debt? Am I liable to give it to her heirs? In fact, I think that she waived it before her death. I considered it a gift and help as she gave me no sign of it being a debt. However, her heirs are a son, a daughter and a mother. Please, give us a fatwa. May Allah reward you!
If your wife gave you the money to help you, you are not liable. If she gave it to you as a debt, you would have to repay it to her heirs as it is one of your liabilities to her which is transferred to her heirs after her death. However, it will be more cautious to repay the money to her heirs in case you doubt whether it was given as a gift or a loan. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Leave what causes you doubt and turn to what does not cause you doubt.
He (peace be upon him) also said:
So he who guards himself against doubtful things keeps his religion and honor blameless...
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.