The amount a Muslim is allowed to bequeath

Q: A man has four daughters, a wife, and a sister, and he owns two buildings, with shops in the ground floor of one of them. He would like to make Waqfs (endowments) of the two buildings and the shops for his daughters, wife, and sister. He wants a portion of the income from the Waqf to be used to buy dates, coffee, rice, and meat every Thursday night during Ramadan for the people in the Masjid (mosque), and also two sacrificial animals that will be slaughtered on the Day of ‘Eid-ul-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice). He also wants one-third of his money to be used to build a Masjid. We would like to ask about the way to do this under the Shari‘ah (Islamic law).

A: The guidance of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is that a Muslim can bequeath a part of their property to charity, as confirmed in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Sa‘d ibn Abu Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I am a wealthy man and I only have a daughter to inherit from me. Should I bequeath two-thirds of my property to charity?’ He said, ‘No.’ So I said, ‘Should I bequeath half of my property to charity?’ He said, ‘No.’ So I said, ‘Should I bequeath one-third of my property to charity?’ He said, ‘(Bequeath) one-third, (Part No. 16; Page No. 297) and even one-third is a lot. It is better to leave your heirs well-off than to leave them poor, begging people.’” It is also related on the authority of Mu‘adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has charitably allowed you one-third of your wealth on your death (to give away in charity on your behalf) to increase your good deeds.” (Related by Al-Daraqutny and reported by Ahmad, Al-Bazzar, and others) These two Hadiths show the amount that is lawful for a Muslim to bequeath, and that one-third of the estate is the maximum. The Sunnah (the act following the example of the Prophet) is to bequeath one-third of your property to be given for good deeds and, if any of the heirs are in need, they can benefit from the income from the Waqf; and there is no sin in that. The rest of the property should be divided among the heirs according to the Shari‘ah. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.