Q: Two years ago, my wife’s maternal grandfather’s wife died. As she had no children, half of her estate went to her husband (my wife’s grandfather) and the other half to her brothers and sisters. When my wife and her aunt were collecting her possessions together, before they were to be divided, my wife’s aunt took some items, including clothes, small items of furniture: some cups and plates, two gold bracelets, and a gold ring. She tried to convince my wife to take something, but she refused as she believed this was Haram (prohibited).However, the aunt forced my wife to take eleven gold bracelets and 26 Egyptian Pounds. When my wife resisted, the aunt said, "This is the property of my father and mother, who died before my stepmother." When I found out about this, I did not spend the money or sell the gold; instead I asked a jeweler to value the bracelets. They were valued at 120 Pounds, and I still have them now. Please advise me whether what we did was Halal (lawful) or not as my wife’s mother (Part No. 16; Page No. 443) is entitled to inherit from my wife’s grandfather wealth. She looks after him now, as he is still alive, and I have been taking care of his business for free.If we are not entitled to this money, how can
of it? Should we give half of it to the grandfather and donate the other half to building a Masjid (mosque) or to the poor on behalf of the deceased? I have asked some scholars about this, and they replied that the deceased’s share should go to her heirs. How can I deliver this property to the heirs, as there are many and I cannot deliver it to them? Please advise me, may Allah bless you and benefit the Muslims with your knowledge.
If the reality is as you have mentioned, it is obligatory that you should hand back to the heirs of the deceased whatever your wife and her aunt took, as far as it lies in your power. If the heirs let you keep it, provided they are legally competent to dispose of their property, you can possess it and it will be Halal for you to do with it as you wish. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.