MS Omar Attorney

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MS Omar & Associates is a niche market law firm based in Durban which was established in July 1983 and specializes in all aspects of Corporate and Commercial law, Family Law, Trusts Law, Estate Planning, Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Labour Law, Conveyancing and Shariah law including Islamic Finance.


Don’t hesitate to contact M.S Omar & Associates regarding any questions you have or for further information. You can reach us online, or by calling (031) 306 3282



On Lifetime Donations by Parents to Children: Summary of Shariah Law Perspectives

    1.    Is it mandatory to make lifetime donations to one’s children in equal shares under all circumstances, in the context of the well known, Prophetic statement, “ Fear Allah, and do justice ( by exercising equality) between your children.” ? فاتقوا الله واعدلوا بين اولادكم ) بخارى

2.    The answer is that viewed in proper context, the majority of the jurists are of the opinion that equality in making donations to children is recommended, but not obligatory, subject to the conditions below. ذهب الجمهور الى ان التسوية بين الاولاد في العطايا مستحبة : اعلاء السنن

 3.    If the particular donation in question is made by the parent to only one child for a valid reason, such as genuine need, ( and the donation is not intended to prejudice the remaining children), such a donation is valid. A valid reason ( for preference) should be evaluated in the circumstances of each individual case, in the light of all relevant objective factors. التفضيل حرام و هي ان تكون الهبة بقصد التفضيل من غير داعية مجوزة لذللك او بقصد الاضرار الاخرين :  تكملة فتح الملهم : ملخصا

 4.    On the other hand, a donation may be made by a parent in favor of one child, to the exclusion of other children, without valid reason, as a naked preference,  and thereby constituting an arbitrary transfer of property ( to the obvious detriment of the remaining children). Such a donation is clearly impermissible. و جملة ذالك انه يجب على الانسان التسوية بين اولاده في العطية اذا لم يختص احدهم بمعنى يبيح التفضيل : المغني لابن قدامة : ٤٤٥٩

5.    The famous case of of the companion Bashir Ibn Nauman (ra) is a case in point: he donated his slave  to his one son, ( Nauman) , to the exclusion of his several remaining children. He sought the approval of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم to the donation. The Prophet ( saw )replied: “ Have you given each of your children the same as this? He  replied,” No” ; the Prophet(saw)  responded: “ Then, revoke the donation ( by taking the slave back.”): see :Al - Muwatta:1473 ( Bashir (ra) revoked the donation). اكل ولدك نحلته مثل هذا ؟ فقال : لا : فقال رسول الله : فارتجعه

 6.    The  Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم refused to sanction and witness this donation ( of Bashir) because the preference(in this case)  in favor of one child was purely arbitrary, effected without any valid reason and accordingly prejudicial to the remaining children; hence , according to one narration , the Prophet (saw )refused to be a witness to an “ injustice “; لا تشهدنى على جور ; in another narration, the Prophet ( saw) responded to the effect that , “ take as a witness  to this donation, another person ( and not me). “  If the donation in question was absolutely prohibited,  ( and not simply reprehensible) , the Prophet ( saw)  would not have advised Bashir to take another person as a  witness thereto. فاشهد على هذا غيري

7.    In a nutshell, in the absence of a valid reason and legitimate purpose,  the jurists are unanimous that lifetime donations by parents to children must be equal ; ( “ Be equal amongst your children in respect of gifts; If I were to make a preference in the matter of gifts, I would have preferred women over men” :Hadith ).  سووا بين اولادكم في العطية و لو كنت موءثرا لاثرت النساء على الرجال

8.    The overwhelming majority of jurists state that the lifetime donation  must be effected in equal shares as between male and female. The rules of inheritance only apply after death.

9.    To the extent that a parent wishes to accelerate the division of his or her estate, to avoid a future dispute after death, by donating in his or her lifetime, according to the shares of inheritance: that is, a  male child takes double that of the female, such is permissible . و المقصود الاستعجال لما يكون بعد الموت و حينئذ ينبغي ان يكون على حسب الميراث: المغني : ملخصًا مع تكملة فتح الملهم

And Allah Knows Best
M S Omar
17 October 2021

Our Testimonials

I personally know the honourable Shaykh Mahomed Shoaib Omar for over thirty years. I found him to be an ardent seeker of knowledge, quick of mind &  constantly devoted to the study of the books of fiqh &  has written himself a number of papers. He has been amongst the foremost participants in drafting the Muslim Personal Law for S.Africa, so that it may be enforced there; and the majority of local Ulama have endorsed this.

~ Mufti Taqi Uthmani

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Attorneys and Conveyancers
Suite 1603, 16th Floor
Nedbank House
30 Ingcuce Street
(formerly Albert Street)
Durban, South Africa

Tel (031) 306 3282