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Paying off Debts of Deceased Brother


My brother passed away in November 2013 following cancer treatment.

By one marriage, he had a daughter(+30 yrs old) but divorced from the mother (Shia). We are in touch with the daughter.

His second wife was English, also divorced and they had a son. We have lost contact with this family. The third wife was American and he had a daughter 24 years and a son 18 years, but, I believe, not practicing Muslims. I visited them in Buffalo, U.S.A. in July 2012 when I went to fetch my brother, following his surgery. There is minimal contact.

My brother left behind debts, two of which we are certain of; (i) Islamic Humanitarian Services, Canada, balance $7,000.00 (ii) a Doctor (a Shia brother) also in Canada, is owed $10,000.00
(iii) Not yet proved, are two other debts to Shia brothers $30,000.00 and $ 25,000.00. He also had business debts and a house mortgage. We believe the house has been repossessed and the Wife has relocated.

I am his surviving brother and I have two sisters (married) and an aging mother. From the point of view of Sharia, given my deceased brother’s family back ground, please advise if the known debts are our family’s responsibility.


Primarily, the debt has to be paid from the money he has left in inheritance. The first hand inheritance (parents and children along with wife) have to pay the debt before calculating the inheritance.

And if he has not left anything in inheritance, it is not obligatory on others to pay on behalf of the deceased although it is a recommended act.

Kumail Rajani