Maliks Muwatta Book 037, Hadith Number 004A.

Section : Limiting the Bequest to One-Third of the Estate.

Malik related to me from Ibn Shihab from Amir ibn Sad ibn Abi Waqqas that his father said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to me to treat me for a pain which became hard to bear in the year of the farewell hajj. I said, 'Messenger of Allah, you can see how far the pain has reached me. I have property and only my daughter inherits from me. Shall I give two thirds of my property as sadaqa?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'No.' I said, 'Half?' He said, 'No.' Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'A third, and a third is a lot. Leaving your heirs rich is better than leaving them poor to beg from people. You never spend anything on maintenance desiring the Face of Allah by it, but that you are rewarded for it, even what you appoint for your wife.' Sad said, 'Messenger of Allah, will I be left here in Makka after my companions have departed for Madina?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'If you are left behind, and do sound deeds you will increase your degree and elevation by them. Perhaps you will be left behind so that some people may benefit by you and others may be harmed by you. O Allah! complete their hijra for my companions, and do not turn them back on their heels. The unfortunate one is Said ibn Khawla.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was distressed on his account for he had died at Makka."

Yahya said that he heard Malik speak about a man who willed a third of his property to a man and said as well, "My slave will serve so-and-so (another man) for as long as he lives, then he is free," then that was looked into, and the slave was found to be a third of the property of the deceased. Malik said, "The service of the slave is evaluated. Then the two of them divide it between them. The one who was willed a third takes his third, as a share, and the one who was willed the service of the slave takes what was evaluated for him of the slave's service. Each of them takes, from the service of the slave or from his wage if he has a wage, according to his share. If the one who was given the service of the slave for as long as he lived dies, then the slave is freed."

Yahya said that he heard Malik speak about someone who willed his third and said "So-and-so has such-and-such, and so-and-so has such-and-such," naming some of his property, and his heirs protested that it was more than a third." Malik said, "The heirs then have an option between giving the beneficiaries their full bequests and taking the rest of the property of the deceased, or between dividing among the beneficiaries the third of the property of the deceased and surrendering to them their third. If they wish, their rights in it reach as far as they reach."

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