Number of witnesses required for will
Fatwa No: 360991

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Does a will require witnesses? Male or female? How many witnesses are needed?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

According to the view of many scholars of Fiqh, it is a condition for the validity of the will that the person who makes the will appoints witnesses for it. If he does not appoint witnesses for it, then it is not effective.

The Maaliki book of Fiqh Kifaayat At-Taalib Ar-Rabbaani reads, “...and he appoints witnesses for it [the will], because if he does not appoint any witnesses, then it is void…

Some scholars of Fiqh are of the view that if it is known that the handwriting in the will is that of the person who made it, then it is effective even if he did not have witnesses for it. This is the view of the Hanbali School.

The Hanbali book of Fiqh Kash-shaaf Al-Qinaa’ reads, “If there is a will of the deceased with his handwriting that is confirmed to be his own handwriting, either by the confirmation of his heirs or evidence that proves that it is his handwriting, then the will is valid and is acted upon. The author of Al-Ikhtiyaaraat said, ‘The will is implemented if proved authentic by the known handwriting (of the deceased)…’

The number of witnesses for the will to be confirmed is either two (two men) or three (one man and two women) or one witness and an oath.

Nayl Al-Ma’aarib reads:

Regarding money and what is meant as money, such as a loan, a mortgage, and a will... it is enough to have two men as witnesses, or one man and two women, because Allah says (what means): {And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses…} [Quran 2:282]; or a man [as witness] who makes the oath [that he is a witness and that what he says is the truth] as Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) judged [in a case] with an oath and one witness.” [Ahmad and Ibn Maajah]

Allah knows best.

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