Q: My father and his siblings were 4 brothers and 1 sister. Due to my grandfather's death at an early age when my father was quite young and the business was looked after by my father's eldest brother. Our building was also at that time being constructed which was also looked after by the eldest brother and even by my father. But soon after the marriage of my father's eldest brother he claimed everything because he took care of the business which was a leather factory; it all belonged to him and so no one else had the right over it. And now after his death this factory is taken over by his wife and the rest of the family is deprived of its income. His wife even claims her rights in other properties but does not give anybody from the family even a penny from the factory. This has become the major cause of fighting in the family and the family ties have now broken almost completely. There are frequent fights in the family which is very heart breaking. The daughters of this woman have abused my mother very badly which has broken my heart and now I don't even feel like talking to them. And if we even try to talk to them and keep a good relation with them they think we have some hidden intentions behind it. So I would like to ask: don't we have any right over the factory and its been nearly 25 years since it all started? And secondly because of of them abusing my mother so badly if I don't talk to them am I committing a sin? Please advice.
A: Your question refers. We take it in good faith that your explanation of the family situation is accurate and correct then. Our answer is based on the fact that you provided us with true information about your grandfather's inheritance, since there is no way that we can obtain information from the other parties on this matter. We only have your account of the situation.
Based on this, we submit that the factory and all property left behind by your grandfather had to be inherited by your father and his siblings. Your grandfather's estate had to be divided into 9 equal shares. Each of his sons would receive 2 shares and the daughter 1 share. This applies to all property, movable and fixed. As for the running business, your uncle who was in charge of the business had to pay out all heirs their shares in the business at the time of your grandfather's death. These shares apply to the property, fixtures, fittings, stock, and any cash money either in the business or in the bank. Thereafter he could continue running and controlling the business for his own personal gain. He had no right to assume control of the factory and deprive others of their rightful shares.
If he did this as you say, then he has committed a major haraam act and he currently is accumulating haraam income. Any profit he makes from that business is haraam for him to use. Those profits must be given away in charity. Allah knows best
What has further exacerbated the situation is that you people are now not on talking terms. We advise that you keep minimum contact with them in spite of what they have done; don't break off ties completely. From your side you need to fulfill the law of Allah Ta'ala, which is to maintain ties as long as you can. You don't need to be close to them, but neither break away entirely.
For example, greet them on Eid day or other important occasions.
Occasionally send them some gifts or food, etc.
If you have Ulema in the town where you live then ask them to speak to your uncle about the matter or to write to him on this subject. If this doesn't happen, or your uncle still refuses to release the shares, then rest your case with Allah Ta'ala. Allah reward you for your sabr and forbearance, and compensate your family for any losses incurred -- aameen
Mufti Siraj Desai