Beliefs & Practices, Live like brothers Deal like strangers / Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Another situation which affects many people in our community, especially the middle class, is the acquisition of a home. In many instances the house is built or purchased jointly by several members of the family. If the father has commenced the building of a house, the sons also contribute from their personal incomes to the extent of their ability. However, in most of these instances these contributions are made without considering any of the resultant factors, and often without any proper records being kept. It is not determined whether the amount that the son has contributed is a (a) gift to the father or (b) a loan to him, or (c) is he becoming a proportionate shareholder in the home.

If he has given the money as a gift to the father, neither will he own any share in the house nor will he have the right to demand the repayment of his contributions. If it was a loan, the home will still belong solely to the father but the father will be indebted to him for the sum that he contributed. In the third case he will become a proportionate shareholder in the home. Thus as the value of the house increases, the value of his share will likewise increase. Hence each case has its own resultant effect which differs greatly from the others.

However, since these factors were not considered prior to the contributions being made, nor were proper records kept the matter results in serious problems. When the value of the house increases, it becomes a matter of severe contention. This situation becomes a means of serious dispute, especially at the time when the father passes away and his inheritance is now being distributed. The problem sometimes becomes impossible to solve and the entire family is adversely affected. (Like the acquisition of a house, perhaps a more common aspect in middle-class families is the purchasing of a car. The car is on the name of only one person, but all contribute towards its payment. Here again, no clarification takes place as to the nature of the contributions, which later results in problems. Thus here too the matter should be absolutely clarified)

However, if the golden teaching of our Deen was adhered to by clarifying all the matters right from the very inception and properly recording them, this chaos affecting the entire family would have been avoided.

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