A Wasiat on the other hand operates similarly to a Will; for example the elements of a testator and assets are apparent in both Will and Wasiat; but the Wasiat has features that are exclusively for those practising the Muslim faith; i.e. Islam. As one of the definition in the Muslim Wills Enactment in the State of Selangor 1999 “a person takes an oath during his life towards his property or benefit to complete something for the purposes of a welfare or any means which is permissible in accordance to Syarak Law, after his death.”
In Islam, Muslims are encouraged to prepare a Wasiat to ensure that there is an appointment of a Wasi (executor/trustee), who will be the person who is responsible to distribute the assets of the Testator to the Waris (beneficiaries). The Quran mentions in Surah An-Nisa’, the portions of a testator’s assets to the beneficiaries. These beneficiaries mentioned in the Quran are commonly called the Quranic Heirs. The portions and Quranic Heirs mentioned are also compiled to be known as a system – Faraid.
So when we speak of inheritance and the proportioning of assets for Muslims, the Faraid system of distribution is to be followed; which would be completed by a Wasi. Even though a Muslim’s assets will be distributed according to Faraid, by having a surat Wasiat, one can expedite the legal process for their beneficiaries to liquidate the assets. This is because the appointment of a Wasi would ensure that the beneficiaries from the Faraid distribution and the Wasiat portion; be taken care of in a timely manner. Without a Wasiat, the possibility of the portions for the Quranic Heirs being distributed becomes stagnant or very slow.
Having said that, Faraid exists in harmony with Wasiat. A testator can also make provisions to benefit their loved ones who do not fall within the category of Quranic Heirs and/or beneficiaries in Islam, for example, adopted children, non-Muslim parents or any charitable body. The portions for those beneficiaries named in a Wasiat would only be of one-third (⅓) of the testator’s assets.