What is Hibah?

Hibah, which can be simply translated as ‘gift’ allows a Muslim to bestow something they own or a sum of money upon another person or organisation, such as a charity. This is achieved by transferring the legal title and possession of the gift directly to the recipient, also referred to as the ‘donee.’

Alternatively, a gift can be made by the donor through a “Deed of Gift,” where they declare the gift to the donee. However, in this case, the legal title and possession of the gift may not be immediately transferred to the donee.

What assets can you give or not give via Hibah?

Unless Muslim law there is no real distinction between real property (such as a house) and personal property (such as a watch). This means that any type of asset can be gifted through a Hibah.

In the context of Singapore, the proper disposal of property is governed by other general laws and as such there may be certain restrictions imposed with it comes to disposing of a property through Hibah. As an example, the disposal of an HDB requires consent from HDB.

What rules apply to Hibah?

The follow rules should be considered in regards to Hibah:

  1. The donor must have legal title to the gift they are planning to give to the donee, and must have the legal capacity to give it away.
  2. A minor or someone lacking mental capacity cannot make a Hibah. Likewise anyone under undue pressure or forced into it cannot make a Hibah.
  3. The donor should clearly express in the Hibah the subject of the gift and the terms [if applicable] on which it is given to the donee. It should also be stated that the gift is made without any expectation from the donee [such as a reward, payment].
  4. The Hibah may be revoked at any time providing that the item has not been handed over to the intended donee.
  5. For the Hibah to be revoked the donor must carry out one of the following tasks as a Kaffarah:
    1. Provide food to 10 poor people – food that the individuals would normally consume.
    2. Give clothing to 10 poor people.
    3. Perform a fast lasting 3 days.

Hibah compared to Faraid

The term Faraid refers to Muslim inheritance and effectively occurs after the individual has passed away. Hibah relates to the process of gifting another person and takes place during their lifetime. Assets which have been gifted through Hibah fall outside the scope of Faraid.

Hibah compared to Wasiat

The term Wasiat refers to a Muslim Will. In the case of Wasiat, it is not permitted for a Muslim to give away any of their assets to comsone who is already their heir under Faraid. A Muslim is also not permitted to give away more than one third of their assets in a Wasiat, but these restrictions do not apply to a Hibah.

A Hibah Ruqba

Hibah Ruqba is a type of conditional gift. The term Ruqba in Arabic means waiting for the other to die.

As an example, in the case of a property Hibah Ruqba would be saying “if you die before me, the property becomes mine, but if I die before you, the property will become yours.” The consequence of this is that both you and the recipient will have a shared ownership over the Hibah [the gift] until one of you basically outlives the other.

It is always advisable to speak to a lawyer with knowledge of Syariah Law and general laws in Singapore when considering Hibah and other matters relating to Muslim Inheritance.

This content was written and reviewed by a lawyer but it does not constitute legal advice. We always recommend engaging a lawyer before taking any legal action.