yeah, so i did a little venting today. i won't link to it, since it's hardly my finest moment, but i do believe it needed to be said. i feel a little like i did back in 2005, when i was publicly debating winston peters on tv & radio - it had to be done, but i felt sick in my stomach while doing it. it's not that i'm feeling sick right now, but not particularly happy either.
on to more coherent matters, i'm in the process of doing my will. yes, i know it's appalling that i haven't done so yet, but since i'm comfortable with the default place my money would go if died right now, i haven't made it as much of a priority as i could have.
under islamic law, a person can do what they like with 1/3 of their estate, but the distribution of the remaning 2/3 is tightly prescribed. which means that wills are much less likely to be contested (at least if people follow the rules). i love the fact that a persons estate is widely distributed across surviving family members, and that there is no scope to build empires by cheating some of your children out of their inheritance.
even though it is so prescriptive, there's a lot to think about: guardianship of children, what to do with the 1/3 i have discretion over, who the executors will be, whether i've considered all eventualities (& there are so many!). still, as my lawyer says, a will is a living document & i've got to make sure that i review it regularly - i'm thinking every 5 years.
i also want to keep it pretty simple. i've seen examples that are so prescriptive, and detail, for example, all the funeral rites. i think that makes it more difficult for the people you leave behind, so i'm going to leave all that out & ask that the nearest muslim organisation to the place where i die be asked to ensure that the proper rites are followed.
the thing about muslim burials is that a person is supposed to be buried at the place they die & not transported back to their place of residence or place of birth. there should be no headstones or other permanent markings on the grave, so the grave doesn't become a shrine. your memory lives on in the minds of people you have touched and through the contributions you have made to society. if you haven't done much of either, then i guess you'll be quickly forgotten.
the deceased should be buried as soon as practically possible - the same day if it can be managed - so there is no waiting for relatives or friends to get to the funeral. this is because prayers for your loved departed ones can be made at any time & any place, and be equally valid.
if there's one thing the writing of a will does, it's that it makes you confront your mortality. and given what i've written above, for many muslims it also causes us to think about our legacy - not in terms of the wealth we've amassed but more in terms of the intangibles. in other words, not about what we have amassed but more about what we've given. very often it makes us aware of just how much we have fallen short.