9 Main Cases when the Gifts as Irrevocable under Muslim Law

(1) A gift by husband to wife or by wife to husband:

I.e. where the donor and the donee are spouses.

Shia Law:

Under the Shia law, a gift by husband to wife or vice-versa is revocable even after the delivery of possession.

(2) Where donor and the donee are within the prohibited relationship:

Where the donor and the donee are so related to each other that their marriage is void on the ground of consanguinity, affinity or fosterage, they are within prohibited relationship. In such a case, gift by one to another is irrevocable. For example, gift by a brother in favour of his sister is irrevocable.

Shia Law:

Under the Shia law, if donor and donee are related through blood, though not within the prohibited relationship, the gift is irrevocable.

(3) Where the donor or donee is dead:

After the death of the donor or donee, a gift becomes irrevocable. This is obvious, because gift begins with a declaration (offer) and the acceptance, and the parties to the contract of gift are the donor and the donee.

If, after the completion of a gift a court attempts to invalidate it, then decree would have to be passed against the heirs of the donee. This is not possible because heirs of the donee or donor were not party to the transaction of the gifts.

(4) Where the donee has transferred the property to another person:

After completion of the gift the donee becomes an absolute owner of the gifted property. As such, the donee may transfer that property to another person. If a gift is revoked when the donee has already transferred the property to a third person, then interest of that third person would be affected and he would be put to loss without any fault of his own.

(5) Where the Property is Lost or has been Destroyed:

After revocation of a gift, the property should revert back to the donor but if it is lost or destroyed there would remain nothing to be given back to the donor. Therefore, where the gifted property is lost or is otherwise not available, the revocation would be meaningless.

(6) Where the Value of the Property Increases Subsequently:

The value of the property may increase by accretions or, by accidental discovery of gold or coal mine or due to some other reason. After completion of a gift, if the value of the property is increased, it is natural that the donor would be interested in the revocation of gift. Muslim law negatives the possibility of revocation of gift by donor due to such temptation.

(7) Where the Property given is changed beyond Identification:

Where the shape, size and identity of the property has been changed and it is not possible to recognise that it is the same property which was the subject matter of gift, the gift becomes irrevocable. For example, if a piece of gold or bag of wheat is given in gift and the donee has converted it into ornaments and flour respectively, the original subject-matter cannot be identified. In such a circumstance, the gift is irrevocable because after cancellation of the gift, the same property cannot be given back to the donor.

(8) Where the Gift has been Made to Secure Religious or Spiritual Benefits:

Where a gift is made not out of natural love and affection, but with religious motives, its revocation may amount breach of a religious promise which is not permissible. A gift for religious or spiritual purposes is called Sadqa which is irrevocable.

(9) When a gift is in the Form of Hiba-bil-iwaz:

That is to say, where the donor has accepted something as consideration of the gift, the transfer becomes irrevocable. As is discussed in the following lines, Hiba-bil-iwaz is not a gift at all; it is treated either as a sale or an exchange, therefore, it is irrevocable.

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