Among the pagan Arabs before Islam, inheritance rights were confined exclusively to the male relatives. The Islam abolished all these unjust customs and gave all the female relatives inheritance shares: Man and woman have been given the right to inherit from the parents and the near relatives by Qur’an: “Men shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and women shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave...” (Qur’an;4:7). A woman’s right to inherit is as much protected by law as that of a man. However, it must be remembered that whereas the right to inherit of both man and woman is equal, their shares in the inheritance may differ. In certain cases, the share of woman in inheritance is equal to the man, according to Qur’an: “For parents a sixth share of the inheritance to each if the deceased left children”(Qur’an;4:11), however in certain cases the woman gets half of what a man in her position would get. The cause of this variation is the financial responsibilities and liabilities with which man has been burdened, not woman. As compared to Muslim man, Muslim woman is financially secure and provided for as a wife, mother, daughter or sister by her husband, son, father and brother respectively. "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard"(Qur’an;4:34). If a woman has no male relations, then it is the responsibility of the state to maintain her. Whereas, a man, except in one or two cases, is supposed to not only look after his family and other needy relations, but also to make financial contributions to good causes in society. Thus, a larger share in the inheritance does not depict the supremacy of man over woman, but it is rather a concession granted to him in lieu of his financial and other responsibilities. Regrettably it is observed that in most of Muslims communities, while men happily get the more share than the women in inheritance but mostly they do not meet this obligation, which they owe to the entitled women. Such men would be answerable to Allah for this sin.
To summarize the share of women in inheritance is not fixed; there are three types of shares for a woman's inheritance in Islam in different situations, as follows:
• A woman may have an equal share as that of the man.
• A woman will have an equal share to that of the man, or a little less.
• A woman will have half the share of a man.
Gustave Le Bon says in his book Arab Civilization: "The principles of inheritance which have been determined in the Qur'an have a great deal of justice and fairness. The person who reads the Qur'an can perceive these concepts of justice and fairness in terms of inheritance through the verses I quoted. I should also point out the great level of efficiency in terms of general laws and rules derived from these verses. I have compared British, French and Islamic Laws of inheritance and found that Islam grants the wives the right of inheritance, which our laws are lacking while Westerners consider them to be ill-treated by the Muslim men."
- Honorable Status of Women in Islam
- Women Modesty & Piety in Islam
- Marriage: Right of Choice, Divorce & Dower
- Women's Inheritance
- Polygene, Polygamy
- Woman granted right of Divorce , Khula
- Mother, Children & Family
- Women's right to Entrepreneurship in Islam
- Evidence by Women
- Women and Paradise
- Women in the Western Culture
- Prominent Muslim Women
- Hijab - Women may not cover Face
- Women & History
- E Book Women
WOMEN IN ISLAM
Subjugated or Emancipated?
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