Is a Muslim woman's inheritance less than man's inheritance?

31 Aug

1. In the pre-Islamic era, women were deprived of the right of inheritance. However, with the advent of Islam, they were granted a definite share of the inherited estate, despite the opposition voiced by many Arabs at the time, who considered that the right to inheritance was a privilege for men since they defended the tribe and fought its enemies. In some cases in Islam the male heir inherits double the inheritance of the female: "God (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male a portion equal to that of two females". [4/11] A hasty opinion on this matter may consider that such a ruling is unjust. However, the faith of Islam is completely innocent in this case, since the difference in the inheritance of males and females has nothing to do with favoring males and is based upon the responsibilities which are obligatory for men and not for women.
2. According to Islamic Law it is a man’s religious duty to maintain and provide for his wife, children and other members of his family, which might include his father, mother, and brothers and sisters if they are not able to support themselves. His wife, on the other hand is not charged with any financial responsibilities, and she is not even financially responsible for herself, however wealthy she may be, and her husband is responsible for her maintenance. If we understand this, we will realize that when she inherits half of any inheritance, her financial position is still superior to a man’s financial position.
3. In this connection it is important to emphasize that there is absolutely no general rule in Islam that women should inherit only half of what men inherit. Concerning this question of inheritance there is in the Qur’an only one rule concerning what children inherit: “God (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male a portion equal to that of two females…”. (Sure 4/11) But in the whole text of Quran and Sunnah there are only four cases in which the man inherits double, but there are more than 30 cases in which the woman either inherits the same as the man or inherits even more or inherits while the man does not inherit anything. Many Egyptian Christians go to the Egyptian Islamic centre for legal opinions in order to follow the Islamic system of inheritance which settles all disputes between the heirs.

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