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                              The Argument of Woman's Inheritance In Islam

 

The problem of inheritance between what is known and what is unknown and hidden :

The tensions in the case of equality between man and woman in inheritance have not been a recent matter on the Islamic and Arabic scene since last decade. Position of woman in the past, present and future affects all society negatively and positively, then, can we assign the woman issue, and the injustice which she has suffered for ages to the Islamic legislation(Sharia)? Do we create a social illusion that decreases all about inheritance  in the Islamic rule of the male has double the share of the female making  it a   powerful basis regardless the other aspects ? Do we constrict the huge woman issue into only the side of woman rights and forgetting her duties ? Will it  be a future that offers a balance for the woman interest ? Or do we push the Islamic legislation to crossroads in which one way leads to the assiduity and the other to go away from the Islamic legislation? All the questions and others will pose themselves in this important subject.


Which worries me as a woman and a lot of women too. Many unfair accusations  are addressed to the position of women in Islam about the variation of portions in inheritance, but indictors lack determination in searching in the Islamic Jurisprudence laboratories, and also lack clear understanding. They do not clarify  precisely or examine accurately the reading of the roots and the law of inheritance as the law of Islamic legislation classifies them, then indicators were surprised to find that more than  thirty cases  woman inherits the same portion of what male inherits or more than him, or female inherits and the male does not . Away from an affective sympathy, Here it's clear to rightful researcher who is careful in understanding the purposes of the  hierarchy  of the inheritance portion distribution to realize that there are only four cases in which female may have the half portion of what the male inherits, and double these cases, female inherits the same of what the male inherits . Whereas , there are ten cases or more female inherits more than the male, and there are cases only female can  inherit and  the male can not. Namely there are more than thirty cases, female inherits the same of what male inherits or more, or female may only inherit and male may not . In return of this , there are four cases female inherits half the portion of what male has .

 Islam has given women rights which had been deprived of in the time of ignorance . Whenever she followed man in everything and she was deprived of her rights and willing, she was devised like luggage and moved between inheritors. So the philosophy of Islamic inheritance is ruled by rules and standards that should not be ignored in this subject. This subject is transformed to be societal argument to claim justice and equal rights.


The searcher who is not aware deeply of distributing the shares of inheritance in Islam stands before a rule or a case , and forms wrongly some opinions that are causing suspicions in the society .He neglects that it is just a case that has special position .His opinions may lead to misunderstanding to the aims of the Islamic legislation I have already clarified , in my book entitled The Muslim Woman between Cementation and the Future of Development, the points which deform the true understanding of the inheritance system in Islam. then there are many levels defining the share of man and woman which begin with:

1ـ the degree of kinship  between the heirs and the inherited .The closer to the inherited gets larger portion , regardless to the heir's sex . Hence the inherited's daughter inherits  more than his mother, though both of them is female the daughter inherits from her brother more than her father even if she is infant , or even if the source of the dead son's fortune is his father . the daughter gets a half of the fortune. The son also inherits more than his father , though both of them is male.

2ـ  Bearing the financial burden and expenditure:The Islamic legislation imposes them on the man for woman .This is the only standard which creates discrimination between man and woman as men bear more financial burdens than woman. That matter does not cause any injustice to woman but it increases the responsibility of man and decreases it for woman .Searching in the case of woman's share in inheritance requires deliberate understanding to the Islam's science of inheritance .


We will find that distributing of the fortune between man and woman does not include one stable state but it differs in shares from a state to another .So , there is a case in which male inherits the double portion of what female inherits , and there are cases female inherits the same of what male inherits , and there are cases female inherits the double share of what the male inherits , and there are cases female inherits and the male does not . so here I will illustrate some of the previous cases :

1- cases in which male inherits the double portion of what female inherits : there is one case in which male inherits the double portion of what female inherits and as it is clarified when the inherited died and left children (males and females)then male inherits the double of what female inherits, as Allah the Great says "Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one's estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one's parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children - you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise." (Qur'an 4:11)

2- cases in which female inherits the same of what male inherits  .
There are cases female and male are equal in portion of inheritance ,and the strange thing is , there are some people accuse Islam for its injustice concerning the portion of women in inheritance . Here , this case , female and male are  equal in portion of the inheritance , at the same Ayah , Allah the Great says "Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one's estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one's parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children - you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise."(Qur'an 4:11)

And this is one of the cases in which male and female are equal in portion of the inheritance, if one died and left father and mother(his parents )then the father and the mother have equal portions  in the inheritance, though they are male and female,and have the same kinship to the inherited , the second case in which male and female are equal in portion of the inheritance ;if one died and left no children or parents and left brothers and sisters (male and female )are equal in portion of the inheritance. As Allah the Great says says "And for you is half of what your wives leave if they have no child. But if they have a child, for you is one fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they [may have] made or debt. And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you [may have] made or debt. And if a man or woman leaves neither ascendants nor descendants but has a brother or a sister, then for each one of them is a sixth. But if they are more than two, they share a third, after any bequest which was made or debt, as long as there is no detriment [caused]. [This is] an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing and Forbearing."(Qur'an 4:12)

3- cases in which female inherits more than male , for example if female died and left a husband , parents and two daughters, the sharing of the inheritance  will be as follows : for the husband (male) the  quarter, for the inherited 's father (male)the one-sixth  , for the inherited 's mother (female) two-thirds and for the two daughters the two -thirds , so the share of each daughter is more than the share of the father (who is male )and more than the share of the grandfather (who is male)  and if there is one daughter instead of two daughters she will inherit  the half , certainly she inherits the double share of the father's portion (who is male ) and more than the grandfather's portion.

 4- Cases in which female inherits and the male does not  . male and female here have the same kinship to the inherited , and  there is the  father's grandmother and the mother's grandfather and there are other heirs too , then ,here the father's grandmother inherits (who is female )  and the mother's grandfather(who is male)does not inherit. consequently, these stages put us in front of deliberate and well-balanced reading of the concept of the inheritance in Islam , and make us know in case we were unaware of the requirements of our Islamic law's judgments .

The current  societal argument  requires from us to give some examples to the reader and be aware of them ,then seeks to a decision and repels [evil] with one which is better , and gets to a convincing and cognitive proof without any conflict in opinions .  As a woman  I always wonder about asking this right of equality , many embarrassing questions were posed at me at international forums concerning the "poor" position of woman in inheritance in Islam . then I found myself searching in this subject .The mistake is not in posing these questions but rather in the inability to answer them efficiently. When I have acquainted with the science of inheritance , I have found standards and rules that are ignored concerning the different shares inheritance between male and female , as in the following examples :


First : if the inherited has only a mother , brothers , grandfather , father's brothers and mother's brothers , only the mother , who is a female , preempts all the inheritance , And the same thing if the inherited has a daughter , brothers , father's brothers and grandfathers , all the inheritance is only to the daughter ( or daughters.

Second : if the inherited has a sister of the same parents and consanguine brothers all the inheritance will be the right of the daughter who is of the same parents.

Third : if the inherited has a husband and a daughter , the husband takes the one ـ fourth and if the inherited has a husband and a sister , each of them takes a half of the inheritance.

Fourth : if the inherited has  parents and two sisters .The parents take oneـsixth each, and twoـthirds for the two sisters. This means that the father equals with the mother in the share , and takes fewer portion than each sister , as each sister takes oneـthird , which is a double to her father's share.

Fifth : if the inherited has a father's sister or a mother's brother , and has no one else , the father's sister takes twoـthirds and oneـthird for the mother's brother . This means  the female's share receives twice as much as the male's . thus , if the inherited has a father's brother who has a daughter , and has a mother's brother who has a son ( or sons ) , and there are no more heirs , then , that daughter receives twoـthirds , even if the mother's brother has more than one son .Those sons share oneـthird together. Hence in this case the female's share exceeds clearly male share .


Consequently we conclude that the percentage of the cases in which female inherits the  half portion of what male inherits is %13, 33and the rest is %86, 67,or cases in which female inherits the same share of what the male inherits or more .
In addition to  this , mostly male's share is agnate ., waiting that every heir inherits their share . the female is mostly more worthy to take her share . These cases for just illustrating  , to explain the variation of portion of the inheritance in Islam. Then the actual deadlock here is not the prejudice against women in Islam , but it  is an approach deadlock in explaining and understanding origin texts on one hand , and the bent of partial dealing with the degrees of variation of portions related to the other cases on the other hand , with the absence of the most important aspect of the legislation purposes which is dropping the man's  responsibility  of expenditure  to preserve  the continuousness of respecting the position of woman and guarantee her lasting and legislated right in support on the long term , even she is equal to the man in finance capacity ,even in disposal of sale , resignation , choice , promotion  , spending , preemption , hiring out ,mortgaging , distribution , confirmation , collateral and conciliation   and a lot of contracts and obligations, too.
 
Then . I understand the meaning of what "Anais Nin" said in her book "the common religions in India " (the inheritance law in Islam concerning woman on the part of her autonomy is  more lawful and more unrestrained, than what the Christianity  law gives her ,and what Islam accredits it to woman is considered a typical  law which protects what she has, including her relatives , husband ,… )
And I assimilate what "Gustave le Bon "said  when he cited the principles of inheritances which the Quran stipulates . He found them very honest and fair . He said" my comparison between them and French and English rights shows that the Islamic law which was given to the wives who claim that their Muslim husbands do not treat them with tolerance and justice, provides them matchless rights in inheritance matters.


Then the problem that have met the Muslim woman today  is in ignoring the man's obligatory duty of expenditure, and in exaggeratedly calling for the equality between man and woman in rights, but there is no any attention to the duties. Thus, the adherence to the Islamic legislation does not accept the dual standards, and to believe in some rules of the Islamic legislation and to deny others.
 
Whereas we believe in Islamic legislation when the matters concerning the unequal shares between man and woman and to deny the Islamic rules of the equal shares between man and woman, and the cases in which woman's share exceeds the man's.
To believe in it in the case of equality in rights, and to avoid it in the matters that concern obligatory duty of expenditure in societies that suffer excessively from illiteracy and poverty between women. Because of wife, we neglect the value of benign to parents and the weakness of the husband's mother, and to the same reason, the sister who becomes a widow or a spinster, and who is ignorant and without a job, finds no mercy in divorce .The society does not pay any attention to the duty of expenditure on the children as a kind of punishment to them and their mother, so the families breakdown and the inviolabilities are violet.

I think that the true justice that woman has searched for is in admitting and appreciating her efforts on farms, in deserts , at homes, and in factories ,and appreciating her achievements in the electoral circuit, and in the social, economical, cognitive and competitive  fields. But if we search for a religious rule that calls for the equality in shares between man and woman, and on the other hand it frees men from the duty of expenditure, then, it is the correct time to say that: the understanding of ( the duties and rights ) is still just talks that  subordinate to politics.

Written by dr-mariem-e-ahmed

Translated by: Hanaa Mohammed