Islamic Inheritance Law unjust?
Posted April 8, 2009
Filed under: Fiqh |
Q. If you claim Islamic Law to be just and equitable, why does the man inherit more wealth than his female siblings? Isn’t this another example of an outdated Law that does not confirm to the norms of the society we live in and which tries to treat the male and female members of our society equally?
A. Thank you for your question.
Firstly, let me agree with you on something. Yes, in the non-cohesive liberal society we live which seeks to ingrain individualistic values and worldview on people it would be unjust. But, in the Islamic framework [law], which is a cohesive and comprehensive value system that consigns every being in its natural place, it is completely consistent with the reality and its comprehensive message of justice, equity and fairness.
God, the highest states, ‘Men are managers of the affairs of women because Allah has made the one to exceed the other, and because of what they spend of their riches for them’ [An-Nisa: 4:34]
1- It is the sole responsibility [obligation] of the male members of the family to provide for the female members.
2- The woman is not obligated to expend on anyone, in contrast to the man who is obligated to spend on his family, relatives and others who are under his care.
3- Man’s expenditure is therefore more than that of a woman and hence requires more in inheritance than the woman in order for him to fulfil his obligations as a provider and maintainer of the family structure.
4- The man is obligated to pay the dowry, pay for the living expenses for the wife and the children.
5- All other expenses such as food, clothing, medical care, education costs etc falls on the shoulders of the man and not the woman.
This should clarify the reasoning and wisdom behind the Islamic injunction on the law of inheritance and for the men to receive twice as much as the women. As indicated above, women may spend their wealth as they wish whereas the men are obligated by law to provide for the women [family] with their wealth. Thus, ‘Shari’ah is all about wisdom and achieving people’s welfare in this life and the hereafter. It is all about justice, mercy, wisdom, and good’.
If you require further clarification please do not hesitate to contact me.
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