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Inheritance and Women in Islam

Updated on March 6, 2017


Throughout history, people are accustomed to depriving women of their rights.

Although we live in the twenty-first century, women suffer persecution in many places, especially the middle-east.

Originally Islam came with a solution to this problem. In spite the fact that hundreds of decades had passed, the problem still present. Those who live outside the Muslim community assume that Muslims apply the teachings of Islam. Unfortunately, this does not happen the way it should be. And as long as Muslims are involved, it appears to the west that the problem is with Islam not with Muslims.

This article discusses one of the women's rights in Islam, the right to inherit. The rule In the Islamic Sharia is:

Men take double the shares of women. For this reason, westerners believe that Islam is not fair to women when it comes to inheritance.

This article will explain the logic behind the same rule. But before that, the reader will learn about: the status of the woman's right to inherit before Islam. Then the solutions that Islam brought. The article will also show an example of denying the woman's right to inherit one of her family members in the twenty-one century. Finally, the reader will be invited to share his opinion through a poll.

The status of the woman's right to inherit before Islam

"Whoever doesn't stab with a spear and fight to protect women or money and never get involved in battles doesn't Inherit."

These were the norms in the Arabian Peninsula before Islam. As a result, women never inherited as they never got involved in battles. In addition to that, women were considered part of the properties of the deceased males. For example, if a man died, his elder son could seize his widow wife, the stepmother. And then he had several options:

  1. He could marry her.
  2. He could choose her a husband.
  3. If she had a fortune, he would prevent her from getting married to keep her money for himself.

The solutions that Islam brought

The Qur'an came with verses in which Allah stated that:

  1. Women may inherit their family members.
  2. They have specific shares.
  3. Men may not marry women without their consent.
  4. Men may not put obstacles in front of their marriage.
  5. Women have an independent will.

In other words, Islam gave women the freedom of choice and identified their rights.

Women's right to inherit, general rules:

The general rule is:

Men take double the shares of women.

Further details:

  • Women who inherit in Islam:
  1. The wife.
  2. The mother.
  3. The daughter.
  4. The daughter of the son.
  5. The sister.
  6. The half sister (from the father).
  7. The half sister (from the mother).
  8. The grandmother.
  • Islam determines the share of the man based on the share of the woman, not the other way round. In other words, the share of the woman is a measure to identify the share of the man. For instance, when the share of the woman is the third, the man takes the third multiplied by two.
  • Males in the family affect her share. For example, the share of a daughter inheriting her deceased father becomes bigger if she doesn't have a brother.

The logic behind the rule; Men take double the shares of women.

In Islam, men look after women in their families. They are sinful when they don't take care of their financial needs.

The same raises a practical question:

Do men enjoy their share of the inheritance more than women?

No, they don't. Because men inherit the money and spend a great part of the same on their family members, including women. But women inherit the money and keep it for themselves. Women have no obligation to spend their money on the family.

Further clarification about the logic behind the rule

In Tanta, Egypt. Some families don't allow women to inherit lands from their family members.

Why do some families in Tanta don't allow women to inherit lands from their family members?

In the middle-east, men are in control. In villages, men run the agricultural business of their wives if they own agriculture lands. When a married daughter inherits an agriculture land, from her father, her husband runs the business. The family of the daughter doesn't want her husband to run agriculture business. The deceased father used to run the same business before he dies. The daughter inherits the agriculture land means the business becomes under the administration of her husband. Families don't allow someone from outside the family to run the business, in this case, he is the husband of their daughter.

All things considered -in inheritance- Islam is fair with women. They have specific shares. Women keep their shares and have no obligations to spend them on their families. However, some women still don't enjoy the right to inherit their family members. There are violations in different countries in the middle-east. Please share your opinion through the following poll:

In the Islamic inheritance law, men take double the shares of women.

Do you want to inherit $100,000–as a man - and spend% 80 to% 90 of the same on the family? Or would you prefer to inherit $50,000–as a woman - and not to spend a single penny on the family?

See results


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    • mateh profile imageAUTHOR

      Muhammad Helmy 

      4 years ago from Egypt

      You're welcome. Thanks.

    • Araaz profile image

      Umme Salma 

      4 years ago from Ohio,USA

      Thank you for writing this.


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