Man and woman, from the Islamic viewpoint have the same rights. They have the right to work, earn money, own property, and are originally common in inheritance. Husband and wife inherit each other.
The Qur’an says:
Men shall have a portion of whatever parents and near relatives leave, while women should have a portion of whatever parents and near relatives leave; no matter how small nor how large it is, a portion is stipulated.(1)1- Qur’an 4:7
It is said in the above verse that women like men, have the right to inherit and have a certain portion.
The verses of inheritance were revealed when women in the world, especially among the ignorant Arabs, did not have any value or status. The ignorant men were ashamed of a daughter, and in some tribes they used to bury her alive.
At that time the inheritance reached only the sons or the eldest son, and daughters were deprived of it. Except for the things, which the father had willed for the daughter; or the brother in sympathy would had given it to his sister. Because of this when the verse on inheritance was revealed, as fixed a portion for women in inheritance, many people were astonished.
Fakhruddin Razi has written on the revelation of this verse: “Ibn Abbas narrated that Aus bin Thabit Ansari died, leaving three daughters and a wife. Two of his paternal cousins, Suraid and Arfajah, came and took away all the wealth. The wife of Aus came to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), and told her story and said that ‘the executors did not give anything to my daughters and me.” The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
“Go back home so that I see what command comes from Allah.”
After that the above verse was revealed, which shows that both, man and woman, receive inheritance and that both of them inherit each other.(1)1- Tafseer Kabir, Vol. 9, P. 194
In such a period Islam conferred inheritance to the woman, and gave her individuality, and considered her equal to man. But in Islamic legislation, the portion of woman’s inheritance is half of that of man’s.
The Qur’an says:
Allah instructs you, concerning your children: a son shall have a share to that of two daughters. If the women are more than two, then they shall have two thirds of what the deceased has left; and if there is only one, she has half. And for his parents, each of them shall receive a sixth of what he has left if he has a child. But if he has no child, and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother will receive a third. But if he has siblings, then his mother will have a sixth, once his will or his any dept. has been settled. You do not know whether your parents or your children, are closer to you in usefulness. This is an ordinance from Allah; Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. Qur’an 4:10
From the viewpoint of Islam, the son gets double of that of a daughter, and the brother gets double of the sister. The husband inherits two times that of the wife’s. But in case of mother and father, if at the time of death of their children they are alive, each one of them will get one sixth of the dead person’s wealth.
An objection to the law of inheritance is: the discrimination between the portions of the woman and man. Who is the woman’s half of that of man’s? Is not it injustice and discrimination?
The question of the share of man and woman, and the difference between them, and all the rules related to them should not be separated. It is true that Islam has considered difference in inheritance between woman and man. But this difference is due to the facts and economical responsibility, which is on man. In Islamic law, man should give dowry to his wife. All the expenses of family are kept also on him. For this reason, man should work hard and bear all the expenses. But for the woman, it is not necessary to work and bear any expenses; also if she has wealth she is not forced to spend it. She can save it for herself. Wealth, which comes to her by work, business, dowry, gift, inheritance, or any other legal way belongs to her alone, and she can save it all.
On the other hand, man is obliged to pay, along with dowry, all the expenses of the family members.
Thus the wife is a partner in the husband’s wealth, and whatever comes to her from inheritance is hers’ alone, which she can save. That is why Islam decided to make a balance and help man by legislating the law of inheritance.
By attention to the above, can we say that woman has been discriminated in inheritance? You can verify that not only there is no discrimination against woman, but also that is in her favor. The traditions also mention these reasons:
Imam Reza (a.s.) said:
“The reason that the inheritance of woman is half of that of man’s is because, the girl when she marries and has a husband takes from him; but it is the duty of man to give; and due to this the inheritance of man is more. Another reason is that the woman being a wife, is entitled to get her maintenance from the husband. But it is not incumbent on her to bear the expenses of the husband and help him at the time of necessity. Due to this, the inheritance of man is more. And Allah says regarding this: MEN ARE THE MAINTAINERS OF WOMEN BECAUSE ALLAH HAS MADE SOME OF THEM TO EXCEL OTHERS, AND BECAUSE THEY SPEND OUT OF THEIR PROPERTY…”(۱)
Hisham bin Sâlem narrated that Ibn Abil Awja said to Ahwal, why is inheritance of the weak woman one portion, but a wealthy man takes two third?
Hisham asked the same question from Imam Sadiq (a.s.). He answered: ” On women, is not payment for Maintenance, war, and other responsibilities. But all these things are incumbent upon man. And due to this in inheritance man takes two third and woman takes one part. ” (2)
۱- Bihar, Vol. 104, P. 326
۲- Bihar, Vol. 104, P. 327
THINK AND ANSWER
۱٫ What were the circumstances and conditions, at the time of the revelation of the verse of inheritance?
۲٫ What is the share of women in inheritance according to Islamic rules?
۳٫ Why is the portion of woman half of the man’s?
۴٫ Is the law of inheritance an injustice against the women?