Inheritance for women in Islam
We often generalize on the basis of half-hearted observations, and we tend to assign certain qualities to certain practices, without looking into the matter. Islam, and the norms which dictate the treatment towards women is a very controversial topic. This topic, however, has gained notoriety on the basis of generalization amongst people. One must look into the matter with some amount of seriousness in order to understand the Islamic norms towards women. In the case of inheritance, the Qur’an has specific suggestions and specific rules which apply to specific situations.
While the Qur’an does mention that in terms of inheritance, the share of the male child/male member of the family should be twice as much of that of the woman, the Qur’an does give women the right to inherit property, as well as other forms of inheritance. The ancestral wealth of the family must be given to the female members of the family as well as the male members of the family, and this is a practice which was not very well practiced before the guidelines of the Qur’an were employed.
There are also special cases in which the woman might receive more shares of the inheritance than the man, although usually, the man gets double the share. However, in many cases, women are also allowed equal shares. In some cases, it has been noted that the son and daughter of the deceased will get equal shares, without discrimination.
While the law may seem very feasible, the practice of the man getting double the shares of that of the woman is based on the premise that the man shall have to fend for the woman, and that he will need the extra inheritance for the sustenance and the protection of the family. This is an outdated rule, since women are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. However, changes in Islamic law are very different from those within the legal system otherwise. These laws take time to change, and changes can be incorporated only if the head of the family decides to write a will, specifically giving equal shares to both the son and the daughter. Such a will cannot be nullified by the Qur’an’s dictates, although it may be frowned upon, but fundamentalists.
The Islamic laws have been misunderstood on a lot of counts because of the generalizations which have been made about it in the past, and even now. Women may be asked to wear a Burqah, but there are many Muslim women who are enjoying the privileges of inheritance, which a number of other communities do not condone. There are many religious practices, and many cultural communities which do not think it necessary to provide women with inheritance rights. That being said, Islamic women still have to fight a long and hard battle to gain equality, and a certain amount of respect which is denied not just to them, but to the feminine gender throughout.