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THE MILLENNIUM GROUP OF COMPANIES

THE MILLENNIUM GROUP OF COMPANIES

Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

The share of women in inheritance has always been a very controversial subject, mainly in Asian countries. In Islam, women are entitled to a share of property rights, as outlined in the Quran and Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad).

Society denies giving such shares, and that is the very reason why the subject has been under discussion even after the decades. However, Islam does not deny women’s rights in inheritance, particularly the sister’s right to inheritance, as society and patriarchal norms do.

The inheritance laws in Islam can vary depending on the specific school of Islamic jurisprudence followed. In some cases, sisters may also have the right to inherit property outside of the inheritance laws, such as through gifts or bequests from the deceased.

Moreover, suppose we put emphasis on the sister’s share of the deceased brother’s assets. In that case, it is stated that the sister will only receive the share if the deceased had no family, including no spouse, children, or other close relatives. In that instance, the sister is qualified to inherit a portion of his brother’s estate, but she is unlikely to receive a fair part if the decedent has children.

In the given study, we will talk about the share of sisters according to the Quranic perspective and relative references. The study will also include challenges and societal impact upon the inheritance of sisters and the effective measures that would help to resolve them. 

Historical Background

Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

In pre-Islamic Arabia, inheritance was strictly tribal and agnatic, meaning that women and minors were not permitted to inherit and that the heirs were typically the nearest male relatives.

Women being under the mercy of men, could not get any share or equal share because the assets used to go to the family’s son. Rather, they were viewed as a part of the deceased person’s property; hence, their claim to inheritance was not considered worthy. 

Primogeniture, also called agnatic or patrilineal primogeniture, is the practice of giving the eldest son the entire family inheritance. There was also a practice called ultimogeniture, where the asset would transfer to the younger male of the family, who could be an uncle, brother, or nephew. 

They would give the share of inheritance to any male, younger or older, but not to the dearest woman of the decedent.

Islam

Islam developed at a time when women’s standing was at an all-time low, and their rights were severely restricted both in terms of inheritance and the right to living.

Islam recognized the status of a woman and entitled her to a specific share of the inheritance. In Islam, it is strictly mentioned that women would get the share from fathers, husbands, and sons (in some cases, from brother’s assets too).

Moreover, Islam explicitly states that in a woman’s inheritance, the husband owns no share; the woman, however, gets the share from his husband’s assets.

It is a great misconception when people say Islam is not a religion of a woman. One should not mix social practices (misogyny and patriarchal values) with the teachings of Islam. 

Islam not only recognizes the status of women but also strictly advises protecting women and giving them what they deserve, legally according to their entitled share.  

One of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas was ill and requested to devise the majority of his wealth as a charity, or half of it, since he was wealthy and only had one daughter.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) forbade him and only allowed him to give a third, and said: 

"A third and a third is a lot, and it is better that you leave your heirs wealthy rather than leave them needy begging from the people. You will not spend anything seeking Allah's countenance but you receive a reward for that expenditure, even the morsel of food you put into your wife's mouth."

(Bukhari)

In the research being written, we will discuss the sister’s portion of the father’s inheritance according to Islamic Shariah. It is said that we will ONLY cover the daughter’s share of inheritance since the sister is not eligible to get the share from the brother’s own assets unless, in some cases when, the deceased has no direct relations alive.

The Quranic Perspective

Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

"For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much — an obligatory share."

(Quran 4:7)

"Allah (thus) direct you as regards your children's (inheritance) to the male, a portion equal to that of two females. If only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance. If only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children. If no children and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third. If the deceased has brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. After payment of legacy and debts. Ye know not whether the parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise."

(Quran, 4: 11)

"Allah gives you a ruling concerning them (no parent or child) if a man dies (and) not he has a child, and he has a sister, then for her (is) a half (of) what he left. And he will inherit from her if not is for her a child. But if there were two females, then two-thirds of what he left for them. But if they were brothers and sisters, men and women, then the male would have liked to share (of) the two females. Makes clear Allah to you lest you go astray. And Allah of everything (is) All-Knower. “

(Surah An Nisa 4:176)

The Legal Perspective

Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

The sisters certainly deserve a rightful share, just like the brother does. Islam has provided women with all legal rights to claim their share. 

Following are some of the ways through which sisters can ask for their share of the inheritance.

  1. Review the Will: Check the last testament of the deceased person to see if it mentions how the inheritance will be divided among the siblings.
  2. Consult a Lawyer: Consider seeking legal advice from an estate planning attorney to understand the laws regarding inheritance distribution.
  3. Challenge the Will: If the will is unfair or there are questions about its validity, consider challenging it in court.
  4. Negotiate a Settlement: If the siblings can agree on how to divide the inheritance, they can negotiate a settlement.
  5. Mediation or Arbitration: If the siblings can’t agree, consider using a neutral third party, such as a mediator or arbitrator, to help resolve the dispute.
  6. Litigation: If all other options fail, the siblings may have to go to court to have a judge make a decision on how to divide the inheritance.

The Cultural Perspective

Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

It has been mentioned that the woman is entitled to a specific share in inheritance whether she is a mother, wife, daughter, or sister. The specific share of a sister in inheritance depends on the relationship to the deceased and the number of other heirs. In general, a sister’s share is half that of a brother’s.

If we look at our culture, women are not entitled to their legal shares in most areas. Since men are expected to take care of the family’s financial security, they are urged to transfer their shares to their brothers. In the tribal areas of Pakistan, women do not even have knowledge about their legal rights, let alone their share of the inheritance.

Moreover, the woman who asks for her share of the inheritance is often considered a rebellion and thus has to go through many obstacles to get her legal and legitimate share.

However, the teachings of Islam are completely at odds with cultural practices. Islam has severely encouraged males to be fearful of God and give women what they deserve. Islam has considered a fair portion of women in the inheritance of both father and husbands (in some cases, of brothers too). 

What we see in our culture does not go with the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Hence, before getting influenced by the culture, one should keep a clear track of Islamic shariah and what they see in their surroundings. Islam does not by any means promote misogyny and discrimination!

The Impact of the Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

Islam never sees women as any lesser than men. In Islam, women are entitled to inherit a portion of the estate left behind by a deceased person. The specific amount a woman inherits depends on various factors, such as the relationships between the deceased and the inheritors and the presence of male or female offspring.

This is specified in the Qur’an and the Hadith (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad).

By implementing Islamic teachings into practice and ensuring that women get their legitimate share, we can not only empower women and uplift their status but also spread Islam's positive impact worldwide.

Following are some of the positive impacts of recognizing the share of sisters, as mentioned in Islamic Shariah. 

1. Empowerment Of women:

Islamic law recognizes women’s right to own and inherit property, which contributes to their financial independence and empowerment.

2. Reduction of gender inequalities:

The share of sisters in property rights helps to address and reduce gender inequalities in inheritance and wealth distribution.

3. Promotion of gender equality:

The recognition of women’s property rights in Islamic law promotes gender equality and helps to challenge traditional patriarchal attitudes and beliefs.

4. Strengthening family ties:

Sharing property rights peacefully among siblings can strengthen family ties and relationships and reduce the possibility of conflicts.

5. Improved social and economic status:

Women with property rights have a higher social and economic status, which can lead to better health, education, and overall well-being.

6. The positive impact of Islam:

Islam does not preach any kind of discrimination. By following Islamic teachings in our daily life, we can show the world Islam is a religion of peace and rights.

Challenges in Implementing the Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

We live in a society full of misogyny and discrimination, and there are multiple challenges that a woman has to go through if she claims her legitimate right. 

When we talk about the challenges in implementing the share of a woman in property according to Islam, we mean the social practices and patriarchal norms that do not adopt the Islamic Shariah and thus results in the subordination of women. There some of the common challenges are given below. 

1. Lack of Awareness:

Many Muslim communities are unaware of the provisions for sisters’ share in property rights as laid down in Islamic law.

2. Cultural Barriers:

Traditional cultural norms often prioritize the rights of male members over female members, leading to discrimination in property rights.

3. The misinterpretation of Religious Texts:

We live in a male dominant society. Patriarchal norms and values have misinterpreted Islam according to their own will and interests; this has caused a great deal in the subordination of women in Islamic regions. The misinterpretation of religious texts regarding property rights is the very cause of conflicts in many tribal societies.

4. Resistance to Change:

There may be resistance to change from those who benefit from the current status quo, including male family members and members of the community who uphold traditional gender roles.

5. Lack of Legal Frameworks:

In South Asian countries, there is a lack of legal frameworks and regulations to enforce the rights of sisters in property inheritance, making it difficult for women to claim their share.

6. Poverty:

In many cases, sisters may not have the resources or the support to assert their property rights, leading to ongoing poverty and dependence.

Solutions for Improving the Share of Sisters in Property Rights in Islam

Education: Promoting education and awareness among women about their rights to inheritance and property in Islam.

Reinterpretation of Islamic Laws: Reinterpreting Islamic laws related without a patriarchal lens to property rights, taking into account the changing social, economic, and political circumstances.

Legislative Reforms: Governments can introduce legislative reforms to ensure equal property rights for women, such as inheritance laws and property distribution laws.

Religious Authority Support: Encouraging religious authorities to issue fatwas (religious edicts) in support of equal property rights for women.

Community Involvement: Engaging community leaders, scholars, and civil society organizations in advocacy for equal property rights for women.

Promoting Economic Empowerment: Supporting economic empowerment initiatives for women to increase their financial independence and ability to inherit and own property.

Addressing Social Stereotypes: Addressing and challenging the social and cultural stereotypes and prejudices that discriminate against women in property rights.

It is clearly stated that in Islam, there is no place for such obstacles if a woman asks for her legitimate right. Islam does not preach any kind of subordination nor denies any rights to a women’s share of the inheritance. 

Often, misinterpretations and misconceptions about the share of a woman in inheritance are linked to Islam and used to spread the notion that Islam is misogynistic. However, by no means Islam allows any injustice to women. Islam asks for a woman’s protection and security; how could it be denied her inherited rights of her? 

Islam’s position on women’s share of inheritance has been one of its most frequently misrepresented aspects. However, the challenges can be readily resolved with the help of reference to the abundant evidence from the Quran, the teachings of Prophet PBUH, and the reputable scholars of Islamic Shariah. 

Conclusion

The share of women in inheritance has always been a very controversial subject, mainly in Asian countries. In Islam, women are entitled to a share of property rights, as outlined in the Quran and Hadith. 

The study talks about the share of sisters according to the Quranic perspective and relative references. The study also includes challenges and societal impacts upon the inheritance of sisters and the effective measures that would help to resolve them. 

Ammara Yasmin
Ammara Yasmin

Ammara Yasmin, a content writer and a bibliophile with over 3 years of experience. I work closely with a real estate firm as well as run my blog where I write reviews on books. My greatest joy comes from being able to put my thoughts on paper, and I particularly enjoy writing about political and social issues.

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