Misconceptions about Islam (Legacy Division Among Men and Women)

on Monday, July 1, 2013


It is said that Islam is unfair to women in dividing the legacy left by someone, after his death, by giving men double the shares given to women. The teachings of Islam should make them equal and should respect women’s rights.


Actually, this is one of the most discussed misconceptions among non-Muslims and among some Muslims, as well.

Let’s start first with the origin of this misconception and then we explain in some details the legacy division in Islam.

In the case when a Muslim dies leaving a legacy behind, and he has children – men and women – men will be entitled to double the shares of women. To make it simple: if somebody dies leaving behind the amount of $30000, and he has a son and a daughter, so the boy will be entitled to $20000 and the girl will be entitled to $10000.

Now let’s explain this in some details:

When Islam teachings entitle the man to a double amount of the legacy shares of a woman; Islam obliged the man to be responsible for the woman expenses during her various stages of life:

-Yes, her brother will take the double amount she will take, but he will be responsible for her expenses in terms of housing, food, clothes, education, medicines, and different daily expenses until she gets married. So the woman will end up taking her own share ($10000) sharing with her brother his own share of the legacy ($20000) as well because her expenses will be taken from her brother’s share and not hers.

In general, this is the case in Islam for women:

-before marriage, the girl’s daily expenses will be on her father or brother.

-After marriage her expenses will move to her husband and her male children.

-In case of the father or the husband’s decease, her expenses will move back to her brother or her male children.

For this, it is not unfair if Islam teachings entitle the man to take a double share of any legacy because of the different expenses applied on men in Islam:

-In Surat An-Nisa’ (The Women, 4) verse (4) “See? In Quran, there is Surat named “The Women” whilst there is no Surat named ‘The Men’:

“And give [you men] the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.”

Allah gives His orders to men to pay the bridal gift to the women willingly and graciously:

-In Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow, 2) verse 233

“…Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable”

The expenses of the mother and the children are on the father:

-In Surat Aţ-Ţalāq (The Divorce, 65) verse 7

“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what Allah has given him”

Allah ordered men to spend from their money on their divorced women. Even if he is poor, they should spend anyhow what ever they can afford.

All the above mentioned verses are only samples of the different expenses applied to men in Islam, so it is fair enough for a man to inherit the double share of a woman in this case.

The criteria of dividing legacy in Islam are based more on financial burdens, and not being male or female. For example, the daughter of the deceased inherits more than his mother. Both are females, but the financial burdens of a younger woman will be more than an old woman’s burdens.

The second issue is that non-Muslims ignore other cases in which women’s shares will be equal to or more than men’s shares. Many will be surprised with this information:

-The man’s shares are more the woman’s shares in 9 cases in Quran.

-The man’s shares are equal to the woman’s shares in 11 cases in Quran.

-The man’s shares are less than the woman’s shares in16 cases in Quran.

So why people say that Islam did not give the woman her rights? In contrary, Islam is the religion that teaches humanity how women rights should be.

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