Who gives women more rights: Jewish, Christian or Muslim teachings?
This is food for your thought.
Many claim that Islam “oppresses women” when it comes to the rules of inheritance. Before you allow yourself to blindly follow those who have no knowledge, please read this; be honest, truthful and objective—and then judge for yourself.
In the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, a woman is not entitled to inheritance, unless she has no male siblings!
Women’s inheritance in Judaism:
Let’s look at what’s mentioned in the Book of Numbers [27: 8-11]:
Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter. 9 If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father has no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest male relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to be a legal requirement for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses.’”
1- So, inheritance goes to male children; only if there are no male children will female children be allowed to inherit.
2- Not only do they not inherit, but women could also actually be part of the inheritance! The widow is part of the inheritance that goes to her husband’s brother, who would consequently marry her even if she does not approve of him or even hates him.
In the Book of Deuteronomy [25: 5-7]:
5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. 6 The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. 7 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.”
An example of this could be found in the story in the Book of Genesis [38: 6-11]:
“6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.
10 What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also. 11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.”
You can also read in The Book of Genesis [38: 12-26] what a woman went through from prostitution, incest to potential death along this process.
Women’s inheritance in Christianity:
In Mathew [5: 17] it is stated:
“17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
So, the Christian position actually follows the Jewish one as it’s derived from the laws of the Old Testament.
Women’s inheritance in Islam:
Islam came in a time when women were deprived of their rights and had no right to inheritance at all.
But then Allah revealed in the Noble Qur’an:
“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.com 4/7]
Now, those who have little knowledge will only quote the following verse and claim women in Islam are deprived:
“Allah commands you as regards to your children’s (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females.” [Quran.com 4/11]
HOWEVER, the truth to the matter in Islamic Jurisprudence is the following:
1- There are only four cases where a male inherits double the share of a female.
2- There are many cases where a female inherits a share equal to that of a male.
3- There are more than ten cases where a woman inherits more than that of a male.
4- There are cases where a woman inherits a share, but the man inherits nothing.
Read in detail all these cases here:
Furthermore, a VERY important point to note is that men are obliged to spend their money on the females of their family, but women have NO obligations whatsoever to spend on anyone. All her money is hers and hers alone. In addition to that, the money of the males in her family will also be spent on her by Islamic law.
Modern Societies’ Inheritance Rights:
Here is a good summary of the situation: In many civilizations, man-made laws of inheritance are at the whim of a powerful individual; to give or deprive, as one will, however unjustly. Moreover, in these societies often there is no law that obligates a man with financial responsibilities and relieves the women from them. On the other hand, according to Islam, a male is required to take care of the entire financial needs of the female dependents of the family until they are married. From the time a female marries, her financial responsibilities are her husband’s obligation. After the death of the husband, the son or other male relative is obliged to care for the widow.
Therefore, demanding a “fair,” “just” or “equal” share of inheritance for both male and female Muslims, who do not have equal financial obligations and responsibilities, is an unfair and unjust demand. It is only fair and just to give preference to a male heir, in light of his financial responsibilities, over the female heir from the inheritance of the father, mother or others. Considering all this, the fact that a female is still entitled by the Islamic law to a half share of the portion of inheritance received by the male – and sometimes an equal or even more share – is indeed fair, just, and generous.
Gustave Le Bon says in his book Arab Civilization:
“The principles of inheritance which have been determined in the Qur’an have a great deal of justice and fairness. The person who reads the Qur’an can perceive these concepts of justice and fairness in terms of inheritance through the verses I quoted.
I should also point out the great level of efficiency in terms of general laws and rules derived from these verses. I have compared British, French and Islamic Laws of inheritance and found that Islam grants the wives the right of inheritance, which our laws are lacking while Westerners consider them to be ill-treated by the Muslim men.”
It is worth mentioning that when a wealthy companion of Prophet Muhammad named Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas was ill and requested to bequeath the majority of his wealth as a charity. Since he had only one daughter, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him) forbade him! He taught him and us that continuing to spend on and keep your family well taken care of is even more worthwhile:
… 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.” [Saheh Bukhari ]
These are the fair and rather generous teachings of Islam:
Note here that in Islam we do believe in all the Prophets God sent including Moses and Jesus (peace and blessings upon them). We do believe in the ORIGINAL Books of guidance that were revealed to them. However, it is well known that these books in their original language and original unedited, unaltered form do not exist today.
Thus, Allah has revealed the Qur’an; for over 1400 years it has and will continue to be well protected from any edits or man-made alterations to its original text. As, it’s providing rights, guidance and light for all those who sincerely seek the Truth.
Be a real seeker of the Truth.