WOMEN AS HEIRESSES
In the distribution of the estate, money etc. of a deceased person, the written will takes precedence. The fundamentalist Islamist dared to modify this explicit statement of the Quran and asserted the principle “No will has been foreseen for inheritors.” According to the Quran, the will takes precedence, followed by the debts of the deceased. In 5 The Feast, 106 and 2 The Cow, 180, we can observe the advice given regarding the execution of the will. On the other hand, in 4 The Women, 11-12 it is ordained that the sharing of inheritance takes place after settling the provisions foreseen in the will and the outstanding debts. While studying inheritance falling to the shares of men and women within the general framework of the Quran, we should do well to understand the flow of money and economic relations involved in the Quran. According to the Quran, during the enactment of the marriage contract, a man gives a certain sum of money (either in cash, gold etc.). (This money is given to the wife and not to her parents.) As the sum in question has not been determined, the woman who will be abandoning her home and may become destitute may also ask to be given a home or a car, etc. If they mutually agree on the consideration, the marriage contract takes effect. In case the woman’s own wealth is enough to support her, she may opt for a ring or a gift of some sort. The Quran ordains that this consideration be duly given. However, the consideration in question must be agreed upon by both parties. Moreover, the man assumes the responsibility to take charge of the support of his wife and offspring. In the case of a divorce, the support of the children and, if the mother is nursing her child, the upkeep of the female spouse also falls to the man. Thus the woman receives not only the consideration agreed upon, but also the allowance to support herself and her children. In case the widow’s assets are not sufficient to support her, then every god-fearing believer has the charge of contributing to her living (2 The Cow, 241). As one can readily see, the money of the man charged with many responsibilities is continually divided. And God has apportioned for the male child an inheritance twice as much as He has dispensed for the female child (4 The Women 11). Details of inheritance can be seen in Verses 11, 12, and 176 of The Women (both parents inherit one sixth of the estate in equal shares).
Now, other considerations may be brought forth in our day stating that there are women who earn a living nowadays, some are even wealthy, etc. Let us remember that the first principle is what is bequeathed in the will.