Why do females get half the inheritance amount of males? Also, why are stoning, honour killings so prevalent today in the name of Islam? Were they common in the time of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
You enquire why females receive half the inheritance of their male counterparts. One must understand that the laws of inheritance are by Divine order. As Muslims, our attitude to a divine decree is simply to submit.
The point of satisfaction is in the fact that Allah is al-Hakīm (The All Wise). Every decree of Almighty Allah has innumerable benefits and wisdoms which we can never fathom or comprehend. Besides the many benefits in each individual law, the common thread in all the laws of Islam is that they consider the realities of life.
There is no room for emotions in these Laws. The Laws of Allah are not based on emotions. They are founded on the best possible course for humanity to follow. Each law, the law itself and its ramifications are beneficial for everyone and everything the law applies to.
From the day a woman is born to the day she passes away, she is never responsible to earn her own living. From birth to her marriage, her father or guardian is responsible to provide for her. After marriage, her husband is responsible to provide for her. When she gets old, her children are responsible to look after her. On the other hand, a male is tasked with providing and looking after his whole family.
If the male did not receive double the share, this would be injustice on the male. Everybody would be asking the question why Islam does injustice on the males as Islam tasks the male to provide and maintain the family, yet Islam does not channel to him the possible funds needed to uphold this responsibility.
For example, if a father passed away and his estate was worth £100,000. The son will receive £66,666.66 and the daughter will receive £33,333.33. The son may have to spend almost the entire amount in maintaining his sister and family. Whereas, the daughter who inherited, she will not be obliged to spend a single pence. She can keep the entire amount to herself. What is better? Receiving £66,666.66 and spending it all on others or receiving £33,333.33 and having the privilege of keeping it all to yourself?
You also enquire regarding stoning and honour killings. Sharī’ah promotes modesty. Every sound religion promotes modesty. From amongst the most immoral and indecent acts is adultery and fornication. The abundance of immodesty is resulting in young girls merely in their teens falling pregnant. Adolescent boys are raping innocent girls in the schools and colleges. The aftermath of all this is that illegitimate children are being deprived of parenthood. Likewise, the large quantity of fornication and adultery is resulting in marriages breaking up, children being deprived and families falling apart.
Even the other scriptures condemned adultery. To the extent that in Christianity, adultery is synonymous to infidelity.[i] If this is the condemnation and consequences of such actions, then surely they need to be impeded. If the current laws are effective, humane and a deterrent, then consider the following statistics:
- Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Estimated number of men actually raped each year, according to the Dept. of Justice: 93,000
- Number of women raped in 2007 under the UCR definition: 91,874
- Number of sexual assaults in 2007–which includes rapes the FBI leaves out–according to the National Crime Victimization Survey: 248,300
- Dept. of Justice estimate of how many women are actually raped each year: 300,000 [PDF]
- Number of arrests for rape in 2007 (UCR): 23,307
- Average number of rapes to every murder committed annually: 5 to 1.[ii]
According to a news report on BBC One presented in 12 November 2007, there were 85,000 women raped in the UK in the previous year, equating to about 230 cases every day.[iii]
What is more barbaric? Stoning or having a rape case every two minutes? The western countries have a thousand laws to combat crime, rape and adultery; is crime and violence decreasing or increasing? The facts clearly show the current laws are not successful in impeding the criminals. Neither are the women feeling secure in such countries nor are the crimes decreasing. Surely these countries need to rethink what they consider barbaric.
When such laws are a failure, one has to admit that the Sharī’ah has implemented the most effective deterrent. Imagine being stoned? The fear, embarrassment, pain and disgrace will clearly make a person rethink before he makes an evil move. Likewise, imagine watching somebody getting stoned to death. The fear, fright and terror experienced from such a scene will surely result in flashback. The moment the thought of committing adultery transpires in one’s mind, the flashbacks of witnessing someone being stoned will detain and seize these evil intentions.
Hence, stoning to death is a legal corporal punishment in Sharī’ah for committing adultery. There are stringent conditions for this corporal punishment to be established. For stoning to be carried out, it has to be decreed by a Muslim judge in an Islamic state. If stoning is being carried out without the correct protocol, it will be illegal and condemned by Sharī’ah, even if it was done in the name of Shari’ah. There are many actions performed in the name of many beliefs, philosophies and groups, does that mean it is endorsed by that philosophy or group?
Approximately 4-5 people were stoned in the time of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam.[iv]
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mawlana Faraz Ibn Adam,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
[iv] كذا في تكملة فتح الملهم ج 2 ص 377-373 دار إحياء التراث العربي