Brief notes on Equity of Succession Law Under the Islamic law

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Under the Islamic law of succession daughters, grand-daughters and lower female descendants, mothers, grandmothers and higher female ascendants, sisters, aunts, cousins and other female col­laterals all have in their respective turn, the right of inheritance.

At the Hanafi law, among the twelve classes heirs (dhu fara'id) as many as eight are females. As class II and class III heirs 'asabat and dhaw alarham-women inherit at every level along with their male counterparts.

In providing to women heirs in most [though not in all] cases shares equivalent to half of what goes to parallel male heirs the law of Islam, in its wisdom, prefers an empirical equity to a mathe­matical equality.

In so doing, it enforces a perfect equilibrium in the families, keeping in sight the many varied financial responsibi­lities imposed on every man but on no woman.

In any case the half share of women at the Muslim law which according to impartial researchers is not a mere theory but a concrete reality is a lot better than the full share of females under the modern Indian laws which remains a mere legislative showpiece.

Moreover, under Muslim law, there are no concepts of women's 'limited estate' and 'ownership without right to possession'. Whatever any woman inherits is her absolute property.

She is its unchallenged master during her lifetime, and on her death it goes by inheritance to her own heirs without probing, as under modern Indian laws, into whether she had herself inherited it from her in-laws or parents or obtained from a third source.

Inherited property of a woman is, in Islam, wholly unfettered in her hands exactly like her self-earned property, her absolute ownership over which is decreed by the Qur'an in these clear words:

To the men belongs what they have earned;

And to the women belongs what they have earned.


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