Before the dawn of Islam in the Arab world, the system of inheritance was confined to male descendants only. Women did not have any share of inheritance rather they themselves were inheritable. Siblings from the mother’s side, like half-brothers or half-sisters, were not entitled to inheritance and were completely excluded. Then came Islam with the forcefully clear message in the Quran that women have the right to inherit for themselves, which changed the status of women in an unprecedented fashion. Now the Daughter Share in Father Property in Islam. The Quran states:
“Men shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, and women shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind.” (Quran 4:7).
Thus, the long-held question or tradition about women and whether women can inherit at all is not solved forever. The dispute centers around the “share” that is to be inherited and the real issue is that even after knowing what Quran says about the inheritance right of women still their rights are not being granted completely.
A male relative receives a share equal to that of two females applies only to the inheritance of children by their parents. Parents who inherit share from a deceased child, for example, each inherits one-sixth of the property if the deceased child is survived by a child of his or her own. In such a scenario, the division is equal between the mother and the father of the deceased. The verse then clearly states what the mother shall receive if the deceased left no children or if the deceased left siblings. Presumably, the father and the mother inherit equal shares in those situations. The rationale and justification behind a brother receiving double his sister’s share is based on the Islamic legal presumption that he has an obligation to provide for her support. Given that these verses were revealed in Arabia more than 1400 years ago, when women had no financial security other than what was provided by men, these verses demonstrate the care and respect given to the family system and ensured that women’s rights would continue to be protected as men. Hence, brothers with sisters were given larger shares than their sisters, together with the legal obligation to spend a portion of this wealth on those sisters because they are the responsibility if the brothers.
In Islam, as mentioned above, women have entitled to the right to inheritance. In general, circumstances, though not all, Islam allows women half the share of inheritance available to men who have the same relationship with the decedent. For example, where the decedent has both male and female children, a son’s share is double that of a daughter. Also, the sister of a childless man inherits half of his property upon his death, while a brother of a childless woman inherits all of her property. There are also Possession Laws of Property in Pakistan. However, this is not the case at all circumstances, there are other circumstances where women might receive equal shares to men. For example, the share of the mother and father of a childless decedent. Also, the share of a uterine brother is equal to the share of a uterine sister, as do the shares of their descendants.
Arab society followed some very anti-women traditions, they practiced the custom of bride price or dower rather than dowry; the man paid a gift to his wife or her family upon marriage, rather than the opposite, placing a financial burden on men and women was exempted of such payments. This custom was continued but changed materially by Islam. It was the divine injunction that stipulated the dowry (haq Mehar) is due to the wife only, not her family. (Presumably, in a few areas in KP it is still practiced as a cash amount is given to the family of the bride upon marriage by the groom, which some say amounts to selling the daughter.) It can also be deferred considerably as may deem thereby reducing the burden if the husband is unable to afford the requested dowry at the time of the marriage. The wife can defer it till a stipulated date or it can become a debt on the estate when the husband dies. And give their dowries willingly to women (as an obligation), but if they, of their own accord, remit a portion of the dowry, it's their independent will and discretion.
Rights of women with time are being granted, unlike the bygone days. Women do get what is their right. Women’s right to inheritance plays a vital role in the socio-economic and political empowerment of women and society at large but unfortunately, women are often denied the right to inheritance due to deep-rooted patriarchal system, biased interpretation of divine directives, laws of the land and above all inefficient mechanism for the implementation and enforcement of laws on part of the government.
Owing to customary practices and familial pressure most women are forced to withdraw their right to inheritance in favor of male family members seemingly voluntarily but under compulsion. When it comes to the right of a widow, she loses her right of inheritance if she remarries outside the family of her deceased husband prior to getting her share in her husband’s inheritance. However, in case a widow has already acquired a share and wants to remarry outside her husband’s family, she is mostly made to transfer her share to a male family member of her deceased husband. Also, she is often forced to do this by her own parents. The basic problem and the root cause of all the problems faced by women is their inheritance right, because of that she has to suffer throughout their life, she can’t remarry after being a widow or divorced because of financial crises, as a result, she has to depend on her parents or brothers they look after her but she has to surrender her inherited property to them as a price of her social security and well being.
There was a time in history when the property of the deceased was to be divided equally among his children, but the immovable property was often kept together and enjoyed in common. Thus, the daughters, who left the parental house after marriage, were debarred from possessing the immovable property. The responsibility rests with the father to provide a dowry for each daughter on her marriage, but if the daughter took vows (a set of promises leading to a monastic life of a nun) with the father’s consent or at his instigation he would give a share in his property.
And in cases where the father had not given a vowed daughter a share before his death, she would receive only one-third of a son’s share to be utilized till her lifetime only. On her death, this would revert to her male sibling. If the daughter took vows without the father’s consent, she would be entitled to a dowry on his death. If a daughter was unmarried at the time of her father’s death, she was entitled to receive her dowry from her brothers and sisters over which she had a right till her lifetime only; if she had children, then it would pass on to them. If she died issueless, her dowry would be reverted to her family-brothers in the first instance and their heirs after them.
These golden principles of Islam are the guiding principles upon which inheritance rights in Pakistan are determined and granted. It can be safely said that women in Pakistan by law are entitled to inheritance and enjoy their rights granted by Islam without any equivocation.