The Basic Verses on Inheritance
For the first time ever, in seventh century, warmonger Arabia, women, who were considered part and parcel of captured spoils for winners, and potential sources of dishonor for losers, are granted inheritance rights. Nevertheless, the complex Islamic inheritance law is often reduced to one formula: “women’s share is half of men’s.” Islamic inheritance is guided by three principles: kinship proximity; generational order: younger generations assuming household responsibilities favored over older generations, dependent on others; and material responsibility of successors. Only here are men (brothers) favored over women (sisters), due to their greater financial responsibilities, given the then prevailing extended-household structure. The Qur’ānic allocations were fair and just, given the household model of the Revelation era. Given today’s nuclear family standard, inheritance division rules merit re-examination.