Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Inheritance in Islam: Answering The Accusations "Why Men Inherit More"...

Some muslims are taking the non-muslim concept of inheritance, and want to force on muslim countries the rule that a “woman should get the same inheritance ratio as a man” (already applied in Tunis lelasaf :\ ).

In Islam, a man inherits twice as much as a woman (in most cases).
For non-muslims and some muslims (lelasaf bardo) see that as unfair and weird.

I can understand that non-muslims find it strange and unfair. Simply, because they come from a totally different background and do not know why such a ruling exists.
Yet, I am disappointed that some of my people (muslims) are tottering along with the demands of making a woman inherit exactly the same ratio as a man (1:1) without thinking of what God said and at the same time, without thinking logically about their demands.

Lets put it this way,

People (or some enthusiastic muslim feminists loosely speaking) who demand a woman to inherit exactly the same ratio as a man (1:1) use this argument (was used with me in a recent discussion I had with someone):

A woman should inherit exactly like a man, she is no less than him. It is unfair and makes no sense.
There was a recent survey that mentions that %25 of Egyptian women are the only providers for their families. Giving them the same inheritance as men would help those women support their families.

More inheritance for those women… more money… better family support!”


To answer this, there are two sections:


  • Religious:

قوله تعالى: ( يُوصيكم اللهُ في أولادِكم للذكَر مثلُ حظِّ الأنثيين)، (النساء 11)

Meaning of: God told us that for our children, a man gets twice the inheritance as a woman.

So, there is a rule that we (muslims) have to abide to.
And as muslim we know that God didn’t descend an order or rule that is only fit for today and not tomorrow. Especially, when it is related the family structure (the family being the most important unit in Islamic society).


Let me elaborate in the following point…


  • Logical:

Just a little background on the Muslim family and inheritance laws:

1 -Such a rule (man inheriting twice as much as a woman) in Islam is directly related to the structure of a family in Islam, and how a family should be (per Islamic ideology).

The family structure in islam consists of a father (husband) who is responsible for all his family (wife, children, parents if they are financially incapable, brothers and sisters and their off spring if they are young or financially incapable).

In other words, the man in the family is responsible for taking care of his whole family.
This does not mean that the rest of them are useless or incapable of doing things in society…not at all. Actually, work and development is a duty for all members of the family.

But, just like any ship has a captain, in Islam the captain of the ship is the father (the male).

Yes, in many cases the father passes away, and the mother steps in. And she does an excellent job.

Yes, in many cases men are dirt bags and do not do their duties. And women end up trying to pickup where the man failed.

Yes, in many cases a man and a woman "willingfully agree" to share expenses and so on.

But, what we are stating here is the rule for all, the general rule that organizes a family. The usual family (father, wife and off spring). For each rule there are special cases (as the above two examples for instance).

2- The ruling is also related to what responsibilities are put on the man:

For instance, In islam a man has to


  1. He has to pay a woman he will marry “MAHR” (wedding gift money). She doesn’t need to pay him anything.

  2. He has to give her (the wife) monthly allowances for herself, the kids and the house expenditures. Per Islam she is not “obliged” to pay a nickel (except if there is a necessity, and she is willing to do it! It’s her choice!).

  3. The more money the man makes, the more he has to pay his wife, as God said:
    ، كما قال تعالى: ( لِينفِق ذو سعَةٍ مِن سَعتِه ). (الطلاق 7)

  4. If the man divorces his wife, he has to pay her “Mo’akhar Sadaak”. She doesn’t have to pay him anything (usual cases).

  5. The man has to pay for his children’s education and expenses. Again, per Islam she is not “obliged” to pay a nickel (except if there is a necessity and she is willing to do it! It’s her choice!).

  6. When a niece or nephew (without parents for example) needs help, the man (their uncle) has to help them out (as long as he can of course). Because he (in such a case) is responsible for them (hence, he gets a part of the inheritance when his brother passes away for example). Per Islam she (the wife or aunt in this case) is not “obliged” to pay a nickel (except if there is a necessity and she is willing to do it! It’s her choice!).

3- Besides that, not always does a man get twice the inheritance as a woman. In some cases, they get the same ratio, for example:

· When the parents (man and woman) inherit one of their children :
(ولأبويه لكلِّ واحد منهُما السدُس ممَّا ترك إن كان له وَلد)،(النساء: 11)
· When brothers and sisters (of the same mother, yet no father) inherit their brother who had no off spring.
كما قال تعالى: (وإنْ كان رجلٌ يُورَث كلالةً أو امرأةٌ وله أخٌ أو أختٌ فلِكلِّ واحد منهما السدُس فإن كانوا أكثر من ذلك فهم شركاء في الثلُث) (النساء:12)

4- There are even cases where the woman gets more than the man’s inheritance ratio (woman gets twice as much as the man), for example:
· When a woman passes away, leaving a husband, a mother (her mother), 2 brothers and a sister for example. In this case, The sister gets twice as much as the brothers.

5- If the man does not do his responsibilities, he is to be punished and the wife\family compensated (given he has the money of course).

6- There is always the option that inheriters can distribute the inheritance in the way they want (given that all inheriters agree!).

To summarize the above,
The first point is that not in all cases does a man get twice as much as a woman.

The second point is that in Islam (compared to other ideologies) the structure of the family and the financial arrangements are not like others. The Muslim man has a lot of financial burdens. That is why inheritance for a muslim male is double a muslim female (in most cases).

To put the rule and reasoning in simpler words: “Whenever more responsibilities fall on the man, the inheritance for him is doubled compared to a woman” (i.e. when the father dies, the son gets double the daughter…etc.).


More responsibilities need more resources…that’s it.

----------------------

Now, discussing the argument:
A woman should inherit exactly like a man, she is no less than him. It is unfair and makes no sense.
There was a recent survey that mentions that %25 of Egyptian women are the only providers for their families. Giving them the same inheritance as men would help those women support their families
.”

OK, think of it…
Whoever wants to change the inheritance rule in Islamic countries, wants to do that to empower women by making them get the same ratio as muslim men (in all inheritance cases).
For example, in the above argument they (whoever) want to empower %25 percent of women (in Egypt’s case for example) because they (the %25 of women) have a heavy burden.

The answer is obvious…
You want to empower %25 of women by screwing up %100 of struggling muslim men who are “obliged” to support their families per the Islamic family structure?!!!

Think of it…

If you want to empower women (who are struggling) by giving them the 1:1 ratio in all cases, what on earth will the %100 of men (struggling ones) do if their inheritance goes down by half. That same inheritance which they (the men) are supposed to use to support their families!

Do the math… you’ll get my point.

Giving women 1:1 ratio in all cases does NOT help our muslim society (per its structure).
What you are doing is solving a smaller problem (%25 women supporting their families and struggling for example), by creating a massive problem by taking out half of what %100 of men use to support their struggling muslim families.

7aram 3aleko… i32loha shwaya!

Ya reeet balash neraded kalam el 3’arb zay el ba3’ba3’anaat min 3’eer lama nefakar bel hadawa.

Resources:
· Yousef Al Qaradawi
· Islamonline
· Various Readings

Mood: The end is eminent… am I ready for the finale?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Very Disturbing Discussion…

Someone I know and I were sitting watching “Hellboy I” movie on TV.
At the end of the movie, Hellboy and his side-kicks were trying to kill all the monsters’ eggs before they hatch and turn into more monsters. At this point, a very disturbing conversation took place between us…

Him: “Why are they killing the eggs and little creatures do you think?”
Me: “Obviously to get rid of the creatures before they grow up and kill more people…etc.”
Him: “Do you think that’s right? Do you think if you were in their place you’d do the same?”
Me: “Of course I would! The creatures are dangerous, they will grow up and kill people. What else would one do?!”.

Silence for a while, then…

Him: “Then, maybe we shouldn’t blame terrorists for killing children using suicide-bombs, and maybe even we shouldn’t blame Israelis for shooting Palestinian children in the head!”.
Me: “What?!@!!@!#@$”.
Him: “If we as humans accept the notion of "killing small beings before they grow up (assuming they will be a threat), just to protect ourselves and\or our way of life" then, maybe terrorists and Israelis are not wrong when they kill other people’s children!!!!!”.

Me: “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mood: 1 to go, and the end seems eminent...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why Prophet Mohammad had 9 Wives When the Rule Says 4 Only? Was He A Womanizer?

People tend to ask these questions either because they just want to criticize and diminish our prophet or simply because they do not know the historical circumstances behind what really happened and why.

In this post I will try to answer the following questions:

  • Why did the prophet marry 9 at a certain point of time?
  • How come God gave muslims the option to marry up to 4, yet the prophet was married to 9 and kept them all?
  • Why didn’t the prophet divorce 5 and stay within the Islamic law limit of 4 (saving himself all the accusations that would come afterwards)?
  • Was the prophet a womanizer, hence marrying 9? (7asha lelAh)

First, of all let’s talk some facts and history about marrying more than one…

Before Islam (in many cultures and religions) it was normal for people to marry many women at the same time without any limitation whatsoever.

Marrying more than one isn’t an Islamic “invention”. For instance, Prophet David (PBUH) was said to have about 300 women (wives and all). And prophet Soliman (PBUH) was said to have about 700 women.

When Islam came, it put the limitation of 4 (with conditions).

{فَانْكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلاثَ وَرُبَاع} Al Nessa’a

When the above Quranic verse was revealed, all muslims (whom had more than 4 wives) had to limit themselves to 4 or less (depending on the case). And so they did.

Yet, at that time the prophet (PBUH) was married to 9 wives (before this order was revealed), and he didn’t divorce them.
Why? Here’s why…

Let it be know that in Islam, the Prophet’s wives are of special value and stance. They are not like any other women…

What a lot of people don’t know (I being one of them before I researched for answers), is that before the above verse (limiting to 4 wives) was revealed\descended to the prophet, another order (rule) was revealed\descended a while back…
That order was mentioned in this verse (from Al Ahzaab):

في قوله تعالى:{وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللهِ وَلا أَنْ تَنْكِحُوا أَزْواجَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا

God descended an order that “no one was to marry any of the women the Prophet married”.

Before applying that ruling on the wives, they were provided a choice…either to stay his wives and stick to the ruling (never to remarry again) or for them to get divorced at that time… they all preferred to stay with him!

The reasons for such a rule (his wives never to remarry)are obvious, it was to protect the prophet and his wives (whether while or after the prophet passed away) from any form of harm or mistreatment.

Imagine for example, after the prophet’s death any of his wives would remarry, and be mistreated in any way by a husband. Imagine (as a muslim) the impact of this on us!!

Or even if any of his wives would remarry, and be verbally mocked by atheists (who were ready to use anything just to demoralize or mock the prophet, his wives and muslims). You can imagine the type of low talk that can be used in such a situation, no need to mention it here.

This of course was important because the wives of the prophet have a very special stance in Islam (after all they are called “Mothers of all Muslims”).

So, here is the situation:
1- God said the prophet’s wives (9 of them at the time) are not to remarry after him.
2- God ordered muslims not to marry more than 4 at the same time.

In other words, the prophet will have to divorce 5 out of the 9 he had as wives at that point. Those 5 will neither be his wives nor any one else's (unlike all other women who when divorced can remarry).

Out of God’s mercy for the Prophet’s wives, He descended this verse:

يقول تعالى لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم:{لَا يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاءُ مِنْ بَعْدُ، وَلَا أَنْ تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ، وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ

It is an order from God directed to the prophet (specifically) never to marry anymore women at all (keeping the 9 he already has). And that he (the prophet) does not have the right to replace his wives (divorce one or more and marry new ones while keeping his limit of wives at 9).

And this rule (that applied to him only) was the answer for his situation (since he had 9 wives whom cannot remarry again).

So, from that point on... neither could the prophet remarry nor could his wives!

Special case, special reason and that was that.

---

As for being a womanizer or not,
fact was… the prophet only married once from the age of 25 till he was 50 (Khadija, PBUH).
He (as all prophets) never committed adultery.
He even didn’t marry before turning 25 (even though in his community and time… marrying early was a norm).
If he was a womanizer (7asha LelAh), what stopped him?

Even Khadija, the one he loved and married till he was 50.. was elder than him (15 years elder).
If he was after women, why didn’t he remarry when she (Khadija) was old (when he was in his 40s and she was in her 60s)?

Besides that, Khadija had children from a previous marriage.
What made the prophet marry an older woman with children if he was after women for the joy of them and that’s it?

And after Khadija (his first wife) passed away, when he decided to marry… he married Zeinab Bent Zam’aa who was neither young nor pretty.
Also, out of all the women he married, Aisha was the only one that wasn’t married before.
Not to forget that out of all the women he married, almost non of his wives (except maybe Aisha and Zeinab bent Jahsh, walAho a3alm) were known for their beauty.

I ask you…
if he was a womanizer (being the prophet and the most influential man of his time), wouldn’t he be able to marry any pretty and wealth woman in the whole of the Arabian peninsula?

Does that sound like a womanizer to you?

Obviously, lust wasn’t something on his mind!

Resources:

  • Islamonline.
  • Various readings.

Mood: 2 to go, and the end seems eminent...