Fatwa on Women’s Financial Rights


Salam sheikh,

There has been controversy in Europe by the well known sheikh Tariq Ramadan. He has been passing fatwas that in the West, the father does not have to split the inheritance according to the literal meaning of the Quran but he should split evenly with the men and women. He said the context is different now compared to the past because of social factors like women being independent now. And we have to consider the principles of Islam and the reasoning behind the rules.
Is such a valid followable opinion?

Jazak Allah Khair


wa `alaykum salam,

If women are more financially independent today than in the past then they need inheritance parity even less now than in the past. However, the basis is not “need” assessment but the Divine stipulation and the religious understanding of gender identities and roles in Muslim and human society.

Shaykh Sa`id al-Buti in his Damascus lessons on women in the Shari`ah in the nineties said this striking phrase: “Even if she is a millionaire she does not have to spend a fils (penny) on herself; from her father’s house to her husband’s house it is all the duty of the men in her life, and no one can ask her to spend out of her own property unless she desires to do so out of her own good will as her option, not her obligation.” This is a God-given right of women to preserve their own wealth and responsibility of men to spend theirs which, even if many Western(ized) women nowadays cast off the dependency on father/husband as an unwanted burden and claim qayyumiyya (financial responsibility) for themselves, does not mean that the Law itself has changed. Men are still responsible.

A lucid 170-page study came out in 1999 in Damascus authored by Muhammad Badawi Wahba and Safa’ Wahba entitled, Why does a woman inherit half the portion of a man? (Limadha tarithu al-mar’atu nisfa nasib al-rajul?) . Such a study should be translated and disseminated in the West to inform the discourse on that issue.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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