Promoting an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of
justice, equality, freedom, and dignity within a democratic nation state

Inheritance Reform on Rights at Home project
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Eight subsections:
Introduction
Quranic verses on inheritance
Traditional rules of inheritance
Examples of how these rules affect women
Standard defences of traditional rules and why these arguments are flawed
Prospects for reform
Examples of reform from Muslim countries around the world
Resources


Introduction
Inheritance rights are crucial for Muslim women because distribution and control of property and assets significantly affect their ability to enjoy stable and fulfilling lives and to exercise other rights. Without assets derived from inheritance, women are disadvantaged, cannot lead independent lives, and cannot even ensure that they and their families can support themselves. Inheritance distribution is closely tied up with provisions in many Muslim family laws, and must be conceived from a just and equitable perspective in order to ensure there is fairness and justice in other aspects of family life. Although very vocal defences of the traditional inheritance laws have been argued, these are problematic both in terms of justice and in the context of the modern era. There are a number of compelling justifications for reform that have been proposed by Islamic scholars.

This section includes a brief overview of the major Qur’anic verses on inheritance, traditional rules of inheritance derived from those verses and hadith by the major schools of law, some examples of how those rules affect women, a sample of standard defences of those traditional rules and explanations of why the defences are problematic, potential prospects for reform, and examples of reform efforts from various Muslim countries around the world. There is also a list of resources that can provide more information on inheritance rules, examples of how people defend the traditional inheritance rules, and ideas for reform.

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