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Financial Rights + Women + Islam

Contrary to popular belief, Islam affords women financial security. A married woman in Islam retains her independent legal personality and her family name. Child support and Alimony are not limited to the Western world. Married Muslim women are entitled to full financial support during marriage and during their 'Iddah" (waiting period after divorce). In the case of a divorce, a woman with children is entitled to child support. 

Cultural misconceptions and deep-rooted misogyny have resulted in Muslim women being denied their right to financial security. 

It is vital to note that women are not responsible for any financial obligations related to running and maintaining a household and the family within it.  Before marriage, it is the duty of her father or brother to maintain her lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial concerns. After marriage, these concerns become the duty of her husband or her son. 

Working women are not obligated to spend her earnings on the household, as all her earnings are her personal property.  She can spend on the household if it is her free will, but the responsibility remains on the husband to provide for her lodging, boarding, clothing, so on, irrespective of her personal wealth. 

'Jahez' - An Un-Islamic Practice  

The bride and her family are under no obligation to present a gift to the groom or his family at the time of the marriage. In fact, according to Islam, it is the groom who must present the bride with a marriage gift.  This gift is considered her sole property, so neither the groom nor the bride's family has any right over it. The marriage gifts remain the bride's property even if later the couple is divorced. 

Note: The husband is not allowed any share in his wife's property except what she offers him with her free consent.  This verse from the Holy Qur'an brings further clarity:

"And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease" [Quran 4:4]

Repeating this again: A married Muslim woman's property and earnings are under her full control and for her use alone since her and the children's  maintenance is her husband's responsibility. Should a married woman be expected to be a co-provider? She is under no obligation to act as a co-provider for the family unless she volunteers to do so. 

Inheritance and Women's Rights in Islam 

The guaranteed support a Muslim woman is given by Islam in all stages of her life is balanced by the provisions of inheritance that allow a male to inherit twice as much as the female. This means that since the male inherits more he is financially responsible for other females in his life: daughters, wives, mother and sisters.  The female (i.e., a wife) inherits less but keeps it all for investment and financial security without any obligation to spend any part of it even on her own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication,etc). 

Islam gave all the female relatives inheritance shares, unlike other faiths. Muslim women had received inheritance rights a full thirteen hundred years before Europe recognized that these rights existed, especially for women who were not royalty. 

In the Holy Qur'an, Allah (SWT) Says:

"From what is left by parents, and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large-- a determinate share" [Quran 4:7]


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I overheard a rather worrisome conversation the other day. It was between a woman and her older brother. 

She was frantically sobbing and he was trying (failing) to console her.  

“Promise you will not leave me here. I need to be away from here!” 

“Relax! I could never leave you at the mercy of these awful people.”

“Can you take me now? Please, Bhai, abhi?!” 

“Be patient little sister. Just wait until I talk to your Bhabhi (sister-in -law). She needs to be okay with you moving in. It is a really busy time as the kids just started up school after the summer break. ”

“Please take me now. Don’t leave me here! I have nowhere else to go.” 

“I promise, just wait a bit. Sabr karo. “

The woman starts sobbing uncontrollably while  as her brother sighs. 

This was a scene from a drama serial, however it could have just as well have been a real conversation.  

Our damsel-in-distress's marriage is over and she needs a place to stay. The only place she can think of is her brother's home. However, eve…