FILE – Tunisian President BejiCaedEssibsi – Reuters/AnisMili FILE – Tunisian President BejiCaedEssibsi – Reuters/AnisMili

Egypt renews rejection as Tunisia moves toward changing inheritance laws

Mon, Nov. 26, 2018
CAIRO – 26 November 2018: Egyptian Islamic institutions reiterated rejection of equal inheritance formen and women, while the Tunisian government has been pushing forward a bill that swims against religious tides.

Egypt's Mufti ShawkiAllam stressed that granting women equal inheritance rights as men violates Islamic Sharia (law), adding that Islamic scholars throughout the ages have agreed that granting both genders equal inheritance rights contradicts with the Islamic instructions.

In Islam, Ijtihad (independent reasoning) is not employed where Qur'an and Hadith are considered unambiguous with regard to the matter in question, Allam said.


Azhar, Essibsi

The initiative was launched by Tunisian President BejiCaedEssibsi in August 2017, in his speech during the National Women's day.

During his speech, he called on amending a publication released by the Ministry of Justice in 1973 that bans Tunisian Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims, and also called on establishing equality between men and women in terms of inheritance.

In the same month, Egypt’s religious authority, Al-Azhar, subsequently announced rejecting the religious decisions declared by Essibsi.

Abbas Shouman, the deputy chief of Al-Azhar Islamic institution, commented on the suggestionin a Facebook post saying that it is unjust and against the provisions of the law of Islam, explaining that the “inheritance is divided in verses of peremptory significance and could not be changed,” and not granting lesser rights to women than men.

The cleric also added that inheritance is one of those few topics that were explained in details in the Holy Quran and it was commonly approved by the scholars of Islam in past and present.

In August 2018,Essibsi said he will submit a bill to parliament through which women and men can be granted equal inheritance rights.On Friday, the Tunisian cabinet approved the law, making Tunisiathe first Arab country to take such step.

Egyptian law follows an interpretation of the Islamic law, in which a man inherits double the share of a female in some cases, while in some cases, women can take equal share as men or can take more than whatmen take in other cases.

Controversy

Despite Egyptian Islamic institutions' remarks, inheritance equality between men and women, which Tunisia calls for, has stirred some sort of controversy in Egypt.


The presenter of “90 Minutes” program, Mohamed el-Baz, said that women’s status nowadays differs from that in the prophet’s period as women today contribute more to societies and are breadwinners.

Baz added that equality between men and women in inheritance does not contradict with God’s decree as it is no longer suitable for the conditions of today's community.

“Nobody can change the Qur’an’s verses regarding inheritance. We will preserve the holy text, but it will not come into effect as it is no longer appropriate for the community nowadays,” he remarked.

In the same context, a member of Egyptian Parliament's Social Solidarity Committee, Mohamed Abu Hamed, said that inheritance equality in Egypt is a very complicated issue as the religious discourse should be renewed for inheritance equality to be applied.

On the other hand, MP Shoukry al-Gendy of the Religious Committee of Endowments and Religious Affairs, said that the Qur’an’s texts on the inheritance for men and women are very clear, and all Muslims should obey God and his prophet, referring that such calls are void.
 
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