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Inheritance Laws: Do Men Always Receive Double?

13 April, 2020
Q How can it be fair that men inherit double what women inherit when their parents die? Is there ever an exception, or do men always receive double the inheritance that their female relatives do?


Short Answer: 

  • No! This is a common misconception. In fact, out of 60+ scenarios, a man inherits double what a woman would inherit in only four of them, and in some scenarios, a woman actually inherits more than a male counterpart. 
  • So inheritance is not based upon gender, it’s based upon carrabba, or expectations and responsibilities on the person inheriting.
  • A man is required to provide everything for his wife and children while a woman is not, so it makes sense in some cases that the man should inherit more from his ancestor—he has to provide for more people.

Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Shaykh Walead Muhammad Mosaad from addresses this question in the video below.


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Shaykh Walead Muhammad Mosaad: This is one of the most overused, trite, boring misconceptions about inheritance law, that somehow it’s always a two-to-one, that the male will always inherit twice as much as the female.

That’s not actually true.

Out of 60+ scenarios, that only happens in four of them, and most scenarios… some scenarios, a woman actually inherits more than a male counterpart.

So if a deceased leaves two daughters behind and no sons, they’re going to get two thirds, no matter what.

If it’s only one daughter and no son, she’ll get half!

That means any male relatives–like a brother, like a grandfather–they’re not gonna get… certainly not a half if they’re more than one.

And in certain scenarios, the female–if she’s present–will get an inheritance and some male counterparts will not.

So inheritance is not based upon gender, it’s based upon carrabba. It’s based upon how close–how many generations removed–and societal roles.

So while, for example, men are expected to support families and support their wives completely without generally any assistance from the family or the wife, the same is not expected of the wife.

And so in certain scenarios, yes, when it’s a son and a daughter, then in that case the son will get two shares and the daughter will get one share.

But then the responsibilities and expectations that are placed upon the daughter–financially speaking–are much less than those that are placed upon the son.

So, considering all of those things, it’s not always applicable.

But I get the feeling that the questioner here meant, ‘Is there a time where we can change the inheritance laws and make them different?’

No, there’s not going to be a time we’re going to make them different.

When a certain ahkam [wisdom] come in the Quran, specifically—and… many of the inheritance law is mentioned specifically in Surat Annisa in the Quran—that gives it sort of a thabit (immutable) nature, something that is… I don’t believe it’s going to change.

There’s a consensus on those issues, they’re not going to be changed but for the reasons that I just mentioned.

I hope this video answered your question. Please stay in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Difference in Inheritance between Men and Women: Why?

A Will against Islamic Inheritance Law: Valid?

1400 Years Ago, Islam Offered the Perfect Social System for Women