(Original post by mariachi)
OK, it is time to draw some conclusions.
This discussion is a good example of incompetence, superficiality and bad faith in debating.
Iqbal starts by making a superficial, blanket statement
being able to make such a bold statement would mean having analyzed literally thousands of different societies with regard to their inheritance rules, and having compared them to Shariah.
Has Iqbal done this ? no, of course. He is simply repeating sheepishly what thousands of Muslims have read on their dawah websites and then copy paste all around the web.
And yet, a simple check shows that e.g. in ancient Egypt women had important inheritance rights, thousands of years already before Islam. Other societies may also have given them - who knows ? the only way to find out would be to study, instead of making bold gratuitous statements, as Iqbal does
The page I linked to gives an impressive image of women rights in ancient Egypt, and inheritance rights in particular. So, Iqbal has to clutch at straws. This is how he does it : the page I quoted (http://www.library.cornell.edu/colld...ast/womneg.htm
) mentions a contract practiced in the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC) which allowed the husband, during his lifetime, to make a donation of his goods, so that these goods would not be included in the final inheritance (which would follow the usual course). This is the quote
and this is how Iqbal mentions and comments the quote
Iqbal is dishonest, because he drops the reference to the Middle Kingdom.
The Middle Kingdom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Kingdom_of_Egypt
lasted from 2055 to 1650 BC. Whatever practices during the Middle Kingdom may have limited a woman's right to inheritance, matters very little, since the Middle Kingdom ended in any case about 2300 years before Islam. So, this "first straw" clutched by Iqbal is deeply flawed.
So, he clutches a second straw: since the article I quoted states that in Egypt
Iqbal starts to quibble on the meaning of the word "claims"
Iqbal suggests that "a claim to that amount" doesn't mean she had a "right" to that amount. This is particularly disingenuous. If the wife had no "right" to that amount, why should she "claim" up to one third only ? for all it mattered, she could "claim" 75% of the inheritance, or even 100% ...
what is clear is that, in normal circumstances, the widow would inherit 1/3 of the husband's properties. More still, in special circumstances (adoption by her husband, no offspring or siblings etc) or perhaps less (during the Middle Kingdom, via donations made by the husband during the lifetime).
As can be seen, inheritance is no simple matter. It is not in ancient Egypt, nor is it in fact under Shariah. There may be conflicting "claims" and, in the end, the whole matter may end up before the judge, who will take a final decision.
But the whole discussion is next to useless, except that it shows one thing : that it is terminally stupid to make statements such as "Women had no inheritance rights before Islam" without having analyzed at the very least the main civilizations and the main legal systems.
The case of Egypt is just one case, and it clearly shows that women did have inheritance rights (beyond quibbles about the Middle Kingdom, conflicting "claims" etc)
So, why do some Muslims repeat day in, day out, that old chestnut about women's inheritance rights ? have they conducted the necessary studies ?
no, they have read it on their dawah sites, and they repeat it ad infinitum.