Studies 26 July, 2017

Women’s Right to Inheritance in Jordanian Law: Requirements and Prospects of Change



Inheritance occupies an extremely high place in Islamic jurisprudence or fiqh, which jurists label as an “obligation” or “inheritance.” Its centrality in Islamic law is due to the connection of inheritance to an individual’s “obligations” in the accurate terminological sense of the word. Thus, to properly carry out inheritance is to commit to the divine order. In the Quran, it is the Surat An-Nisa, (the ‘Surah of Women,’) which clarifies inheritance provisions in detail, and is the base from which jurists build law through explanation. Juridical explanations have expanded to include a wide variety of issues, while other provisions were arrived at through the teachings and permissions of Prophet Mohammad, the sunnah, as well as through deductive analogy qiyas, and consensus ijmaa.      

It is not only the Quran that emphasizes the importance of inheritance, but also the Hadith. Abu-Hurairah reported that the Prophet Mohammad insisted on: “Learn the obligations (inheritance laws) and teach them as they constitute half of knowledge, and knowledge is forgettable. It is the first thing that is taken away from my nation.” Abdulla Ben Masood reports the Prophet’s conversation where he said: “Study the Quran and teach it to people. Learn the obligations (inheritance laws) and teach them to people as I will die, and knowledge will end. Sedition will arise when two men disagree on inheritance and then there would not be anyone to separate them.” These texts appear in the Sunnah books, and regardless of the differences among hadith scholars about their ranking, they are indicators of the view of the companions and followers of the Prophet in the early centuries. They emphasize the importance of this branch of Islamic knowledge and the necessity of spending time and attention on the financial rights and liabilities of individuals.

By and large Arab legislation has adopted the provisions of Islamic law (Sharia), even where it concerns non-Muslims. Islamic law provides the baseline for all members of society unless the parties involved are in agreement about the arbitration of the dead person’s will. Regarding women’s right to inherit, legislation has been determined by Islamic jurisprudence and deduced based on verses from the Quran, the Hadith, and consensus. The present study seeks to examine the relationship between the Sharia laws, Jordanian legislation, and comparative scholarships when it comes to women’s right to inherit.


To read this Research Paper in full, please click on the link here, on the icon above or on the reader on this page. This paper was translated by the ACRPS Translation and English editing team. To read the original Arabic version, which appeared online on 26 February, 2017, please click here.