What are the five cases in which the female's share in the inheritance is half that of the male?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
In inheritance, there are cases in which the female is different from the male; sometimes, she inherits half of what the male inherits.
These cases are limited to five cases:
1) The daughter and the son.
2) The daughter of the son and the son of the son.
3) The full-sister and the full-brother.
4) The sister from the father’s side and the brother from the father’s side.
5) The fifth case is the share of the wife from her husband compared to his share from her; he inherits one fourth from her if she has direct heirs (any children), while she inherits one eighth from him if he has direct heirs; and he inherits half from her if she has no direct heirs, while she inherits one fourth if he has no direct heirs.
Also, among the cases in which a female gets half of what a male gets is the mother with the father in case of al-Gharraawayn, i.e. when a wife dies and leaves behind a husband and her parents; or when a husband dies and leaves behind a wife and his parents, so the mother gets half of what the father gets when the mother is given the third of the remainder (of the estate).
It should be noted that sometimes, the female inherits the same share as that of the male; this is the case of the sister from the mother’s side and the brother from the mother’s side when there are only one brother and one sister from the mother’s side, or when there are many siblings from the mother’s side; so in the first case, they both inherit one third equally, so her share is like his share, and in the second case, she (like her brother) gets one sixth, which is the same as his share.
Sometimes, the female inherits more than the share of the male, so if a man dies leaving behind his wife, a full-sister, and a brother from the father’s side, then the wife gets one fourth and the full-sister gets half, and the rest is for the brother from the father’s side; his share is less than the share of the full-sister despite the fact that he is a male and she is a female.
Sometimes, a female inherits and is the cause of depriving the brother from the inheritance, as in the case in which a person dies leaving behind a daughter, a full-sister, and a brother from the father’s side, so the daughter gets half, and the full-sister gets the rest by virtue of Ta’seeb (having a paternal relation with the deceased and not having an allotted share; so she gets what is left after the allotted shares have been distributed), while the brother from the father’s side does not get anything from the inheritance in this case because of the existence of the full-sister.
Therefore, it becomes evident that it is wrong to say that the female always inherits half of what a male inherits in Islam, as this is not in all cases. The fact that the male is favored over her by getting double her share in those five cases is not due to preferring his gender; the evidence is that this preference is not fixed, and we found cases in which she is preferred over him. So his preference over her in those cases is due to other considerations.
Allah knows best.
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