It is true that Islam was actually the first religion to give women inheritance rights. But as the world progressed, the Islamic laws governing inheritance remained unchanged, as did the discrepancy between the sexes.
In Islam, women inherit half of what their brothers do, a discriminatory law that many have been challenging in recent years. There have been attempts by several Arab countries to change the laws governing inheritance for Muslims, all of which follow Islamic law. One non-Arab Muslim-majority country actually succeeded in its efforts. Turkey replaced its Sharia-based inheritance laws in 1923; both Iran and Tunisia have tried to do the same, but haven't been successful in getting official approval for the implementation of equal inheritance for both sexes. Then you have other countries that are not even remotely close to acknowledging gender equality.
The North African country makes no exceptions when it comes to Islamic laws governing inheritance, but one woman has been fighting non-stop to become the rarity in the country.
Huda Nasralla 👏
Huda Nasralla, a Coptic Christian woman in Egypt, recently won a legal battle to receive the same inheritance as her brothers. In Egypt, Sharia law governs inheritance regardless of the subject's religion.
But Nasralla, a human rights lawyer, could not just give in to the discriminatory system. Instead, she built a legal case to test the statute's legality, referencing the Christian doctrine of equal inheritance. Prior to her victory, two courts had ruled against her based on Islamic law.
The 40-year-old's court battle ended in a win as she will now receive the same amount as her brothers, who supported her all throughout.
"It is not really about inheritance, my father did not leave us millions of Egyptian pounds," Nasralla said, according to AP. "I have the right to ask to be treated equally as my brothers."
Egypt's legal system grants the Coptic Church full authority over laws governing marriages and divorce concerning its followers. However, inheritance laws are left to the state to decide, according to the BBC.
Calls for equal inheritance rights began to echo across the Arab world after Tunisia proposed a gender-neutral inheritance bill last year. The proposed law - introduced by the country's late president Beji Caed Essibsi - was initially approved by Tunisia's cabinet but has yet to be ratified by the parliament.
At the time, Egypt's Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni religious institution in the Muslim world, rejected the proposal, saying it contradicts Islamic law. Deputy of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Abbas Shuman, even called equality between the sexes unfair.
"The call for equality in inheritance between genders is unfair because women can already inherit more than men in certain situations," he said at the time.
Maybe with Nasralla's case, Egypt will be more open to accepting equality for the sake of its women.