Property rights of women

Some unscrupulous, selfish and ignorant people violate women’s property and other rights that Islam has granted them

March 12, 2021

The Supreme Court has upheld that under the Sharia Law, a wife is entitled to the bridal gifts she receives at the time of her marriage, and that these are her property and stay so. Additions to these gifts can be made but she cannot be deprived of them because they are her property. The divisional bench of the top court has stated this in a recent 12-page judgment, authored by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, in a property case.

Islam allows a woman to own and dispose of property; retain her income and property; do business without the permission of her father and husband; and spend or utilise what she earns. In contrast to all this, experience shows, and as the court too observed, that at times Quranic injunctions are not followed. Some unscrupulous, selfish and ignorant people violate women’s property and other rights that Islam has granted them. Brothers and other relatives deprive women of their share in the paternal property under the pretext that they (women) had been given their share in the form of dowry at the time of marriage. It is an entirely un-Islamic and false notion. What is at play in such cases is that local customs and practices take precedence over religious laws. People usurp property rights of women by resorting to other retrogressive practices and customs, which differ from region to region. This protects such men from society’s criticism despite the fact that these customs run contrary to what religion prescribes. Women and men have equal rights in Islam.

Islam granted women rights with regard to property and income centuries ago when the West did not have even a rudimentary comprehension of women’s rights. This can be attributed to the belief that after marriage, men and women were regarded as one person in law. What was a woman’s property and income belonged to the husband after marriage. Such unjust laws came under trenchant criticism.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2021.

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