By: Alexandra Kinias
Mona, a very sweet teenage girl, had many dreams for the future. Growing up as the only daughter of businessman Ali Omar and his elegant wife Nadira, Mona enjoyed a perfect life by all means; attended a private school, met her friends in the club, drove her own car, and enjoyed the love of her parents. It was lonely sometimes being an only child, but she found good company with her little puppy that she adored.
Not in her wildest dreams had she imagined that this beautiful life would be shattered to pieces when her beloved father perished in a highway car crash. The mourning and grief of Mona and Nadira were heartbreaking and they hoped time would heal their wounded hearts. However, before they realized it, the tragedy was soon overshadowed by the hellish nightmare that hijacked their lives for ever —- The discriminatory inheritance law against women in Egypt. According to the law, since Ali had no sons to succeed him, 5/24 of everything he sweated blood to own became a property of his siblings in a blink of an eye, and with this share they automatically became partners in everything he owned.
That was not the problem for Mona and Nadira who had long ago accepted their fate as second class citizens in a society that claimed that women enjoyed equal rights. The mother and daughter were willing to give Ali’s siblings the share of the estate they inherited by law and move on with their lives. But because of a family feud that had erupted between Ali and his siblings, so long ago, before he even met his wife, they refused to accept their share of the estate, but at the same time they wouldn’t hand it back over to Mona and Nadira. This decision that even paralyzed the legal system , left the girl and her mother in total dilemma.
The 5/24, which constituted the share of Ali’s siblings, was small yet it was enough to create a lot of headaches that filled Mona and her mother’s lives with so much stress and misery. Nothing that dealt with his estate would be approved without their precious signature, and that included as trivial details as renewing Mona’s car license, since it was in her father’s name.
Someone would accuse Ali that he wasn’t smart enough to write a will. On the contrary, he was very smart, but wills are not allowed to be drafted in Islam either. Only a son could block the siblings of the deceased, but never a daughter. This might explain why there is so much emphasis of having a son in societies where Islam rules. By the way, non-Muslim subjects in Muslim societies are also subjected to the law of the land which is derived from Shariaa – Islamic law.
With or without a son, Nadira’s share of the estate was 1/8th. Had Mona had a brother, he would be entitled to twice as much as her share. Can’t you see, he is the boy.
So, how can any sensible person look a woman in the eye and say that Islam does not discriminate against women? When someone says that, he/she is not only insulting their intelligence as human beings, but also demeaning their integrity. If equality means that women deserve half of what a man gets, then whoever suggests that should go back to learn their math.
Lawmakers and religious scholars would gain women’s respect if they came out in the public and acknowledged that women don’t have equal rights. Those who smirk in women’s faces with the infamous line that Islam gave women all their rights should elaborate and clarify what rights exactly they are talking about.
Probably by now you’re asking what had happened to Mona and her mother, and for that you just have to stay tuned.
To be continued………
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