عنوان مقاله [English]
In answer to the questions posed in respect of the distribution of inheritance between female and male heirs, under Iranian law, it can be argued that Iranian law, following Islamic-Shiite law, has adopted the fairest system of distribution in this respect. The responsibilities of each of woman and man in the family as well as the rights and protections given to them, as the creatures of God and His successors on the earth, must be taken into account when analyzing the inheritance distribution system. This paper argues that, under Iranian law, inheritance is distributed between male and female heirs in proportion to (1) the responsibilities and obligations that a man has with respect to his family (including providing maintenance for his wife and his children), the duty to defend the country and the duty of doing the preliminaries like military service and to (2) financial protection given to a woman including the dower, maintenance and equivalent remuneration for the work done by the wife at home, that must be provided by the husband. In other words, the distribution of inheritance is not based on the gender of the heirs.
This paper, by looking at the aims of God from the creation of mankind including women and men and by referring to the Quranic verses (such as beginning verses of Nisā chapter, Verse 189 of Arāf chapter and Verse 56 of Al-Dhārīyāt chapter, and the traditions narrated from the infallibles (peace be upon them) as well as the equality of all human beings before God and that no individual is preferred to another one except by righteousness, knowledge, faith and the right conduct, deals with the distribution of inheritance based on meeting the needs of woman and man and their financial responsibilities.
A man in an Islamic society has a number of financial responsibilities including the payment of dower, as agreed by the spouses, and providing the living expenses of the wife, according to her social standing, and living expenses of his children. By taking into account the fact that a woman has no duty to do housework, she is also entitled to ask her husband to pay remuneration for her work. By explaining the different ways of distributing the inheritance between male and female heirs, according to the degree of their relationship with the deceased, the share of every female heir has been made clear.
It should be noted, that in the inheritance distributing system, under Iranian law, the heirs are divided into three classes according the degree of the heirs' relationship with the deceased. For example, parents and children are among the first class; sisters and brothers as well as their children and grandparents are in the second class; and uncles and aunts as well as their children are in the third class. The first class prevents the second class and the second class prevents the third one from benefiting from inheritance.
By taking into account the way of distributing the inheritance between the heirs in the three classes, it can be argued that:
(1) In many cases the share of female and male heirs are equal. For example, the share of mother and husband from the deceased wife's property is equal. The share of father and mother, is one sixth of the child's property. Where the heirs are a sister and the husband, their shares would be equal. All maternal relatives like maternal brother and maternal sister as well as maternal uncles and aunts and their children would receive equal shares from the inheritance.
(2) In certain cases, the share of female heir is higher than that of male heir. For example, where one daughter and the husband are the heirs of the deceased, the daughter would receive more than the husband. Where the heirs of the deceased are the husband, father and mother, the mother would receive more than the father. Where the sister and maternal grandfather are the heirs of the deceased, the sister would receive more the maternal grandfather.
(3) In certain cases, however, the share of male heirs is more than the share of female heirs.
The most important point that must be taken into account in the distribution of inheritance between the heirs is that the distribution has a direct relation to the obligations and responsibilities that each of woman and man has in the family life and in the society. No attention is paid to the gender and the natural value of female and male heirs in the distribution of the inheritance.
8. جعفری لنگرودی، محمدجعفر (1357). ارث، تهران: امیرکبیر.