Women And Inheritance Part 2

As we have seen, in contrast to the principle of “Equality of Men and Women,” there is neither equality nor unity in the laws of inheritance regarding these two sexes.

To justify this discrimination, Baha’i leaders have brought forth an argument:

In a Tablet, ‘Abdu’l-Bahā indicates that the residence and personal clothing of a deceased man remain in the male line. They pass to the eldest son and in the absence of the eldest son, they pass to the second-eldest son, and so on. He explains that this provision is an expression of the law of primogeniture, which has invariably been upheld by the Law of God.

In a Tablet to a follower of the Faith in Persia He wrote:

“In all the Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.”

(Pay attention to the word distinction which has been used twice in the above quote. Remember this is the same creed that claims God has made absolutely no distinction between people and between male or female:

“The second principle is the Oneness of Humanity: all humans are divine sheep and God is the kind shepherd who has utter compassion towards all the sheep and has made no distinction [between them],”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb, vol. 3, p. 67.)

With the distinctions given to the eldest son, however, go concomitant duties. For example, he has the moral responsibility, for the sake of God, to care for his mother and also to consider the needs of the other heirs.

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, pp. 186-7

Now consider the case where the deceased only has female children.

Two thirds of the residence and personal clothing pass to the female offspring, and one third to the House of Justice, which God hath made to be the treasury of the people.

Why discriminate against the female offspring and give a third of their share to the UHJ, while if the same share was for the eldest son it would be solely for him to keep? Why can the eldest female offspring not inherit the house? Who has to fulfill the moral responsibilities?

If you are wondering if any belongings of the deceased are solely passed to the female offspring, the answer is yes. They get to keep their mother’s rags and old clothes:

In the case of the deceased mother all her used clothing is to be equally divided amongst her daughters.

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 165

If you are still wondering what happens to the mother’s unused and new clothes, well the girls do not get to keep them and they are divided between all the groups of aforementioned inheritors:

Her unworn clothing, jewels and property must be divided among her heirs.

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 187

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings




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