DAUGHTERS Arabic Bint, pl. Banat; Heb. Bath In the law of inheritance, the position of a daughter is secured by a verse in the Qur’an. Surah iv 12: “With regard to your children, God has commanded you to give the sons the portion of two daughters, more than two, then they shall have two-thirds of that which their father hath left, but if she be an only daughter she shall have the half.
The Sirajiyah explains the above as follows:
“Daughters begotten by the deceased take in three cases; half goes to one only, and two-thirds to two or more; and, if there be a son, the male has the share of two females, and he makes them residuaries. The son’s daughters are like the daughters begotten by the deceased; and they may be in six cases: half goes to one only, and two-thirds to two or more, on failure of daughters begotten by the deceased; with a single daughter of the deceased, they have sixth completing (with the daughter’s half) two-thirds: but, with two daughters of the deceased they have no share of the inheritance unless there be in an equal degree with, or in a lower degree than them, a boy, who makes them residuaries. As to the remainder between them, the male has the portion of two females; and all of the son’s daughters are excluded by the son himself.
If the nab leaves three son’s daughters, some of them in lower degrees than others, and three daughters of the son of another son, some of them in lower degrees than others, and three daughters of the son’s son of another son, some of them in lower degrees that others, as in the following table, this is called the case of tashbih.
First set Second set Third set
Son Son Son
Son, daughter Son Son
Son, daughter Son, daughter Son
Son, daughter Son, daughter Son, daughter
Son, daughter Son, daughter Son daughter
“Here the eldest of the first line has none equal in degree with her; the middle one of the first line is equalled in degree by the eldest of the second, and the youngest of the first line is equalled by the middle one of the second, and by the eldest of the third line; the youngest of the second line is equalled by the middle one of the third line, and the youngest of the third son has no equal in degree. When thou hast comprehended this, then we say: the eldest of the first line has a moiety; the middle one of the first line has a sixth, together with her equal in degree, to make up two-thirds; and those in lower degrees never take anything unless there be a son with them, who makes them residuaries, both her who is equal to him in degree, and her who is above him, but who is not entitled to a share; those below him are excluded.” (Ramsay’s ed. As-Sirajiyah.)
The age of puberty, or majority, of a daughter is established by the usual signs of womanhood; but in the absence of these signs, according to Abu Hanifah, she is not of age until she is eighteen. But the two Imams, Muhammad and Yusuf fix the age at fifteen and with this opinion the Imam ash-Shafi’i agrees.
With regard to a daughter’s freedom in a marriage contract, Shaikh Abdu ‘l-Haqq in his commentary on the Traditions (vol iii p105) says, “All the learned doctors are agreed that a virgin daughter until she has arrived at the age of puberty, is entirely at the disposal of her father or lawful guardian, but that in the event of a woman having been left a widow after she has attained the age of puberty, she is entirely at liberty to marry whom she likes.” There is, however, he says some difference of opinion as to the freedom of a girl who have not been married and has arrived at the age of puberty. Abu Hanifah rules that she is entirely free from the control of her guardian with regard to her marriage but ash-Shafi’i rules otherwise. Again, as regards a widow who is not of age. Abu Hanifah says she cannot marry without her guardian’s permission but ash-Shafi’i says she is free.
According to the teaching of the Prophet “a virgin daughter gives her consent to marriage by silence.” He also taught that a woman ripe in years shall have her consent asked, and if she remain silent her silence is consent, but if she do not consent, she shall not be forced.” But this tradition is also to be compared with another, in which he said “There is no marriage without the permission of the guardians.” (Mishkat, xiii c iv pt. 2) Hence the difference between the learned doctors on this subject.
The author of the Akhlaq-I-Jalali says it is not advisable to teach girls to read and write, and this is the general feeling amongst Muslims in all parts of the world, although it is considered right to enable prayers.
The father or guardian is to be blamed who does not marry his daughter at an early age, for Muhammad is related to have said, “It is written in the Book of Moses, that whosoever does not marry his daughter when she hath reached the age of twelve years is responsible for any sin she may commit.”
The ancient Arabs used to call the angels the “daughters of God”, and objected strongly as the Badawis do in the present day, to female offspring and they used to bury their infant daughters alive. These practices Muhammad reprobates in the Qur’an Surah xvi 59: “And they ascribe daughters unto God! Glory be to Him! But they desire them not for themselves. For when the birth of a daughter is announced, to any one of them dark shadows settle on his face, and he is sad; he hideth him from the people because of the ill tidings. Shall he keep it with disgrace, or bury it in the dust? Are not their judgements wrong?
Mr. Rodwell remarks on this verse: “Thus Rabbinism teaches that to be a woman is a great degradation. The modern Jew says in his Daily Prayers, fol. 5,6, “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God! Kings of the Universe! Who hath not made me a women.”
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam