Violence against Women Due to Inheritance

Complete Research Proposal


O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. (Chapter 4: verses 19)

The inequality of women’s status and rights at all levels of society and discrimination against them in several forms remain a matter of serious concern world-over, particularly in Pakistan. A majority of women in Pakistan live in a world structured around strict religious, family and tribal customs that essentially force them often to live in “Char Divari,”1 submission and overall fear. They are subjected to discrimination and violence on a daily basis due to the cultural and religious norms.

The ritual of Karo-Kari  , Vani or Soowa  , Watta Satta (exchange marriages), marriages with Quran and the problems of dowry and divorce still haunt the mind of any woman who belongs to Pakistan especially its rural areas. In organizations and educational institutions people are still facing difficulty in accepting women as an asset towards development. A woman is expected to play her role in the house only. Workingwomen are not looked upon with respect in society. They are not getting due credit for their contribution towards development.

People married their daughter with Quran due to many reasons but the most haunting one is that they want to retain their properties and do not support to inherit it to their daughters basically they are afraid when they marry their daughter, they think that now she is not the part of their family and after wards her husband forced their daughter to claim her right of inheritance. So they married their daughter with Quran that the property remains in their hand.


According to Babylon English Dictionary, violence is a rough unwarranted force, an injurious treatment, and vehemence of expression.

So for as violence against women is concerned, we can say that violence against women is any rough unwarranted force, injurious treatment against women.

Types of Violence

There are many different types of violence. The types that are included in the category of domestic violence and its affected age groups are;

Form of Violence
• Physical
• Sexual
• Verbal
• Psychological/emotional
• Spiritual
• Economic
• Social
Affected Age Group
• Child abuse
• Spousal abuse
• Elder abuse

Any of these types of violence can occur anywhere. ‘Domestic violence’ as a term relates to violence committed within the home. Majority of family violence is committed by adult men using violence as a means of control over their partners, i.e. adult women. The following link provides some information on the definitions of these different types of violence.


Systematic pattern of behaviors in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain control and power over another.
Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse includes;
•  hurting another’s feelings by saying cruel, unfair comments,
•  cursing, swearing and/or screaming at the other,
•  repeated harassment, interrogation or degradation,
•  attacks on self-esteem and/or insults to your person (name-calling, put-downs,


•attacks on and/or insults about people the other person cares for, your family and

•threatening to “come out for you” at work or to your family,
•controlling and/or limiting another’s behavior (e.g., restraining from using the phone


seeing friends, having the room or the house, following and

monitoring or limiting phone conversations, checking the mileage on the car, or

restraining from reading material, ideas, activities and places that she does not like),
•interrupting while eating, forcing to stay awake or to get up from

•blaming for everything that goes wrong,
•forcing to do degrading things (e.g.: to beg for money),
•using the difference in physical strength to intimidate,
•criticizing thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs and actions,
•treating like a servant or “underling” in matters of household chores and decisions,
•being extremely jealous, constantly accusing of flirting or of cheating,
•spitting at or near the other,
•using money to control the other(e.g.: taking money from you, giving you an allowance,

controlling how extra money is spent, forcing you to ask for and account for any money

you get, and acting like the work you do at home is of no economic value to the family),
•telling you that you are “sick” and need therapy, or
•using physical disabilities against you or putting you down for your disability.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse is any threat to do bodily harm to a partner, a child, a family member, a friend, a pet, or one’s own self (suicide). Psychological abuse involves not only hurt and anger, but also fear and degradation. The purpose of psychological abuse is to render you emotionally insecure about your own self-worth and to render you helpless and/or not able to escape further physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse.

Examples include a partner;
• threatening to punch, hit, slap or kick,
• threatening to use a weapon,
• threatening to harm him/her-self if you leave,
• threatening to punish children to “get back” at you,
• threatening to harm pets,
• throwing objects in your direction,
• vague threats such as: “You’re going to get it,” or “I’m really going to let you have it,”

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any forceful or violent physical behavior.

Examples include slapping, choking, punching, kicking, pinching, pushing, shoving, biting, spanking, scratching, grabbing, burning, restraining or spitting.
Other behaviors in this category include throwing objects at the partner, or using or threatening to use a weapon of any kind (stick, ruler, belt, whip, knife, spoon, gun…).

Domestic abuse

“Domestic abuse” means;
• Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical injury on an adult or minor by other than accidental means,
• Placing an adult in fear of physical harm, physical restraint, or malicious damage his/her personal property.

“Victims” are adults or minors who:
• Are current or former spouses
• Live together or have done so
• Are dating or have dated, or have or had an emotional or sexual relationship
• Are related by blood or adoption

Islamic Inheritance

A source of significant controversy both inside and outside the Muslim community is the Islamic law of inheritance. This “law” is in fact a continuing process of interpretation of Quranic rules and principles to form the complex “laws” of inheritance under Islam. It is a dynamic process, which, based on specific text in the Quran and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, and continues to be discussed in each Islamic age by Muslim scholars addressing changing issues and times.

Before delving into this complicated and controversial area, one must first realize that Islam revolutionized women’s inheritance rights. Prior to the Quranic injunction — and indeed in the west until only recently — women could not inherit from their relatives, and in the case of Arabia at least, were themselves bequeathed as if they were property to be distributed at the death of a husband, father, or brother. Thus, Islam, by clearly stating in the Quran that women have the right to inherit for themselves, changed the status of women in an unprecedented fashion. The Quran states:

“Men shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, and women shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind.” (Quran 4:7).

Thus, whether women can inherit at all is not the controversy. Rather, the dispute centers around the “share” that is to be inherited.

The same chapter of the Quran goes on to state in detail the division of property based on the number of relatives and the level of kinship of the inheritor. (See Quran 4:11) The injunction that a male relative receives a share equal to that of two females applies only to the inheritance of children by their parents. Parents who inherit from a deceased child, for example, each inherit one-sixth of the property if a child of his or her own survives the deceased child. In that instance, the division is equal between the mother and the father of the deceased. The verse then states what the mother shall receive if the deceased left no children or if the deceased left siblings. Presumably, the father and the mother inherit equally in those situations. The rationale behind a brother receiving double his sister’s share, on the other hand, is based on the Islamic legal presumption that he has an obligation to provide for her support. Bearing in mind that these verses were revealed in Arabia over 1400 years ago, when women had no financial security other than what was provided by men, these verses demonstrate the care and respect given to the family unit, and ensured that women’s rights would continue to be protected. Hence, brothers having sisters were given larger shares than their sisters, along with the legal obligation to spend a portion of this wealth on those sisters.

Within the field of Islamic scholarship, there is much discussion on the topic of inheritance. There are scholars who argue that these rules apply only if no will was left by the deceased and that the division can be changed by a will. Presumably, the will would be analogous to a debt and would be paid prior to any other disbursement of property. (See Quran 4:11; Fathi Osman, Muslim Women in the Family and in the Society, at 24-25.) Furthermore, a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad states that a person can will up to one-third of his or her property in any manner, thus allowing equalization of gender-based default presumptions. (It should be noted that a majority of the Sunni schools of thought state that the one-third share cannot be bequeathed to natural heirs; however, others, including the Shiite school, disagree with this limitation.) Moreover, transfers of property can be made during the life of the testator.

Majority of schools argue that the verses provide guidance as to who should be provided for and at what level. Furthermore, there are scholars who maintain that these laws are applicable only in an Islamic-based legal system and government where a woman would have recourse against a relative who was obligated to provide for her but failed to do so. One may argue that in the absence of a complete application of Islamic law, where the rights of women will have no teeth, Muslims should turn to the spirit of that law, which is justice, and find ways to accomplish this goal. This is especially true where Muslims are a minority, as in the United States. Muslim scholars, legislators, and researchers must — and are beginning to — boldly address this issue to focus on these challenges. The Islamic laws of inheritance are, like all issues in Islamic law, a dynamic process that must respond to the many challenges and opportunities that world changes present.

Statement of the Problem 

The study is focused at knowing the different forms of inheritance violence exist in the society, why it exists, what are the basic reasons of the violence against women. The study will be conducted to know specifically the violence against women due to the right in property given to the women by Islamic law and Pakistani law, which are actually implemented or not in our society.

Objectives of the study

  • To know the types of violence due to inheritance
  • To study the persons involved in violence
  • To find out the effects of violence on women
  • To know in which family structure such violence exists.

Significance of the Study 

This research could be very useful in identifying the types of violence faced by women due to inheritance problem. It will be very effective to create awareness among people of society that exist such evils and their reasons. Such problems are considered as family problems and other legal authorities do not take them seriously. However, it seems a totally personal and family problem, but due to this inheritance women are facing different kinds of violence both in real and in law. It will be helpful to diagnose types of violence faced by women due to inheritance and give some recommendation how to take such problems. The research gives a complete picture of every legal aspect of Pakistani and Islamic law of inheritance and in actually what is being implemented in Pakistan. It will differentiate both in laws if any. To sum up, it will really assist the women to have awareness in this context thoroughly.



As our topic is “violence against women due to inheritance”, which is going to identify which type of violence exists and why it exists, that is why, in our population, we select the married women of Saman abad.


From population, we will select 30 women from our population..


In our research, we will use convenient sampling technique.


For data collection, we will use questionnaire for our women population, which is a blend of open and closed ended questions.


1. Amnesty International, “Pakistan: Violence Against Women in the Name of Honor,”

(New York, September 1999) ASA 33/17/99

2. Annual Report 2000-2001, National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW)

3. “Women in Pakistan, Murdered in the Name of Honor,” located at     4. The Holy Quran