Women’s Property Rights in Islam

Mohamed Hassanow Ali works with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim (SUPKEM) as Health Project Coordinator. He is a specialist in Humanitarian issues, with more than 14 years of experience. He is an expert in project planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation.

Northeastern Kenya is largely occupied by Somalis, most of whom are Muslim. Somalis are a patriarchal community that also practices polygamy. In northeastern Kenya there are many violations of women’s rights occurring with the majority going unreported. This is due to cultural practices that are considered religious obligations. Even though women and men are created differently in terms of physical abilities, this in no way takes away their rights. In Islam, women have the right to own property, inherit, buy, sell, transfer and bequeath. However, due to long-standing cultural practices, this right is usually violated. Wahat is a common cultural practice where the father divides his property among the sons so that nothing is left for inheritance thereby denying daughters the right to inherit and own property. There is also a common religious misinterpretation that a woman cannot own and transfer her property at her own discretion and that whatever she owns, including herself, belongs to the man.
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) which is the umbrella body of all Muslim organizations in Kenya. The aim of SUPKEM is to carry out and carry out the obligations, duties and responsibilities that are the obligations of the Muslim community and to realize the spirit of brotherhood and unity among the Muslims in Kenya. One of our organization’s main focuses is addressing women’s rights violations such as SGBV, early marriage, FGM, domestic violence, gender discrimination and other violations.

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