Egypt debate: Should divorced women get part of their ex-husband’s salary?

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An Egyptian female MP and an expert on religious studies is calling for a law that grants divorced women a portion of their husbands’ salaries, and another to inherit half of his wealth after death.

Dr. Amina Nossair, a professor of comparative theory of law at Egypt’s Al-Azhar Univeristy, re-ignited a debate among Islamic scholars in Egypt over women’s rights and inheritance in Islam.

Nossair claims that stay-at-home wives should have a law that guarantees them a “safe future” at the time of divorce, given they had spent their lives “serving men at home,” she told Egypt Independent.

If a man divorces his wife after five years of marriage, Nossair suggested that the woman should have the right to take five percent of his monthly income.

She added that the percentage is subject to increase depending on the amount of years she had spent as a housewife during their marriage.

“Millions of women find themselves on the streets, with no fixed source of income after their husbands divorce them, and in the case of their death. These women deserve a clear law that secures their finances and future,” she said.

“How is this fair to women? Many Egyptian women spend all their life cooking, cleaning and raising kids at home and in one minute she is left stranded in the streets because she got divorced,” she continued.

Nossair is basing her argument on her understanding of Islamic teachings and writings, which their means provide women with the legal and social rights they need.

“One has to leave the door open for further education and diligence,” she argued.

“I acknowledge any new ideas related to women’s rights or their future, provided they don’t wander away from the fixed teachings of Islamic law, and my suggestion does not,” she added.

But her suggestion was not welcomed by Al Azhar, which expressed discontent over Nossair’s remarks in a statement to local media outlets.

“Diligence (Ejtehad) is open in Islam no doubt, but that is for issues that do not contain a clear text,” Omar Hamroush, Secretary General of the religious affairs committee said in the statement.

“The inheritance of women is stipulated by the Quran and Sunnah and is defined by Sharia law, there is no room for further diligence in this case,” he said.

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