The viability for women’s rights of incorporating Islamic inheritance laws into the South African legal system

Authors Waheeda Amien

ISSN: 1996-2088
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town
Source: Acta Juridica, 2014, p. 192 – 218


The call by certain sections of the South African Muslim community for the recognition of Muslim Personal Law in South Africa is a call to recognise Islamic-based private laws that include Muslim family law and Islamic inheritance laws. The proposed Muslim Marriages Bill deals only with Islamic-based family laws of marriage, divorce, guardianship and custody of and access to minor children. This paper interrogates the viability for women’s rights of also recognising Islamic inheritance laws within the South African legal framework. It is argued that such recognition will impact negatively on the rights of women as well as adopted children and children born out of wedlock to Muslim parties. Currently, these marginalised groups have sufficient protection within the secular intestate succession laws of South Africa. For those parties who wish to assert their Islamic inheritance rights, they can avail themselves of the option of leaving a will. It is therefore proposed that the status quo should not be changed by affording separate recognition to Islamic inheritance laws.