In a Historic Ruling, This Coptic Woman was Awarded Equal Inheritance in Egypt
Huda Nasrallah, a 40-year-old Human Rights Lawyer, won a historic case granting her equal distribution of inheritance between her and her male brothers. Last Monday, the seventh circuit of the Helwan family court ruled that since Nasrallah was Coptic, the articles of Sharia law do not apply to her.
The 40-year-old took to Facebook to celebrate her win, stating, “At last, a court ruling was issued in my case to equally distribute inheritance between males and females”.
Prior to this ruling, if a Christian died without designating a will, inheritance is distributed according to Sharia law, in which the males receive a share twice as big as females.
In the inheritance proceeding following her father’s death, Nasrallah found out that her father’s estate would not be distributed on equal footing, but rather in accordance with the terms of Islamic law, since the Second Clause of the Egyptian Constitution states that Islamic Sharia law is the main source of legislation in Egypt’s civil law.
In a legal battle that extended over the course of a year, Nasrallah fought for equality with her male brothers, appealing to previous court rulings of dismissal. The plaintiff reverted to article 245 of the Orthodox personal status bylaws, which gives Coptic women the right to demand an equal distribution of inheritance.
For years inheritance equality has been a controversial topic in the Arab world. Last year, Tunisia made the historic decision of equating inheritance shares between males and females. Al-Azhar criticized the decision stating that it goes against the Sharia.