Do you know one Complete surah is named An Nisa (“The Women”)

4. Surah An- Nisa (The Women)

Period of Revelation

This Surah comprises several discourses which were revealed on different occasions during the period ranging probably between the end of A.H. 3 and the end of A.H. 4 or the beginning of A.H. 5. Although it is difficult to determine the exact dates of their revelations, yet it is possible to assign to them a fairly correct period with the help of the Commandments and the events mentioned therein and the Traditions concerning them. A few instances are given below by way of illustration:

1. We know that the instructions about the division of inheritance of the martyrs and for the safeguard of the rights of the orphans were sent down after the Battle of Uhad in which 70 Muslims were killed. Then naturally the question of the division of the inheritance of the martyrs and the safeguard of the rights of their orphans arose in many families at Al-Madinah. From this we conclude that vv. 1 -28 were revealed on that occasion.

2. We learn from the Traditions that the Commandment about salat during war time was given on the occasion of Zat-ur-Riqa’a, an expedition which took place in A. H. 4. From this we conclude that the discourse containing v. 102 was revealed on that occasion.

3. The last warning (v. 47) to the Jews was given before the Banu Nadir were exiled from Al-Madinah in Rabi’-ulAwwal, A. H. 4. From this it may safely be concluded that the discourse containing v. 47 must have been revealed some time before that date.

4. The permission about tayammum (the performance of ablutions with pure dust, in case no water be available) was given during the Bani-al-Mustaliq expedition, which took place in A. H. 5.. Therefore the probable period of the revelation of the discourse containing v. 43 was A. H. 5.

Topics and Their Background

Let us now consider the social and historical considerations of the period in order to understand the Surah. All the discourses in this Surah deal with three main problems which confronted the Holy Prophet at the time. First of all, he was engaged in bringing about an all round development of the Islamic Community that had been formed at the time of his migration to Al-Madinah. For this purpose he was introducing new moral, cultural, social, economic and political ways in place of the old ones of the pre-Islamic period. The second thing that occupied his attention and efforts was the bitter struggle that was going on with the mushrik Arabs, the Jewish clans and the hypocrites who were opposing tooth and nail his mission of reform. Above all he had to propagate Islam in the face of the bitter opposition of these powers of evil with a view to capturing more and more minds and hearts.

Accordingly, detailed instructions have been given for the consolidation and strengthening of the Islamic Community in continuation of those given in Al-Bagarah. Principles for the smooth running of family life have been laid down and ways of settling family disputes have been taught. Rules have been prescribed for marriage and rights of wife and husband have been apportioned fairly and equitably. The status of women in the society has been determined and the declaration of the rights of orphans has been made laws and regulations have been laid down for the division of inheritance, and instructions have been given to

reform economic affairs. The foundation of the penal code has been laid down drinking has been prohibited, and instructions have been given for cleanliness and purity. The Muslims have been taught the kind of relations good men should have with their Allah and fellow men. Instructions have been given for the maintenance of discipline in the Muslim Community.

The moral and religious condition of the people of the Book has been reviewed to teach lessons to the Muslims and to forewarn them to refrain from following in their footsteps.

The conduct of the hypocrites has been criticized and the distinctive features of hypocrisy and true faith have been clearly marked off to enable the Muslims to distinguish between the two.

In order to cope with the aftermath of the Battle of Uhad, Inspiring discourses were sent down to urge the Muslims to face the enemy bravely, for the defeat in the Battle had so emboldened the mushrik Arab clans and the neighboring Jews and the hypocrites at home that they were threatening the Muslims on all sides. At this critical juncture, Allah filled the Muslims with courage and gave them such instructions as were needed during that period of war clouds. In order to counteract the fearful rumors that were being spread by the hypocrites and the Muslims of weak faith, they were asked to make a thorough inquiry into them and to inform the responsible people about them. Then they were experiencing some difficulties in offering their salat during the expeditions to some places where no water was available for performing their ablutions, etc. In such cases they were allowed to cleanse themselves with pure earth and to shorten the salat or to offer the “Salat of Fear”, when they were faced with danger. Instructions were also given for the solution of the puzzling problem of those Muslims who were scattered among the unbelieving Arab clans and were often involved in war. They were asked to migrate to Al-Madinah, the abode of Islam.

This Surah also deals with the case of Bani Nadir who were showing a hostile and menacing attitude, in spite of the peace treaties they had made with the Muslims. They were openly siding with the enemies of Islam and hatching plots against the Holy Prophet and the Muslim Community even at Al-Madinah itself. They were taken to task for their inimical behavior and given a final warning to change their attitude, and were at last exiled from Al- Madinah on account of their misconduct.

The problem of the hypocrites, who had become very troublesome at that time, was involving the Believers in difficulties– Therefore they were divided into different categories to enable the Muslims to deal with them appropriately.

Clear instructions were also given regarding the attitude they should adopt towards the non-belligerent clans. The most important thing needed at that time was to prepare the Muslims for the bitter struggle with the opponents of Islam. For this purpose greatest importance was attached to their character building, for it was obvious that the small Muslim Community could only come out successful, nay, survive, if the Muslims possessed high moral character. They were, therefore, enjoined to adopt the highest moral qualities and were severely criticized whenever any moral weakness was detected in them.

Though this Surah mainly deals with the moral and social reforms, yet due attention has been paid to propagation of Islam. On the one hand, the superiority of the Islamic morality and culture has been established over that of the Jews, Christians and mushriks; on the other hand, their wrong religious conceptions, their wrong morality and their evil acts have been criticized to prepare the ground for inviting them to the way of the Truth.

Subject: Consolidation of the Islamic Community

The main object of this Surah is to teach the Muslims the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community have been given. Then they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these, they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the Community has been impressed.

Topics and their Interconnection

Just, fair and equitable laws and regulations for the smooth running of family life have been laid down for the husband and wife. Detailed instructions have been given for the division of inheritance and due regard has been paid to the rights of orphans. 1 – 35 In order to inculcate the right spirit for the observance of rules and regulations, the Muslims have been enjoined to show generosity to all around them and to be free from meanness, selfishness, stinginess of mind, because this is essential for the consolidation of the Communities and helpful for the propagation of Islam. 36 – 42 The ways of the purification of mind and body for the offering of Salat have been taught because it plays the most important part in every scheme of moral and social reform. 43 After moral preparation, instructions for defense have been given. First of all, the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against the cunning machinations and vile practices of the local Jews who were hostile to the New Movement.

This caution was necessary for removing some possible misunderstanding that might have arisen on account of the pre- Islamic alliance between the people of Al-Madinah and the Jews. 44 – 57 Then they have been enjoined to place their trusts and offices of trust in the custody of honest and qualified persons, and to do what is just and right, and to obey Allah and His Messenger and those among themselves entrusted with the conduct of their affairs and to turn to Allah and His Messenger for the settlement of their disputes. As such an attitude and behavior alone can ensure consolidation, they have been strongly warned that any deviation from this path will lead to their disintegration. 58 – 72 After this pre-requisite, they have been exhorted to make preparation for defense and to fight bravely for the cause of Islam, without showing any kind of cowardice or weakness.

They have also been warned to be on their guard against hypocrites. A line of demarcation has been drawn to distinguish the intentional shirkers from the helpless devotees. 73 – 100 Here again, instructions have been given for the offering of Salah during military campaigns and actual fighting. This is to impress the importance of Salah even at the time of fear and danger. 101 – 103 Before proceeding on to the next topic, the Muslims have been exhorted to persevere in their fight without showing any kind of weakness. 104 In order to make the Islamic Community firm and strong for defense, the Muslims have been enjoined to observe the highest standard of justice. The Muslims are required to deal out strict justice even in case of the enemy, with whom they might be involved in war. They should also settle disputes between husband and wife with justice. In order to ensure this, they should keep their beliefs and deeds absolutely free from every kind of impurity and should become the standard bearers of justice. 105 – 135 Resuming the theme of defense, the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against their enemies. They have been admonished to take necessary precautions against the machinations of the hypocrites and the unbelievers and the people of the Book. As belief in Allah, and Revelation and Life-after-death is the only safeguard against every kind of enemy, they should sincerely believe in and follow His Messenger, Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him). 136 – 175 Though this verse also deals with the family laws contained in verses 1 – 35, it has been added as a supplement at the end of this Surah because it was revealed long after An-Nisa was being recited as a complete Surah. 176

Translation of Ayah

4. Surah An- Nisa (The Women)

 (4:1) O men! Fear your Lord Who created you from a single being and out of it created its mate; and out of the two spread many men and women.! Fear Allah in Whose name you plead for rights, and heed the ties of kinship. Surely, Allah is ever watchful over you.

(4:2) Give orphans their property,2 and do not exchange the bad for the good,3 and do not eat up their property by mixing it with your own. This surely is a mighty sin.

(4:3) If you fear that you might not treat the orphans justly, then marry the women that seem good to you: two, or three, or four.4 If you fear that you will not be able to treat them justly, then marry (only) one,3 or marry from among those whom your right hands possess.¢ This will make it more likely that you will avoid injustice.

(4:4) Give women their bridal-due in good cheer (considering it a duty), but if they willingly remit any part of it, consume it with good pleasure.2

(4:5) Do not entrust your properties – which Allah has made a means of support for you – to the weak of understanding, but maintain and clothe them out of it, and say to them a kind word of admonition.’

(4:6) Test the orphans until they reach the age of marriage,2 and then if you find them mature of mind hand over to them their property,“ and do not eat it up by either

spending extravagantly or in haste, fearing that they would grow up (and claim it). If the guardian of the orphan is rich let him abstain entirely (from his ward’s property); and if he is poor, let him partake of it in a fair measure.“ When you hand over their property to them let there be witnesses on their behalf. Allah is sufficient to take account (of your deeds).

 (4:7) Just as there is a share for men in what their parents and kinsfolk leave behind, so there is a share for women in what their parents and kinsfolk leave behind – be it little or much – a share ordained (by Allah).

(4:8) If other near of kin orphans and needy are present at the time of the division of inheritance give them something of it and speak to them kindly.8

(4:9) And let them fear, those who, if they would themselves leave behind helpless offspring, they would surely have been fearful on their account. Let them, then, fear Allah and make the right statement.

(4:10) Behold, those who wrongfully devour the properties of orphans only fill their bellies with fire. Soon they will burn in the Blazing Flame.“

(4:11) Allah thus commands you concerning your children: the share of the male is like that of two females.15 If (the heirs of the deceased are) more than two daughters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance; and if there is only one daughter, then she shall have half the inheritance. If the deceased has any offspring, each of his parents shall have a sixth of the inheritance; and if the deceased has no child and his parents alone inherit him, then one-third shall go to his mother;!8 and if the deceased has brothers and sisters, then one-sixth shall go to his mother.12 All these shares are to be given after payment of the bequest he might have made or any debts outstanding against him. You do not know which of them, your parents or your children, are more beneficial to you. But these portions have been determined by Allah, for He indeed knows all, is cognizant of all beneficent considerations.21

(4:12) And to you belongs half of whatever has been left behind by your wives if they die childless; but if they have any children then to you belongs a fourth of what they have left behind, after payment of the bequest they might have made or any debts outstanding against them. And to them belongs a fourth of what you leave behind, if you die childless;, and if you have any child than to them belongs one-eighth of what you have left behind,” after the payment of the bequest you might have made or any debts outstanding against you. And if the man or woman has no heir in the direct line, but has a brother or sister, then each of these shall inherit one-sixth;, but if they are more than two, then they shall inherit one-third of the inheritance, after the payment of the bequest that might have been made or any debts outstanding against the deceased, providing that the bequest causes no injury.24 This is a commandment from Allah; Allah is All-Knowing, All-Forbearing.

(4:13) These are the bounds set by Allah. Allah will make the man who obeys Allah and His Messenger enter the Gardens beneath which rivers flow. He will abide there forever. That is the mighty triumph.

(4:14) And he who disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses the bounds set by Him – him shall Allah cause to enter the Fire. There he will abide. A humiliating chastisement awaits him. 25a

(4:15) As for those of your women who are guilty of immoral conduct, call upon four from amongst you to bear witness against them. And if four men do bear witness, confine those women to their houses until either death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them.

(4:16) Punish both of those among you who are guilty of this sin, then if they repent and mend their ways, leave them alone. For Allah is always ready to accept repentance. He is All-Compassionate.

(4:17) (And remember that) Allah’s acceptance of repentance is only for those who commit evil out of ignorance and then soon repent. It is towards such persons that Allah turns graciously. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

(4:18) But of no avail is repentance of those who do evil until death approaches any one of them and then he says: ‘Now I repent.’ Nor is the repentance of those who die in the state of the unbelief of any avail to them. For them, We have kept in readiness a painful chastisement.2Z

(4:19) Believers! It is not lawful for you to become heirs to women against their will.28 It is not lawful that you should put constraint upon them that you may take away anything of what you have given them; (you may not put constraint upon them) unless they are guilty of brazenly immoral conduct.” Live with your wives in a good manner. If you dislike them in any manner, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good for you.

(4:20) And if you decide to dispense with a wife in order to take another, do not take away anything of what you might have given the first one, even if you had given her a heap of gold. Would you take it back by slandering her and committing a manifest wrong?

Translation With Commentary

4. Surah An- Nisa (The Women)4th Surah Al Nisa Begins

(4:1) O men! Fear your Lord Who created you from a single being and out of it created its mate; and out of the two spread many men and women.! Fear Allah in Whose name you plead for rights, and heed the ties of kinship. Surely, Allah is ever watchful over you.

1. What are the mutual rights of human beings, what are the principles on which a sound and stable family life can be established, are questions that are discussed a little further on in this surah. As an appropriate introduction to the subject, the surah opens by exhorting the believers to fear God and to avoid courting His displeasure, and by urging them to recognize that all human beings have sprung from the same root and that all of them are, therefore, of one another’s flesh and blood. The expression ‘Who created you from a single being (nafs)’ indicates that the creation of the human species began with the creation of one individual. At another place, the Qur’an specifies that the one person from whom the human race spread in the world was Adam. (For Adam being the progenitor of mankind see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, (Surah 2, verses 31 f.) and (Surah al-A’raf: 11), etc. – Ed.)

The details how out of that ‘being’ its mate was created are not known to us. The explanation which is generally given by the commentators of the Qur’an and which is also found in the Bible is that Eve was, created out of a rib of Adam. (The Talmud is even more detailed in that it states that Eve was created out of Adam’s thirteenth rib on the left side.)

The Qur’an, however, is silent on the matter and the tradition which is adduced in support of this statement does not mean what it is often thought to be. It is thus better that we leave the matter in the same state of ambiguity in which it was left by God, rather than waste our time trying to determine, in detail, the actual process of the creation of man’s mate. Refer:

Muslim, ‘Rida’ah’, 61 and 62; Tirmidhi, ‘Talaq”‘ 12; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 428, 449, 497, 530 and vol. 6, p. 279 – Ed.

(4:2) Give orphans their property,2 and do not exchange the bad for the good,3 and do not eat up their property by mixing it with your own. This surely is a mighty sin.

2. God directs the guardians of the orphans to spend out of the latter’s property while they are still minors, and to restore it to them when they attain majority.

3. The order not to exchange the bad for the good has several meanings. On the one hand, it means that one should not replace honest by dishonest living. At the same time, it also means that one should not exchange one’s own property which is of little value for the more valuable property of the orphans.

(4:3) If you fear that you might not treat the orphans justly, then marry the women that seem good to you: two, or three, or four.4 If you fear that you will not be able to treat them justly, then marry (only) one,3 or marry from among those whom your right hands possess.¢ This will make it more likely that you will avoid injustice.

4. Commentators have explained this in the following ways:

(i) There is the view of Mother ‘A’ishah (wife of the prophet) who says that men tended to marry orphan girls who were under their guardianship out of consideration for either their property, beauty or because they thought they would be able to treat them according to their whims, as they had no one to protect them. After marriage, such men sometimes committed excesses against these girls.

It is in this context that the Muslims are told that if they fear they will not be able to do justice to the orphan girls, then they should marry other girls whom they like. (This interpretation seems to be supported by (verse 127 )of this surah.)

(ii) The second view is that of Ibn ‘Abbas and his disciple ‘[krimah who expressed the opinion that in the Jahiliyah period there was no limit on the number of wives a man could take. The result was that a man sometimes married as many as ten women and, when expenses increased because of a large family, he encroached on the rights either of his orphan nephews or other relatives. It was in this context that God fixed the limit of four wives and instructed the Muslims that they may marry up to four wives providing they possessed the capacity to treat them equitably.

(iii) Sa’id b. Jubayr, Qatadah and some other commentators say that while the Arabs of the Jahiliyah period did not approve of subjecting orphans to wrong, they had no concept of justice and equity with regard to women. They married as many women as they wanted and then subjected them to injustice and oppression. It is in this context that people are told that if they fear perpetrating wrongs on orphans they ought to be equally worried about perpetrating them on women. In the first place they should never marry more than four, and of those four, they should marry only as many as they can treat fairly.

Each of the three interpretations is plausible and all three may possibly be correct. Moreover, the verse could also mean that if a person does not find himself able to treat orphans in a fair manner, then he might as well marry the women who are looking after those orphans.

5. Muslim jurists are agreed that according to this verse the maximum number Of wives has been fixed at four. This conclusion is also supported by traditions. It is reported that when Ghaylan, the chief of Ta’if, embraced Islam he had nine wives. The Prophet (peace be on him) ordered him to keep only four wives and divorce the rest. Another person, Nawfal b. Mu’awiyah, had five wives. The Prophet (peace be on him) ordered him to divorce one of them. (For the relevant traditions see the comments of Ibn Kathir and Qurtubi on this verse – Ed.)

This verse stipulates that marrying more wives than one is permissible on the condition that one treats his wives equitably. A person who avails himself of this permission granted by God to have a plurality of wives, and disregards the condition laid down by God to treat them equitably has not acted in good faith with God. In case there are complaints from wives that they are not being treated equitably, the Islamic state has the right to intervene and redress such grievances.

Some people who have been overwhelmed and overawed by the Christianized outlook of Westerners have tried to prove that the real aim of the Qur’an was to put an end to polygamy (which, in their opinion, is intrinsically evil). Since it was widely practiced at that time, however, Islam confined itself to placing restrictions on it. Such arguments only show the mental slavery to which these people have succumbed. That polygamy is an evil per se is an unacceptable proposition, for under certain conditions it becomes a moral and social necessity. If polygamy is totally prohibited men who cannot remain satisfied with only one wife will look outside the bounds of matrimonial life and create sexual anarchy and corruption. This is likely to cause much greater harm than polygamy to the moral and social order. For this reason the Qur’an has allowed those who feel the need for it to resort to polygamy. Those who consider it an evil in itself may certainly denounce it in disregard of the Qur’an and may even argue for its abolition. But they have no right to attribute such a view to the Qur’an, for it has expressed its permission of polygamy in quite categorical terms. Indeed, there is not the slightest hint in the Qur’an that could justify the conclusion that it advocates abolition of polygamy. (For further elaboration see my book, Sunnat k A’iniHaythiyat, Lahore, 3rd edition, 1975, pp. 307-16.)

6. This expression denotes ‘slave-girls’, i.e. female captives of war who are distributed by the state among individuals. The purpose of this verse is to tell men that if their financial circumstances do not permit them to support a free woman as their wife then they may marry a slave-girl (see verse 25 below); if they consider it necessary to have more than one wife and it would be difficult for them to treat their free wives equitably they may resort to slave-girls, for here the burden of obligations is lighter by comparison. (For further Injunctions regarding slave-girls see. 44 below.)

(4:4) Give women their bridal-due in good cheer (considering it a duty), but if they willingly remit any part of it, consume it with good pleasure.2

7. In the opinion of ‘Umar and Shurayh, if a woman gives up either the whole or a part of the bridal-due (mahr) in favour of her husband and later reclaims it from him then he is bound to pay it. The claim on the woman’s part would be tantamount to her unwillingness to remit either the whole or a part of the bridal-due. For further details see the section entitled ‘Mahr’ in my book Huqugq al-Zawjayn, 16th edition, Lahore, 1976, pp. 31-3 and 119- 29%

(4:5) Do not entrust your properties – which Allah has made a means of support for you – to the weak of understanding, but maintain and clothe them out of it, and say to them a kind word of admonition.’

8. This verse covers a very wide spectrum of meanings. It emphasizes to the community of believers that wealth is one of the main supports of human life. It should not be left, therefore, at the mercy of those who are incompetent to handle it properly. By misusing wealth such people might destroy the bases of social and economic life and wreck the moral foundations of human society. The right to private property is not so absolute; if a person is incapable of exercising this right properly and if he might cause grave social harm by wanton expenditure then his right may be forfeited. The necessities of such a person’s life should always be provided for. But so far as the exercise of his proprietary rights is concerned, due restrictions should be placed on it in order that the owner is restrained from spending his resources in brazen disregard of the dictates of morality, collective welfare and economic interests of the community. According to the directive embodied in the verse, anyone who entrusts his property to someone else’s care should satisfy himself that the latter is capable of making good use of it. At a higher level, it is incumbent upon an Islamic state to take over the management of the properties of those who either lack totally the capacity for good management or cause social damage by misuse. In such cases the state is responsible for providing these people with their livelihood.

(4:6) Test the orphans until they reach the age of marriage,2 and then if you find them mature of mind hand over to them their property,“ and do not eat it up by either spending extravagantly or in haste, fearing that they would grow up (and claim it). If the guardian of the orphan is rich let him abstain entirely (from his ward’s property); and if he is poor, let him partake of it in a fair measure.“ When you hand over their property to them let there be witnesses on their behalf. Allah is sufficient to take account (of your deeds).

9. When such people approach their majority their mental development should be watched so as to determine to what extent they have become capable of managing their own affairs.

10. Two conditions have been laid down for handing over the charge of their properties to such people. The first of these is the attainment of puberty, and the second is that of mental maturity – i.e. the capacity to manage their affairs in a sound and appropriate manner. There is full agreement among Muslim jurists with regard to the first condition. As for the second condition, Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that if an orphan does not attain mental maturity after he has attained puberty, the guardian of the orphan should wait for a maximum of seven years after which he should hand over the property to its owner regardless of whether he has attained maturity or not. According to Abu Yusuf, Muhammad b. al-Hasan and Shafi’i, maturity is an indispensable pre-condition for the handing over of property. If one were to apply the doctrine of the latter jurists it would probably be more appropriate to refer particular cases to a judge under Islamic law. If the judge is convinced that the person concerned lacks maturity he should make adequate arrangements for the supervision of that person’s financial affairs. (For a more complete study of the subject see Jassas, vol. 2, pp. 59 ff.; Ibn Rushd, Biddyat al-Mujtahid, 2 vols., Cairo, Al-Maktabahal-Tijariyahal-Kubra, n.d., vol. 2, pp. 275ff.-Ed.)

11. The guardian is entitled to remuneration for his service. The amount of this remuneration should be such as is deemed to be fair by neutral and reasonable people.

Moreover, the guardian is instructed that he should take a fixed and known amount by way of remuneration, that he should take it openly rather than secretly, and that he should keep an account of it.

(4:7) Just as there is a share for men in what their parents and kinsfolk leave behind, so there is a share for women in what their parents and kinsfolk leave behind – be it little or much – a share ordained (by Allah).

12. This verse embodies five legal injunctions. First, that women, as well as men, are entitled to inheritance. Second, that inheritance, however meager it might be, should be distributed; even if the deceased has left a small piece of cloth and he has ten heirs, that piece of cloth should be distributed among them all. This does not exclude, however, the permissibility of one heir purchasing the shares of other heirs with their consent. Third, this verse indicates that the law of inheritance is applicable to all kinds of property – movable and immovable, agricultural, industrial and so on. Fourth, it shows that the right of inheritance comes into force as soon as a person dies leaving the property. Fifth, it implies the rule that immediate blood-relatives exclude those that are further removed.

(4:8) If other near of kin orphans and needy are present at the time of the division of inheritance give them something of it and speak to them kindly.8

13. This directive is addressed to the heirs of the deceased. They are told not to be niggardly towards their relatives whether they be close or distant. Nor should they be niggardly towards either poor and needy members of the family or towards orphans who are present when the inheritance is distributed. Although they are not legally entitled to any share it is seemly for people to act magnanimously and give them something out of their inheritance, and especially to desist from making hurtful remarks.

(4:9) And let them fear, those who, if they would themselves leave behind helpless offspring, they would surely have been fearful on their account. Let them, then, fear Allah and make the right statement.

(4:10) Behold, those who wrongfully devour the properties of orphans only fill their bellies with fire. Soon they will burn in the Blazing Flame.“

14. It is reported in a tradition that after the Battle of Uhud the wife of Sa’d b. Rabi’ brought her two daughters to the Prophet (peace be on him) and said: ‘O Messenger of God! These are daughters of Sa’d who was with you in the Battle of Uhud, where he was martyred. The girls’ uncles have seized the whole property and left nothing for them. Who will now marry these girls?’ It was after this incident that these verses were revealed. (See Muhammad Ali al-Sabuni’s comments on this verse in his Safwat al-Tafasir and the sources quoted therein – Ed.)

(4:11) Allah thus commands you concerning your children: the share of the male is like that of two females.15 If (the heirs of the deceased are) more than two daughters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance; and if there is only one daughter, then she shall have half the inheritance. If the deceased has any offspring, each of his parents shall have a sixth of the inheritance; and if the deceased has no child and his parents alone inherit him, then one-third shall go to his mother;!8 and if the deceased has brothers and sisters, then one-sixth shall go to his mother.12 All these shares are to be given after payment of the bequest he might have made or any debts outstanding against him. You do not know which of them, your parents or your children, are more beneficial to you. But these portions have been determined by Allah, for He indeed knows all, is cognizant of all beneficent considerations.21

15. This is the first general rule in connection with inheritance, viz., that the share of the male should be double that of the female. Since Islamic law imposes greater financial obligations on men in respect of family life and relieve women of a number of such obligations, justice demands that a woman’s share in inheritance should be less than that of a man.

16. The same applies in the case where there are two daughters. If the deceased leaves only daughters, and if there are two or more daughters then they will receive two-thirds of the inheritance and the remaining one-third will go to the other heirs. But if the deceased has only one son there is a consensus among jurists that in the absence of other heirs he is entitled to all the property and if the deceased has other heirs, he is entitled to the property left after their shares have been distributed.

17. If the deceased left issue each of his parents will receive one-sixth of the inheritance irrespective of whether the issue consists either only of daughters, only of sons, of both sons and daughters, of just one son or just one daughter. The remaining two-thirds will be distributed among the rest of the heirs.

18. If there are no other heirs than the parents, the remaining two-thirds will go to the share of the father; otherwise, the two-thirds will be distributed between the father and other heirs.

19. In the case where the deceased also has brothers and sisters the share of the mother will be one-sixth rather than one-third. In this case the sixth that was deducted from the share of the mother will be added to that of the father, for in this circumstance the father’s obligations are heavier. It should be noted that if the parents of the deceased are alive, the brothers and sisters will not be entitled to any share in the inheritance.

20. The mention of bequest precedes the mention of debt, for although not everyone need be encumbered with debt it is necessary that everyone should make a bequest. (However, other Mufassirun (exegetes) regard making a bequest as a discretionary act – Ed.) As for legalities, there is consensus among Muslims that the payment of debts takes precedence over the payment of bequests, i.e. if the deceased owes a debt and also leaves a bequest, the debt will first be paid out of the inheritance, and only then will his bequest be fulfilled.

We have already stated in connection with bequest (see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 2, n. 182) that a man has the right to bequeath up to a maximum of one-third of his inheritance. The principle laid down in regard to bequest is that a man can -give a portion of his inheritance either to a relative who is not legally entitled to any prescribed share in the inheritance or to others whom he considers deserving of help, e.g. either an orphaned grandson or grand-daughter, the widow of a son in financial distress, any brother, sister, brother’s wife, nephew, and other relatives who seem to be in need of support. If there are no such relatives bequests can be made either to other needy people or for charitable purposes. In short, the Law has fixed regulations for the distribution of two-thirds or more of one’s inheritance, out of which the legal heirs are to receive their shares according to the regulations laid down by the Law. A maximum of one-third of the inheritance has been left to the discretion of the person concerned, who can dispose of it by means of bequest in light of his particular family circumstances. If anyone makes either an inequitable bequest or misuses his discretion so as to hurt the legitimate rights of others, it is permissible for the members of the family to rectify the situation either by mutual agreement or by requesting a judge to intervene. For further details see my booklet Yatim Pot6 ki Wirathat ka Mas’alah, Lahore, 1954.

21. This is in response to those feeble-minded people who do not fully appreciate God’s law of inheritance and try to fill, with the help of their limited intellect, what they see as gaps in God’s Laws.

(4:12) And to you belongs half of whatever has been left behind by your wives if they die childless;, but if they have any children then to you belongs a fourth of what they have left behind, after payment of the bequest they might have made or any debts outstanding against them. And to them belongs a fourth of what you leave behind, if you die childless;, and if you have any child than to them belongs one-eighth of what you have left behind,” after the payment of the bequest you might have made or any debts outstanding against you. And if the man or woman has no heir in the direct line, but has a brother or sister, then each of these shall inherit one-sixth;, but if they are more than two, then they shall inherit one-third of the inheritance, after the payment of the bequest that might have been made or any debts outstanding against the deceased, providing that the bequest causes no injury.24 This is a commandment from Allah; Allah is All-Knowing, All-Forbearing.%

22. Whether a man has one wife or several wives the share of the wife/wives is one-eighth of the inheritance when the deceased has issue, and one-fourth when he has no issue. The share of the wives, whether one-fourth or one-eighth, will be distributed equally among them.

23. The remaining five-sixths or two-thirds of the inheritance goes to the legal heirs, if any. Where there are no legal heirs, the person concerned is entitled to make a bequest with regard to the remaining part of the inheritance. Commentators are agreed that the sisters and brothers mentioned here mean half-brothers and half-sisters, i.e. those who have kinship with the deceased on the mother’s side. Injunctions affecting full brothers and sisters, and half-brothers and half-sisters on the father’s side are mentioned towards the end of the present surah. See (verse 176 below, and nn. 219 ff. – Ed.)

24.’Bequests which cause injury’ are those that entail depriving deserving kin of their legitimate rights. Similarly, the debt which causes injury is the fake debt which one falsely admits to owing, and any other device to which one resorts merely in order to deprive the rightful heirs of their shares in inheritance. This kind of injury has been declared to be a major sin in a tradition from the Prophet (peace be on him). According to another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) said that even if a man worked all his life, like the men of Paradise, yet ended his life’s record by making a wrongful bequest, he would be consigned to Hell. (Ibn Kathir, vol. 2, p. 218.) Such an act of deliberate injury and calculated effort designed to deprive people of their due rights is always a sin, but it is mentioned by God particularly in the case of kalalah (the person who leaves behind neither parents nor descendants). (For kalalah see nn. 219 ff. below – Ed.) The reason for this seems to be that a man who has neither issue nor parents is often prone to squander his property and somehow prevent his distant relatives from receiving any share in the inheritance.

25. God’s knowledge is referred to here for two reasons. First, to stress that if a man violates God’s Law he will not be able to escape from the grip of God, for He is Omniscient. Second, to emphasize that the shares in inheritance fixed by God are absolutely sound, for God knows better than His creatures where their true interests lie. Reference is also made to God’s forbearance. This is in order to point out that harshness could not characterize the laws laid down by God in respect of inheritance since He Himself is not harsh. On the contrary, the aim of God’s laws is to prevent people suffering inconvenience and hardship.

(4:13) These are the bounds set by Allah. Allah will make the man who obeys Allah and His Messenger enter the Gardens beneath which rivers flow. He will abide there for ever. That is the mighty triumph.

(4:14) And he who disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses the bounds set by Him – him shall Allah cause to enter the Fire. There he will abide. A humiliating chastisement awaits him. 25a

25a. This is a terrifying verse in which those who either tamper with God’s laws of inheritance or violate the legal bounds categorically laid down by God in His Book are warned of unending punishment. It is lamentable that, in spite of these very stern warnings, Muslims have occasionally been guilty of breaching God’s laws with the same boldness and insolence as that of the Jews. Disobedience to God’s law of inheritance has occasionally assumed the proportion of open rebellion against Him. In some instances, women have been disinherited altogether. In others, the eldest son has been declared the only legal heir.

There are also instances where the entire system of inheritance distribution has been replaced by the system of joint family property. In still other instances, the shares of women have been made equal to those of men. In our time a few Muslim states, in imitation of the West, even contrived a new form of disobedience. This consists of imposing death duties so that governments, too, become one of the heirs of the deceased, an heir whose share God had altogether failed to mention! This is despite the fact that under Islamic dispensation governments may assume control of a dead man’s inheritance only if it is either unclaimed or if the person concerned has specifically so bequeathed part of his inheritance.

(4:15) As for those of your women who are guilty of immoral conduct, call upon four from amongst you to bear witness against them. And if four men do bear witness, confine those women to their houses until either death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them.

(4:16) Punish both of those among you who are guilty of this sin, then if they repent and mend their ways, leave them alone. For Allah is always ready to accept repentance. He is All-Compassionate.

26. In these two (verses 15-16)the first, preliminary directives for the punishment for unlawful sexual intercourse are stated. The first verse deals with women. The punishment laid down was to confine them until further directives were revealed. The second verse (i.e. 16) relates to both sexes. The injunction lays down that they should be punished – that is, they should be beaten and publicly reproached. Later, another injunction was revealed see (Surah_al-Nur 24: 2) which laid down that both the male and female should be given a hundred lashes. These injunctions are necessarily of a preliminary nature since the people of Arabia were neither used to obeying the orders of any established government, the verdicts of any courts of law nor to following any legal code; it would therefore have been unwise to try to force acceptance of a penal code upon them so soon after the establishment of the Islamic state. In due course, the punishments for unlawful sexual intercourse, for slanderous accusations of un chastity against women, and for theft were laid down in their definitive form and served as the basis of that detailed penal code which was enforced by the Prophet (peace be on him) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.

The apparent difference between the contents of the two verses led al-Suddi to the misconceived belief that the first verse lays down the punishment for married women, and the second that for unmarried men and women. This is a tenuous explanation unsupported by any serious evidence and argument. Even less convincing is the opinion expressed by Abu Muslim al-Isfahani that the first verse relates to lesbian relations between females, and the second to homosexual relations between males. It is strange that al-Isfahani ignored the basic fact that the Qur’an seeks merely to chart a broad code of law and morality and hence deals only with fundamental questions. It is inconsistent with the majestic style of the Qur’an to discuss secondary details which have been left to people to decide through the exercise of their legal judgement. It is for this reason that when the problem of fixing a punishment for sodomy came up for consideration after the time of the Prophet (peace be on him), none of the Companions thought that the above-mentioned verse contained any relevant injunction.

(4:17) (And remember that) Allah’s acceptance of repentance is only for those who commit evil out of ignorance and then soon repent. It is towards such persons that Allah turns graciously. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

(4:18) But of no avail is repentance of those who do evil until death approaches any one of them and then he says: ‘Now I repent.’ Nor is the repentance of those who die in the state of unbelief of any avail to them. For them We have kept in readiness a painful chastisement.2Z

27. The Arabic word tawbah means ‘to return, to come back’. A man’s tawbah after he has sinned means that God’s servant, who had turned away from his Master in disobedience, has repented, and has returned to obedience and service. On the other hand, tawbah on the part of God means that the attention of the Master, which had turned away from His erring servant, has once again turned towards him. In this verse, however, God makes it clear to His servants that tawbah is acceptable only from those who commit errors inadvertently and out of ignorance. Such persons will always find the door of God open for them whenever they turn to Him in repentance.

But this tawbah is not for those who pile sin upon sin throughout their lives in sheer indifference to God and who cry for pardon as soon as they see the angel of death approaching. The Prophet (peace be on him) has warned against this attitude in the following words: ‘God accepts the repentance of a slave until the gurgling (of death) begins.

(Tirmidhi, ‘Da’wat’, 98; Ibn Majah, ‘Zuhd’, 30; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 132 and 153, and vol. 3, pp. 425 – Ed.) For when the last leaf of a man’s book of life has been turned, what opportunity remains for a man to return to righteous conduct? Likewise, if a person spends even the very last moment of his life in a state of disbelief and then on the threshold of the Next Life he comes to discover that the facts are quite contrary to what he had imagined, what sense is there for him to seek forgiveness?

(4:19) Believers! It is not lawful for you to become heirs to women against their will.28 It is not lawful that you should put constraint upon them that you may take away anything of what you have given them; (you may not put constraint upon them)

unless they are guilty of brazenly immoral conduct.” Live with your wives in a good manner. If you dislike them in any manner, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good for you.

28. This means that the relatives of the husband should not treat the widow of the deceased as if she were a part of the inheritance and begin imposing their will on her. Upon the death of her husband a woman becomes independent. As soon as her legally-prescribed period of waiting ends, she is free to go to wherever she likes and to marry anyone she wishes.

29. This permission is intended not in order to provide them with an excuse to misappropriate her property but to exercise a restraint on her conduct and prevent her from lewdness.

30. This means that if the wife is either not beautiful or has some shortcoming because of which she does not seem attractive enough to her husband, the latter should not suddenly decide, in a fit of rage and disgust, to part with her. Rather he should act with patience and forbearance. It often happens that a woman lacks physical attraction but has other qualities which are of much greater value for the success of married life. Hence if such a woman finds the opportunity to express her qualities, the same husband who initially felt revulsion towards her becomes captivated by her attractive conduct and character. Sometimes in the early stages of married life a husband dislikes certain things in his wife, and this initial dislike may even grow to revulsion. Were a man to be patient and allow all the potentialities of the woman to be realized, it would become evident to him that her merits outweighed her weaknesses. Hence a man’s haste in taking the decision to rupture the matrimonial bond is not praiseworthy. Repudiation of marriage should be a man’s last resort, a resort towards which he should turn only in unavoidable circumstances. The Prophet (peace be on him) has said: For God, divorce is the most reprehensible of all lawful things.’ (Abu Da’ud, Talaq|, 3; Ibn Majah, ‘Talaq’, 1 – Ed.) In another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) said: ‘Marry and do not go about divorcing. For God does not like men and women who keep on changing partners merely for a change of taste.’ (al-Tabrani, cited by ‘Ajluni in Kashf al- Khifa. vol. 1, p. 304 – Ed.)

(4:20) And if you decide to dispense with a wife in order to take another, do not take away anything of what you might have given the first one, even if you had given her a heap of gold. Would you take it back by slandering her and committing a manifest wrong?

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Categorized as quran

By Tariq Saleem

I am a student of Quran and keen to make dawah for inviting peoples to save there selves from hellfire. This life is very short then the eternal life after death every body has to think about it and do some research to walk on a true path.

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