An-Nisa · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer of Surah an-Nisa Ayah 8

Here the heirs of the deceased have been enjoined to be generous towards distant and near relatives and the indigent members of the family and orphans who happen to be present on the occasion of the division of inheritance, though they might have no share in it. They should give them also something and speak gently to them and avoid using harsh and unkind words as the narrow minded people generally use on such occasions.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says

وَإِذَا حَضَرَ الْقِسْمَةَ

“are present at the time of division,” those who do not have a share in the inheritance,

وَالْيَتَـمَى وَالْمَسَـكِينُ

“and the orphans and the poor”, are also present upon dividing the inheritance, give them a share of the inheritance.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,

وَإِذَا حَضَرَ الْقِسْمَةَ أُوْلُواْ الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَـمَى وَالْمَسَـكِينُ

“And when the relatives and the orphans and the poor are present at the time of division”, was not abrogated. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah still applies and should be implemented. Ath-Thawri said that Ibn Abi Najih narrated from Mujahid that implementing this Ayah, “Is required from those who have anything to inherit, paid from whatever portions their hearts are satisfied with giving away.” Similar explanation was reported from Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Musa, `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ash-Sha`bi and Al-Hasan. Ibn Sirin, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Makhul, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, `Ata’ bin Abi Rabah, Az-Zuhri and Yahya bin Ya`mar said this payment is obligatory. Others say that this refers to the bequeathal at the time of death. And others say that it was abrogated.

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah,

وَإِذَا حَضَرَ الْقِسْمَةَ

“And when are present at the time of division”, refers to divisions of inheritance. So, when poor relatives, who are ineligible for inheritance, orphans, and the poor attend the division of the inheritance, which is sometimes substantial, their hearts will feel eager to have a share, seeing each eligible person assuming his share; while they are desperate, yet are not given anything. Allah the Most Kind, Most Compassionate, commands that they should have a share in the inheritance as an act of kindness, charity, compassion and mercy for them.

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