An-Nisa · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer of Surah an-Nisa Ayah 9

Topic: Observing Fairness in the Will

According to a Tradition ayaat 9  and 10 were revealed in response to the request of the widow of Sa’d bin Rubai’. She came to the Prophet sallallahu aalyhi wa sallam with her two daughters and said, “O Messenger of Allah, here are the daughters of Sa’d who has been martyred in the battle of Uhd. Their uncle has taken possession of the whole of his property and has not left a single penny for them. Now who is going to marry them after this?”

In this Ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

وَلْيَخْشَ الَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُواْ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ

“And let those have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left behind…” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that this part of the Ayah, “Refers to a man who is near death and he dictates a will and testament that harms some of the rightful inheritors. Allah commands whoever hears such will to fear Allah, and direct the dying man to do what is right and to be fair, being as eager to protect the inheritors of the dying man as he would be with his own.” Similar was reported from Mujahid and several others.

The Two Sahihs record that when the Messenger of Allah visited Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas during an illness he suffered from, Sa`d said to the Messenger, “O Messenger of Allah! I am wealthy and have no inheritors except a daughter. Should I give two-thirds of my property in charity” He said, “No.” Sa`d asked, “Half” He said, “No.” Sa`d said, “One-third” The Prophet said;

الثُّلُثُ، وَالثُّلُثُ كَثِير

“One-third, and even one-third is too much.” The Messenger of Allah then said, “You’d better leave your inheritors wealthy rather than leaving them poor, begging from others.”

Lesson From Surah an-Nisa Ayah 9

 وَلْيَخْشَ الَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُواْ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّةً ضِعَـفاً خَافُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَلْيَتَّقُواّ اللَّهَ وَلْيَقُولُواْ قَوْلاً سَدِيداً

“And those people should be fearful who, if they leave behind some helpless children, would remain anxious for them. So, they should fear Allah and say what is right.”

Lesson: Fear Allah while Distributing Inheritance

The third ayah addresses Muslims in general exhorting them to make it certain that the inheritance of the deceased reaches his children fully and fairly. They must abstain from any mode of action which may affect the share of the children adversely. The general sense of the verse covers the eventuality when one sees a Muslim making a will or disposing property off in a manner which could cause damage or loss to his children and other inheritors.

If so, one must stop him from such bequeathal or such disposal, very much like what the Prophet sallallahu aalyhi wa sallam did when he stopped the blessed Companion, Saad ibn Abi Waqas radhiAllahu anha from giving the whole, or half, of his property in charity (sadaqah), allowing him to give only one-third of his property as such [Mishkat, Bab al-Wasaya, p. 265], because, if the whole, or half of the property was given in charity, the share of the inheritors would have either been all consumed, or curtailed.

Also included in the general sense of the ayah is that guardians of the orphaned children should protect their property and give it to them in full when they become mature. They should take pains to accomplish this mission of trust and never let the least negligence on their part affect their duty; if they wish that others treat their children well after them, without causing them any harm or injustice, then, they should treat the children of others – the orphans – in the same manner.

(Taken from Maaruf-ul-Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani)


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