The Quran

Commentaries for 4.10

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.10 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully) extortionately, (they do but swallow fire into their bellies) i.e. that which is unlawful; it is also said that this means: Allah will place fire in their bellies on the Day of Judgement (and they will be exposed to burning flame) a blazing fire in the Hereafter. This verse was revealed about Hanzalah Ibn Shamardal.
4.10 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Surely those who eat the property of orphans wrongly will be eating only fire in their bellies and will roast in a blaze.
The majestic compeller, the great Lord, the renowned keeper of servants, the clement, the generous, the loyal, the tremendous, the lord of everyone, the carrier of everything, who takes the hand of the weak and joins with them in love, in this verse caresses the weak and shows love to the
orphans. As for those wrongdoers who skewer the livers of orphans and drink the blood of the indigent, He threatens them and warns them of a fearful punishment. He acts as the deputy of the helpless and disputes with the wrongdoers for their sake. For He is the companion of the weak, the helper of the despairing, the responder to the call of the distressed, and the listener to the voice of the grieved. He loves the servant who, when battered, incapable, and destitute, lets out a cold sigh, sheds warm tears, and lifts two empty hands toward Him, asking again to be excused.
It has come in the traditions that a man was saying, “O Lord, O Lord! You have written, You have measured out, and You have decreed!” O God, all that was, is, and shall be is what You want, what You bring about, and what You write for the creatures. O God, none of this is outside Your predestination, nor does it happen without Your decree.
A call came in his secret core, “That is tawḤīd. Where is servanthood?” What you have said is nothing but tawḤīd and is fit for My Godhood. What then is the mark of your servanthood?
The man said, “O Lord, O Lord! Surely I have disobeyed, I have sinned, and I ask.” O God, what comes from me is fitting for me. O God, I have broken the covenant, I have no loyalty, I am disloyal and everything worse.
What can I do about this story-I'm all artifice and color. I'm altogether too lame to walk on the straight road.
Greed has made me all grasping claws,
I'm all war with the Apportioner's apportioning.
Surely those who eat the property of orphans wrongly. It is harsh to eat the wealth of orphans and foolishly crave their possessions. They say that once the marvel of the empire, the pure Jesus, was passing by a graveyard.
He said, “Lord God, bring one of these servants of Yours to life!” At once a section of dust caved in, and a tall man came out and stood. Jesus was frightened by him and said, “Young man, who are you?”
He said, “I am the son of Taghlab.” He said, “When did you die?”
He said, “2,700 years ago.”
He said, “Tell me how you have found death.”
He said, “From the moment I went into the dust until now, the bitterness of death has been with me.”
He said, “What has God done with you?”
He said, “O spirit of God! After 2,700 years I am still being called to account for half a piece of silver that I owed to an orphan. Calling to account for that has still not come to an end.” He said this and fell back into the dust.
4.10 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Those who consume the property of orphans unjustly, without any right, are only consuming, the whole of it as, fire in their bellies, because that is where such [action] leads, and they shall be exposed to (read active yaslawna, or passive yuslawna), that is, they shall enter, a blaze, an intense fire, in which they shall burn.
4.7-10 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Necessity of Surrendering the Inheritance According to the Portions that Allah Ordained
Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah said, "The idolators used to give adult men a share of inheritance and deprive women and children of it. Allah revealed;
لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصيِبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ
(There is a share for men from what is left by parents and those nearest in relation).'' Therefore, everyone is equal in Allah's decision to inherit, even though their shares vary according to the degree of their relationship to the deceased, whether being a relative, spouse, etc. Ibn Marduwyah reported that Jabir said, "Umm Kujjah came to the Messenger of Allah and said to him, `O Messenger of Allah! I have two daughters whose father died, and they do not own anything.' So Allah revealed;
لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصيِبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ
(There is a share for men from what is left by parents and those nearest in relation.)'' We will mention this Hadith when explaining the two Ayat about inheritance. Allah knows best. Allah said,
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.
Observing Fairness in the Will
Allah said,
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 bin Abi Waqqas 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,
«إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَذَرَ وَرَثَتَكَ أَغْنِيَاءَ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ تَذَرَهُمْ عَالَةً يَتَكَفَّفُونَ النَّاس»
(You'd better leave your inheritors wealthy rather than leaving them poor, begging from others.)
A Stern Warning Against Those Who Use Up the Orphan's Wealth
It was also said that the Ayah
وَلاَ تَأْكُلُوهَآ إِسْرَافاً وَبِدَاراً أَن يَكْبَرُواْ
(consume it not wastefully and hastily, fearing that they should grow up,) means, let them have Taqwa of Allah when taking care of the orphan's wealth, as Ibn Jarir recorded from Al-`Awfi who reported this explanation from Ibn `Abbas. This is a sound opinion that is supported by the warning that follows against consuming the orphan's wealth unjustly. In this case, the meaning becomes: Just as you would want your offspring to be treated fairly after you, then treat other people's offspring fairly when you are given the responsibility of caring for them. Allah proclaims that those who unjustly consume the wealth of orphans, will be eating fire into their stomach, this is why Allah said,
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَلَ الْيَتَـمَى ظُلْماً إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمْ نَاراً وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيراً
(Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!) meaning, when you consume the orphan's wealth without a right, then you are only consuming fire, which will kindle in your stomach on the Day of Resurrection. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَات»
(Avoid the seven great destructive sins. ) The people asked, "O Allah's Messenger! What are they'' He said,
«الشِّرْكُ بِاللهِ، وَالسِّحْرُ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ، وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا، وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ، وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ، وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ الْغَافِلَات»
(To join others in worship along with Allah, magic, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, to consume interest, to consume an orphan's property, to turn your back to the enemy and flee from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything harmful to their chastity being good believers.)
4.9-10 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
According to a Tradition this verses were revealed in response to the request of the widow of Hadrat Sa'd bin Rubai'. She came to the Holy Prophet 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?
4.10 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Those who consume the property of orphans unjustly are only consuming fire in their bellies and they shall be exposed to a blaze. The Real سبحانه becomes the advocate for the orphan because there is no one other than Him for the orphan. Whoever hands his affair over to [God] and absolves himself of his own strength and power the Real سبحانه avenges him what He does not avenge for His own sake.
4.10 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully…) [4:10]. Said Muqatil ibn Hayyan: “This verse was revealed about a man from Ghatafan called Marthad ibn Zayd. This man had devoured the fortune of his young, orphaned nephew who was under his charge, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse about him”.