The Quran

Commentaries for 4.12

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.12 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave) of property, (if they have no child) male or female, from you or from other than you; (but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave) of property, (after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt) after paying back any debt that they may have contracted and extracting any bequest she may have bequeathed. (And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave) of property (if ye have no child) male or female from them or from other than them, (but if ye have a child) male or female, from them or from other than them (then the eighth of that which ye leave) of property, (after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid)) after paying back any debt you may have contracted and extracting any bequest you may have bequeathed to someone. (And if a man) who does not have parents, children or kinsfolk related to his parents or children (or a woman) who is in the same situation (have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child)) brothers or sisters from the mother side. It is also said that this refers to any kin other than parents and children, (and he (or she)) the deceased (have a brother or a sister) only on the mother's side (then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth, and if they be more than two, then they shall be sharers in the third) the male and the female having equal share, (after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted)) after paying back any debt that the deceased may have contracted and after extracting any bequest that he may have bequeathed provided it does not exceed a third of the inheritance (not injuring) the heirs by willing away more than a third of the inheritance (hath been paid. A commandment from Allah) it is an obligation upon you from Allah that you must divide inheritance. (Allah is Knower) regarding the division of inheritance, (Indulgent) in relation to that which happens between you of ignorance and deception regarding the division of inheritance, despite of which He does not hasten His punishment upon you.
4.12 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
For you half of what your wives leave, if they have no children.
Inheritance and worthiness to receive it are established either by means of a cause or by way of a lineage. The cause is marriage and the lineage is kinship. Marriage is the cause of love, as God says, “He placed between you love and mercy” [30:21]. Lineage is assistance and strength, as has come in the report: “A man is many through his brothers.” When one of the relatives by lineage or one of the near ones by cause dies, that will be a wound on a person's heart and a pain in his spirit. The Lord of the Worlds places balm on the pain. After this suffering He commands consolation through the wealth of the person who passed away. Thus, just as pain came from his passing, so also balm comes from his wealth. This is the custom of the Lord with His friends: If He places suffering on them by prescribing the Law, after the suffering He makes a treasure appear with the attribute of alleviation.
Shaykh al-Islām Anṣārī said, “How should I have known that suffering is the mother of happiness and that beneath one disappointment lie a thousand treasures? How should I have known that hope is the courier of union and that beneath the cloud of munificence despair is impossible? How should I have known that the Lovingly Kind is so forbearing that His gentleness and loving kindness to the sinner are beyond reckoning? How should I have known how servant-caressing is the
Possessor of Majesty and how much joy His friends have in Him? How should I have known that what I seek is in the midst of the spirit, and that the exaltation of union with Him is my opening?”
In my whole life one night at the time of dawn,
the image of that comfort of the spirit came to me And asked, “How are you, wounded one?”
I said, “In my passion for You, that is the first opening.”
4.12 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And for you a half of what your wives leave, if they have no children, from you or from another; but if they have children, then for you a fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they may bequeath, or any debt: the consensus is that the grandchild in this case is like the child. And for them, the wives, whether one or more, a fourth of what you leave, if you have no children; but if you have children, from them or from others, then for them an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you may bequeath, or any debt; again the consensus is that the grandchild is as the child. If it be a man leaving an inheritance (yūrathu, ‘being inherited from’, is an adjectival qualification, the predicate of which is [the following kalālatan, ‘without direct heir’]) and not having a direct heir, that is, [having] neither a parent nor child, or it be a woman, leaving an inheritance and having no direct heir, but it be that such, a man leaving an inheritance with no direct heir, has a brother or a sister, from the same mother, as read by Ibn Mas‘ūd and others, then to each of the two a sixth, of what he leaves; but if they, the siblings from the same mother, be more than that, that is, [more] than one, then they share a third, the male and female equally, after any bequest to be bequeathed or any debt without prejudice (ghayra mudārrin, is a circumstantial qualifier referring to the person governing [the verb] yūsā, ‘to be bequeathed’) in other words, without causing any prejudice to the inheritors by bequeathing more than the third); a charge (wasiyyatan, a verbal noun reaffirming [the import of] yūsīkum, ‘He charges you’ [of the beginning of the previous verse]) from God. God is Knowing, of the obligations which He has ordained for His creatures, Forbearing, in deferring the punishment of those that disobey Him. The Sunna specifies that the individuals mentioned may receive the relevant inheritance provided that they are not barred from it on account of their having committed murder, or [their belonging to] a different religion or being slaves.
4.12 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Share of the Spouses in the Inheritance
Allah says to the husband, you get half of what your wife leaves behind if she dies and did not have a child. If she had a child, you get one-fourth of what she leaves behind, after payment of legacies that she may have bequeathed, or her debts. We mentioned before that payment of debts comes before fulfilling the will, and then comes the will, then the inheritance, and there is a consensus on this matter among the scholars. And the rule applies to the grandchildren as well as the children, even if they are great-grandchildren (or even further in generation) Allah then said,
وَلَهُنَّ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ
(In that which you leave, their (your wives) share is a fourth) and if there is more than one wife, they all share in the fourth, or one-eighth that the wife gets. Earlier, we explained Allah's statement,
مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ
(After payment of legacies)
The Meaning of Kalalah
Allah said,
وَإِن كَانَ رَجُلٌ يُورَثُ كَلَـلَةً
(If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question was left in Kalalah.) Kalalah is a derivative of Iklil; the crown that surrounds the head. The meaning of Kalalah in this Ayah is that the person's heirs come from other than the first degree of relative. Ash-Sha`bi reported that when Abu Bakr As-Siddiq was asked about the meaning of Kalalah, he said, "I will say my own opinion about it, and if it is correct, then this correctness is from Allah. However, if my opinion is wrong, it will be my error and because of the evil efforts of Shaytan, and Allah and His Messenger have nothing to do with it. Kalalah refers to the man who has neither descendants nor ascendants.'' When `Umar became the Khalifah, he said, "I hesitate to contradict an opinion of Abu Bakr.'' This was recorded by Ibn Jarir and others. In his Tafsir, Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "I was among the last persons to see `Umar bin Al-Khattab, and he said to me, `What you said was the correct opinion.' I asked, `What did I say' He said, `That Kalalah refers to the person who has no child or parents.''' This is also the opinion of `Ali bin Abi Talib, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Zayd bin Thabit, Ash-Sha`bi, An-Nakha`i, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, Jabir bin Zayd and Al-Hakam. This is also the view of the people of Al-Madinah, Kufah, Basrah, the Seven Fuqaha', the Four Imams and the majority of scholars of the past and present, causing some scholars to declare that there is a consensus on this opinion.
The Ruling Concerning Children of the Mother From Other Than the Deceased's Father
Allah said,
وَلَهُ أَخٌ أَوْ أُخْتٌ
(But has left a brother or a sister), meaning, from his mother's side, as some of the Salaf stated, including Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas. Qatadah reported that this is the view of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.
فَلِكُلِّ وَحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ فَإِن كَانُواْ أَكْثَرَ مِن ذلِكَ فَهُمْ شُرَكَآءُ فِى الثُّلُثِ
(Each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third.) There is a difference between the half brothers from the mother's side and the rest of the heirs. First, they get a share in the inheritance on account of their mother. Second, the males and females among them get the same share. Third, they only have a share in the inheritance when the deceased's estate is inherited in Kalalah, for they do not have a share if the deceased has a surviving father, grandfather, child or grandchild. Fourth, they do not have more than a third, no matter how numerous they were. aAllah's statement,
مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصَى بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَآرٍّ
(After payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, so that no loss is caused (to anyone).) means, let the will and testament be fair and free of any type of harm, without depriving some rightful heirs from all, or part of their share, or adding to the fixed portion that Allah or dained for some heirs. Indeed, whoever does this, will have disputed with Allah concerning His decision and division. An authentic Hadith states,
«إِنَّ اللهَ قَدْ أَعْطَى كُلَّ ذِي حَقَ حَقَّهُ فَلَا وَصِيَّةَ لِوَارِث»
(Allah has given each his fixed due right. Therefore, there is no will for a rightful inheritor.)
4.12 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In case the deceased leaves behind children, his wife or wives will be entitled to only one-eighth of the inheritance, and if he dies childless, she or they will he entitled to one-fourth of the whole and this one-fourth or one-eighth will be divided equally among all of them.
If there he any other heir, he shall get share out of the remaining 5/6 or 2/3, as the case may be; otherwise the deceased will have the right to make his will about the whole of the remaining 5/6 or 2/3.All the commentators are agreed that in this verse brothers and sisters refer to half-brothers and half-sisters from the side of the mother alone. The rule of inheritance about real brothers and real sisters and half-brothers and half-sisters from the side of the father is given at the end of the Surah.
The will shall be considered as injurious if it affects adversely the rights of the lawful heirs and the debt will be injurious if the testator acknowledges a debt which he has not actually taken or plays some trick to deprive the rightful heirs of their due shares. Such a thing has been declared as one of the most heinous sins according to a Tradition. Another Tradition of the Holy Prophet says, "There may be a person, who, throughout his whole life, does deeds that deserve Paradise, but who on the eve of his death makes an injurious will and thus in the end he does an act that deserves Hell." Though such an injury is a heinous sin in any case, the warning has specially been given about it in connection with a person who has neither children nor parents to inherit his property. This is because such a one is more prone to squander his property in order to deprive comparatively distant relatives.
The attribute of Allah that He is All-Knowing, has been mentioned here for two reasons. First, it is to warn the people that none can escape the consequences of a breach of His Law, for, He has knowledge of everything. Second, it is to convince people that the shares of inheritance appointed by Allah are absolutely right, for Allah knows better than they in what lies their good. The other attribute that He is Lenient has been mentioned to show that the Laws of.Allah are not harsh but are so lenient that they do not put the people to hardship.
4.12 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And for you a half of what your wives leave if they have no children; but if they have children then for you a fourth of what they leave after any bequest they may bequeath or any debt: a fourth of what you leave if you have no children; but if you have children then for them an eighth of what you leave after any bequest you may bequeath or any debt. If it be a man leaving an inheritance and not having a direct heir or it be a woman but it be that such has a brother or a sister then to each of the two a sixth; but if they be more than that then they share a third after any bequest to be bequeathed or any debt without prejudice; a charge from God. God is Knowing Forbearing. The subtle indication behind establishing inheritance for relatives by blood and marriage relates to the fact that the relative bears his grief when the individual dies. God compensates the heir for what he endures and soothes the ache in his heart with the inherited wealth. It is His way سبحانه to compensate for the suffering of the injured a generosity from Him-not an obligation on Him as some people imagine. All who were closest by blood or strongest by marital tie to the deceased are the most entitled to his inheritance. With regard to this meaning they have recited: No one remains possessed with cheerful largesse after the novelty is goneexcept a youth still besotted.