Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And unto each) He says: to each one of you (We have appointed heirs) so that they inherit (of that which parents and near kindred leave) of property; (and as for those with whom your right hands have made a covenant) your stipulation, (give them their due) give them their stipulation. But this is now abrogated. In the pre-Islamic era, they used to adopt men and youth and allocate for them a portion of their wealth, just as they would do with their own children. Allah abrogated such a practice. However, it is not abrogated if he gives them their portion from a third of his wealth. (Lo! Allah is ever witness over) Allah knows (all things) relating to your works.
To each, man and woman, We have appointed heirs, relations to be given, of that, property, which parents and kinsmen leave, for them, and to those to whom your right hands (aymān, plural of yamīn, meaning ‘oath’ or ‘hand’) were pledged (read ‘āqadat or ‘aqadat), that is, those allies with whom before the coming of Islam you made covenants of mutual assitance and inheritance. So give them, now, their share, their portions of the inheritance, which is a sixth. God is ever Witness over everything, [ever] aware [of it], including your circumstances: this verse was abrogated by His words, But those related by blood are nearer to one another [Q. 8:75 and 33:6].
(And to everyone, We have appointed Mawali) means, "Heirs.'' Ibn `Abbas was also reported to have said that Mawali refers to relatives. Ibn Jarir commented, "The Arabs call the cousin a Mawla.'' Ibn Jarir continued, "Allah's statement,
مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ
(of that (property) left by parents and relatives.) means, from what he inherited from his parents and family members. Therefore, the meaning of the Ayah becomes: `To all of you, O people, We appointed relatives (such as children) who will later inherit what you inherited from your own parents and relatives.'' Allah's statement,
(To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood), give them their due portion.) means, "Those with whom you have a pledge of brotherhood, give them their share of inheritance, thus fulfilling the ratified pledges that you gave them. Allah has witnessed all of you when you gave these pledges and promises.'' This practice was followed in the beginning of Islam, but was later on abrogated when Muslims were commanded to fulfill the pledges (brotherhood) they had already given, but to refrain from making any new pledges after that. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said,
وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِىَ
(And to everyone, We have appointed Mawali) "meaning, heirs;
وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ
(To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood)) When the emigrants came to Al-Madinah, the emigrant would inherit from the Ansari, while the latter's relatives would not inherit from him because of the bond of brotherhood which the Prophet established between them (the emigrants and the Ansar). When the verse,
وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِىَ
(And to everyone We have appointed Mawali) was revealed, it cancelled (the pledge of brotherhood regarding inheritance).'' Then he said, "The verse,
(To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood), give them their due portion.) remained valid for cases of co-operation and mutual advice, while the matter of inheritance was excluded and it became permissible to assign something in one's will to the person who had the right of inheriting before.''
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Arabs would enter into agreements of friendship and brotherhood with each other and on that score were entitled to the inheritance of each other. Thus, a god-son became heir of his god-father. Here this custom of "ignorance" has been abolished, and it has been enjoined that the inheritance should be divided among the heirs according to the law prescribed by Allah. They are, however, allowed to give to such people, whatever they like during their lifetime.
To each We have appointed heirs of that which parents and kinsmen leave and to those to whom your right hands were pledged. So give them their share. God is ever Witness over everything. In the beginning of Islam He made relationships by mutual commitment the equal of relationships of kin in determining inheritance. While this ruling was later abrogated the rule to respect [one another] remained. If this is the manner of relationships by mutual commitment muʿāqada between men what do you think of the mutual covenant muʿāhada with Godḍ God most high said “men who are true to the covenant they made with God” [33:23]. They have recited: Verily those who have died to the religion of whims find the decree of death a sweet watering place.
(And unto each We have appointed heirs and near kindred …) [4:33]. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamawayh al-Harawi> ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Khuza‘i> Abu’l-Yaman al-Hakam ibn Nafi‘> Shu‘ayb ibn Abi Hamzah> al-Zuhri> Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab who said: “The verse (And unto each We have appointed heirs) was revealed about those who used to adopt men who were not their natural sons and then make them inherit from them. Allah, exalted is He, revealed about them that something should be apportioned for them in the bequest while the division of estate He specifically allocated for the heirs who were immediate family relatives or close relatives. He denied a share of the estate to those who were adopted and, instead, allowed them to have a portion of the bequest”.