English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 4: Al-Nisa — Women (Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections, 176 verses)

Section 2 (Verses 4:11–4:14): Law of Inheritance

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Translation:

یُوۡصِیۡکُمُ اللّٰہُ فِیۡۤ اَوۡلَادِکُمۡ ٭ لِلذَّکَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ الۡاُنۡثَیَیۡنِ ۚ فَاِنۡ کُنَّ نِسَآءً فَوۡقَ اثۡنَتَیۡنِ فَلَہُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَکَ ۚ وَ اِنۡ کَانَتۡ وَاحِدَۃً فَلَہَا النِّصۡفُ ؕ وَ لِاَبَوَیۡہِ لِکُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنۡہُمَا السُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَکَ اِنۡ کَانَ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّہٗ وَلَدٌ وَّ وَرِثَہٗۤ اَبَوٰہُ فَلِاُمِّہِ الثُّلُثُ ۚ فَاِنۡ کَانَ لَہٗۤ اِخۡوَۃٌ فَلِاُمِّہِ السُّدُسُ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ وَصِیَّۃٍ یُّوۡصِیۡ بِہَاۤ اَوۡ دَیۡنٍ ؕ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اَبۡنَآؤُکُمۡ لَا تَدۡرُوۡنَ اَیُّہُمۡ اَقۡرَبُ لَکُمۡ نَفۡعًا ؕ فَرِیۡضَۃً مِّنَ اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَلِیۡمًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۱۱﴾

4:11 Allah commands you concerning your children: for the male is the equal of the portion of two females; but if there are more than two females, two-thirds of what the deceased leaves is theirs; and if there is one, for her is the half.1 And as for his parents, for each of them is the sixth of what he leaves, if he has a child; but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, for his mother is the third; but if he has brothers, for his mother is the sixth, after (payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt.2 Your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is the nearer to you in benefit. This is an ordinance from Allah. Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

وَ لَکُمۡ نِصۡفُ مَا تَرَکَ اَزۡوَاجُکُمۡ اِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّہُنَّ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَاِنۡ کَانَ لَہُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَلَکُمُ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَکۡنَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ وَصِیَّۃٍ یُّوۡصِیۡنَ بِہَاۤ اَوۡ دَیۡنٍ ؕ وَ لَہُنَّ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَکۡتُمۡ اِنۡ لَّمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّکُمۡ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَاِنۡ کَانَ لَکُمۡ وَلَدٌ فَلَہُنَّ الثُّمُنُ مِمَّا تَرَکۡتُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ وَصِیَّۃٍ تُوۡصُوۡنَ بِہَاۤ اَوۡ دَیۡنٍ ؕ وَ اِنۡ کَانَ رَجُلٌ یُّوۡرَثُ کَلٰلَۃً اَوِ امۡرَاَۃٌ وَّ لَہٗۤ اَخٌ اَوۡ اُخۡتٌ فَلِکُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنۡہُمَا السُّدُسُ ۚ فَاِنۡ کَانُوۡۤا اَکۡثَرَ مِنۡ ذٰلِکَ فَہُمۡ شُرَکَآءُ فِی الثُّلُثِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ وَصِیَّۃٍ یُّوۡصٰی بِہَاۤ اَوۡ دَیۡنٍ ۙ غَیۡرَ مُضَآرٍّ ۚ وَصِیَّۃً مِّنَ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَلِیۡمٌ ﴿ؕ۱۲﴾

4:12 And yours is half of what your wives leave if they have no child; but if they have a child, your share is a fourth of what they leave after (payment of) any bequest they may have bequeathed or a debt; and theirs is the fourth of what you leave if you have no child, but if you have a child, their share is the eighth of what you leave after (payment of) a bequest you may have bequeathed or a debt.3 And if a man or a woman, having no children, leaves property to be inherited and he (or she) has a brother or a sister,4 then for each of them is the sixth; but if they are more than that, they shall be sharers in the third after (payment of) a bequest that may have been bequeathed or a debt not injuring (others).5 This is an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing.

تِلۡکَ حُدُوۡدُ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یُّطِعِ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ یُدۡخِلۡہُ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ ذٰلِکَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِیۡمُ ﴿۱۳﴾

4:13 These are Allah’s limits. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will admit him to Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them. And this is the mighty achievement.

وَ مَنۡ یَّعۡصِ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ یَتَعَدَّ حُدُوۡدَہٗ یُدۡخِلۡہُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِیۡہَا ۪ وَ لَہٗ عَذَابٌ مُّہِیۡنٌ ﴿٪۱۴﴾

4:14 And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and goes beyond His limits, He will make him enter fire to abide in it, and for him is a humiliating punishment.

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Commentary:

  1. By females are here meant the female children. When daughters are the sole heirs they are entitled to a share of two-thirds of the inheritance if there are two or more of them (the words “more than two” include the case of two daugh­ters). If there is only one daughter she is entitled to a half.
  2. The parents first take their respective shares, and the residue goes to the children, if there are any, failing which, the share of the parents is increased. But in case the deceased has brothers, the mother receives the same share as she would have received if the deceased had children. In all cases the payment of bequests and debts takes precedence of the shares of the heirs.
  3. The husband or the wife (and surviving parents) take their fixed shares first, and the residue goes to the children. The two-thirds share for two or more daughters can only be given when there are neither parents, nor husband or wife; otherwise they take the residue, as in the case of sons or sons and daughters.
  4. This is the case where the deceased has no children but has parents, and therefore the brothers and sisters are not the only heirs and their share is only one-sixth. See 4:176 for one who leaves neither children nor parents, and there­fore the brothers and the sisters take the whole of the inheritance.
  5. The words not injuring others mean that debts and bequests shall not prejudice the rights of the legal heirs.

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