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marriage but if ye perceive they are able to manage their affairs well, deliver their substance unto them; and waste it not extravagantly or hastily, because they grow up. Let him who is rich abstain entirely from the orphans' estates; and let him who is poor take thereof according to what shall be reasonable. And when ye deliver their substance unto them, call witnesses thereof in their presence: GOD taketh sufficient account of your actions. (6) Men ought to have a part of what their parents and kindred leave behind them when they die: and women also ought to have a part of what their parents and kindred leave, whether it be little, or whether it be much; a determinate part is due to them. (7) And when they who are of kin are present at the dividing of what is left, and also the orphans and the poor, distribute unto them some part thereof; and if the estate be too small, at least

reckoned to be fifteen; a decision supported by a tradition of their prophet; though Abu Hanifah thinks eighteen the proper age.”— Sale, Baidhawi.

Waste it not. . . hastily, i.e., when ye see them growing up rapidly to years of discretion, do not hasten to expend the orphan's inheritance, seeing it is soon to pass from your hands.”—Tafsir-iRaufi.

What shall be reasonable. "That is, no more than what shall make sufficient recompense for the trouble of their education."—Sale, Baidhawi.

Call witnesses, to prevent future dispute and trouble.

(6) Women also ought to have a part, &c. "This law was given to abolish a custom of the pagan Arabs, who suffered not women or children to have any part of their husband's or father's inheritance, on pretence that they only should inherit who were able to go to war."-Sale, Baidhawi.

Complaints were first made against this old Arab custom by Omm Kuha, in consequence of which this passage was revealed.— Tafsír-iRaufi.

The importance of this reform cannot be overrated. Previous to this, women and helpless children might be disinherited by the adult male heirs, and thus be reduced to absolute penury, for no fault but that of being widows and orphans.

(7) And speak comfortably. The supposed ellipsis, filled in here by Sale, has not any real existence. See the same expression in ver. 4. The idea is that, in any case, some portion of the estate should be cheerfully given to the poor-they were to be treated kindly, notwithstanding that their presence would necessitate the

speak comfortably unto them. (8) And let those fear to abuse orphans, who if they leave behind them a weak offspring, are solicitous for them; let them therefore fear GOD, and speak that which is convenient. (9) Surely they who devour the possessions of orphans unjustly shall swallow down nothing but fire into their bellies, and shall broil in raging flames.

|| (10) GOD hath thus commanded you concerning your R 13

children. A male shall have as much as the share of two females; but if they be females only, and above two in

parting with some portion of the property about to be divided. This verse is abrogated by ver. 11 of this chapter. See Preface, R. Urdu Qurán, Lodiana edition, p. xx.

(8) Let those fear. There is in this verse a threat of retributive justice against those who would deal unjustly with the helpless orphan. Their own children might be dealt with in a similar


No doubt Muhammad had learned the substance of this revelation by his own experience as an orphan. Certainly the anxiety he exhibited to alleviate the sad condition of such is most praiseworthy. His terrible curses against the oppressors of such (see next verse) evince the earnestness of his purpose to reform this abuse.

(10) A male... two females. "This is the general rule to be followed in the distribution of the estate of the deceased, as may be observed in the following cases."—Sale.

See also Prelim. Disc., p. 212.

Above two, or only two (Tafsir-i-Raufi). The two-third share of the property must be shared equally by the daughters being the sole heirs.

One, she shall have the half. "And the remaining third part, or the remaining moiety of the estate, which is not here expressly disposed of, if the deceased leaves behind him no son, nor a father, goes to the public treasury. It must be observed that Mr. Selden is certainly mistaken when, in explaining this passage of the Qurán, he says, that where there is a son and an only daughter, each of them will have a moiety: for the daughter can have a moiety but in one case only, that is, where there is no son; for if there be a son, she can have but a third, according to the above-mentioned rule."-Sale.

If he have a child = a son. It is implied that the parents would receive the same were the child a daughter. But of the remaining two-thirds, while the son would get the whole, a daughter would only get three-sixths or one-half of the whole estate. See note above.

His mother... the third, i.e., half as much as her husband (the father), a man being entitled to the share of two women.

number, they shall have two third parts of what the deceased shall leave; and if there be but one, she shall have the half. And the parents of the deceased shall have each of them a sixth part of what he shall leave, if he have a child; but if he have no child, and his parents be his heirs, then his mother shall have the third part. And if he have brethren, his mother shall have a sixth part, after the legacies which he shall bequeath and his debts be paid. Ye know not whether your parents or your children be of greater use unto you. This is an ordinance from GOD, and GOD is knowing and wise. (11) Moreover, ye may claim half of what your wives shall leave, if they have no issue; but if they have issue, then ye shall have the fourth part of what they shall leave, after the legacies which they shall bequeath and the debts be paid. They also shall have the fourth part of

In the case where there are brethren, the mother receives a sixth only. The remainder to be divided between his brethren and his father, if living. The father would receive a sixth of the whole, the remaining two-thirds of the estate being divided equally between the brothers. If he have sisters as well as brothers, we would infer from the following verse that they would share equally with the brothers.

The legacies. Those given for charitable purposes. According to Muhammadan law in India, a man cannot, by a will, devote more than one-third of his property in charity.

Your parents or your children. The meaning seems to be that parents and children are equally near related to the deceased. From this the inference is drawn that the brothers of the deceased can only be regarded as lawful heirs in case the father be deceased also. When living, the parents are the sole heirs, except where there be children. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(11) Fourth part . . . eighth part. The principle that one man is equal to two women is preserved here. There being issue to deceased wives, they inherit the remainder of the property according to the law of ver. 10. So, too, in regard to what remains after a wife's eighth has been paid her.

Where there is no issue, the part remaining after the husband's or wife's share has been paid goes to more distant relatives or to the public treasury.

A distant relation. "For this may happen by contract, or on some other special occasion."-Sale.

The words in Arabic indicate a man who has neither parents nor

what ye shall leave, in case ye have no issue; but if ye have issue, then they shall have the eighth part of what shall leave, after the legacies which ye shall bequeath, and your debts be paid. And if a man or woman's substance be inherited by a distant relation, and he or she have a brother or sister; each of them two shall have a


children, and must therefore bequeath his property to more distant relatives.

Each of them. "Here, and in the next case, the brother and sister are made equal sharers, which is an exception to the general rule of giving a male twice as much as a female; and the reason is said to be, because of the smallness of the portions, which deserve not such exactness of distribution; for in other cases the rule holds between brother and sister, as well as other relations."-Sale.

The case of parents receiving each a sixth when there is a child is also an exception. See note, ver. 10.

Without prejudice to the heirs, i.e., the distant relatives mentioned above. Abdul Qadir, commenting on this passage, says: "This relates to the inheritance of brothers and sisters, who have no claims so long as there be father or son alive. Should there be neither father nor son, then the brothers and sisters become heirs. There are three classes of these:-First, brothers and sisters by the same wife; secondly, by different wives; and thirdly, by different fathers. The inheritance belonging to these three classes is as follows:-If there be a single heir, he or she will receive a sixth part of the property; if more than one, then one-third of the property will be divided among them, no distinction being made between men and women. The first and second classes mentioned above rank as members of the deceased person's family when there is left to him neither father nor son. First the brothers by the same mother are heirs. If there be none such, then the brothers by a different mother. It is only in case there be no heirs of these classes that those of class third become heirs.

"This passage also declares that bequests for charitable purposes have the precedence, provided no injustice be done to the heirs. This may take place in two ways: either by deceased's having bequeathed in charity more than one-third of his property-he may not give in charity more than one-third of his property; or injustice may be done the heirs by willing to some one of the heirs more than his lawful share, through partiality. Such increased bequest, beyond a third of the property, or partial bestowal of property beyond the legal share, can only become legal by the consent of the heirs at the time of bequest.

"These five classes of heirs (children, parents, widower, widow, and brothers and sisters) all have fixed portions or fractional parts of the inheritance. Besides these, there are other heirs, called Usbah distant relations), who have not portions. If there be no heirs having portions, then the usbah receive the whole property.

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sixth part of the estate.
number, they shall be equal sharers in a third part, after
payment of the legacies which shall be bequeathed and
the debts, without prejudice to the heirs. This is an ordi-

But if there be more than this

nance from GOD, and GOD is knowing and gracious. (12) These are the statutes of GOD. And whoso obeyeth GOD and his apostle, God shall lead him into gardens wherein rivers flow, they shall continue therein for ever; and this shall be great happiness. (13) But whoso disobeyeth GOD and his apostle, and transgresseth his statutes, God shall cast him into hell fire; he shall remain therein for ever, and he shall suffer a shameful punish


|| (14) If any of your women be guilty of whoredom, produce four witnesses from among you against them,

But if there be both heirs with portions and usbah, then the latter receive what remains after the former have had their portions. An usbah must be a male, not a female, nor even a male connected on the mother's side only (i.e., having no relationship by blood with the father's side). These are of four degrees: First, son and grandson; second, father and grandfather (on father's side); third, brothers and nephews (on father's side); fourth, uncle (father's elder brother), his son, and his grandson (these all rank alike). If there be several persons having claims, that one has the precedence who is nearest related to the deceased, e.g., a son has the precedence of a grandson, a brother of a nephew, the brother of a step-brother, &c.

"Finally, among the children and brothers and sisters of the deceased, women have a portion, but among the usbah they have no claim. Should there be no heir of the kind already enumerated, then the ziwilrihm or relations by the 'female' (literally, woman) side, and who have no portion, become heirs, e.g., a daughter's son, a maternal grandfather, a sister's son, a mother's brother, a maternal aunt, a father's sister, and their children, reckoned as in the case of the usbah."

(14) Whoredom. Either fornication or adultery.

Imprison in apartments, i.e., they were to be built into a wall, and be left there until they were dead.

Or God afford, &c. "Their punishment in the beginning of Muhammadanism was to be immured till they died, but afterwards this cruel doom was mitigated, and they might avoid it by undergoing the punishment ordained in its stead by the Sunnat, according to which the maidens are to be scourged with a hundred stripes, and to be banished for a full year, and the married women to be stoned."-Sale, Jalaluddín.

See also note, chap. iii. 23.

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