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The Ruling Concerning Female Orphans

Al-Bukhari recorded that `A'ishah said about the Ayah,

﴿ وَيَسۡتَفۡتُونَكَ فِى ٱلنِّسَآءِ‌ۖ قُلِ ٱللَّهُ يُفۡتِيڪُمۡ فِيهِنَّ

(They ask your instruction concerning women. Say, "Allah instructs you about them...) until,

﴿ وَتَرۡغَبُونَ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ

(whom you desire to marry...) "It is about the man who is taking care of a female orphan, being her caretaker and inheritor. Her money is joined with his money to such an extent, that she shares with him even the branch of a date that he has. So he likes (for material gain) to marry her himself, and hates to marry her to another man who would have a share in his money, on account of her share in his money. Therefore, he refuses to let her marry anyone else. So, this Ayah was revealed.'' Muslim also recorded it. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `A'ishah said, "The people asked Allah's Messenger (about orphan girls), so Allah revealed,

﴿ وَيَسۡتَفۡتُونَكَ فِى ٱلنِّسَآءِ‌ۖ قُلِ ٱللَّهُ يُفۡتِيڪُمۡ فِيهِنَّ وَمَا يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ فِى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ

(They ask your instruction concerning women. Say, "Allah instructs you about them and about what is recited unto you in the Book...") What is meant by Allah's saying, `And about what is recited unto you in the Book' is the former verse which said,

﴿ وَإِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَلَّا تُقۡسِطُواْ فِى ٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ فَٱنكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ

(If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice.)'' `A'ishah said, "Allah's statement,

﴿ وَتَرۡغَبُونَ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ

(whom you desire to marry...) also refers to the desire of the guardian not to marry an orphan girl under his supervision when she lacks property or beauty. The guardians were forbidden to marry their orphan girls possessing property and beauty without being just to them, as they generally refrain from marrying them (when they are neither beautiful nor wealthy).'' The basis of this is recorded in Two Sahihs. Consequently, when a man is the caretaker of a female orphan, he might like to marry her himself. In this case, Allah commands him to give her a suitable dowry that other women of her status get. If he does not want to do that, then let him marry other women, for Allah has made this matter easy for Muslims. Sometimes, the caretaker does not desire to marry the orphan under his care, because she is not attractive to his eye. In this case, Allah forbids the caretaker from preventing the female orphan from marrying another man for fear that her husband would share in the money that is mutually shared between the caretaker and the girl. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said, "During the time of Jahiliyyah, the caretaker of a female orphan would cover her with his rope, and when he did that, no man would marry her. If she was beautiful and he desired to marry her, he married her and took control of her wealth. If she was not beautiful, he did not allow her to marry until she died, and when she died he inherited her money. Allah prohibited and outlawed this practice. '' He also said about Allah's statement,

﴿ وَٱلۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلۡوِلۡدَٲنِ

(and the children who are weak and oppressed,) that during the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to deny young children and females a share of inheritance. So Allah's statement,

﴿ لَا تُؤۡتُونَهُنَّ مَا كُتِبَ لَهُنَّ

(you give not what they deserve) thus prohibiting this practice and designating a fixed share for each,

﴿ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ ٱلۡأُنثَيَيۡنِ‌ۚ

(To the male, a portion equal to that of two females..) whether they were young or old, as Sa`id bin Jubayr and others stated. Sa`id bin Jubayr said about Allah's statement,

﴿ وَأَن تَقُومُواْ لِلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ‌ۚ

(and that you stand firm for justice to orphans.) "Just as when she is beautiful and wealthy you would want to marry her and have her for yourself, so when she is not wealthy or beautiful, marry her and have her for yourself.'' Allah's statement,

﴿ وَمَا تَفۡعَلُواْ مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ۬ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمً۬ا

(And whatever good you do, Allah is Ever All-Aware of it.) encourages performing the good deeds and fulfilling the commandments, and states that Allah is knowledgeable of all of this and He will reward for it in the best and most perfect manner.

﴿ وَإِنِ ٱمۡرَأَةٌ خَافَتۡ مِنۢ بَعۡلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوۡ إِعۡرَاضً۬ا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡہِمَآ أَن يُصۡلِحَا بَيۡنَہُمَا صُلۡحً۬ا‌ۚ وَٱلصُّلۡحُ خَيۡرٌ۬‌ۗ وَأُحۡضِرَتِ ٱلۡأَنفُسُ ٱلشُّحَّ‌ۚ وَإِن تُحۡسِنُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا
﴿ وَلَن تَسۡتَطِيعُوٓاْ أَن تَعۡدِلُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتُمۡ‌ۖ فَلَا تَمِيلُواْ ڪُلَّ ٱلۡمَيۡلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَٱلۡمُعَلَّقَةِ‌ۚ وَإِن تُصۡلِحُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا وَإِن يَتَفَرَّقَا يُغۡنِ ٱللَّهُ ڪُلاًّ۬ مِّن سَعَتِهِۦ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ وَٲسِعًا حَكِيمً۬ا

(128. And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better. And human souls are swayed by greed. But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.) (129. You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them so as to leave the other hanging. And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (130. But if they separate (by divorce), Allah will provide abundance for everyone of them from His bounty. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Wise.)

The Ruling Concerning Desertion on the Part of the Husband

Allah states, and thus legislates accordingly, that sometimes, the man inclines away from his wife, sometimes towards her and sometimes he parts with her. In the first case, when the wife fears that her husband is steering away from her or deserting her, she is allowed to forfeit all or part of her rights, such as provisions, clothing, dwelling, and so forth, and the husband is allowed to accept such concessions from her. Hence, there is no harm if she offers such concessions, and if her husband accepts them. This is why Allah said,

﴿ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡہِمَآ أَن يُصۡلِحَا بَيۡنَہُمَا صُلۡحً۬ا‌ۚ

(there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves;) He then said,

﴿ وَٱلصُّلۡحُ خَيۡرٌ۬‌ۗ

(and making peace is better) than divorce. Allah's statement,

﴿ وَأُحۡضِرَتِ ٱلۡأَنفُسُ ٱلشُّحَّ‌ۚ

(And human souls are swayed by greed.) means, coming to peaceful terms, even when it involves forfeiting some rights, is better than parting. Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, `O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to `A'ishah.' And he did, and later on Allah sent down,

﴿ وَإِنِ ٱمۡرَأَةٌ خَافَتۡ مِنۢ بَعۡلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوۡ إِعۡرَاضً۬ا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡہِمَآ

(And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no sin on them both) Ibn `Abbas said, "Whatever (legal agreement) the spouses mutually agree to is allowed.''. At-Tirmidhi recorded it and said, "Hasan Gharib''. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that `A'ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zam`ah became old, she forfeited her day to `A'ishah, and the Prophet used to spend Sawdah's night with `A'ishah. There is a similar narration also collected by Al-Bukhari. Al-Bukhari also recorded that `A'ishah commented;

﴿ وَإِنِ ٱمۡرَأَةٌ خَافَتۡ مِنۢ بَعۡلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوۡ إِعۡرَاضً۬ا

(And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part), that it refers to, "A man who is married to an old woman, and he does not desire her and wants to divorce her. So she says, `I forfeit my right on you.' So this Ayah was revealed.''

Meaning of "Making Peace is Better"

Allah said,

﴿ وَٱلصُّلۡحُ خَيۡرٌ۬‌ۗ

(And making peace is better). `Ali bin Abi Talhah related that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah refers to, "When the husband gives his wife the choice between staying with him or leaving him, as this is better than the husband preferring other wives to her.'' However, the apparent wording of the Ayah refers to the settlement where the wife forfeits some of the rights she has over her husband, with the husband agreeing to this concession, and that this settlement is better than divorce. For instance, the Prophet kept Sawdah bint Zam`ah as his wife after she offered to forfeit her day for `A'ishah. By keeping her among his wives, his Ummah may follow this kind of settlement. Since settlement and peace are better with Allah than parting, Allah said,

﴿ وَٱلصُّلۡحُ خَيۡرٌ۬‌ۗ

(and making peace is better). Divorce is not preferred with Allah. The meaning of Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِن تُحۡسِنُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا

(But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do) if you are patient with the wife you dislike and treat her as other wives are treated, then Allah knows what you do and will reward you for it perfectly. Allah's statement,

﴿ وَلَن تَسۡتَطِيعُوٓاْ أَن تَعۡدِلُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتُمۡ‌ۖ

(You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire,) means, O people! You will never be able to be perfectly just between wives in every respect. Even when one divides the nights justly between wives, there will still be various degrees concerning love, desire and sexual intimacy, as Ibn `Abbas, `Ubaydah As-Salmani, Mujahid, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim stated. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah used to treat his wives equally and proclaim,

« اللَّهُمَّ هَذَا قَسْمِي فِيمَا أَمْلِكُ، فَلَا تَلُمْنِي فِيمَا تَمْلِكُ وَلَا أَمْلِك »

(O Allah! This is my division in what I own, so do not blame me for what You own and I do not own) referring to his heart. This was the wording that Abu Dawud collected, and its chain of narrators is Sahih. Allah's statement,

﴿ فَلَا تَمِيلُواْ ڪُلَّ ٱلۡمَيۡلِ

(so do not incline too much to one of them) means, when you like one of your wives more than others, do not exaggerate in treating her that way,

﴿ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَٱلۡمُعَلَّقَةِ‌ۚ

(so as to leave the other hanging. ) referring to the other wives. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that Mu`allaqah ﴿hanging means, "She is neither divorced nor married.'' Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ امْرَأَتَانِ فَمَالَ إِلى إِحْدَاهُمَا، جَاءَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَأَحَدُ شِقَّيْهِ سَاقِط »

(Whoever has two wives and inclines to one of them (too much), will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides dragging.) Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِن تُصۡلِحُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا

(And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) The Ayah states: If you do justice and divide equally in what you have power over, while fearing Allah in all conditions, then Allah will forgive you the favoritism that you showed to some of your wives. Allah then said,

﴿ وَإِن يَتَفَرَّقَا يُغۡنِ ٱللَّهُ ڪُلاًّ۬ مِّن سَعَتِهِۦ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ وَٲسِعًا حَكِيمً۬ا

(But if they separate (divorce), Allah will provide abundance for everyone of them from His bounty. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Wise. ) This is the third case between husband and wife, in which divorce occurs. Allah states that if the spouses separate by divorce, then Allah will suffice them by giving him a better wife and her a better husband. The meaning of,

﴿ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ وَٲسِعًا حَكِيمً۬ا

(And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Wise.) is: His favor is tremendous, His bounty is enormous and He is All-Wise in all His actions, decisions and commandments.

﴿ وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ وَلَقَدۡ وَصَّيۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ وَإِيَّاكُمۡ أَنِ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ‌ۚ وَإِن تَكۡفُرُواْ فَإِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَنِيًّا حَمِيدً۬ا وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ وَكِيلاً إِن يَشَأۡ يُذۡهِبۡڪُمۡ أَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ وَيَأۡتِ بِـَٔاخَرِينَ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٲلِكَ قَدِيرً۬ا مَّن كَانَ يُرِيدُ ثَوَابَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا فَعِندَ ٱللَّهِ ثَوَابُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱلۡأَخِرَةِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ سَمِيعَۢا بَصِيرً۬ا

(131. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And verily, We have recommended to the People of the Scripture before you, and to you that you have Taqwa of Allah. But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich (free of any needs), Worthy of all praise.) (132. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient as Disposer of affairs.) (133. If He wills, He can take you away, O people, and bring others. And Allah is Ever All-Potent over that.) (134. Whoever desires the rewards of this life, then with Allah is the reward of this worldly life and of the Hereafter. And Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.)