Surah An-Nisa >> Currently viewing Surah An-Nisa Ayat 12 (4:12)

Surah An-Nisa Ayat 12 in Arabic Text

وَلَكُمْ نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ أَزْوَٰجُكُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُنَّ وَلَدٌۭ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌۭ فَلَكُمُ ٱلرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْنَ ۚ مِنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ يُوصِينَ بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍۢ ۚ وَلَهُنَّ ٱلرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّكُمْ وَلَدٌۭ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌۭ فَلَهُنَّ ٱلثُّمُنُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُم ۚ مِّنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ تُوصُونَ بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍۢ ۗ وَإِن كَانَ رَجُلٌۭ يُورَثُ كَلَـٰلَةً أَوِ ٱمْرَأَةٌۭ وَلَهُۥٓ أَخٌ أَوْ أُخْتٌۭ فَلِكُلِّ وَٰحِدٍۢ مِّنْهُمَا ٱلسُّدُسُ ۚ فَإِن كَانُوٓا۟ أَكْثَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ فَهُمْ شُرَكَآءُ فِى ٱلثُّلُثِ ۚ مِنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ يُوصَىٰ بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَآرٍّۢ ۚ وَصِيَّةًۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَلِيمٌۭ
Wa lakum nisfu maa taraka azwaajukum il lam yakul lahunna walad; fa in kaana lahunna waladun falakumur rub’u mimmaa tarakna mim ba’di wasiyyatiny yooseena bihaaa aw dayn; wa lahunnar rubu’u mimmaa taraktum il lam yakul lakum walad; fa in kaana lakum waladun falahunnas sumunu mimmaa taraktum; mim ba’di wasiyyatin toosoona bihaaa aw dayn; wa in kaana rajuluny yoorasu kalaalatan awim ra atunw wa lahooo akhun aw ukhtun falikulli waahidim minhumas sudus; fa in kaanooo aksara min zaalika fahum shurakaaa’u fissulus; mim ba’di wasiyyatiny yoosaa bihaaa aw dainin ghaira mudaaarr; wasiyyatam minal laah; wallaahu ‘Aleemun Haleem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 12

Sahih International
And for you is half of what your wives leave if they have no child. But if they have a child, for you is one fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they [may have] made or debt. And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you [may have] made or debt. And if a man or woman leaves neither ascendants nor descendants but has a brother or a sister, then for each one of them is a sixth. But if they are more than two, they share a third, after any bequest which was made or debt, as long as there is no detriment [caused]. [This is] an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing and Forbearing.

Yusuf Ali
In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, Most Forbearing.

Abul Ala Maududi
And to you belongs half of whatever has been left behind by your wives if they die childless; but if they have any children then to you belongs a fourth of what they have left behind, after payment of the bequest they might have made or any debts outstanding against them. And to them belongs a fourth of what you leave behind, if you die childless; and if you have any child then to them belongs one-eighth of what you have left behind, after the payment of the bequest you might have made or any debts outstanding against you. And if the man or woman has no heir in the direct line, but has a brother or sister, then each of these shall inherit one-sixth; but if they are more than two, then they shall inherit one-third of the inheritance, after the payment of the bequest that might have been made or any debts outstanding against the deceased, providing that the bequest causes no injury. This is a commandment from Allah; Allah is All-Knowing, All-Forbearing.

Muhsin Khan
In that which your wives leave, your share is a half if they have no child; but if they leave a child, you get a fourth of that which they leave after payment of legacies that they may have bequeathed or debts. In that which you leave, their (your wives) share is a fourth if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eighth of that which you leave after payment of legacies that you may have bequeathed or debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of lagacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, so that no loss is caused (to anyone). This is a Commandment from Allah; and Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Most-Forbearing.

Pickthall
And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid). And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) 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, after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted) not injuring (the heirs by willing away more than a third of the heritage) hath been paid. A commandment from Allah. Allah is Knower, Indulgent.

Dr. Ghali
And for you is a half of whatever your spouses have left, in case they have no children; (yet) in case they have children, then for you is the fourth of whatever they have left, (only) after any bequest they may have bequeathed, (Literally: enjoined) or any debt. And for them is a fourth of whatever you have left, in case you have no children; yet in case you have children, then they have an eighth of whatever you have left, (only) after any bequest you may have bequeathed, or any debt. And incase a man or a woman has no heir direct, and has a brother or a sister, then to each one of the two is the sixth; yet in case they are more numerous than that, then they shall be sharers in the third, (only) after any bequest may have been bequeathed, or any debt, without harming (others). (This is) an injunction from Allah; and Allah is Ever-Knowing, Ever-Forbearing.

Abdul Haleem
You inherit half of what your wives leave, if they have no children; if they have children, you inherit a quarter. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts. If you have no children, your wives’ share is a quarter; if you have children, your wives get an eighth. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts. If a man or a woman dies leaving no children or parents, but a single brother or sister, he or she should take one-sixth of the inheritance; if there are more siblings, they share one-third between them. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts, with no harm done to anyone: this is a commandment from God: God is all knowing and benign to all.

Quran 4 Verse 12 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 12, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(4:12) And to you belongs half of whatever has been left behind by your wives if they die childless; but if they have any children then to you belongs a fourth of what they have left behind, after payment of the bequest they might have made or any debts outstanding against them. And to them belongs a fourth of what you leave behind, if you die childless; and if you have any child then to them belongs one-eighth of what you have left behind,[22] after the payment of the bequest you might have made or any debts outstanding against you.[18] And if the man or woman has no heir in the direct line, but has a brother or sister, then each of these shall inherit one-sixth; but if they are more than two, then they shall inherit one-third of the inheritance,[23] after the payment of the bequest that might have been made or any debts outstanding against the deceased, providing that the bequest causes no injury.[24] This is a commandment from Allah; Allah is All-Knowing, All-Forbearing.[25]


22. Whether a man has one wife or several wives the share of the wife/wives is one-eighth of the inheritance when the deceased has issue, and one-fourth when he has no issue. The share of the wives, whether one-fourth or one-eighth, will be distributed equally among them.

23. The remaining five-sixths or two-thirds of the inheritance goes to the legal heirs, if any. Where there are no legal heirs, the person concerned is entitled to make a bequest with regard to the remaining part of the inheritance. Commentators are agreed that the sisters and brothers mentioned here mean half-brothers and half-sisters, i.e. those who have kinship with the deceased on the mother’s side. Injunctions affecting full brothers and sisters, and half-brothers and half-sisters on the father’s side are mentioned towards the end of the present surah. See (verse 176 below, and nn. 219 ff. – Ed.)

24.’Bequests which cause injury’ are those that entail depriving deserving kin of their legitimate rights. Similarly, the debt which causes injury is the fake debt which one falsely admits to owing, and any other device to which one resorts merely in order to deprive the rightful heirs of their shares in inheritance. This kind of injury has been declared to be a major sin in a tradition from the Prophet (peace be on him). According to another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) said that even if a man worked all his life, like the men of Paradise, yet ended his life’s record by making a wrongful bequest, he would be consigned to Hell. (Ibn Kathir, vol. 2, p. 218.) Such an act of deliberate injury and calculated effort designed to deprive people of their due rights is always a sin, but it is mentioned by God particularly in the case of kalalah (the person who leaves behind neither parents nor descendants). (For kalalah see nn. 219 ff. below – Ed.) The reason for this seems to be that a man who has neither issue nor parents is often prone to squander his property and somehow prevent his distant relatives from receiving any share in the inheritance.

25. God’s knowledge is referred to here for two reasons. First, to stress that if a man violates God’s Law he will not be able to escape from the grip of God, for He is Omniscient. Second, to emphasize that the shares in inheritance fixed by God are absolutely sound, for God knows better than His creatures where their true interests lie. Reference is also made to God’s forbearance. This is in order to point out that harshness could not characterize the laws laid down by God in respect of inheritance since He Himself is not harsh. On the contrary, the aim of God’s laws is to prevent people suffering inconvenience and hardship.

25a. This is a terrifying verse in which those who either tamper with God’s laws of inheritance or violate the legal bounds categorically laid down by God in His Book are warned of unending punishment. It is lamentable that, in spite of these very stern warnings, Muslims have occasionally been guilty of breaching God’s laws with the same boldness and insolence as that of the Jews. Disobedience to God’s law of inheritance has occasionally assumed the proportion of open rebellion against Him. In some instances, women have been disinherited altogether. In others, the eldest son has been declared the only legal heir. There are also instances where the entire system of inheritance distribution has been replaced by the system of joint family property. In still other instances, the shares of women have been made equal to those of men. In our time a few Muslim states, in imitation of the West, even contrived a new form of disobedience. This consists of imposing death duties so that governments, too, become one of the heirs of the deceased, an heir whose share God had altogether failed to mention! This is despite the fact that under Islamic dispensation governments may assume control of a dead man’s inheritance only if it is either unclaimed or if the person concerned has specifically so bequeathed part of his inheritance.

26. In these two (verses 15-16)the first, preliminary directives for the punishment for unlawful sexual intercourse are stated. The first verse deals with women. The punishment laid down was to confine them until further directives were revealed. The second verse (i.e. 16) relates to both sexes. The injunction lays down that they should be punished – that is, they should be beaten and publicly reproached. Later, another injunction was revealed see (Surah al-Nur 24: 2) which laid down that both the male and female should be given a hundred lashes. These injunctions are necessarily of a preliminary nature since the people of Arabia were neither used to obeying the orders of any established government, the verdicts of any courts of law nor to following any legal code; it would therefore have been unwise to try to force acceptance of a penal code upon them so soon after the establishment of the Islamic state. In due course, the punishments for unlawful sexual intercourse, for slanderous accusations of unchastity against women, and for theft were laid down in their definitive form and served as the basis of that detailed penal code which was enforced by the Prophet (peace be on him) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.

The apparent difference between the contents of the two verses led al-Suddi to the misconceived belief that the first verse lays down the punishment for married women, and the second that for unmarried men and women. This is a tenuous explanation unsupported by any serious evidence and argument. Even less convincing is the opinion expressed by Abu Muslim al-Isfahani that the first verse relates to lesbian relations between females, and the second to homosexual relations between males. It is strange that al-Isfahani ignored the basic fact that the Qur’an seeks merely to chart a broad code of law and morality and hence deals only with fundamental questions. It is inconsistent with the majestic style of the Qur’an to discuss secondary details which have been left to people to decide through the exercise of their legal judgement. It is for this reason that when the problem of fixing a punishment for sodomy came up for consideration after the time of the Prophet (peace be on him), none of the Companions thought that the above-mentioned verse contained any relevant injunction.

Ibn-Kathir

12. In that which your wives leave, your share is half if they have no child; but if they leave a child, you get a fourth of that which they leave after payment of legacies that they may have bequeathed or debts. In that which you leave, their (your wives) share is a fourth if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eighth of that which you leave after payment of legacies that you may have bequeathed or debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in Kalalah has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, so that no loss is caused (to anyone). This is a Commandment from Allah; and Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.


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.)

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