Surah An-Nisa >> Currently viewing Surah An-Nisa Ayat 19 (4:19)

Surah An-Nisa Ayat 19 in Arabic Text

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُوا۟ ٱلنِّسَآءَ كَرْهًۭا ۖ وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا۟ بِبَعْضِ مَآ ءَاتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّآ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَـٰحِشَةٍۢ مُّبَيِّنَةٍۢ ۚ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكْرَهُوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَيَجْعَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًۭا كَثِيرًۭا
Yaaa aiyuhal lazeena aamanoo laa yahillu lakum an tarisun nisaaa’a karhan wa laa ta’duloohunna litazhaboo biba’di maaa aataitumoohunna illaaa ai ya’teena bifaahishatim mubaiyinah; wa ‘aashiroo hunna bilma’roof; fa in karihtumoohunna fa’asaaa an takrahoo shai’anw wa yaj’alal laahu feehi khairan kaseeraa

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 19

Sahih International
O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.

Yusuf Ali
O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.

Abul Ala Maududi
Believers! It is not lawful for you to become heirs to women against their will. It is not lawful that you should put constraint upon them that you may take away anything of what you have given them; (you may not put constraint upon them) unless they are guilty of brazenly immoral conduct. Live with your wives in a good manner. If you dislike them in any manner, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good for you.

Muhsin Khan
O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.

Pickthall
O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen), nor (that) ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good.

Dr. Ghali
O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; (Literally: through compulsion) neither pose problems for them that you may go away with some (part) of what you have brought them except when they come up with a (demonstrably) evident obscenity. And consort with them with beneficence; so in case you hate them, then it is possible you may hate something, and Allah sets in it much charity (i.e. benefit).

Abdul Haleem
You who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will, nor should you treat your wives harshly, hoping to take back some of the bride-gift you gave them, unless they are guilty of something clearly outrageous. Live with them in accordance with what is fair and kind: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something in which God has put much good.

Quran 4 Verse 19 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 19, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(4:19) Believers! It is not lawful for you to become heirs to women against their will.[28] It is not lawful that you should put constraint upon them that you may take away anything of what you have given them; (you may not put constraint upon them) unless they are guilty of brazenly immoral conduct.[29] Live with your wives in a good manner. If you dislike them in any manner, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good for you.[30]


28. This means that the relatives of the husband should not treat the widow of the deceased as if she were a part of the inheritance and begin imposing their will on her. Upon the death of her husband a woman becomes independent. As soon as her legally-prescribed period of waiting ends, she is free to go to wherever she likes and to marry anyone she wishes.

29. This permission is intended not in order to provide them with an excuse to misappropriate her property but to exercise a restraint on her conduct and prevent her from lewdness.

30. This means that if the wife is either not beautiful or has some shortcoming because of which she does not seem attractive enough to her husband, the latter should not suddenly decide, in a fit of rage and disgust, to part with her. Rather he should act with patience and forbearance. It often happens that a woman lacks physical attraction but has other qualities which are of much greater value for the success of married life. Hence if such a woman finds the opportunity to express her qualities, the same husband who initially felt revulsion towards her becomes captivated by her attractive conduct and character. Sometimes in the early stages of married life a husband dislikes certain things in his wife, and this initial dislike may even grow to revulsion. Were a man to be patient and allow all the potentialities of the woman to be realized, it would become evident to him that her merits outweighed her weaknesses. Hence a man’s haste in taking the decision to rupture the matrimonial bond is not praiseworthy. Repudiation of marriage should be a man’s last resort, a resort towards which he should turn only in unavoidable circumstances. The Prophet (peace be on him) has said: For God, divorce is the most reprehensible of all lawful things.’ (Abu Da’ud, Talaq’, 3; Ibn Majah, ‘Talaq’, 1 – Ed.) In another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) said: ‘Marry and do not go about divorcing. For God does not like men and women who keep on changing partners merely for a change of taste.’ (al-Tabrani, cited by ‘Ajluni in Kashf al-Khifa. vol. 1, p. 304 – Ed.)

Ibn-Kathir

19. O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will, nor to prevent them from marriage in order to get part of (the dowry) what you have given them, unless they commit open Fahishah. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. 20. But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin 21. And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant 22. And marry not women whom your fathers married, except what has already passed; indeed it was shameful and Maqtan, and an evil way.


Meaning of `Inheriting Women Against Their Will

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah,

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُواْ النِّسَآءَ كَرْهاً﴾

(O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will,) “Before, the practice was that when a man dies, his male relatives used to have the right to do whatever they wanted with his wife. If one of them wants, he would marry her, give her in marriage, or prevent her from marriage, for they had more right to her than her own family. Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed about this practice,

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُواْ النِّسَآءَ كَرْهاً﴾

(O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will).”

Women Should not Be Treated with Harshness

Allah said,

﴿وَلاَ تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُواْ بِبَعْضِ مَآ ءَاتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ﴾

(nor to prevent them from marriage, in order to take part of what you have given them,) Allah commands: Do not treat the woman harshly so that she gives back all or part of the dowry that she was given, or forfeits one of her rights by means of coercion and oppression. Allah’s statement,

﴿إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ﴾

(unless they commit open Fahishah.) Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Muhammad bin Sirin, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata’ Al-Khurasani, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Qilabah, Abu Salih, As-Suddi, Zayd bin Aslam and Sa`id bin Abi Hilal said that this refers to illicit sex. Meaning that if the wife commits adultery, you are allowed to take back the dowry you gave her. You are also allowed to annoy her, until she gives back the dowry in return for a Khula`.” In Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah said,

﴿وَلاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَأْخُذُواْ مِمَّآ ءَاتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْئًا إِلاَّ أَن يَخَافَآ أَلاَّ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ﴾

(And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of what you have given them, except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah) ﴿2:229﴾. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak said that Fahishah refers to disobedience and defiance. Ibn Jarir chose the view that it is general, encompasses all these meanings, adultery, disobedience, defiance, rudeness, and so forth. Meaning that he is allowed to annoy his wife when she does any of these acts until she forfeits all or part of her rights and he then separates from her, and this ﴿view﴾ is good, and Allah knows best.

Live With Women Honorably

Allah said,

﴿وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ﴾

(And live with them honorably), by saying kind words to them, treating them kindly and making your appearance appealing for them, as much as you can, just as you like the same from them. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ﴾

(And they have rights similar over them to what is reasonable) ﴿2:228﴾. The Messenger of Allah said,

«خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ، وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي»

(The best among you is he who is the best with his family. Verily, I am the best one among you with my family.) It was the practice of the Messenger of Allah to be kind, cheerful, playful with his wives, compassionate, spending on them and laughing with them. The Messenger used to race with `A’ishah, the Mother of the Faithful, as a means of kindness to her. `A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah raced with me and I won the race. This occurred before I gained weight, and afterwards I raced with him again, and he won that race. He said,

«هذِهِ بِتِلْك»

(This ﴿victory ﴾ is for that ﴿victory﴾.)” When the Prophet was at the home of one of his wives, sometimes all of his wives would meet there and eat together, and they would then go back to their homes. He and his wife would sleep in the same bed, he would remove his upper garment, sleeping in only his lower garment. The Prophet used to talk to the wife whose night it was, after praying `Isha’ and before he went to sleep. Allah said,

﴿لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ﴾

(Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow) ﴿33:21﴾. Allah said,

﴿فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئاً وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْراً كَثِيراً﴾

(If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.) Allah says that your patience, which is demonstrated by keeping wives whom you dislike, carries good rewards for you in this life and the Hereafter. Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, “That the husband may feel compassion towards his wife and Allah gives him a child with her, and this child carries tremendous goodness.” An authentic Hadith states,

«لَا يَفْرَكْ مُؤْمِنٌ مُؤْمِنَةً، إِنْ سَخِطَ مِنْهَا خُلُقًا، رَضِيَ مِنْهَا آخَر»

(No believing man should hate his believing wife. If he dislikes a part of her conduct, he would surely like another.)

The Prohibition of Taking Back the Dowry

Allah said,

﴿وَإِنْ أَرَدْتُّمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَّكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَءَاتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنْطَاراً فَلاَ تَأْخُذُواْ مِنْهُ شَيْئاً أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَـناً وَإِثْماً مُّبِيناً ﴾

(But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin) The Ayah commands: When one of you wants to divorce a wife and marry another one, he must not take any portion of the dowry he gave to the first wife, even if it were a Qintar of money. We mentioned the meaning of Qintar in the Tafsir of Surah Al `Imran. This Ayah is clear in its indication that the dowry could be substantial. `Umar bin Al-Khattab used to discourage giving a large dowry, but later on changed his view. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Al-`Ajfa’ As-Sulami said that he heard `Umar bin Al-Khattab saying, “Do not exaggerate with the dowry of women, had this practice been an honor in this world or a part of Taqwa, then the Prophet would have had more right to practice it than you. The Messenger of Allah never gave any of his wives, nor did any of his daughters receive a dowry more than twelve Uwqiyah. A man used to pay a substantial dowry and thus conceal enmity towards his wife!” Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan collected this Hadith through various chains of narration, and At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih”. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la recorded that Masruq said, “`Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah and said, `O people! Why do you exaggerate concerning the dowry given to women The Messenger of Allah and his Companions used to pay up to four hundred Dirhams for a dowry, or less than that. Had paying more for a dowry been a part of Taqwa or an honor, you would not have led them in this practice. Therefore, I do not want to hear about a man who pays more than four hundred Dirhams for a dowry.’ He then went down the Minbar, but a woman from Quraysh said to him, `O Leader of the Faithful! You prohibited people from paying more than four hundred Dirhams in a dowry for women’ He said, `Yes.’ She said, `Have you not heard what Allah sent down in the Qur’an’ He said, `Which part of it’ She said, `Have you not heard Allah’s statement,

﴿وَءَاتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنْطَاراً﴾

(And you have given one of them a Qintar)’ He said, `O Allah! Forgive me…’ He then went back and stood up on the Minbar saying, `I had prohibited you from paying more than four hundred Dirhams in a dowry for women. So, let everyone pay what he likes from his money.”’ The chain of narration for this Hadith is strong.

﴿وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَى بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ﴾

(And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other) how can you take back the dowry from the woman with whom you had sexual relations and she had sexual relations with you Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, As-Suddi and several others said that this means sexual intercourse. The Two Sahihs record that the Messenger of Allah said three times to the spouses who said the Mula`anah;

«اللهُ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمَا كَاذِبٌ، فَهَلْ مِنْكُمَا تَائِبٌ؟»

(Allah knows that one of you is a liar, so would any of you repent ) The man said, “O Messenger of Allah! My money,” referring to the dowry that he gave his wife. The Messenger said,

«لَا مَالَ لَكَ، إِنْ كُنْتَ صَدَقْتَ عَلَيْهَا فَهُوَ بِمَا اسْتَحْلَلْتَ مِنْ فَرْجِهَا، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ كَذَبْتَ عَلَيْهَا فَهُوَ أَبْعَدُ لَكَ مِنْهَا»

(You have no money. If you are the one who said the truth, the dowry is in return for the right to have sexual intercourse with her. If you are the one who uttered the lie, then this money is even farther from your reach.) Similarly Allah said;

﴿وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَى بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ وَأَخَذْنَ مِنكُم مِّيثَـقاً غَلِيظاً ﴾

(And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant) (Be kind with women, for you have taken them by Allah’s covenant and earned the right to have sexual relations with them by Allah’s Word.)

Marrying the Wife of the Father is Prohibited

Allah said,

﴿وَلاَ تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ ءَابَاؤُكُمْ مِّنَ النِّسَآءِ﴾

(And marry not women whom your fathers married,) Allah prohibits marrying the women whom the father married, in honor and respect to the fathers, not allowing their children to have sexual relations with their wives after they die. A woman becomes ineligible for the son of her husband as soon as the marriage contract is conducted, and there is a consensus on this ruling. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to prohibit what Allah prohibits (concerning marriage), except marrying the stepmother and taking two sisters as rival wives. Allah sent down,

﴿وَلاَ تَنكِحُواْ مَا نَكَحَ ءَابَاؤُكُمْ مِّنَ النِّسَآءِ﴾

(And marry not women whom your fathers married,) and,

﴿وَأَن تَجْمَعُواْ بَيْنَ الاٍّخْتَيْنِ﴾

(and two sisters in wedlock at the same time) ﴿4:23﴾.” Similar was reported from `Ata’ and Qatadah. Therefore, the practice that the Ayah mentions is prohibited for this Ummah, being disgraced as an awful sin, r

﴿إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَـحِشَةً وَمَقْتاً وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً﴾

(Indeed it was shameful and Maqtan, and an evil way.) Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الْفَوَحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ﴾

(Come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful acts) whether committed openly or secretly) ﴿6:151﴾, and,

﴿وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً ﴾

(And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Fahishah and an evil way.) ﴿17:32﴾ In this Ayah (4:22), Allah added,

﴿وَمَقْتاً﴾

(and Maqtan), meaning, offensive. It is a sin itself and causes the son to hate his father after he marries his wife. It is usual that whoever marries a woman dislikes those who married her before him. This is one reason why the Mothers of the Faithful were not allowed for anyone in marriage after the Messenger . They are indeed the Mothers of the Faithful since they married the Messenger , who is like the father to the believers. Rather, the Prophet’s right is far greater than the right of a father, and his love comes before each person loving himself, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him. `Ata’ bin Abi Rabah said that the Ayah,

﴿وَمَقْتاً﴾

(and Maqtan), means, Allah will hate him,

﴿وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً﴾

(and an evil way), for those who take this way. Therefore, those who commit this practice will have committed an act of reversion from the religion and deserve capital punishment and confiscation of their property, which will be given to the Muslim Treasury. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan recorded that Al-Bara’ bin `Azib said that his uncle Abu Burdah was sent by the Messenger of Allah to a man who married his stepmother to execute him and confiscate his money.

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