You are forbidden to inherit women against their will; do not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the bridal money, you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse; 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. Quran: 4:19 It is Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira for a husband to behave in a harsh, insulting, difficult and a cruel manner with his wife.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Quran: Chapter 4, ‘Lan Tanalu’ ‘By no means shall you attain’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’, Verse: 19

Verse 19: 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 bridal money, Mahar, you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse; 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.

Explanation by Ibne Kathir: (‘Imad Ad-Din, Isma’il bin ’Umar bin Kathir b.702 Hijri in Basra, Syria– d.774 H/ b. 1301 Christian Era– d. 1373CE)

Meaning of Inheriting Women Against Their Will:

Allah says;

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُواْ النِّسَاء كَرْهًا … 

O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women against their will,

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

[Full name Imâm Abû `Abdullâh Muhammad ibn Ismâ`îl al-Bukhârî (194 H- 265 H / 809 CE- 878 CE) http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/imam_bukhari.htm ]

“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, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُواْ النِّسَاء كَرْهًا  (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 مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ …

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.

[Surrender, sacrifice, give up, part with, lose] [compulsion, force, intimidation, bullying, cruelty]

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 Surah 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. [Boldness, non-cooperation, disobedience]

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 Aishah, the Mother of the Faithful, as a means of kindness to her.

Aishah 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 شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا ﴿١٩﴾

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.

http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/004%20Nisa.htm#يَـأَيُّهَا

Notes by samia2010oct: When a man dies and leaves a wife behind him whose bridal money he has not yet paid, his parents and brothers must not try to force the widow against her will to live with them so that they are able to take away for their own use, parts of the bridal money or anything (including bridal money if the husband gave in his life) given to her by her husband when he was alive. It was practiced before Islam that if a man died leaving a wife, her in-laws used to force her to live with them against her will and used to take everything given to her by her husband. Even they forced her against her will to marry again in the in-laws family.

If the wife of the deceased did not have any place to go. She was not earning enough to support herself and her children and because of her circumstances she did not want to re-marry and chooses to live with her in-laws she could do that. In this case her in-laws must act kindly towards her and her children. And her in-laws must expect rewards of their being good to her from Allah only.

But if wife of the deceased has no place to go and she start to commit adultery openly she can be forced by the in-laws to stay inside their home against her will.

After this situation in which the husband is dead, Allah orders living husbands to behave in the best manner they can with their wives. Allah orders husbands to be good to their wives even if they dislike them because Allah says He may bring some good for the husbands through the same wives they dislike. ‘Some good’ means anything good, it may be good luck or good off springs.

It is Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira for a husband to behave in a harsh, insulting, difficult and a cruel manner with his wife and also to take away part of the bridal money, Mahar, back by force. For Big Sins, Gunaahe Kabira, there is the punishment of unbearable burning of whole body by Unending Fire.

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