Allah decides what is fair – Tarawih Reflections 20

Allah decides what is fair - Tarawih Reflections 20

Surat an-Nisa is a Madani surah, like almost all of the long surahs. Allah has dedicated this surah to women because during Jahiliyya times – and even today – the unfair treatment of women persists.

This is a very rich surah, addressing many different kinds of relationships: between a husband and wife, between a man and his female relatives, and all kinds of family and community relationships. It even talks about international relations, with various rules for peace and war between countries.

Rules of inheritance

At the beginning of the surah, Allah dedicates two pages to inheritance. He could have left this to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to decide, but (aside from a couple of additions) He didn’t: He has set these rules Himself.

Many people believe that the divisions are unfair, often quoting the rule that a man takes twice as much as a woman. This is only looking at one part of the situation, like taking only one piece of a jigsaw and saying it doesn’t work. We need to put the whole jigsaw together and then look at the overall picture.

In the laws of inheritance, there are roughly four cases where a man would get more than a woman. But something no one seems to mention is that there are 30 cases where a woman would takes the same or more than a man or she inherits when the man doesn’t.

Why do brothers get twice as much as their sisters?

Allah has divided inheritance according to two things: closeness to the deceased (e.g. if you have children, then a cousin would not get anything) and responsibilities.

Many people like to repeat the fact that brothers get double the share of their sisters. But look at their responsibilities. The sister can take her share and do whatever she wants: she could put it in a savings account or into a (halal) investment, or do nothing at all.

Meanwhile, from an Islamic point of view, a man is responsible for looking after his family after his father’s death. He would have to spend on his mother, sisters, and wife and children if he has them. This is why he receives more of the money.

Allah decides what is fair

Some people argue that even though this is the principle, in practice a man may not spend on anyone but himself. Even if this is the case, we don’t circumvent Allah’s rules to prevent corruption. If a man is corrupt, we need to fix the corruption, not change the rules.

Allah decides what is fair. If you think you know better than Him, this is an act of kufr.

If a man does not fulfil his responsibilities, he will be accountable before Allah, and the people he has wronged will receive their reward on the Day of Judgement. The court of Allah is the court of justice.

If something comes from Allah, you need to accept it

A few ayahs later in Surat an-Nisa, it says,

فعسى أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـٔٗا وَيَجۡعَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيۡرٗا كَثِيرٗا

‘It may be that you hate something in which Allah has placed much goodness.’ [4:19]

This is a statement Allah also makes in Surat al-Baqarah.

Again, it is referring to Allah’s wisdom. You might hate something, but if it comes from Allah you need to accept it. He is the Lord of justice. One of His names is al-‘Adl, the All-Just. Don’t buy into these arguments that his rulings are not fair.

We ask Allah to give us a deep understanding of His rulings and wisdom, and enable us to be always in line with what pleases Him. Ameen

Based on the reflections of Shaykh Haytham Tamim

Transcribed by Hana Khan

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.