Author Topic: What did God mean by using the word 'warith'/'inherit' in verse 4:19?  (Read 149 times)


  • Beginner/Inquirer
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Hi all. For the longest time I have thought that verse 4:19 as per below,

(4:19) O you who have believed, it is not lawful that TARITHU (you 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.

Had meant that God was saying do not 'inherit' the women against their will as in to say do not take or acquire what you thought was yours by force. And I have been using this verse to show to others that the Quran believes that a woman's consent is needed for them to be married/taken.

But in light of a recent discussion I had, I am not so sure anymore. So apparently the context of this verse is as follows :

Narrated Ibn Abbas

regarding the Divine Verse: "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 back part of the (Mahr) dower you have given them." (4.19)

(Before this revelation) if a man died, his relatives used to have the right to inherit his wife, and one of them could marry her if he would, or they would give her in marriage if they wished, or, if they wished, they would not give her in marriage at all, and they would be more entitled to dispose her, than her own relatives. So the above Verse was revealed in this connection.

Sahih Bukhari 6:60:103,

I am personally a Quranist myself and believe that the Quran explains itself, but this has made me doubt about the meaning in this verse. Why indeed did God used the word 'inherit' instead of just 'take' or even 'marry'? Is God really referring to a custom in those times where people allegedly would normally inherit the wives of their relatives? If this is true then that would mean I can no longer use 4:19 to show that it is illegal to take women without their consent.

Hopefully somebody can shed some light on this matter. Thank you in advance.


  • Wise One / Burnout
  • *****
  • Posts: 6082
I think those tha interpret that it is the woman itself that is inherited like you inherit a house or a book, do so because of bad grammar. What the aya means is that you should respect whatever the women intended to leave as inheritance to whoever they wanted to, even if you think a part of it came from you. The aya gives the context: it says, if you want to take back something of what you gave to them.

It is clear tht what is honoured here is the full capacity of the women to dispose of their wealth and tht no husband should intrude into that capacity.

And of course you are right. If God wanted to say omething else, He would have said it.



  • Wise One / Burnout
  • *****
  • Posts: 6875
  • Gender: Male
The errors in transferring the content of source text is because of merely translating individual words and then tried making a sentence in target language text.

The content can be correctly transferred if syntax and theme of the ayah is kept in mind.

"Some historians believe that the history of violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men and also other women"**.  The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

These were the conspicuous features of majority of societies of the World at the time when Grand Qur’ān was revealed. Allah the Exalted prescribed the code of conduct for maintaining relations with spouse.

The theme of the ayah is how husbands should behave with their such wives whom they dislike for certain reason, which could be sexual dissatisfaction.

أَن تَرِثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْهًا This verbal sentence to be interpreted in the meanings of verbal noun is the Subject of verb: يَحِلُّ

This is a Verbal Noun: Indefinite; accusative. It is circumstantial accusative [حال].  A verbal noun signifies an action or a state. The major difference between Verb and Verbal Noun [مصدر], in meaning, is that verb signifies occurrence of an action within a particular time-period, like the past, present or future. The Verbal Noun alone can only signify the occurrence of a state within the time-period in which it finds mention. This aspect of peculiar choice of words in a statement of Source language Arabic, when ignored, causes major "translation loss" in the target language for perceiving the compact thought conveyed therein. An action causes an effect to take existence; a new state to emerge different to that, which existed before the execution of action. The preceding act done in  circumstance depicted by  -something disliked, abhorrent, scornful.

O those people/you, who proclaim to have accepted-become believers; Listen

Sustaining wives obnoxiously is not permissible for you people.

And also you the husbands should not restrain-deprive them of liberty with motive of securing some of the wealth you had earlier given them. The exception whereat women could be restrained in homes is when they might indulge explicitly in lewdness [refer instruction in 4:15].

And you people are hereby directed to socialize with them-wives in accordance with the accepted norms of society.

For some reason [marriage is on apparent considerations, many thing emerge only after intimacy] if you husbands disliked them, thereat just think that it is possible that you dislike a thing while Allah the Exalted might have rendered abundant good therein. [4:19]

Frame comprising of Ayah 4:19-22 Conduct in private life


  • Apprentice
  • **
  • Posts: 197
  • Gender: Male
Hi all, Salam.

I guess the verse forbids the maybe pre-custom to inherit the women.


  • Wise One / Burnout
  • *****
  • Posts: 6082
Read the previous messages. The verb does not mean that.

Adn of course, women are not part of inheritance. That is not admitted by Qur'an because the idea never crops up. The people might have been bad at the time, but not up to that point.