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Answering-Islam's FALSE claim of "mathematical error in hereditary law" of Quran


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Author Topic: Answering-Islam's FALSE claim of "mathematical error in hereditary law" of Quran  (Read 3277 times)
Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2018, 01:11:44 am »



As-salam Alaikum br. TS.   Here I am with some additional information.

Some traditional circles are of the view that Verse 4:12 refers to half siblings while Verse 4:176 refers to full siblings, even though the Quran does not indicate this aspect in either Verses.    I also read a traditional commentary of Ibn Kathir just to check what he says at a Google PDF article, and he too didn't state anything about half or full siblings.

Anyhow, I don't go according to traditional contents unless there's a logical reason.  So, let us carefully read Verse 4:176 and then Verse 4:12 to determine for ourselves directly from the Quran as best as we can.  I'm posting two translations for each, Sahih International and Word by Word Corpus Quran.    Contents of underlined portions are primarily in focus.

VERSE 4:176 SAHIH INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION & WORD BY WORD TRANSLATION:

"They request from you a [legal] ruling. Say, " Allah gives you a ruling concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs]." If a man dies, leaving no child but [only] a sister, she will have half of what he left. And he inherits from her if she [dies and] has no child. But if there are two sisters [or more], they will have two-thirds of what he left. If there are both brothers and sisters, the male will have the share of two females. Allah makes clear to you [His law], lest you go astray. And Allah is Knowing of all things."  4:176  Sahih International translation.

"They seek your ruling.  Say "Allah  gives you a ruling concerning the Kalala if a man died (and) not he has a child and he has a sister, then for her (is) a half of what he left.  And he will inherit from her if not is for her a child.  But if there were two females then for them two-thirds of what he left.  But if they were brothers and sisters men and women, then the male will have like shares (of) the two females.  Makes clear Allah to you lest you go astray.  And Allah of everything is All-Knower."  4:176 word by word translation Corpus Quran.

There are no direct Quranic references whether it refers to full or half siblings.  Even the translations have not made any presumptions on this aspect by writing in brackets. 

Stating the meaning of "Kalala" just for your information:  A traditional commentary states that "Kalala" means a crown that covers the head from all sides.  Thus scholars concluded that in Verse 4:176 this word alludes to a person who dies leaving behind neither ascendants nor descendants, that is, no parents nor children.


VERSE 4:12 SAHIH INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION & WORD BY WORD TRANSLATION AS FOLLOWS:

"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.   4:12  Sahih International translation.

"And if (is) a man  (whose wealth) is to be inherited  (has) no parent or child or a women  and for him  (is) a brother or a sister, then for each one of (the) two (is) the sixth.  But if there are more than that, then they (are) partners in the third, from after any will was made (for which) or any debt without (being) harmful.   An ordinance from Allah.  And Allah (is) All-Knowing, All-Forbearing."   4.12 word by word translation Corpus Quran.

In Corpus Quran word by word translation of Verse 4:12, the term for brother in original Arabic is "akhun" and the term for sister is "ukhtun"  without any references by the translator whether or not this means half siblings or full.   It's the same in the Sahih International translation where there are no words in brackets to suggest that the Quranic words "a brother or a sister" denote half siblings or full siblings.


MY CONCLUSION:

Though the Noble Quran does not directly nor indirectly mention full or half siblings in either of these Verses, the traditional explanation maybe (just maybe) right, but not sure, because there has to be a reason for differing amounts of inheritance for siblings.  But again, this differing amount may also have another very plausible reason.  As only Allah knows best, there's definitely a logical / practical aspect here pertaining to the social environment in the Prophet's (pbuh) era in Medinah.  The spouse of the deceased in not stated in either of these two Verses, but that could be the differentiating factor.  Possibly Verse 4:12 refers to a deceased who has no parents nor children but does have a spouse (or spouses) and sibling (or siblings).  In such cases one generally tends to overlook the siblings and wills everything to the spouse (or spouses) who may want to keep it all or share it among themselves particularly in the absence of a will left by the deceased.  For this reason, siblings have been allotted a legal share, but it's smaller than the one referred in Verse 4:176 where, possibly the reference is to a deceased with neither parents nor children nor spouse (or spouses) but only siblings.  And thus a greater share goes to siblings.

Also please note, though Verse 4:176 does not mention of bequest, we do know from many other Quranic Verses that bequest is certainly allowed and is always an option.  It's also there in Verse 4:12.

Coming to the crux of the matter, in this particular case of this elderly lady, I wouldn't think it makes much difference.  Verse 4:12 still suffices, in that, she wants to make a large bequest for a niece of the same family (biological daughter of one of the brothers).  The lady has two brothers and no sisters.  So, even if she follows Verse 4:176, the assets between her brothers will be shared equally after the bequest to the niece .. and the amount of the bequest has not been fixed in the Quran; it's the choice of the of the person who makes it keeping in mind that a reasonably satisfactory share is given to the legal heirs, which has been done in the distribution we worked in accordance with Verse 4:12.  In case she wants to slightly increase the shares of the brothers, I think that would be fine too.


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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2018, 03:27:07 am »



Allah bless you for your research sister Heba.  Alhumdulilah, you are so thorough with everything you deal with.  It's been highly educative for me as well.  It hadn't occurred to me to analyze this aspect and indeed there are reasons for the contents of both these two Verses, Alhumdulilah.  Your basis appears rational and tenable.  Surah 4 was revealed a few months after the battle of Uhad in Medinah.  This was quite a devastating ghazwa for the Muslims in which many were martyred.   The number of orphans and widows suddenly rose much.  Pickthall mentions in his introduction of this Chapter that this was a period when declaration of some new laws were required because of the increase of widows and orphans.  That could be a reason V.4:12 instructs a specific legal share for siblings and the rest automatically goes to the widow (or widows) of the deceased who don't have children, lest these widows be neglected by adult siblings because of the absence of any children.  Or it can also go the other way round, a legal share for orphaned siblings of the deceased so that the spouse or spouses don't utilize everything.   Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, the concept of daughters inheriting as much as half of sons was implemented around this period, prior to which for centuries daughters got zero across Europe to the far-east.  And as we know, the reason for sons getting that much more is because it's mandatory for them to support their unmarried, widowed and orphaned sisters (regardless of their sisters' inheritance) plus to support their wives and give them their dowries.  Sisters had no such responsibilities, and whatever money they inherited served the purpose of pocket expense.

You're also right.  In the case of that elderly family-friend brother TS mentioned, it won't make much difference even if she takes Verse 4:176 as the guideline instead of Verse 4:12.  The reason again as you stated, she requires to make an important bequest for the future of her niece (and daughter of one of her brothers) whom she's very close to, bequest being an option for everyone.   And yes, if she wants she can increase their share a bit, though I'm sure her heart would say 'no' considering how neglectful they have been of her and continue to be so.     

Thanks again, sis.  Really value your work sis Heba. 

Allah bless.  May Allah Almighty accept the efforts of the well intentioned.


 
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« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2018, 08:55:19 am »



Salam Sister Heba, Sister Zeynab.

My parents, sister and me have been working on this since yesterday, and your additional input was truly helpful.   Even if you read the entire Verse 4:12 from the start, the portion of the Verse we're discussing doesn't give reasons to be seen as reference to half siblings.

Let me quote the entire Verse 4:12:
"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."   4:12  (sahih international translation).

Okay .... as we can understand easily, a widower (male) gets half of his wife's inheritance if there is no child.  If there is a child, then the widowed husband gets one-fourth.    A widow (female) gets one-fourth of her husband's inheritance if there is no child.  If there is a child, then she gets one-eighth.   And then the Verse mentions of the situation we're discussing, the contents of which seem quite independent.  Right?

I also must say that several translators have stirred quite a confusion with their incorrect translations to keep it in conformity with the traditional opinion of half siblings.  Let me quote some as follows:

"And if the man or woman has no heir in the direct line, but has a brother or sister,"   (traslation Islamic Studies UK).

"If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister,"   (traslation Yusuf Ali).

Muhsin Ali has translated much the same as Yusuf Ali.

"If a man or a woman have no heir direct, but have a brother or a sister,"  (translation Arberry)

Pickthall mentions "distant heir" and that too not in brackets when the original does not say "distant." 

Word by word English translation of the Quran says "And if a man is to be inherited" (meaning whose wealth is to be inherited) ...... the original Quranic word for "inherited" is 'yurasu.'   So I don't know why those translators are putting up clearly wrong translations like "inheritance in question" and "heir direct"  and "distant heir."    Well, that's our great advantage of having the original Quran preserved with us, Alhumdulilah, so we can monitor the changes the translators make.    However, on this issue my goal is only to find the likely reason for the differing inheritances in both verses for siblings .. and as you correctly said, there sure got to be a reason.  In case it does refer to half siblings, I want to know which circle of traditional studies it's coming from and the analysis of this opinion.  InshAllah, I shall continue my endeavors in this regard.

Thank you very much Sister Heba for your additional, logically evaluated opinion.  It was helpful as always.
 
My mom is of the opinion that your reading of Verse 4:12 referring to the deceased having only spouse and siblings  and Verse 4:176 as deceased having only siblings makes a lot of sense.  But my dad agrees with the other opinion more, that it refers to half siblings because he thinks that if the difference in inheritance amounts in both Verses is because of the possible presence of spouse in Verse 4:12, then Allah Almighty would have mentioned it.  Furthermore, my dad also thinks that since it's stated in both Verses that the deceased is childless, thus that probably denotes an unmarried person as a standard description, that is, the deceased is unmarried ....  though marriages can certainly also be childless which is also referred in the first portion of Verse 4:12 quoted above.

At the end of the day, you're right, it doesn't make much difference to that lady's will.  Maybe she can make a few adjustments.  If I was in her shoes, I would try to adjust my will in accordance with Verse 4:176 as apparently her situation fits better in this Verse.  I mean, she can keep a reasonable bequest for the niece and divide the rest between the bad brothers .. though jerks .. after all they happen to be her full biological brothers and for the benefit of her own soul in the Hereafter, she cannot ignore them as much as she may understandably want to.

Any ideas on circumstantial adjustments while following Verse 4:176 with a bequest so that testate can keep it closest to the instructions of this Verse?
 

   
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« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2018, 10:07:54 am »



You're welcome brother TS, and thanks from me as well for some useful feedback in your post. 

Actually I too am not sure if the difference in amounts of inheritance is because of the absence of spouse or spouses.   That was just a possibility I suggested.  Only Allah knows best.  My opinion is divided 50/50 between the two possibilities.  And there could also be some other possibility pertaining to some specific social environment of the time, which again only Allah would know best. 

I think the reason some circles have opined that Verse 4:12 refers to half siblings while 4:176 applies to full siblings is the definitive language of the Quran in Verse 4:176 and the quantities of inheritance it mentions.    A brother inherits completely from a deceased sister with no parents nor child.  And a sister inherits half from a deceased brother with no parents nor child.   Compared to that, the inheritance is one-sixth for one sibling and one-third shared by more than one sibling in Verse 4:12.   Obviously this amount seems a bit scant in the case of full siblings; so it got to be half siblings.  It's a matter of common sense, I would say.   

Furthermore, some scholars are also of the view that half siblings in Verse 4:12 refers to those from the mother's side and Verse 4:176 refers to full siblings and half siblings on the father's side.   This specific view is too doubtful and a needless meddling.   I mean ... Verse 4:176 does most likely refer to full siblings and Verse 4:12 does most likely refer to half siblings, but how can they determine mother's side or father's side?   That would depend on where the inheritance is coming from.  For example if the deceased writes a testament for assets which he or she got from their mother, and that mother also had a previous marriage with children, then those kids are the half siblings on the mother's side of the deceased, right?  Similarly if the assets of the deceased were acquired by him or her from their father and that father also has children from another wife, then those children will be the half siblings of the deceased from their dad's side.   This aspect is impossible to determine concerning the Verses we're discussing.  But it will always be known to the concerned families in all such situations, so it isn't an issue that needs to be studied or analyzed.

I agree brother.  I also think that lady is in the category of Verse 4:176 rather than 4:12.  A personal suggestion from me on adjusting bequest to stay as close as possible to Verse 4:176 would be to first deduct the charity bequest of $5,000.  That would leave the total assets to $95,000.  She may divide $95,000 into half.  That would be approximately 47,000.  Let the two brothers share 47,000.  Each one's share would be approximately 23,000.  The niece can keep the other half of 47,000.    Thus instead of 16,000 each, the brothers would be getting 23,000 each.  And the niece, instead of 61,000 would be getting 47,000.  This increases the brothers' share a bit and lessens the girl's share a bit to maintain a greater balance so that the bequest doesn't become too unfair.

I completely understand it hurts to give to creeps who never cared.  But as you rightly said, ultimately it's for the betterment of our own souls as well as the souls of those whom we love and have given the bequest.   Eventually this boils down to be the most important aspect.  Moreover, at worst, only one of the brothers may frown a little (though he shouldn't considering his attitude). The other, whose daughter gets the bequest, has no reason to express any dissatisfaction at all.   That beneficiary is his biological daughter.


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« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2018, 06:34:47 am »


A huge thanks Sister Heba.  Couldn't post earlier on this as I got a bit dehydrated in the hot weather after nearly a week of field work in connection with some of our new business projects. 

Your scrutiny and suggestion are extremely helpful and reflect accuracy to a large degree.  I totally agree and so do my folks that the difference in inheritance amounts of Verse 4:176 and 4:12 apparently indicate the different relations.

A couple who are also common friends of that lady and my family were saying it would be still better if she divides the inheritance into 3 equal parts, that is, one-third to each heir - the two brothers and one niece.  According to them, when the niece's father dies, he will again will her some portion of money and she'll be still better off so her aunt needn't worry.  I suppose the one-third each division would also be nice.  But I think it will hurt the aunt emotionally.  Secondly, I doubt if the niece will get anything significant after her father dies.  She has a brother and his wife who are notoriously greedy, even though that brother is doing very well.  He's got a fine career in the communications field, big savings and two houses fully paid.  Both brother and his wife are noticeably self-centered who have never been of any help to their sister nor their parents.  Compared to that, the sister (the old lady's niece) is a teacher in middle school with a very average income. 

InshAllah, hope to invite the elderly lady for dinner this coming weekend who is still waiting to hear from us.  We will then InshAllah put both options before her.

Thank you again in plenty Sister Heba. 

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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2018, 07:03:35 am »


No problem brother and a big welcome. Hope you're feeling better; global warming is making summers hotter around the globe.  And best of luck for the new business openings Smiley

Yes, three equal portions to each would be fine.  However, for the poor elderly lady it's a sentimental issue so I won't comment nor emphasize.  It's a good idea to mention both options to her;  just make it clear to her that the choice is entirely hers so that she doesn't feel pressured.  That's not necessary at all.  After all, the inheritance divisions mentioned by The Almighty in the Quran is actually on the understanding that family relations are normal where each member - male and female - know their place and have been shouldering their accepted responsibilities.  In that case, if someone, out of greed or jealousy, devours someone else's share would be an outright transgression stepping beyond the bounds mentioned by Allah.  But there are situations where family relations go wrong, with just one or two bad apples turning selfish and using the more helpless ones as doormats, that can lead to a chain of injustices and acrimonious relations eventually impacting the inheritance of family assets, whenever the time comes.  In several such situations, it often becomes a matter of survival (not greed) for some helpless ones of a family and a matter of getting richer-than-before for some of the bad apples of the same family.  You get my point?  But the real important point here is,  Allah is watching everything.  He knows everything and He understands best.  Thus, if the testament or will makes some custom adjustments for the protection of the helpless ones, can anyone really presume Allah Almighty, Who is the Fount of Sympathy and Mercy won't understand it?   I am sure that's impossible.


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« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2018, 07:07:18 am »



Very correct Sister.  That's exactly it.  A very fruitful discussion indeed.  Alhumdulilah. 
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« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2018, 04:27:35 am »





...... After all, the inheritance divisions mentioned by The Almighty in the Quran is actually on the understanding that family relations are normal where each member - male and female - know their place and have been shouldering their accepted responsibilities.  In that case, if someone, out of greed or jealousy, devours someone else's share would be an outright transgression stepping beyond the bounds mentioned by Allah.  But there are situations where family relations go wrong, with just one or two bad apples turning selfish and using the more helpless ones as doormats, that can lead to a chain of injustices and acrimonious relations eventually impacting the inheritance of family assets, whenever the time comes.  In several such situations, it often becomes a matter of survival (not greed) for some helpless ones of a family and a matter of getting richer-than-before for some of the bad apples of the same family.  You get my point?  But the real important point here is,  Allah is watching everything.  He knows everything and He understands best.  Thus, if the testament or will makes some custom adjustments for the protection of the helpless ones, can anyone really presume Allah Almighty, Who is the Fount of Sympathy and Mercy won't understand it?   I am sure that's impossible.

That's such a correct point Sister Heba.   I concur totally.   This isn't about greed nor envy.  It's about protecting the weak on the basis of compassion, and who can understand it better than The Almighty, The One and Only?

I can so well understand the aunt's concern for her niece.  As a school teacher what would she be earning except a humble salary?  I presume she's single.  What about her father (the aunt's brother), is he not more concerned for his daughter's future than his son who is already got enough in life?


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« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2018, 04:43:45 am »



Salam and yes sister Zeynab .... the niece is single and since she's in her mid 40s, we're quite sure she intends to stay single.  If I was in her father's shoes, I would worry for my daughter a lot more.  As a father, he probably takes it for granted that her brother will take care of all her needs after he passes away.  But that brother is one selfish guy, goaded by one greedy wife.  They will do nothing for her other than use her as a maid to run their home .... if ever she has to depend on them.  InshAllah, I pray and hope that never happens. 

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« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2018, 04:44:46 am »


InshAllah, ameen.
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