Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-244



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The responsibility of suckling an orphan
Later in the subject verse, it is said: وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ . It means: If the father is not alive, the responsibility for arranging to have the child suckled falls on the person who is the legal heir (warith) of the child and a mabram (person with whom marriage is prohibited for ever); that is, those who are entitled to be inheritors of the child. if he dies, would be the ones responsible for his sustenance in the absence of the father. If, there be more than one heir like him, everyone will share that responsibility in proportion to their share in the inheritance. Imam Abu Hanifah explained that assigning the responsibility of having the orphaned child suckled to the heirs also tells us that the sustenance of a mlnor child will continue to be, even after weaning, a charge of the heirs since there is nothing special about milk, the purpose is to have the expenses of the child covered. For instance, if the mother of the orphaned child and his grandfather are both alive, these two then, are his mahram, and heirs as well. Therefore, the maintenance of the child shall be borne by both of them in proportion to their share in the inheritance, that is, the mother will bear one-third and the grandfather, two-thirds. Herefrom we also know that the right of the orphaned grandson on his grandfather is much stronger than the rights of his own adult sons, since he is not responsible for the sustenance of his adult child, while the sustenance of the orphaned grandson is obligatory on him. However, a grandson has not been given a share in inheritance in the presence of sons, because it is against the principle of inheritance and justice, as giving a share to the farther in presence of the nearer children is not rational in itself and is certainly, against the hadith لا ولي رجل ذكر (for the nearest male) in , Sahih al-Bukhari. Nevertheless, the grandfather does have the right to make some provision in his will for the orphaned grandson, if he feels there is need to do that. This will could even turn out to be higher than the share of sons. Thus the need of the orphaned grandson was taken care of, while at the same time, the principle of inheritance that in the presence of the nearer, the farther should not receive remained intact.

The injunctions of weaning
After that, it is said in the subject verse: فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا

that is, if the mother and father of the child, after mutual consultation and agreement, decide that they have to wean the child earlier than two years, because of the inability of the mother or some sickness of the child, then there is no sin involved here as well. The condition of 'mutual consultation and agreement' was placed for the reason that in weaning the child, his or her welfare should be the paramount concern. Making the child 3 target-beard of mutual differences and quarrels is undesirable.

Injunctions of suckling by a nurse
In the end, it is said:
وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُم مَّا آتَيْتُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

It means: If you wish, for some expedient reason, to have your children suckled by a wet-nurse in place of the mother, even then there is no sin in doing so. However, the condition is that the wages settled with the wet-nurse be paid in full. If the wages were not paid as settled, the sin thereof will rest with the parents.

From this we learn that should a father realize that the feed of the mother, who is willing to suckle, is not good for the child, he has the right to stop the mother from suckling and get a wet-nurse to do that.

From this we also learn that the wages or salary of the woman employed for suckling should be negotiated and settled clearly so that there is no dispute later on; and then let the settled wages be handed over to her at the appointed time and let there be no postponement or evasion.

After stating all these injunctions relating to rada'ah (suckling), the Qur'an once again returns to its special manner and style whereby

it brings into focus the fear of Allah Almighty and the concept of His all-encompassing Knowledge so that acting in accordance with law becomes easy, and one remains bound by it under all conditions, seen or unseen. It is said:

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

that is, 'keep fearing Allah and know for sure that Allah Almighty is fully watching over your open and secret, and your seen and unseen, and He is aware of all intents and purposes hidden in your hearts.' Any party that acts against these injunctions of suckling and weaning or takes a decision in this connection disregarding the welfare of the child, shall deserve pilnishment.

Verses 234-235
[٢٣٤]وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَعَشْرًا ۖ فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

[٢٣٥]وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا عَرَّضْتُم بِهِ مِنْ خِطْبَةِ النِّسَاءِ أَوْ أَكْنَنتُمْ فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ عَلِمَ اللَّهُ أَنَّكُمْ سَتَذْكُرُونَهُنَّ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تُوَاعِدُوهُنَّ سِرًّا إِلَّا أَن تَقُولُوا قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا ۚ وَلَا تَعْزِمُوا عُقْدَةَ النِّكَاحِ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْكِتَابُ أَجَلَهُ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ

And those among you who pass away and leave wives behind, their wives keep themselves waiting for four months and ten days. So, when they have reached (the end of) their waiting period, there is no sin on you in what they do for themselves as recognized.And Allah is All-Aware of what you do. There is no sin on you if you hint as a proposal to the women or conceal it in your hearts. Allah does know what you will mention to them. But do not make a promise to them secretly, except that you speak in a recognized manner. And do not resolve upon a contract of marriage until the prescribed time is reached. And be sure that Allah knows what is in your hearts. So,fear Him and be sure that Allah is most Forgiving, Forbearing. (Verse 234-235)

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