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AYAH an-Nisa` 4:3 

Arabic Source and Roman Transliteration
Arabic وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا zoom
Transliteration Wa-in khiftum alla tuqsitoo fee alyatama fainkihoo ma taba lakum mina alnnisa-i mathna wathulatha warubaAAa fa-in khiftum alla taAAdiloo fawahidatan aw ma malakat aymanukum thalika adna alla taAAooloo zoom
Transliteration-2 wa-in khif'tum allā tuq'siṭū fī l-yatāmā fa-inkiḥū mā ṭāba lakum mina l-nisāi mathnā wathulātha warubāʿa fa-in khif'tum allā taʿdilū fawāḥidatan aw mā malakat aymānukum dhālika adnā allā taʿūlū zoom
Literal
(Word by Word)
 And if you fear that not you will be able to do with the orphans, then marry what seems suitable to you from the women two, or three, or four. But if you fear that not you can do justice then (marry) one or what possesses your right hand. That (is) more appropriate that you (may) not oppress. zoom


Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one - or [from among] those whom you rightfully possess. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course. zoom
M. M. Pickthall And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985) If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938) If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands pos sess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. zoom
Shakir And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course. zoom
Wahiduddin Khan If you fear that you cannot deal fairly with orphan girls, you may marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then only oneor [from among] those whom you rightfully possess. That is more likely to keep you from committing an injustice. zoom
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar And if you feared that you will not act justly with the orphans, then, marry who seems good to you of the women, by twos, in threes or four. But if you feared you will not be just, then, one or what your right hands possessed. That is likelier that you not commit injustice. zoom
T.B.Irving If you are afraid you will not deal fairly with orphans, then marry off such women as may seem good to you, in pairs, or three or four [at a time]. If you [still] fear you will not act justly, then [marry] one woman [only] or someone your right hand controls. That is more likely to keep you from committing an injustice. zoom
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab If you fear you might fail to give orphan women their ˹due˺ rights ˹if you were to marry them˺, then marry other women of your choice—two, three, or four. But if you are afraid you will fail to maintain justice, then ˹content yourselves with˺ one or those ˹bondwomen˺ in your possession. This way you are less likely to commit injustice. zoom
Safi Kaskas If you fear that you will not be fair to the orphans, then you may marry two, three, or four, from among the orphans' mothers, if they seem good to you. However, if you fear that you may not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then marry only one or from those whom your right hands held in trust. This will make it more likely that you do not deviate from the right course. zoom
Abdul Hye  And if you fear that you shall not be able to do justice with the orphans, then marry women (without orphan child) of your choice: 2, 3, or 4. But if you fear that you will not be able to do justice (between wives), then marry only one or what your right hands possess (your captives). That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice. zoom
The Study Quran If you fear that you will not deal fairly with the orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, or four; but if you fear that you will not deal justly, then only one, or those whom your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that you will not commit injustice. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition) And if you fear that you cannot be just to the orphans, then marry those whom you see fit from their mothers, two, and three, and four. But if you fear you will not be fair, then only one, or whom you are already betrothed to. This is best that you do not face financial hardship. zoom
Abdel Haleem If you fear that you will not deal fairly with orphan girls, you may marry whichever [other] women seem good to you, two, three, or four. If you fear that you cannot be equitable [to them], then marry only one, or your slave(s): that is more likely to make you avoid bias. zoom
Abdul Majid Daryabadi And if ye apprehend that ye may not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry such as please you, of other Women, by twos and threes or fours, but if ye apprehend that ye shall not act justly, then marry one only, or that which your right hand own that Will be more fit, that ye may swerve not. their zoom
Ahmed Ali If you fear you cannot be equitable to orphan girls (in your charge, or misuse their persons), then marry women who are lawful for you, two, three, or four; but if you fear you cannot treat so many with equity, marry only one, or a maid or captive. This is better than being iniquitous. zoom
Aisha Bewley If you are afraid of not behaving justly towards orphans, then marry other permissible women, two, three or four. But if you are afraid of not treating them equally, then only one, or those you own as slaves. That makes it more likely that you will not be unfair. zoom
Ali Ünal If you fear that you will not be able to observe their rights with exact fairness when you marry the orphan girls (in your custody), you can marry, from among other women (who are permitted to you in marriage and) who seem good to you, two, or three, or four. However, if you fear that (in your marital obligations) you will not be able to observe justice among them, then content yourselves with only one, or the captives that your right hands possess. Doing so it is more likely that you will not act rebelliously. zoom
Ali Quli Qara'i If you fear that you may not deal justly with the orphans, then marry [other] women that you like, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you may not treat them fairly, then [marry only] one, or [marry from among] your slave-women. That makes it likelier that you will not be unfair. zoom
Hamid S. Aziz But if you fear that you cannot do justice by orphans, then marry women who seem good to you, two, three, or four; and if you fear that you cannot be equitable to them, then only one, or what your right hands possess (captives, slaves). This is more likel zoom
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali And, in case you fear that you will not act equitably towards the orphans, then marry such women as is good to you, two, three, four, (Literally: in twos and threes and fours) then, in case you fear that you will not do justice, then one (only), or what your right hands possess. That (way) is likelier you will not be in want (Or: you will have too many dependents). zoom
Muhammad Sarwar With respect to marrying widows, if you are afraid of not being able to maintain justice with her children, marry another woman of your choice or two or three or four (who have no children). If you cannot maintain equality with more than one wife, marry only one or your slave-girl. This keeps you from acting against justice. zoom
Muhammad Taqi Usmani If you fear that you will not do justice to the orphans, then, marry the women you like, in twos, in threes and in fours. But, if you fear that you will not maintain equity, then (keep to) one woman, or bondwomen you own. It will be closer to abstaining from injustice. zoom
Shabbir Ahmed If you fear that the society shall not be able to do justice with orphans, (as may happen in times of war and political turbulence, the government shall announce a state of Emergency). In order to accommodate widows and orphans, men of sound finances and character shall be encouraged to marry these widows; two, three, and four (4:127). If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly, then you must not take additional wives, and may continue with what you already have (4:129). This will prevent injustice and financial hardship. (Second marriage during peace time is a FRANK violation of the Qur'an). zoom
Syed Vickar Ahamed If you fear that you shall not be able to act justly with the orphan (girls), then marry (other) women of your choice, two, or three, or four; But if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them), then marry one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. zoom
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. zoom
Farook Malik If you fear that you shall not be able to treat the orphans with fairness, then you should not marry the women with orphan children; marry other women of your choice: two, three or four. But if you fear that you will not be able to maintain justice between your wives, then marry only one or any slave girl you may own. That will be more suitable , so that you may not deviate from the Right Way. zoom
Dr. Munir Munshey If you are afraid that you might be unfair to the orphan girls (in your charge), then marry (other) women you like _ two, or three, or up to four of them. However, if you fear that you cannot maintain equality and justice (among your wives) then have (only) one wife, and whatever your right hand owns _ (the captive women). That way you are more likely to avoid injustice. zoom
Dr. Kamal Omar And if you apprehend that you provide not justice to Al-Yatama (by accepting them in monogamy) then bind in wedlock, as appeared palatable for you, from these very women (and provide them family-life by mahead of state additional marriage, and only thus have) two at a time, or three at a time, or four at a time; but if you apprehend that you shall not behave in equality, then (have) one (wife only), or those whom your right hands held in trust. This is easier that you may not behave unjustly. zoom
Talal A. Itani (new translation) If you fear you cannot act fairly towards the orphans—then marry the women you like—two, or three, or four. But if you fear you will not be fair, then one, or what you already have. That makes it more likely that you avoid bias. zoom
Maududi If you fear that you might not treat the orphans justly, then marry the women that seem good to you: two, or three, or four. If you fear that you will not be able to treat them justly, then marry (only) one, or marry from among those whom your right hands possess. This will make it more likely that you will avoid injustice. zoom
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad If you are afraid that you may not be fair with the orphans, then marry from the women who are pleasing to you, two, three, or four. But if you are afraid of injustice, then (marry) only one, or what you own. That is more appropriate so you don't deviate from the right course. zoom
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018) If you fear you will be unable to deal justly with the orphans, then marry women of your choice, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly with them, then only one, or one whom your right hands possess. That would be better to prevent you from doing injustice. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition) And if you fear that you cannot be just to the orphans, then you may marry those who are agreeable to you of the women: two, and three, and four. But if you fear you will not be fair, then only one, or whom you maintain by your oaths. This is best that you do not face financial hardship. zoom
Mohammad Shafi And if you fear that you shall not be equitable in the matter of the orphans, then marry women suitable to you, two, three and four. But if you fear that you shall not be able to do justice between the wives, then be content with only one wife, or with what your right hands possess. That way it is more likely that you may not deviate from what is right. zoom

Controversial, deprecated, or status undetermined works
Bijan Moeinian An if your common properties are mixed up in such a way that it is difficult to distinguish what belongs to who, then you may marry them (or their mothers) up to four woman at a time, if such an arrangement reduces your financial burden. zoom
Faridul Haque And if you fear that you will not be just towards orphan girls, marry the women whom you like - two at a time, or three or four; then if you fear that you cannot keep two women equally then marry only one or the bondwomen you own; this is closer to your not doing injustice. zoom
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah If you fear that you cannot act justly towards the orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you; two, three, four of them. But if you fear that you cannot do justice, then one only, or, those you possess. It is likelier then that you will not be partial. zoom
Maulana Muhammad Ali And if you fear that you cannot do justice to orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you will not do justice, then (marry) only one or that which your right hands possess. This is more proper that you may not do injustice. zoom
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira And if you feared that you not be just/equitable in the orphans , so marry what (was) allowed/permitted for you from the women two twos/twos, and threes, and fours, so if you feared that you not be just/equitable, so (marry) one or what your rights owned/possessed, that (is) nearer that you not side away from justice . zoom
Sher Ali And if you fear that you will not be just in dealing with the orphans, then marry of other women as may be agreeable to you, two, or three, or four; and if you fear you will not be able to do justice, then marry only one or marry what your right hand possess. Thus it is more likely that you will not do injustice. zoom
Rashad Khalifa If you deem it best for the orphans, you may marry their mothers - you may marry two, three, or four. If you fear lest you become unfair, then you shall be content with only one, or with what you already have. Additionally, you are thus more likely to avoid financial hardship. zoom
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi) And if you apprehend that you will not be able to do justice to orphan girls, then marry such other women as seem good to you, two, three, four, but if you are afraid that you will not be able to keep two wives on equal terms, then marry one only or captives whom you own. This is nearer to keeping you away from doing injustice. zoom
Amatul Rahman Omar And if (you wish to marry them and) you fear that you will not be able to do justice to the orphan girls then (marry them not, rather) marry of women (other than these) as may be agreeable to you, (you may marry) two or three or four (provided you do justice to them), but if you fear that you will not be able to deal (with all of them) equitably then (confine yourselves only to) one, or (you may marry) that whom your right hands possess (- your female captives of war). That is the best way to avoid doing injustice. zoom
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri And if you have the apprehension that you will not be able to treat the orphan girls justly, then marry the women you like and who are lawful for you, two or three or four (but this sanction is conditional on justice). But if you fear that you will not be able to treat (more than one wife) justly, then (marry) only one woman or the maids who have come under your possession (according to the Islamic law). This makes it more likely that you restrain yourselves from committing injustice. zoom
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphangirls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice. zoom

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial. zoom
Edward Henry Palmer But if ye fear that ye cannot do justice between orphans, then marry what seems good to you of women, by twos, or threes, or fours; and if ye fear that ye cannot be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands possess. That keeps you nearer to not being partial. zoom
George Sale And if ye fear that ye shall not act with equity towards orphans of the female sex, take in marriage of such other women as please you, two, or three, or four, and not more. But if ye fear that ye cannot act equitably towards so many, marry one only, or the slaves which ye shall have acquired. This will be easier, that ye swerve not from righteousness. zoom
John Medows Rodwell And if ye are apprehensive that ye shall not deal fairly with orphans, then, of other women who seem good in your eyes, marry but two, or three, or four; and if ye still fear that ye shall not act equitably, then one only; or the slaves whom ye have acquired: this will make justice on your part easier. zoom
N J Dawood (2014) If you fear that you cannot treat orphans¹ with fairness, then you may marry other women who seem good to you: two, three, or four. But if you fear that you cannot maintain equality among them, marry one only or any slave-girls you may own. This will make it easier for you to avoid injustice. zoom

New and/or Partial Translations, and works in progress
Sayyid Qutb If you fear that you may not deal fairly by the orphans, you may marry of other women as may be agreeable to you, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be able to maintain fairness between them, then marry only one, or those whom your right hands possess. That makes it more likely that you will not do injustice. zoom
Ahmed Hulusi Give the dowry (marriage gift) to women with love. If they willingly and benevolently give a portion of it back to you, then accept it wholeheartedly. zoom
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli And, if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry those women who seem good to you, two, or three, or four; but if you (still) fear that you will not act justly (between them) then (marry) only one or someone your right hands have acquired. That is more proper, that you may not deviate from equity. zoom
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim (a) Should you have an uneasy sense of the probability of an unjust action against the orphans' interest consequent on volition stronger than your own viz. marriage for selfish motive principles, age incompatibility, inappropriate dower, marriage against their wish then make for them other arrangements. zoom
Mir Aneesuddin And if you fear that you cannot do justice to orphans, then marry from among the women who seem good to you, two and three and four, but if you fear that you cannot show equality (between them) then (marry) only one or (a slave girl) whom your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that you may not do injustice. zoom

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