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Does it mean orphan girls(about marrying them) or it mean orphan children(about adopting them)?

It seems orphan girls in Sahih International translation:

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].(quran 4:3 - Sahih International)

It seems adopted orphan children in Yusuf Ali translation:

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.(Yusuf Ali)

So is it possible to conclude from the above verse that:

If ye shall be able to deal justly with the **orphans** 
then the best thing is adopting orphan children than marrying a girl.
  • The historical context in which these verses were revealed when a lot of muslim men were martyred in the Battle of Uhad and left behind windows and orphans – goto May 2 '14 at 12:52
  • @goto is it possible to conclude if you can deal justly with the orphan then you have better to adopt some children instead of marry from the above verse. – suhailvs May 3 '14 at 3:06
  • this verse says only "orphans". nothing more. others are personal interpretations of translator mixed with translation. – Battle of Karbala May 3 '14 at 12:57
  • The first part of this verse says that "if you fear that you may not treat the orphans justly" and it continues " then marry other women who are good and lawful to you, two, three, or four." The second part of the verse clarify what was meant by treating orphans justly at the first part. Unless the verse was not talking about marriage at both parts, it would make no sense. – Amin May 6 '14 at 10:22
  • @Amin by if you fear that you may not treat the orphans justly you mean if you fear that you may not treat the orphans girls that you married justly?? – suhailvs May 6 '14 at 11:07
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I searched a few arabic explainations just to make sure and this is what it means:

if you fear that you will not deal justly with your orphan wife, then leave her and marry another woman or even two or three or four, but if you fear that you will not be just(treat them equally) than marry only one. Marrying only one is better than marrying more and not being just.

  • i am a single, now thinking about marriage. marriage has advantages and disadvantages: advantages: 1) will not feel alone. 2) can control desires. 3) can have childrens. disadvantages: 1) responsibilities 2) need to adjust with her. 3) lack of full freedom. so i am searching in quran for a better guidance. what is better? marry or not marry. or to adopt an orphan(don't marry). so quran didn't encourage being single? – suhailvs Sep 18 '14 at 4:53
  • And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (Quran 30:21) On the contrary Quran encourages marriage. – mosaad Sep 18 '14 at 5:18
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The ayahs are addressing men who take care of orphan girls because of the Arabic.

It starts off with "wa in khiftum" - Khiftum is a masculine second person verb.

"Allaa toqseetu" Toqseetu is also masculine.

The ayah is address male caretakers of orphan girls (yatama). And this is also clear when the ayah continues and gives the choice of marrying other women.

  • is there any possibility: if you fear that you may not treat the adopted orphan childrens justly....? – suhailvs May 9 '14 at 2:27
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This is my understanding, the ayah is addressed to an unmarried male mulim, - if a male caretaker adopts orphan and fear that he may not be able to take care of their welfare, then it is recommended that he takes a wife, 2,3,4, ( so that the wifes can take care of the children ), and if he then fears he might no be able to be fair to many wifes, then just take 1 wife (from a free woman or slave).

The recommendation to take one wife certainly makes sense on a person that is yet to be married (ie single), otherwise if he is already married then there is no need to recommend him to marry one when he is already married to one.

Furthermore, if that person does not fear in regards to the responsibility of taking care of orphans, then he can proceed to adopt them without having have to marry a woman/women to assist with the upbringing of the orphans.

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