The secret behind mentioning 'wealth' before 'children' and vice versa in the Quran
Fatwa No: 27325

  • Fatwa Date:9-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 8, 1435
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Question

In the Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Ever Merciful
What is the rationale behind mentioning the love of wealth before the love of children in the verse (which means): {Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life.} [Quran 18:46]? Some people, especially, the wealthy people who have not been blessed with children, are ready to pay any amount of money to physicians to help them have a child, especially through in vitro fertilization. If a common person is given the option between having wealth or not having children, he will choose children over wealth.
May Allaah Reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

An aspect of the miraculous rhetoric of the Noble Quran is that each word is placed where it suits its context and subject. As such, a word would come somewhere before another word and elsewhere after another word to fit the context, theme and purpose of the text. Mentioning a word first, or mentioning it at the end or mentioning it repetitively is not a vain approach.

This includes what you have mentioned in your question. Allaah Almighty Says (what means): {Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life...}[Quran 18:46] A counterpart verse reads (what means): {Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allaah Has with Him a great reward.}[Quran 64:15] In the meantime, children are mentioned before money in the verse (which means): {Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver...}[Quran 3:14]

The rationale behind this is that it is required by the context. Therefore, “wealth” precedes “children” in the context of temptation, allurement, adornment and seeking help because money is the backbone of life, and adornment is more tempting than the temptation of children and thus money precedes children.

When the context talks about love and compassion, “children” precede “money” because children are more loveable – as you have mentioned in your question. Therefore, children are mentioned before money in the verse (which means): {Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allaah Has with Him the best return.}[Quran 3:14]

Allaah Knows best.

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