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We (my father-in-law) owed my husbands brother(his eldest son) a small amount of money, but after some years he is asking for a huge amount. What do we do?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Assalamualikum. About 8 years back my father-in-law sold his land (bought by his own earnings and not ancestral) and divided the money between his 7 children (6 sons and one daughter) giving each of them about Rs 40,000. His eldest son was abroad at the time of the division and he asked my father-in-law to keep the money with himself saying that he would take it later on. My father-in-law in the meantime spent the money. My mother-in-law passed away long back. Now my father-in-law is living with us and none of his other sons have bothered about him for years. My husband had intended paying the Rs 40,000 to his elder brother (on behalf of his father) whenever he would ask for it. Now suddenly my husband’s brother is asking for 3.5 lakhs, saying that if the money was kept in a bank or fixed deposit, it would have become about this much. I know it is wrong of him to ask such a huge amount especially since taking interest is not allowed in Islam. On top of which he had not asked us to keep his share in the bank. And we too would not like to give it since giving interest is not allowed too. Can you please tell us what to do in this matter? What would be the legitimate amount to be given to him?? Thank you

Answer

The Rs40,000 offered by the father to his son falls in the category of Hiba
(gifting).

The gift would be qualified only if the son took physical possession of the
money. The son is not even entitled to the Rs40,000 as he did not take
physical possession of the money. According to the Shari’ah, it is incorrect
of him to claim any amount of money from his father or brother. However, in
the interest of the family peace and unity, an affordable amount by the
family may be given to him. That will be regarded as a gesture on behalf of
the family.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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