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Can child benefit payments be spent for other than one’s children?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Darulfiqh.com

Question:

Firstly, I want to thank you for you serving our community, may Allah increase you in your Ilm, effort & sacrifice and grant you Jannatul firdaus.
Secondly, Mufti saheb we would really appreciate it if you could please give us a more detailed answer to the second part of the question:
“who is the owner of child benefit payments?”
This is a question that effect very large number of muslims in the west. Are the parents the complete owner of the money? Do they have the freedom to spend it on other things like household items that are not directly related to the child itself? Could the money be used to pay of debts that the parents have, etc.
Jazakallahu for you service

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

As a principle, it is compulsory upon the father to financially maintain his young children.[1]  Their needs such as clothing, food, living expenses etc must be catered for by the father.  This maintenance can be sourced from one’s salary, child benefit payments or any other allowance one acquires ownership of. 

Child benefit (or family allowance, children’s allowance) is a social security payment disbursed to the parents or guardians of children.  Child benefit payments are transferred into the ownership of the parent/guardian of the child and not the child.  The parent is given ownership and possession of the child benefit to spend in the best interests of the child.[2] 
As long as the child’s needs and necessities are fulfilled financially, any remaining funds in one’s ownership regardless of the source can be used for any other purpose.[3] 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam,
www.darulfiqh.com
 


 [1]  نَفَقَةُ الْأَوْلَادِ الصِّغَارِ عَلَى الْأَبِ لَا يُشَارِكُهُ فِيهَا أَحَدٌ كَذَا فِي الْجَوْهَرَةِ النَّيِّرَةِ (الفتاوى الهندية ج 1 ص 557 الرشيدية)

(وَتَجِبُ) النَّفَقَةُ بِأَنْوَاعِهَا عَلَى الْحُرِّ (لِطِفْلِهِ) يَعُمُّ الْأُنْثَى وَالْجَمْعَ (الْفَقِيرِ) (الدر المختار ج 3 ص 612 أيج أيم سعيد)

(قَوْلُهُ بِأَنْوَاعِهَا) مِنْ الطَّعَامِ وَالْكُسْوَةِ وَالسُّكْنَى، وَلَمْ أَرَ مَنْ ذَكَرَ هُنَا أُجْرَةَ الطَّبِيبِ وَثَمَنَ الْأَدْوِيَةِ، وَإِنَّمَا ذَكَرُوا عَدَمَ الْوُجُوبِ لِلزَّوْجَةِ، نَعَمْ صَرَّحُوا بِأَنَّ الْأَبَ إذَا كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ زَمَانَةٌ يَحْتَاجُ إلَى الْخِدْمَةِ فَعَلَى ابْنِهِ خَادِمُهُ وَكَذَلِكَ الِابْنُ (رد المحتار ج 3 ص 612 أيج أيم سعيد)

خير الفتاوى ج 6 ص 145 مكتبة إمدادية

[2] https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/child
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/start/who-qualifies/what-is-childbenefit.htm

[3]  كُلٌّ يَتَصَرَّفُ فِي مِلْكِهِ كَيْفَمَا شَاءَ (المجلة ص 230 نور محمد، كارخانه تجارتِ كتب)

This answer was collected from DarulFiqh.com, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi, the student of world renowned Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Hafizahullah).

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