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Rights of relatives over one’s income

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

As a wife and as a physician, I have chosen to work and earn. My husband (also a physician) also earns for our immediate family but my mother (a widow) and other relatives have placed responsibilities upon me. I have partly supported my sister”s educational expenses and now am saving for her wedding. I have partially supported my aunt”s medical expenses (she has cirrhosis of the liver) and routinely provide medical consultation and dialogue with her doctors (my part involves making multiple international phone calls for weeks and weeks). Now my aunt wants to proceed with a liver transplant and everyone is looking towards me for financial support and to provide lodging for my aunt”s family. This expense is too large for me to bear.

The pressure from the extended family that I am facing is very frustrating. I feel as though I have done enough for my aunt. My mother routinely reminds me that Allah swt made me into a doctor to help our family and that a third of my income should be spent on my extended family (including my mother, aunt, etc). What are my financial obligations towards my aunt (her husband is still alive and provides for her)? If I do not support my aunt fully in this matter, is this reason for Allah swt to withdraw the income He has blessed me with?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The financial support that is obligatorily due to one”s relatives according to our school (the shafi”i school of jurisprudence) is that the one who finds financial ease must give support to all of his parents in as many generations as they are removed (meaning his father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, and so on), and to any of his children as far down as they may go (meaning his children, children”s children, children”s children”s children, and so on). The condition for it being obligatory to support any of the mentioned individuals is that they be poor. As for wealthy ancestors or descendants, one is not obliged to give any financial support to them.

Any financial support that is given to one”s other poor relatives, like one”s siblings, uncles, or aunts, is not obligatory upon one, although it is recommended. So whatever money you give to your aunt and other relatives, who are not a poor parent or child of yours, whether it be towards medical treatment or other purposes, it is considered recommended charity (sadaqah) that you are rewarded for as a non-obligatory good act, with no sin upon you if you left off doing so.

If, however, you know that your aunt needs this medical treatment and she is financially unable to afford it, and there is no one other than you who steps forward to take on the financial burden, then it would become obligatory upon you. This is not just the case with your aunt, but rather it is an obligation on all wealthy people to take care of the essential financial needs of the poor over and above what is obligatory upon them in Zakat, if the Zakat money was not sufficient to satisfy their essential needs. This is amongst the communal obligations that many wealthy people are heedless of.

السؤال: أعمل كطبيبة، وقد قامت أمِّي (وهي أرملة) وخالتي بفرض التزامات مادية عليّ. لقد ساهمت في مصاريف دراسة أختي، وأنا الآن أدَّخِر لزواجها. لقد ساهمت بتكاليف علاج خالتي، وما زِلت أقوم بإجراء مكالمات دولية لأطبائها. الآن تطلب مِنّي خالتي أن أتكَفَّل بمصاريف عَمَلية جِراحية تُريد إجراءها. تقول أمي أنه يجب عليّ أن أجعلَ ثلثَ دخلي للأقارب (الأم، الخالة، إلخ). هل هذا صحيح؟ ما هي واجباتي المادية تجاه خالتي، عِلماً بأن زوجها على قيد الحياة وما زال يُنفِق عليها؟ وهل سيحرمني الله ما كان قد أكرمني به من الدخل إن لم أقُم بمساعدة خالتي مادياً؟

الجواب: الواجبُ في نفقة الأقارب عندنا هو نفقة الشخص الموسر على أصولِهِ وإن علو وهم أمه وأبوه وجده وجدته وهكذا، وفروعِهِ وهم أولادُه وإن سفلوا كأولاد الأولاد، ويشترطُ لوجوب النفقة على هؤلاء أن يكونوا فقراء، أما الغني منهم فلا تجب النفقة عليه. وعليه فنفقةُ الشخص على الحواشي الفقراء كالإخوة والأخوات والأعمام والعمات والأخوال والخالات ليست واجبة لكنها مندوبةٌ. فما تنفقينه على وخالتك وأقاربك غير الأصول والفروع الفقراء سواء في علاجهم أو غيره صدقةٌ مندوبة تُـثابين عليها ثوابَ التطوع، من غير أن يكون عليك إثم لو تركـت ذلك. إلا إن احتاجت خالتك إلى العلاج ولم يمنكها تحصيلُه بسبب العجز المالي عن ذلك، ولم يوجد أحدٌ يهيئ لها ذلك إلا أنتِ فذلك واجبٌ عليك ما دمتِ موسرةً وعلمتي ذلك، وهذا الأمرُ ليس خاصاً بخالتك، بل هو واجبٌ عامٌّ يطالب به الموسرون بأن يقوموا بكفاية المحتاجين زائداً على أموال الزكاة الواجبة إذا لم تفِ بحاجاتهم، فهذا من فروض الكفايات التي يغفل عنها كثيرٌ من الموسرين.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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