Question: Who is responsible to feed those who are currently going hungry due to COVID 19? Who is responsible for a woman’s upkeep – housing, groceries, and clothing? Is a female financially responsible for this herself? Is she supposed to go to work and pay her own way? Would she be entitled to receive zakat money if she cannot or does not wish to work? Also, does one need to pay zakat if one does not own their own house? Also, when given an Islamic ruling is it the responsibility of the Sheikh to provide evidence from the Quran and Hadith etc for the ruling?
Thank you for your question. I pray that your situation improves, it is very difficult and frustrating to be in financial straits. May Allah lift you out of this suffering and help everyone involved to fulfill their obligations.
A Woman’s Support
A woman is not responsible for feeding herself as her closest male relatives are responsible for her. Her father must care for her if he is able to, unless she is married, in which case her husband must. Ustadh Tabraze mentions in one of his answers:
“Before they become adult (baligh), the father must support his children whether they are male or female. Thereafter, he is responsible for the financial support of his female children until they marry, upon which the duty transfers to her husband. (…) however, if, after she becomes an adult, she is able to earn a living by means of a safe, dignified job, then she could be sought to support herself through her own income. In the case that she does so, yet her income is insufficient, the father would need to supplement it so that it fulfills the remainder of her needs.”
Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam says, “The husband will be solely responsible in supporting his wife, so much so that if a woman has a husband who is poor (and not capable of supporting her) but has a son, from a previous husband, who is wealthy or a wealthy father or a wealthy brother, her financial support will still remain on her husband, and not on her father, son, and brother. However, her father, son, or brother will be ordered to spend on her, and then recover it from the husband when he becomes well-off” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya).
A woman is not financially responsible for herself, but she may do so and work, by way of charity, to ease the burden on her family. A woman would be entitled to zakat money if she meets the criteria of a zakat-eligibility and her husband is unable to provide for her. See those criteria here:
Paying Zakat if One Rents
Whether a person owns a house or rents it, is irrelevant. One must pay zakat if one possesses the minimum zakat-payable amount for one lunar year. Please see the details at the links above and these links:
It is not the responsibility of a teacher to provide the proof from primary texts behind a ruling when he gives an answer. To do so, would be an unimaginable burden on himself and the questioner. Rather, a questioner should be sufficed by knowing that the teacher follows traditional Islam, one of the four madhhabs, and knows that he has taken his source from the trustworthy and credible scholars and books of his school.
I pray that you can resolve this issue and find peace in your financial affairs. Generally speaking, give charity, for doing this, solves the worst of problems. May Allah give you the best in this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.