Saturday, June 02, 2007

Q&A: Providing nafaqah to relatives?

The following is a translation from Arabic.

Question: Who are the 'asabah who have to provide nafaqah? And is it obligatory for all categories even if they are rich like the obligation of providing nafaqah for ones wife which is given regardless of whether she needs it or not.

Answer:

The maintenance which is obligatory between relatives is only obligatory when the relative is poor and needy. It differs from the maintenance for the wife. The wife must be given nafaqah even if she is rich.

As for who are the ones that must give maintenance to their needy relative, they are the males who inherit from this relative due to His (swt) saying:

وعلى الوارث مثل ذلك

‘And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). [Baqarah:233] after He (swt) mentioned the obligation of the father to give maintenance to his child. For example, the brother inherits from his brother that has been cut of from ascendants and descendants (kalaalatan). If there is a poor man who has no son or father but he has a brother. Then the obligation of nafaqah falls on his brother because he will inherit from him when he dies. However, if the man has a son then the maintenance of the poor man will be on his son because he will inherit from him. However if his son is poor then he will be treated as non-existent (ma’doom) and the obligation of maintenance will go to the next male who inherits.

The male who inherit are the father, son, half brother from the same mother or father or full brother in the state of kalaalah. If there are no heirs from those stated in the Qur’an then the obligation of nafaqah goes to the male agnates (‘asabah). They are the ones who do not inherit except the remainder of the inheritance i.e. his paternal uncles and the children of his maternal uncle from the closest onwards. If there are no relatives who deserve to inherit from him if he dies then the nafaqah will be obligatory from the zakah from the state treasury (bayt al-maal), then on the state treasury funds, and then on all Muslims. Otherwise all the Muslims will be sinful because the Messenger (saw) said:

«أيما أهل عرصة أصبح فيهم امرؤ جائع فقد برئت منهم ذمة الله تبارك وتعالى»
‘In any local community, if there became amongst them a hungry person, Allah has nothing to do with them.’

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