Son is obliged to provide for needy parents according to his ability
Fatwa No: 270145

Question

I arrived in Canada in March'13 staying with my wife and 1 year old daughter. My father stayed in Saudia for 11 years, returned back India in 2000. Ever since he came back declared himself as penny less saying that all the savings has been spent on both son's education. I stayed in Dubai for 6 years and handed over all my earnings to my father yet he said not enough. Now myself and my brother staying in the same place are sending handsome monthly remittance to cover fooding, sister's education and all the daily needs of my parents and sister. By the way my sister is 17 years old. Apart from monthly remittance we both the brothers send the money for 2 eids, medical expenses and recreation. Recently my dad asked me toincrease the remittance by 35%. Being a sole earner i find it difficult to meet his demand. Recently my father has bought 3 shops apart from other assets we have which all will be given to my sister on her marriage. On one hand my wife says that i am oblige to cover all the expenses of wife and child and on the other hand my parents say that brother has all the responsibility of his sister as they have turned old and retired therefore asking me to send more money. When i say my parents that i have limited earning, they say then to change the country where you will earn more. If i say that i am undergoing professional problem at the job, they say that it's because of not listening to the parents. Allah's curse is coming on you. Please advice me the islamic ruling on this situation.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

We have already issued Fatwa 83470 clarifying that the son is obliged to provide for his poor parents provided that the son has what to spend in excess of his basic needs and the needs of his wife and children. Also, all the children who are well off are obliged to spend on their parents, each according to his ability and it is not permissible to oblige only one of them to do so. However, if the parents are not in need, then it is not an obligation to provide their cost of living. It should also be noted that their maintenance is according to what is sufficient on reasonable terms.

With regard to the money that your father is asking you for, if you are able to give it to him – without subjecting yourself to any hardship due to that – then you are obliged to give it to him as it is permissible in Islam for a father to take what he needs from the property of his children, if they own what exceeds their basic needs. In fact, the Hanbali School of jurisprudence is of the view that it is permissible for the father to take from his children's property even if he is not in need. In both cases, the matter is conditioned on not transgressing the property of the children or harming them. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Al-Mughni: "The father can take from the wealth of his children whatever he wishes and he can own it; this is whether or not the father needs what he takes, and whether the children are old or young with two conditions: The first is that the father should not wrong the children or cause harm to them, or take something from them which they need. The second condition is that he should not take money from one child and give it to another." [End of quote]

If you cannot afford to meet your father's demands, then you are not sinful in failing to do so and this is not disobedience to parents. The jurists clarified that the obedience to parents is not absolute; rather, it has limits which you can refer to in Fatwa 131695.

In any case, you should try to please your father and not anger him, and you should gently ask him to excuse you.

On the other hand, if a Muslim finds a job whereby he fulfils his needs and the needs of the people whom he is obliged to provide for, like the wife, parents and children, then he is not obliged to look for another job, as the son is only obliged to earn what fulfils his basic needs and the needs of anyone whose cost of living he is obliged to pay, and pay his debts if he has any, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “It is enough a sin for a person not to provide means of sustenance to his dependents.” [Ahmad and Abu Daawood]

It does not necessarily follow that the problems that a Muslim faces at work are due to a sin that he has committed; rather, it could be just a test and if he is patient and seeks the reward from Allaah for it, then Allaah may raise his rank and wipe away his sins on account of that. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 83577.

Finally, it should be noted that the parents should not be a source of burden and distress for their children as this contravenes the natural human disposition of compassion for one's children and the desire for their comfort and well-being.

Allaah Knows best.

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