I am a mother of two children. I got divorced by my ex-husband three years ago after 10 years of marriage. He kicked us out of the house. Allaah and my highly educated religious family supported me until I resettled after 10 years of suffering and depression in this marriage. The children's father, who is a professional and is rich, does not support them financially and managed to convince the child maintenance that he has a very low income while he is actually a rich Doctor. Now he uses his money as affection to unsettle the children and has made their souls refuse the Islamic way of life that I have been trying to establish for them. The government provided us with a home and I started working part-time, then Allaah provided us with a new, caring husband a year ago; he fears Allaah and has good manners. He has children from a previous marriage and supports them, and he also support his sisters, uncles... He has a house, but I choose that he would stay with us in my council house. (He is like a guest.) He lets half his home, and he partially support us financially (because he is staying with us most of the time). Also, (according to Islam) he is responsible for me but not for my children, so I pay half the costs and the additional needs of the children. Moving with him to his house would mean that I and my children do not get the benefits that we are entitled to now, and then he would be responsible for all of the life expenses and we would just survive, and my income would be deducted and he would pay for almost all life costs. I feel that this would be unfair to him. He does not mind any of both options, but he is worried that he might not be able to pay for my solicitor, the government indirectly advises me not to move because my income would be minimal. They said that it is up to me to consider myself as the only caretaker for the children or to consider me and my husband as a couple. Since a short while, I have been getting some support from the government as a single mum while being married (according to the sharia). The government considers this (the fact that a man lives with me) a personal matter, but in front of Allaah the matter is different (as he is in fact my husband although our marriage is not officially registered). So what do you say?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
The matters related to the benefits that you are receiving are decided according to the applied laws and regulations and the conditions set by the government regarding the beneficiaries of these benefits. Such conditions must be respected and observed. ʻAmr ibn ʻAwf Al-Muzani narrated that the Prophet said, "Muslims are bound by their conditions." If only an unmarried woman is entitled to such benefits, then you have no right to take them.
If the benefits are paid for the sake of the children and there are no conditions that prevent them from receiving them, then there is no harm in taking them and availing yourself of them.
If your two children have no wealth of their own, then it is incumbent on the father to provide for them and it is impermissible for him to fall short in fulfilling this right. ʻAbdullaah ibn ʻAmr narrated that the Prophet said, "It is sufficient sin for a man that he holds back the due of his dependents whom he maintains." [Ahmad and Abu Daawood]
If he refuses to provide for his children, then you can refer the case to the Islamic center in your community.
Allaah knows best.
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