Whether father is obliged to provide for adult son
Fatwa No: 349090

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. My mother died in an accident and we received the relevant insurance and divided it among ourselves according to Sharia law. My brother and I were the only children. My mother's parents are alive, and they got the share of my mother (no property on her name, just accident insurance money). My father got married to another women. My question is the following: My father was not able to look after us. My brother was only 14 when my mother died. After his second marriage, my father was not able to properly look after us. I have been taking care of my brother and do not have good financial means. We have no paternal grandparents, only maternal ones. Are the grandparents and our father supposed to look after us? Grandfather wants to perform ‘Umrah with this money; is that ‘Umrah acceptable? My grandmother gave her money to other children money who asked for it. And my father is also not able to look after us. And we are the losers; we have no mother. So now I am asking: whom should they give their share to; us, or other children, or can they use it to perform ‘Umrah. I need an urgent reply as I do not know much about Shariah law. Neither our grandparents nor our father are willing to give charity in the name of my mother. I am totally upset. Please answer my question.

Answer

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

Your question included many points, and we shall answer each of them as follows:

First, the question of who is obliged to provide for you and your brother given that you have already reached puberty: the majority of the scholars held that the father is not obliged to provide for his son who has reached puberty unless the son is unable to provide for himself, like in the case that he is sick or insane. The Hanbali scholars, on the other hand, held that the father is obliged to provide for his son as long as the son has no income or wealth to provide for himself, even if the son is healthy and strong. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “According to the most likely correct view in our school, the obligatory spending on one's parents or children is not conditional upon the physical deficiency or insufficiency in terms of the Shariah provisions.” Based on this view, your father is obliged to provide for you if you are poor and unable to earn a living.

Second, there is no harm on the grandfather to perform the ‘Umrah from his money, and it would be valid and hopefully accepted, Allah willing.

Third, the father or grandmother are not obliged to give you their share of the inheritance. Rather, what should be investigated is whether your father is obliged to spend on you once you have reached puberty or not, and we have underlined this issue above.

Fourth, the father or anyone else is not obliged to give charity from his money and dedicate the reward to your mother. If someone does so, it is his willful choice, and he should not be blamed for not doing it.

Fifth, we would like to draw the attention of both of you (you and your brother) to the fact that dutifulness to the mother does not end by her death. A man came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Is there any obedience to parents left that I can show to them after their death?” He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, replied, “Yes, praying (the funeral prayer) for them, asking Allah to forgive them, fulfilling their promises after their death, maintaining the ties of kinship which cannot be maintained except through them, and honoring their friends.” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 83233.

This is a general answer to your question; it should be noted that the points of the question are intertwined and that their answers are based on one another. It is better to consult a local scholar directly regarding this issue.

Allah knows best.

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