Assalaamu alaykum. (1) In our country, the family of the bride have to arrange the Waleemah (marriage banquet), and they have to pay the dowry as well. If the bride's family asks me for help/money, should I give it to them then? Or should I refrain from that, as it is part of an un-Islamic culture? (2) If a non-Muslim family asks me for help for the marriage of their son/daughter, should I help or not?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
The Sunnah is that it is the husband who organizes the Waleemah, and not the wife or her family. Also, the dowry is an obligation upon the husband to his wife, and not vice versa. Obliging the family of the wife to organize the Waleemah or to give the dowry is contrary to the Shariah, and it is one of the bad habits which the scholars urged to fight against.
The Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Council resolved the following: “Fourth: The Council appeals to scholars, dignitaries, and officials in India and others to fight this bad habit ... They should strive and do their utter best to invalidate it and remove it from their country and from their homes, because it is contrary to heavenly laws and contrary to the sound mind and reason.”
For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 85873.
Therefore, what should be done is to fight this bad habit, try to limit its spread and continuation, and refrain from anything that could help in it as much as possible.
As regards the assistance that you inquired about in the present situation, then in our view, it is the scholars and reformers in that country whom one should resort to, as they know best how to achieve the benefits and repel harms, until Allah permits eradicating this bad habit and the people regain their senses.
As for helping some non-Muslims in marrying off their son or daughter, then there is nothing wrong in giving a voluntary charity to the non-Muslims, especially if it is hoped that it would encourage them to embrace Islam and soften their hearts towards it. An-Nawawi said, “It is desirable to give one’s charity to the righteous, the good people, and the needy, and if one gives charity to a Jew, a Christian, or a Magi, then that is permissible.”
However, it should be noted that it is not permissible to give the obligatory zakaah to non-Muslims.
Allah knows best.
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