Responsibility of feeding those who cannot provide for themselves
Fatwa No: 365872

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. Whose responsibility is it to feed disabled people who cannot work and earn a living, or women who do not have anyone to give them money?

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.

PIn regard to providing for the poor person who is unable to earn a living in actuality or in terms of the Shariah ruling, it is obligatory on his rich relatives to provide for him provided that certain conditions are met. The author of Kashshaaf Al-Qinaaʻ said:

"There are three conditions for deeming it obligatory on a rich relative to provide for his poor relative:

First, that the poor relative does not have wealth or income with which he can dispense with receiving financial aid from others...

Second, that the rich relative has surplus wealth beyond the basic needs of himself and his wife ... either from his wealth or from his earnings. Whoever does not have such surplus is not obliged to spend on a poor relative.

Third, that the rich relative is among the heirs entitled to inherit from this poor relative, either by receiving a fixed share or by virtue of Taʻseeb (i.e. by virtue of having a paternal relationship with the deceased and not having an allotted share, so he gets what is left after the allotted shares have been distributed) if he is from other than his descendants or ascendants. If he is from the descendants or ascendants, it is obligatory on him to provide for the poor relative even if they are related on the maternal side.

If the poor person has no rich relative to provide for him, the state treasury is obliged to provide for him. Dr. Wahbah Az-Zuhayli  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote about the persons who are especially entitled to financial assistance from the Muslim state, 'When is a person's maintenance obligatory on the treasury of the state? If this poor person has no rich relatives to provide for him, the treasury is required to provide for him (the public funds), and he is not required to beg people, because one of the functions of the state treasury in Islam is to provide for the needy in proportion to their needs.' Al-Kaasaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said about the revenues of the public treasury and the proper channels to spend them, '...so it is spent on buying medication for the sick and financing their treatment, buying shrouds for the poor dead people who leave no wealth, providing for the abandoned child of unknown parents and paying his blood money or financial penalties, and supporting the person who is unable to work and earn a living and who has no rich relative who is obliged to provide for him...'" [Al-Fiqh Al-Islaami wa Adillatuh]

Allah knows best.

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