The husband does not have to spend on his step-children
Fatwa No: 86141

Question

I have 3 kids from a former marriage, and they have not entered Islam, as of yet. I entered into Islam 3 years ago. My husband insists he does not have to care for anything they do if he does not agree to it or care for what they do, if he chooses, because the bottom line is that he is not their father, therefore he does not have to help. We struggle daily to buy food, pay rent, etc. and so far we have not been able to get food stamps and Medicaid. My husband says since he himself is not qualified, it is not his problem if the state rejects my food stamps. Theses kids are not his. He mostly says this if he is angry, but this has led to such bad feelings, that when my one elder daughter is in the house and he enters the house, she leaves the room. This hurts me so much, because of this tension. What can I do I pray and ask Allah (SWT) for His help and guidance.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. We supplicate Allah to make us steadfast on His religion till we meet Him while he is well Pleased with us. Dear sister, Praise Allah for His guiding you to the right path. No doubt, it is the greatest blessing of Allah upon a human being. So, after receiving this blessing nothing should bother you. Thereafter, we advise you, to strive to call your children towards Islam, showing them the merits of Islam, bringing to their knowledge that Islam is a source of happiness in this life and the Hereafter as well. At the opposite side, Kufr is the source of misery and destruction in both lives. Know that your husband is not obliged to spend on the children who are not from him; if he does it voluntarily then that is a highly appreciated voluntary act. The real father of the children is responsible for spending on them. If he is not available then you should spend on them till they reach the age of maturity. We advise you to openly discuss this issue with your husband and try to convince him by informing him about the great reward he will get if he takes care of his stepchildren and spends on them even though he is not responsible for that. However, being free from spending on them does not mean in anyway being harsh with them or hurting their feelings. However, we advise this person (your husband) to be kind with his wife and her children. Also we remind him of the Prophet's (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) behavior with his wives and with his stepchildren. Imam al-Bukhari narrated from Umar bin Abu Salamah who was the stepson of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that he said: I was a boy under the care of Allah's Apostle and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So Allah's Apostle said to me, - O boy! Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you." Since then I have applied those instructions when eating . ( al-Bukhari ) He also said: the best of you are those who are best to their wives . ( al-Tirmizi ) We supplicate Allah to solve your problems, ease your matters, bless upon you and open the hearts of your children for Islam. Allah knows best.

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