Salaam. Please help me. I have been married for 16 months. During these 16 months, my sisters in law are always pressuring my husband for money. They themselves do not work and one of them is recently divorced. The divorced sister in law sued her husband and received $300K in property/cash and receives $2k child support per month. My husband gave her his old car and explained she has to bear all expenses. But when she gets tickets, has to have the tag renewed, she says these are his/our expenses to bear. The other sisters in law are married.
What is my husband’s responsibility in supporting his sisters per Islamic guidance? He supports his parents and one brother already.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
The responsibility of the children to financially support their parents is based on two conditions
1) One is financially in a position to do so.
2) Ones parents are poor, even if they are capable of earning themselves. (Hidayah p.445 v.2)
As far as the other relatives are concerned, we can divide them into two categories:
1) Male relatives, such as ones brother, uncle, nephew, etc. The responsibility of financially supporting them is only in the situation where they are poor and not capable of earning themselves due to some disability or illness.
Imam al-Mawsili (may Allah have mercy on him) states in al-Ikhtiyar:
“The Nafaqah (financial support) of other relatives besides the parents and children is (also) necessary according to the amount of inheritance (mirath)….And this is only necessary when the relative is poor, disabled and not able to earn.” (al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’lil al-Mukhtar, 2/232)
2) Female relatives, such as ones sister, aunt, etc. The responsibility of supporting them is conditioned only with them being poor and in need. Disability is not a condition, for women are not obliged to work and earn money.
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
“The Nafaqah of virgin female relatives is necessary even if they are healthy, provided they are in need of the Nafaqah.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/566)
However, if a woman is married, then her husband will support her, hence the responsibility of supporting her will be lifted from her relatives. In al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, it is further stated:
“The husband will be solely responsible in supporting his wife, so much so that if a woman has a husband who is poor (and not capable of supporting her) but has a son, from a previous husband, who is wealthy or a wealthy father or a wealthy brother, her financial support will still remain on her husband, and not on her father, son and brother. However, her father, son or brother will be ordered to spend on her, and then recover it from the husband when he becomes well-off.” (ibid) (Extracted from www.darulifta.com , Mufti Muhammad Bin Adam (D.B)
With regards to your situation, the obligation to financially support your sister in laws lies with their husbands. Your husband is not responsible for their financial support. With regards to your divorced sister in law, the obligation depends on whether she is poor. You have stated in the question that she is getting £2,000 a month from her ex husband. Generally, this much amount of money should be enough for her survive, hence again your husband is not obliged to support her. However, if this amount is not enough for her then he will be obliged to financially support her.
With regards to your rights, the Shariah dictates that the wife has an irrevocable right to the following three things;
1. Food must be sufficient for her.
2. Clothing – she must have a least two full sets of clothes.
3. Housing- she must at least have a room, which ensures her privacy.
(Al- Ikhtiyar p.229 v.4)
The conclusion we can come to is that your husband’s primary concern should be trying to fulfil his wife’s rights but at the same time those relatives who he his obliged to financially maintain should not be overlooked. He should balance his income out without giving priority or too much to one of the parties over the other.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham