Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 4 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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Who should bear children's expenses?

Who should bear children's expenses?

Answer

There is no disagreements among the scholars that it is incumbent upon fathers to bear the expenses of their young children, whether males or females. Imam Al-Mawardi said in Al-Hawi, "Fathers bear the expenses of their children based on the Qur`an, sunnah, and scholarly consensus. The Qur`anic verse,But he shall bear the cost of [the mothers'] food and clothing on equitable terms. [Al-Baqarah, 233]
proves the father's obligation, and not the mother's, to support his children."[1]

Imam Al-Qurtubi said in Al-Jami' Li Ahkam Al-Qur`an: "[This verse] proves a father's obligation to provide for his child on account of the latter's weakness and incapability.

For this reason, the verse stipulates that a mother is to receive payment during pregnancy and the nursing period since the infant can only be nourished through her nursing. This is reinforced in the verse,
And if they are pregnant, then spend (your sustenance) on them. [At-Talaq, 6]

Scholars are unanimous that it is incumbent upon a man to support his children who do not have the means to do so on their own. Hind Bint 'Utba [wife of Abu Sufyan] complained to the Prophet about her husband's miserliness and said, 'Abu Sufyan is a miser. I do not receive from him what suffices my children and me unless I take from him without his knowledge. Am I sinful for this?' The Prophet replied, 'Take only what suffices you and your children in a fair and reasonable amount.' "[2]

The ruling

It is obligatory upon the father, and not the mother, to provide for his daughter. Moreover, he must bear the expenses of all her needs including food, clothing and the like according to what is customary for those of a similar [social] class.
Allah the Almighty knows best.


[1] 11/447, Dar Kutub al-Ilmiyyah.

[2]3/163, Dar 'Alaam al-Kutub.

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