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Could you please give information about "Nafaqa" (Sustenance: Maintenance: Alimony)?


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A Brief Description of the Question: 
Could you please give information about "Nafaqa" (Sustenance: Maintenance: Alimony)?
The Answer: 

Nafaqa means something given as maintenance; provisions, food; the food, clothes, housing and similar things that the head of the family has to provide. The word infaq, which is derived from the root “nafaqa” means to spend money on charity. The plural of nafaqa is “nafaqat”. As a term, it means the food, clothes and housing sufficient for one person.

Nafaqa is generally divided into two: 1. The nafaqa necessary for the person himself. It comes before the nafaqa a person will give to others. The Prophet said, "Spend money on yourself first, and then on those whom you have to look after." (Muslim, Zakat, 95, 97, 106; Abu Dawud, Zakat, 39, 40; Ahmed b. Hanbal, II, 94).

2. The nafaqa a person has to give to others. That kind of nafaqa originates from three reasons: marriage, blood relation and property (ownership).

In Islam, the duty of winning the bread for the wife and children lies on the father, as the head of the family. In addition, if his mother, father, brothers, sisters and other relatives become needy and dependent, their maintenance is included in this duty. Furthermore, the animals that the head of the family owns or uses have to be sustained by him. (al-Kasani, Badayiu's-Sanayi, IV, 40). Causing the death of an animal due to hunger or thirst brings about responsibility. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah said the following for a woman who caused the death of a cat: "A woman was tortured in Hell because she imprisoned a cat until it died. She did not give it any food and she did not let it free to feed itself. " (Bukhari, Anbiya, 54; Shirb, 9; Muslim, Salam, 151, 152; Birr, 133, 134; Kusuf, 9; Nasai, Kusuf, 14, 20; Ahmed b. Hanbal, II, 159, 188, 286, 424).

It is forbidden to make an animal carry the load that it cannot bear. A slave cannot be made to carry a load like that, either. If the owner of an animal does not feed the animal, he is forced to feed it legally and religiously according to most of the scholars. According to Hanafis, he cannot be forced legally. (al-Kasani,ibid, IV, 40; ash-Shirazi, al-Muhadhdhab, II,168 ff.; az-Zuhayli, al-Fiqhul-Islami wa Adillatuh, Damascus 1405/1985, VII, 763, 764).

People that deserve to receive nafaqa are as follows:

The Nafaqa of Married Woman

When a woman marries and moves to her husband’s house, all of her spending regarding food, clothes and housing lies on her husband. They are provided without extravagance or stinginess in accordance with the social levels of the spouses. If both of the spouses are rich, the money is spent in accordance with their levels. If both of them are poor, the woman cannot ask her husband to spend money on her like rich people. If one of them is poor and the other is rich, a moderate level is maintained. However, some scholars say that only the state of the husband is taken into consideration regarding the amount of the nafaqa.

The following is stated in verses: “But the father shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms" (al-Baqara, 2/233).

”Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what he has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief." (at-Talaq, 65/7).

The husband has to meet the clothing expenses of his wife. Here, the criterion is the social level and the customs that are in compatible with Islam. A woman has the right of having at least two sets of clothes a year: one for the summer and one for the winter. Things like quilts, beds, linens and pillows are regarded among the clothing items.

The husband has to provide his wife with a dwelling with appropriate interior fittings suitable for her social state and without bad neighbors. That dwelling has to be safe for the property, life and honor of the woman and it should be appropriate for a marriage life.

The following is stated in a verse: "Let the women live (in 'iddah) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: annoy them not, so as to restrict them" at-Talaq, 65/6).

The woman cannot be forced to live with the relatives of her husband. However, the husband has the right of making his daughter from another marriage who has not reached the age of puberty live with them. 

The wife can rent her house to her husband so that her husband will allocate that house for her dwelling (Ibnul-Humam, Fathul-Qadir, III, 321-339; al-Kasani, ibid, IV,14,15; al-Fatawal-Hindiyya, I, 544 ff.; Ö. N. Bilmen, İstilâhat-ı Fıkhıyye Kâmusu, II, 450).

If the woman needs to be looked after or if the women who are equal to her in terms of social state have maids, having a maid is included in nafaqa. 

If the woman does not come to her husband’s house despite his demand or if she leaves the house without obeying him or abandons the religion of Islam, the husband is freed from the responsibility of nafaqa.

The nafaqa of the woman in the period of iddah (the period of waiting for a woman after her marriage ends): Iddah starts when the husband of the woman dies or when she is divorced.

Nafaqa is not necessary for a woman whose husband dies because when the man dies, all of his property passes on to the inheritors. She becomes one of the inheritors at a rate of one-fourth or one-eighth. In the first periods of Islam, the husband had to will that his wife would be given nafaqa for a year after his death.  

The following is stated in a verse: "Those of you who die and leave widows should bequeath for their widows a year's maintenance and residence" (al-Baqara, 2/240).

However, the decree regarding one-year nafaqa and dwelling, and the decree of will were abrogated by the 12th verse of the chapter an-Nisa; the one-year iddah was shortened by the following verse: "If any of you die and leave widows behind; they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days when they have fulfilled their term" (al-Baqara, 2/234).

The nafaqa responsibility of the husband continues during the period of iddah, whether the divorce is revocable or irrevocable. It does not matter whether the divorce has taken place twice or three times. However, according to Shafii, Malik and Ahmad b. Hanbal, only dwelling is provided if it is the third divorce; other things like clothing, food, etc are not necessary.

The sustenance of the children, the nafaqa of the sons and daughters have to be provided by the father.  The nafaqa of the children covers food, clothing and dwelling needs of the children.

The following is stated in the 6th verse of the chapter at-Talaq: "and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense". Here, the verse gives the decree that a woman who suckles her baby after her period of iddah is over has the right of receiving money. It shows that the nafaqa of the child has to be provided by the father.

If a married woman does not want to breastfeed her baby and if the baby does not refuse to suck at another woman’s breast, the baby’s mother cannot be forced to breastfeed her baby.

The following is reported from Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her): Hind, the mother of Mu'awiya said to Allah's Apostle, "Abu Sufyan (her husband) is a miser. He does not give me and my children enough sustenance. Am I allowed to take from his money secretly?" The Prophet said to her, "You and your sons may take what is sufficient reasonably and fairly." (Bukhari, Buyu', 95; Nasai, Qudat, 31; Ibn Majah, Tijarah, 65).

The hadith above shows that it is wajib for a man to provide his wife and children with nafaqa.

The conditions for the father to have the liability for providing nafaqa for his son

a) The son must be no older than the age of puberty. However, if the child has reached the age of puberty but if he is disabled, crippled, paralyzed or chronically ill and if he is unable to earn his living, the responsibility of the father continues.

b) The son must be poor. If the child has his own property, the money for his sustenance is taken from it.

c) The father must afford to take care of his children.  He is regarded to be so if he is rich or able to work. 

d) The father and his son must be free people, not slaves.

The conditions for the father to have the liability for providing nafaqa for his daughter

a) There is no condition of age or having reached the age of puberty for daughters. The sustenance of the daughters has to be provided by the father until they get married. After they get married, it has to be provided for the husbands. If the husband of the woman dies or if she is divorced, she returns to her father’s house. The woman cannot be forced to work. However, it is permissible for her to work if she finds a job in compliance with Islamic principles. 

b) She must be poor. If she has her own property, the money for her sustenance is taken from it.

c) The father must be able to work and earn money or be rich.

d) The father and his daughter must be free people, not slaves.

It is stated in a hadith to whom a person should give priority in providing sustenance for his relatives as follows: "A man came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have one dinar with me. How should I spend it? Hazrat Prophet said: Spend it on your needs.” The man said, “I have one more dinar.” The Prophet said, “Spend it on your wife.” The man said, “I have one more dinar.” The Prophet said, “Spend it on your children.”

The man said, “I have one more dinar.” The Prophet said, “Spend it on your servant.” When the man said he had one more dinar, the Prophet let him free what to do by saying, "You know it better how to spend it.”  (Ahmad b. Hanbal, II, 251, 471; Nasai, Zakat, 54).

Expenses of the parents and grandparents

If the parents become poor or if they become too old and cannot work, their sustenance and care have to be provided by their children.

The following is stated in the verses regarding the issue:

" Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents " (al-Isra, 17/23). " Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents " (Luqman, 31/14). " But if they strive to make the join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge obey them not; Yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration)." (Luqman, 31/15).

The following is reported from Jabir b. Abdullah: A man came to Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) with his father and said

"Oh Messenger of Allah! I have my own property; my father has his own property. My father wants to have my property.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "You and your property belong to your father." (as-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsut, V, 222-229; al-Kasani, Badayiu's-Sanayi, IV, 30; Ibnul-Humam, Fathul Qadir, III, 349 ff.).

However, the right of the parents on the property of their children were delimited by interpretation and it was bound to the condition that they had to be poor and needy, because when the verses regarding inheritance were sent down, the rights of the parents on the property of their children who died were determined.

The conditions under which parents can receive nafaqa from their children: They must be poor. Otherwise, their expenses are met from their own property. The child or grandchild that is responsible for nafaqa must afford to pay it. He can afford it if he is rich or if he can work and earn money. 

The conditions under which one is responsible for nafaqa for relatives are as follows:

1. The relative must be poor. A person is poor if he has no property or if he cannot work. A person cannot work due to young age, insanity or chronic disease. However, parents are excepted because it is necessary to give them nafaqa even if they are healthy or they can work.  Accordingly, if one’s relatives except his parents and wife are rich or if they can work, giving them nafaqa is not necessary. According to the preferred view of Malikis, when parents can work, they cannot demand nafaqa from their children. (al-Kasani, ibid, IV, 36, 37; Ibn Abidin, Raddul-Mukhtar, II, 923; ash-Shirazi, al-Muhadhdhab, II, 167; ash-Shirbini, Mughnil-muhtaj, III, 448; IbnQudama, al-Mughni  VII, 595; Ibnul-Humam, ibid, III, 347).

2. The person to give nafaqa to his relative must be rich or be able to work and to be in a position to provide sustenance for his relative. However, the father and the wife are excepted. A man has to provide sustenance for his parents and wife even if he is poor. According to Malikis, a poor child does not have to give nafaqa to his parents even if he can work and earn money.

The following is stated in a hadith reported by Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him): "If one of you becomes poor, he should meet his own needs first. If he still has some money after meeting his own needs, he should spend it on the members of his family. If he still has some money after that, he should spend it on his other relatives." (Abu Dawud, Itaq, 9; Nasai, Buyu', 84; Ahmad b. Hanbal, III, 205).

3. The person to be provided nafaqa for must have a blood relation. However, the wife and the female slave are excepted. 

According to Hanafis, the person to give nafaqa must be such a close relative to the person to receive nafaqa that he can be an inheritor to him. The evidence of this view is the following verse:" ... No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child Nor father on account of his child. An heir shall be chargeable in the same way if they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation. " (al-Baqara, 2/233). According to the verse above, the rights and responsibilities that are valid between the parents and their children are also valid for other inheritors. It contains the expenses of sustenance, too, when necessary.

The effect of being in different religions on nafaqa: Being in different religions does not hinder the right for nafaqa unless the woman is disobedient or abandons the religion of Islam. As for the responsibility for nafaqa for other relatives,

according to Hanafis, being in the same religion is not necessary for the nafaqa of the parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren. Being in the same religion is necessary for the nafaqa of the other relatives because no relation of inheritance is valid between a Muslim and non-Muslim. Accordingly, nafaqa for the relatives other than the wife, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren is not necessary if they are not in the same religion. The responsibility for nafaqa for parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren originates from the fact that they are part of one another. The part of a person is like the person himself. Since a person cannot refrain from providing sustenance for himself because he is an unbeliever, he cannot refrain from providing sustenance for his parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, either. However, if they are harbi (person living in a non-Muslim country that is in a state of war with an Islamic country) and even if they are foreigners with passports, they are not paid nafaqa because Muslims are prohibited from helping those who are in a state of war with them. 
The reason why one provides sustenance for somebody else is being needy. It is not necessary to provide sustenance for someone who is not needy. The expenses of a person who has property are met from his property. It does not matter whether this person is a child or adult. However, the wife of a person is excepted. Even if a woman is rich, her expenses are met by her husband because the reason why the wife is given nafaqa is not being needy but living in the same house due to marriage.   

Is the decision of the judge necessary for nafaqa?

The nafaqa of parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren is wajib (obligatory) irrespective of the decision of the judge. However, if there is some lost property belonging to a small child and if the father wants to find and use it for his sustenance, the decision of the judge or the witnessing of two people is necessary. If he spends some money without the decision of the judge or the witnessing of two people, he cannot use the property of the child legally. He can use it religiously, as an issue between Allah and him.  

The nafaqa of relatives except parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren can only be valid by the decision of the judge or mutual consent. It is because there is a difference of opinion among mujtahids regarding the issue of the nafaqa of relatives. (al-Kasani, ibid, IV, 22, 25; Ibnul-Humam, ibid, III, 238; Ibn Abidin, ibid, II, 906).

The states in which the nafaqa for wife cease to be obligatory: 1. Nafaqa is wajib; unless it becomes a debt by the decision of the judge or mutual consent, the nafaqa belonging to the period that passed ceases to be obligatory. According to Malikis, the nafaqa belonging to the period that passed does not cease to be obligatory. The woman can demand nafaqa from her husband for the days that passed.

2. Accepting that one has no debt about the past invalidates nafaqa. However, according to Hanafis, it is not valid to accept that one has no debt about the future or disclaim of future nafaqa is not valid because the nafaqa of the wife becomes obligatory as she lives with her husband. Disclaim of future nafaqa means giving up something before it becomes obligatory, which is not valid. 

3. Death of one of the spouses: If the husband dies before he gives the nafaqa, the woman cannot take if from the property of her husband. If the woman dies, the inheritors cannot demand it.
4. Disobedience of the wife. If the woman disobeys the legitimate desires of her husband or abandons the house without any excuse, the responsibility for nafaqa of the husband ceases to be obligatory. 

5. Conversion of the wife from Islam. When the wife abandons the religion of Islam, the responsibility for nafaqa of the husband ceases to be obligatory because it is not permissible to have sexual intercourse with her in this situation. When she embraces Islam again, the right for nafaqa becomes valid again.

6. Divorce caused by a bad deed of the wife annuls the right for nafaqa. For instance, her conversion from Islam, insisting on being an unbeliever despite her husband’s embrace of Islam or having a sexual intercourse with her stepson. In all of those situations, the responsibility for nafaqa of the husband ceases to be obligatory because the wife has committed a sin that has eliminated the possibility of sexual intercourse with her husband. Therefore, she is regarded to be nashiza (disobedient). However, only her right to continue to live in the dwelling continues because that right is not invalidated by committing a sin.   

If the divorce has not happened due to committing a sin, the right for nafaqa is not annulled. For instance, not approving the marriage when she reaches the age of puberty, absence of equality between the husband and wife, sexual intercourse due to rape. She is regarded to be excused regarding those situations.

Divorce caused by the husband, whether it is due to a sin or not, does not annul the right for nafaqa.  (See al-Kasani, IV, 22, 29 ff.; Ibnul-Humam, ibid, III, 322 ff.; Ibn Abidin, ibid, II, 889-892; Ibn Rushd, Bidayatul-Mujtahid, II, 54; ash-Shirazi, ibid, II, 160).

Annulment of the nafaqa for the relatives other than the wife

The right for nafaqa of the relatives like parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren are annulled when the period ends. When the judge decides for nafaqa for those relatives, if the relative does not take it or if he/she has not borrowed money on the account of the nafaqa, the nafaqa is annulled. According to Hanafis, the nafaqa is annulled unless the judge lets the relative borrow money because the nafaqa of the other relatives become obligatory to meet their needs. If the relative does not take the nafaqa during the given period, it shows that he/she does not need the nafaqa.  (See al-Kasani, ibid, IV, 37; Ibnul-Humam, ibid, III, 354; al-Maydani, al-Lubab, III, 109).

Hamdi DÖNDÜREN



01-06-2010 04:05:07

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