Is A Brother Obliged To Spend On His Sister?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
brother obliged to spend on his sister? Is it
permissible for her to take zakaah from her brother's
Praise be to Allaah.
A brother is
obliged to spend on his sister if she is poor and he
is independent of means and he would inherit from her
if she died. If he would not inherit from her because
she has a son or because the father or grandfather
(father's father) is still alive, then he is not
obliged to spend on her and it is permissible to give
her the zakaah of his wealth in that case.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in
In order for maintenance to be obligatory, three
conditions must be met:
(i) They should be poor and have no wealth or source
of income which would make them independent of being
maintained by others. If they have enough wealth or
income to make them independent of means, then it is
not obligatory to spend on their maintenance.
(ii) The one who is obliged to spend on their
maintenance should have enough to do so, surplus to
the costs of his own maintenance, either from his
wealth or his income. If he does not have any surplus,
then he is not obliged to do anything, because of the
report of Jaabir that the Messenger of Allaah
(blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: "If
one of you is poor, then let him start with himself.
If he has any surplus, then let him spend on his
dependents, and if he has any surplus, let him spend
on his relatives."
(iii) The one who spends should be an heir, because
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And on
the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that
(which was incumbent on the father)" [al-Baqarah
2:233]. And because there are ties of kinship between
those who would inherit from one another which dictate
that the heir is more entitled to the wealth of the
one who leaves it behind than anyone else, so by
virtue of the ties of kinship he is to be singled out
for maintenance rather than anyone else. If he is not
an heir, then he is not obliged to spend on his
maintenance. End quote.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said in al-Sharh al-Mumti'
The basic principle in our view is that it is
essential that the one who spends be an heir of the
one on whom he spends, except for direct ascendants
and descendants, in which case the issue of
inheritance is not a condition. End quote.
Based on this, if the brother is obliged to spend on
his sister, it is not permissible to give the zakaah
of his wealth to her, but if he is not obliged to
spend on her, it is permissible to give the zakaah of
his wealth to her, and indeed that is better than
giving it to someone else who is not one of his
relatives, because by doing this he will attain the
reward of both zakaah and upholding the ties of
And Allaah knows best.