Who Is Supposed to Carry the Burden of Financial Responsibility within a Family?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


According to the Shafi’i Madhhab, financial support given to any family member, male/female, is not obligatory upon one (aside from parents, grandparents, and so on). I’m also not in contact with my extended family abroad, which means my uncles/aunts/cousins/second cousins/grandparents.

My immediate family does not speak to my aunts on my father’s side. I have not cut them off as far as I’m aware, but I don’t want to increase the level of contact because I am fine where I am. I want to focus on myself and my immediate family. Is this permissible to do?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

An adult male is financially responsible for the following people:

  • His spouse
  • His children (grandchildren and below)
  • His parents (grandparents and up)


Note, regarding the parents, if they are poor and unable to earn and he is well off or able to earn, he must care for them in their poverty, even if they can work. This is, of course, if he has surplus wealth after the expenditure of his children and spouse. If he only has enough for them, he is not obliged to the financial care of his parents.


Regarding the children, one is obliged to take financial care of them under the following conditions:

  • They are poor and have no wealth, and can not earn
  • That he has sufficient surplus wealth from his necessities

Multiple Children

If there is more than one person beneath the parents in status, then if they are equal in relation and inheritance rights, they must spend on the parents. This applies regardless of gender or financial status.

However, if one is closer in relation to the parents, they are the ones obliged with financial responsibility. An example of this is a son and a grandson. The son is obliged to take financial care of the family.

This applies whether the relation is male or female or an inheritor.

Maintaining Family Ties

Ties of kinship apply to all blood relatives in the Shafi’i school. However, maintaining these ties is more important for those closest to one’s parents.

How is Maintenance Fulfilled?

With family members other than one’s parents, maintaining ties can be fulfilled by any of the following:

  • Visitations
  • Assistance
  • Fulfilling their needs
  • The greeting of Salam
  • Correspondence through writing (if one or the other is traveling)
  • All other acts of good that one may do for another

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Maintain the rights of kinship, even if just by giving the Salaam greeting.” [Tabarani]

With regards to the parents, in addition to the above, are the following:

Attending to them in person, if they request it (even if one was traveling, unless they are content with correspondence)

Needy Relatives

If one’s relative is poor and one is financially able to help them, merely visiting them is not sufficient – one must seek to fulfill their financial need.

The Blessings of Keeping Family Ties

It is common to feel the responsibility of keeping family ties as a burden or a difficulty. However, the immense rewards and blessings promised for such an act of righteousness are sufficient as a recompense for that difficulty.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever in happy to have their provision expanded and their life span extended, then let them maintain their family ties.” [Bukhari]

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Charity to the poor is charity but to a blood relative, its two rewards: charity and joining family ties.” [Tirmidhi]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.