Q: Should I be paying for the maintenance of my sister if my parents are deceased?
I am working in the UK and my eldest sister lives in India with my other sister after the death of my elder brother few years back. My other sister bears all the expenditure for my eldest sister at present. I believe that I should be paying for the maintenance of my sister as I am the only surviving male family member in my parent’s family. Please clarify my responsibilities in this regard.
الجواب حامدًا و مصليًا و منه الصدق و الصواب
A: The principle related to the maintenance of relatives that are not ascendants or descendants is that if they neither have property nor are capable of earning, then in this case affluent relatives within the prohibited degrees of marriage are required to provide maintenance in proportion to their presumptive inheritance shares.
Thus in the case of your sister, if she has no ascendants, descendants or property and is unable to earn herself, then as a potential heir, you have an obligation to provide maintenance. This obligation is calculated by looking at the situation if she was to pass away; i.e. the proportion of inheritance her inheritors would receive is the proportion of maintenance obligation that is assumed by them.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt
Chair, Al-Qalam Sharia Scholars Panel