Is it halal for a woman to accept the right of nafaqa (alimony) given to her by official law? Does that nafaqa given substitute for mahr? Does man have to look after his own children and his step children?

Details of the Question
Is it halal for a woman to accept the right of nafaqa (alimony) given to her by official law? Does that nafaqa given substitute for mahr? Does man have to look after his own children and his step children?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

After a woman is divorced from his husband, her nafaqa is the responsibility of his divorced husband until the period of iddah (three periods) is completed. She also has the right to claim depreciation compensation because of marriage. After iddah is completed, the nafaqa of the woman is the responsibility of her children. If she has no children, it is the responsibility of the closest relative. If she has no relatives, it is the responsibility of the public and of the government in the name of public. A woman cannot be left financially helpless in Islam. If a woman is left financially helpless, all Muslims around her will be called to account for it on the Day of Judgment.

Moreover, the woman is paid a sum of money for her child(ren)’s expenditure as long as the child(ren) need to be taken care of and looked after.

For this reason, when a woman is divorced and has completed her period of iddah, her former husband does not pay her nafaqa. If she is receiving nafaqa unfairly, it can be considered to substitute for a lawful debt which is owed to her by her former husband (for instance, mahr).

Moreover, the man does not have the right to claim compensation money, alimony and the likes from the woman at the end of the divorce according to Islam. However, he can divorce his wife, who wants to divorce him, on condition that she pays him some money. This kind of divorce is called “khul” or “mukhala’ah”. It is also same for man. That is to say, he can accept divorcing his wife in return for a specific amount of payment.

The father is responsible for looking after his all children who have not reached adolescence yet. Besides, he is responsible for looking after his daughters until they get married.


According to the Islamic law, one is not responsible for paying alimony for his step children. However, if he promised to do so when marrying their mother, he has to keep it. Moreover, he should look after his wife’s children as long as they need in terms of humane and conscientious responsibilities and it is also of significant importance for tranquility and peace in the family.

Mahr is the woman’s right. One cannot take mahr, which he paid his wife, back after divorce and if he has not paid her mahr, he certainly has to pay it after divorce.

Nafaqa includes needs for food, clothes and dwelling.

Father’s responsibilities in terms of looking after his son(s) are as follows:

a) The son must be no older than the age of adolescence. However, if he is disabled, crippled, paralyzed or chronically ill and thus unable to earn his own livelihood although he has reached adolescence, the father’s responsibility for nafaqa continues.

b) The son must be poor. If he has got his own property, his expenditures can be met by it.

c) The father must be capable of looking after his children. This is valid when the father is either rich or is able to work.

The father’s responsibilities pertaining to looking after his daughter(s):
 
a) The daughter does not have to be adolescent or be of any specific age. The expenditure of the daughters is the father’s responsibility until they get married. This responsibility is taken over by their husbands when they get married. If their husbands die or if they get divorced, they return to their fathers’ house. The woman cannot be forced into earning livelihood and working. However, it is permissible if she wants to work and make money within the frame of Islamic principles.

b) She must be poor. If she has got her own property, her expenditure is met by it.

c) The father must be either rich or able to work.

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