Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
As salaam alaikum,
Shaykh, my question is regarding sisters. If one's sister is not married and, due to her fussy nature, seems unlikely to marry in the near future, does the responsibility of her welfare lie upon the father's shoulders? Taking into consideration the fact that she is in her mid 30's and her father is in his mid 60's. She works and socializes as she wishes, but she is punctual regarding Salaah etc. And I know for certain she only socialises with fellow Muslimahs. The fact that she has refused all proposals given, does this make my father sinful and will the sin in-turn fall upon me her younger brother (but the eldest of two brothers). Also, I intend to study abroad, would the responsibility of my sister fall upon my head if my father was to pass away, taking into consideration the independent nature of women (my sister most definitely included) in the West. For example I am almost certain she would not travel abroad with me, and I probably wouldn't be able to afford it (myself being married).
Shaykh, sorry for the awkward way I have written my question, it's more a query needing advice than a formal question. Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to consider and hopefully provide a solution to my situation.
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
1. Refusing marriage:
Your sister's refusal to get married is not a sin. Your father is also not responsible if his daughter refuses to get married. You also do not incur any sin if your sister keeps refusing marriage. That is her prerogative.
2. According to a previous answer by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, your father is generally required to support his grown daughter, provided he is able and she is in need of support. However, he may ask his daughter to assist in her maintenance, although he may not ask her to work outside the home. Please visit Fiqh of financially supporting one's parents and other relatives.
3. If your father passes away, you will be required to support your sister only if you are able and she is poor and unmarried. Your first priority is supporting your wife and children. After that, if you are able, then you should provide for your sister if she is unmarried. Once again, you may ask her to help out, but you cannot demand that she work outside the home.
Last but not least, it's best to come to some sort of arrangement that is beneficial to everyone. If your sister has no problem with working, then it may be advisable for her to contribute to her upkeep, especially if your father is getting along in years. In fact, if your father is himself in need of support, then both you and your sister must support him, regardless of her marital status.
I pray this helps.
And Allah knows best.
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