91412: She vowed to give one-quarter of her salary in charity – can she give it to her father who is poor?


I vowed that if Allaah enabled me to find a job, I would give one-quarter of my salary in charity for the sake of Allaah. Is it permissible to give this money to my father? My mother works and has a salary, but my father is poor and does not work, and he has young children from his second wife. Is it permissible for me to give it to him or not? I am also intending to save some money in order to buy a house for my father in our country, because he lives there and is currently renting a house. Is it permissible for me to save this money to buy a house? Or should I set aside other money for the house?.

Praise be to Allaah.

If a Muslim wants to give voluntary charity, he should look at the situation of the needy people around him and give precedence to those who are in greatest need. It is better to give to relatives, as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:  “Start with those for whom you are responsible: your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, then the next closest and the next closest.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (2485); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari (1368) it is narrated that Abu Talhah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): The most beloved of my wealth to me is the garden of Bayruha’, and I am giving it in charity to Allaah, hoping to find reward for that with Allaah. So dispose of it, O Messenger of Allaah, as Allaah shows you.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Bravo! That is a good deal, that is a good deal. I have heard what you said and I think that you should give it to your relatives.” Abu Talhah said, I will do that, O Messenger of Allaah. So Abu Talhah shared it out among his relatives and cousins (sons of his paternal uncles). 

Since you did not mention a specific person or cause when you made this vow, there is no reason why you should not give this charity to your father who is in need. Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (1333) that Abu Yazeed Ma’n ibn Yazeed al-Sulami said: My father Yazeed used to give dinars in charity and leave them with a man in the mosque. I came and took them, and brought them to him. He said: By Allaah, I did not mean them to be for you. I referred the matter to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he said: “You will have what you intended, O Yazeed, and to you belongs what you have taken, O Ma’n.” 

Al-Haafiz said in al-Fath: It is as if he did not think that it was acceptable to give charity to his son, or that it was better to give charity to strangers, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained to him that he would have what he intended, because his intention was to give charity to one who was in need, and his son needed it, so it went to the right place, even if it had never crossed his mind that he would take it. And he explained to his son that he had the right to keep what he had taken, because he had taken it in a lawful manner and he needed it. End quote (2/292). 

It may be understood from this that it is permissible to give to fathers who are in need voluntary charity or something that you have vowed to give without specifying a recipient, and in fact they are more deserving of it than others. There is nothing wrong with you buying a house for your father with this money. 

And Allaah knows best.

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