Salam, I am an unmarried woman and a single child. To what extent do I have to financially provide for non-elderly parents who live way beyond their means? When they are elderly, am I expected to continue to pay for their self-imposed financially unsustainable lifestyle? Finally, if I were to become a housewife, how would financial support to my old parents work since I'd have no income and am an only child? Thank you for your time!
There are differences of opinion on the financial responsibility of a daughter toward her parents. Al-Shāfiʿī says the duty only belongs to sons, not daughters, while Abū Ḥanīfa says the duty is equally shared between sons and daughters.
The responsibility is only according to your own ability and according to your parents’ need. If they can survive without your help then anything you give to them is charity; it is not strictly a duty. If they live beyond their means, you do not have to support this but only give them enough to survive on unless you want to be generous.
If you marry, your duty is only according to the amount of money you personally have. If you have no income then you are not responsible for supporting them. However, you still have the duty of caring for your parents within your means, and if your husband would be willing to support them if you ask for it, then this is something that maybe you should look into.
Your first duty is toward yourself and your family (husband and children). Parents come after that.
Source for a daughter’s financial responsibility toward her parents:
- Fatwa from the Qatari Fatwa Authority (Arabic PDF)