The Book of Maintenance

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 72. The Book of Maintenance

I. The excellence of supporting one's family

The words of Allah Almighty, "They will ask you what they should give away. Say, 'Whatever is surplus to your needs.' Thus does Allah make the Signs clear to you, so that perhaps you will reflect on this world and the Next." (2:219-220)

Al-Hasan said that 'afw means surplus.

5036. It is related that Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a Muslim spends on his family in anticipation of a reward, it is sadaqa for him."

5037. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah says, 'Spend, son of Adam, and I will spend on you."

5038. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Someone who strives to provide for widows and the poor is like someone who does jihad in the Way of Allah or the one who stands in prayer at night and fasts in the day."

5039. It is related that Sa'd said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to visit me in Makka while I was ill. I said, 'I have property. May I will away all of my property?' 'No,' he answered. 'Half?' I asked. 'No,' he replied. 'A third?' I said. He replied, 'A third, and a third is a lot. It is better to leave your heirs rich than to leave them poor, begging from other people. Whatever you spend on support is sadaqa, even the morsel you put in your wife's mouth. Perhaps Allah may lengthen your life so that some people benefit by you and others will be harmed by you."

II. The obligation of supporting one's family and dependants.

5040. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The best sadaqa is one which leaves one still wealthy. The upper hand is better than the lower hand. Begin with your dependants. A wife says, 'Either feed me or divorce me.' A slave says, 'Feed me and put me to work.' A son says, 'Feed me. To whom will you leave me?'" They said, "Abu Hurayra, did you hear that from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?" "No, he said, "it is from the understanding of Abu Hurayra."

5041. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best sadaqa is that given by the wealthy. Begin with your dependents."

III. A man setting aside the maintenance for his family in the form of food for a year in advance and how one supports his dependants

5042. Ibn 'Uyayna said, "Ma'mar told me that ath-Thawri had asked him, 'Have you heard anything about a man who collects together the food for his family for a year or part of year?' Ma'mar said, 'Nothing came to mind and then I remembered a hadith which Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri had reported to us from Malik ibn Aws from Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to sell the dates of the palm trees of Banu'n-Nadir and would store the food for a year for his family.'"

5043. It is related from Malik ibn Aws ibn al-Hadathan – and Muhammad ibn Jubayr ibn Mut'im mentioned some of the hadith: "I went to visit 'Umar. (While I was there), his chamberlain Yarfa' came to him and said, 'Will you admit 'Uthman, 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf, az-Zubayr, and Sa'd who are asking permission to enter?' He said, 'Yes.' So he gave them permission and they entered, greeted and sat down. Shortly later he then came and said, 'Will you admit 'Ali and 'Abbas?' He said, 'Yes.' He gave them permission and when they entered they greeted and then sat down. 'Abbas said, 'Amir al-Mu'minin! Judge between me and this one!' The group of 'Uthman and his companions said, 'O Amir al-Mu'minin! Judge between them and relieve one of the other.' 'Umar said, 'Be patient. I adjure you by Allah by whose permission the heaven and earth subsist, do you know that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "We do not bequeath inheritance. What we leave is sadaqa," and that he meant himself?' The group said, 'He said that.' 'Umar turned to 'Ali and 'Abbas, and said, 'I adjure you by Allah, do you know that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that?' They both said, 'He said that.' He said, 'I will talk to you about this matter. Allah singled out His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in these spoils something which he did not give anyone else. Allah says, "Whatever booty from them Allah has given to His Messenger – and you spurred on neither horse nor camel in its acquisition, but Allah gives power to His Messengers over anyone He wills, Allah has power over all things." (59:6) This was specially for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he did not appropriate it to your exclusion, and he did not prefer himself with it against you. He gave it to you and distributed it among you until this property remained of it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to spend on his family the maintenance of a year from this property. Then what remained he made the property of Allah. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did that during his lifetime. I adjure you Allah, do you know that?' 'They all said, 'Yes.' He said to 'Ali and 'Abbas, 'I adjure you Allah, do you know that?' They both said, 'Yes.'

"'Then Allah took the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr said, "I am the successor of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' So Abu Bakr took it and acted with it as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had acted, and you both were there.' Then he turned to 'Ali and 'Abbas and said, 'You both claim that Abu Bakr did this and that, and Allah knows best that in it he was truthful, pious, right-guided, following the truth. Then Allah took Abu Bakr and I said, "I am the successor of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr. I held it under my control for two years during which I acted in it as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr acted. Allah knows that I was truthful, pious, right-guided, following the truth in it. Then you two came to talk to me, and you both said the same thing and had the same case. You ('Abbas) came to me, and asked for your share from your nephew and this one ('Ali) asked me for the share of his wife from her father. I said, "If you wish, I will hand it over to you on the basis that you take the pledge and pact of Allah to act in it as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, acted in it and as Abu Bakr acted in it and as I acted in it since I took charge. Otherwise, do not speak to me about it," and you both said, "Hand it over to us on that basis," and I handed it over to you on that basis.' The group said, 'Yes.' 'Umar turned to 'Ali and 'Abbas and said, 'I adjure you by Allah, did I hand it over to you on that basis?' They both answered, 'Yes.' He said, 'So are you now seeking from me a decision other than that? By Allah by whose permission the heaven and earth subsist, I would not give a decision in it other than that until the Last Hour comes! If you are incapable of it, then give it to me and I will spare you of it.'"

IV. The words of Allah Almighty, "Mothers should nurse their children for two full years – those who wish to complete the full term of nursing. It is the duty of the fathers to feed and clothe them with correctness and courtesy. No self is charged beyond what it can bear. No mother should be put under pressure in respect of her child nor any father in respect of his child. The same duty is incumbent on the heir. If the couple both wish weaning to take place after mutual agreement and consultation, there is nothing wrong in their doing that. If you wish to find wet-nurses for your children, there is nothing wrong in your doing that provided you hand over to them what you have agreed to give with correctness and courtesy. Show fear of Allah and know that Allah sees everything you do." (2:233)

He said, "But if you make things difficult for one another, another woman should do the suckling for you. He who has plenty should spend out from his plenty. But he whose provision is restricted should spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge any self with more than He has given it. Allah will appoint after difficulty, ease." (65:6-7)

Yunus related from az-Zuhri, "Allah has forbidden for a mother to harm her child. That is when a mother says, 'I will not nurse it,' when she has the best nourishment for it and is more compassionate and kinder to it than other women. So she should not refuse if he has given her what Allah enjoined on him. The father should not harm the mother through the child and prevent her from nursing it in order to harm her by having another woman do it. There is nothing wrong if they both agree to have someone else nurse the child by the mutual agreement by the father and the mother. "If the couple both wish weaning to take place after mutual agreement and consultation, there is nothing wrong in their doing that" (2:223) after there has been mutual consent and consultation.

"Fisaluhu" (31:14) means "his weaning.

V. A woman's maintenance when her husband is absent and a child's maintenance

5044. It is related that 'A'isha said, "Hind bint 'Utba came and said, 'Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a miserly man. Do I do anything wrong in feeding our dependants from his property?' He answered, 'No, but only in a reasonable manner."

5045. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a woman spends from the earnings of her husband without his instruction to do so, he receives half the reward."

VI. A woman working in her husband's house

5046. It is related that 'Ali said, "Fatima, peace be upon her, went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to complain about the effect that the mill had on her hand. She had heard that he had received captives. She did not find him. She mentioned that to 'A'isha. When he came, 'A'isha mentioned that to him. He came to us when we had gone to bed. We went to get up and he said, 'Stay where you are' until I felt the coolness of his feet on my abdomen. He said, 'Shall I indicate to you two what is better than what you asked for? When you go to bed, say "Glory be to Allah" thirty-three times, "Praise be to Allah" thirty-three times, and "Allah is greater" thirty-four times. That is better for you than a servant.'"

VII. A woman's servant

5047. It is related from 'Ali ibn Abi Talib that Fatima, peace be upon her, went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to ask him for a servant. He said, "Shall I tell you what is better for you than that? When you go to sleep, say 'Glory be to Allah' thirty-three times, 'Praise be to Allah,' thirty-three times, and 'Allah is greater' thirty-four times." (Sufyan said, "One of them is thirty-four.") He said, "I have never failed to do that." He was asked, "Not even on the night of [the Battle of] Siffin?" He said, "Not even on the night of Siffin."

VIII. A man serving his family

5048. It is related that al-Aswad ibn Yazid said, "I asked 'A'isha, 'What did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do in the house?' She said, 'He used to do chores for his family and when he heard the adhan, he went out.'"

IX. When a man does not support his family, can the wife take without his knowledge what is enough for her and her child in a reasonable manner?

5049. It is related from 'A'isha that Hind bint 'Utba said, "Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is an avaricious man and does not give what is sufficient for me and my child. Can I take from him without him knowing?" He answered, "Take what is enough for you and your child in a reasonable manner."

X. A wife looking after her husband's property and support

5050. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best of the women among camel riders are the women of Quraysh." Another said, "The righteous women of Quraysh who are the most tender to children and the most careful with their husbands' property.

It is mentioned from Mu'awiya and Ibn 'Abbas from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

XI. Clothing a woman reasonably

5051. It is related that 'Ali said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave me an outfit made of a silk mixture and I wore it. I saw anger in his face and so I divided it between my women."

XII. A woman helping her husband with his children

5052. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "My father died and left seven or nine girls. I married a woman who had been previously married. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked me, 'Jabir, have you married?' 'Yes,' I answered. He asked, 'A virgin or a woman previously married?' I replied, 'A woman previously married. He said, 'Why not a girl with whom you could play and she could play with you? You could make her laugh and she could make you laugh.' I said to him, ''Abdullah has died and left daughters and I disliked to come to them with someone of the same age as them, and so I married a woman who could look after them and take care of them.' He said, 'May Allah bless you,' or 'That is good.'"

XIII. Someone who is poor supporting his family

5053. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'I am destroyed.' He asked, 'Why?' He answered, 'I had sexual intercourse with my wife in Ramadan.' He said, 'Free a slave.' He answered, 'I do not have the means. He said, 'Then fast two consecutive months.' The man said, 'I cannot do it.' He said, 'Then feed sixty poor people.' The man said, 'I do not have the means.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was brought a basket of dates and asked, 'Where is the questioner?' He said, 'I am here.' He said, 'Give this away as sadaqa.' The man said, 'To one poorer than me, Messenger of Allah? By the One who sent you with the truth, there is no household between the two lava-beds poorer than us.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, smiled until his molars showed and then said, 'You take it then.'"

XIV. "The same duty is incumbent on the heir." (2:233) Does a woman owe any support?

"Allah makes another likeness of two men: one of them deaf and dumb, unable to do anything, a burden on his master, no matter where he directs himhe brings no good. Is he the same as someone who commands to justice and is on a Straight Path?" (16:76)

5054. It is related from Zaynab, the daughter of Umm Salama that Umm Salama said, "I said, 'Messenger of Allah, will I have a reward if I support the sons of Abu Salama? I would not leave them like this and that. They are my sons.' He said, 'Yes, you will have a reward for what you spend on them.'"

5055. It is related from 'A'isha, "Hind said, 'Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is avaricious. Do I do anything wrong if I had from his property what will be sufficient for me and my children?' He said, 'Take in a reasonable manner.'"

XV. The words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "If anyone leaves a debt or a needy family, I am the one to come to..."

5056. It is related from Abu Hurayra that whenever a dead man with debts was brought to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he used to ask, "Has he left any surplus to pay his debts with?" If he was told that he had left enough to pay his debts, he would do the prayer. Otherwise he said to the Muslims, "Pray over your companion." When Allah granted him victories, he said, "I have more right to be the protector of the believers than themselves. If any believer dies leaving a debt, I will pay it. If anyone leaves property, it goes to his heirs."

XVI. Wet-nurses can be freed slaves and others

5056. It is related From Zaynab bint Abi Salama that Umm Habiba, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I said, 'Messenger of Allah, marry my sister, the daughter of Abu Sufyan.' He asked, 'Do you like that?' 'Yes,' she answered, 'I am not your only wife and I want to share with my sister in good.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'That is not lawful for me.' I said, 'We are saying that you want to marry Durra bint Abi Salama.' He said, 'The daughter of Umm Salama?' 'Yes,' I replied. He said, 'Even if she were not my foster-daughter in my care, she still would not be lawful for me. She is the daughter of my brother by suckling. Thuwayba nursed both me and Abu Salama. Do not offer your daughters or sisters to me.'"

'Urwa said, "Thuwayba was freed by Abu Lahab."