Q: I bought a house
which I registered in the name of my older son
according to what is registered in the attached document. Accordingly, I hope that you will give me a fatwa regarding whether it is permissible to single out one of my children for a gift while not giving to the others.
(Part No. 16; Page No. 193)
Having examined the fatwa request and the attached document confirming the questioner's statements, the Committee replied as follows:
According to the attached copy of the document issued by the notary public of
Jeddah No. 200 in 29/3/1391 A.H., you bought a house of a defined space and borders in
Jeddah for 6,200 Saudi Riyals out of the money of your minor son
Ahmad which you donated to him, thus, making the house his property. According to these facts and to your question, giving your son
Ahmad preference over your other sons is impermissible. The proper Shar`y (Islamic legal) behavior with regard to giving gifts to one's children is to give them gifts equally; it is not permissible to favor one over another unless there is a Shar`y justification, such as if one of them is disabled, has a large family or is busy seeking knowledge. One may also deprive one of his children of gifts because of his being evil or committing Bid`ah (innovation in religion), or because he will make use of the gift in disobedience to Allah (Exalted be He). The basic evidence regarding enjoining giving gifts to one's children on an equal basis is the Hadith related by
Al-Nu`man ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with both of them) who said|:
My father gave me a gift but my mother
`Amrah bint Rawahah said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah's Messenger as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah's Messenger to make him a witness to it. Allah's Messenger asked, 'Have you given (the like of it) to all your children?' He replied in the negative. Allah's Messenger said, 'Fear Allah, and be just to your children.' My father then returned and took back his gift.
(Part No. 16; Page No. 194) According to another narration:
According to a third narration:
Take it back!
According to a fourth narration:
Do not make me a witness for injustice.
According to a fifth narration:
Call someone else other than me as a witness.
According to a sixth narration:
Give them on an equal basis.
(Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Hadith apparently indicates prohibition as the Prophet called it injustice, ordered it to be annulled and refused to be a witness for it. Undoubtedly, injustice is prohibited and the order to annul the contract indicates obligation to do so and of giving to children equally. If there is a Shar`y justification for favoring some children over others,
Imam Ahmad (may Allah be merciful to him) is reported to have referred to permissibility. Regarding assigning Waqf (endowment) to some children, Imam Ahmad said it is unobjectionable if there is a justification to do so but it is abhorred if it implies merely favoring. Obviously, the same applies to gifts. (Part No. 16; Page No. 195) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.