#184: Using Scholarship Money for One’s Parents


What is the ruling of using one’s scholarship for one’s parent’s needs?


Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

According to the 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan, a scholarship means money given to students to finance or help fund their studies (usually in schools or universities). [1]

Basically, a scholarship is usually given for eligible outstanding students. It is different from zakat for zakat is wealth given specifically for the asnaf that has been stated by Allah SWT in His statement:

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ  فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [2]

If zakat is given to those who aren’t rightful to receive it, then it is invalid. This is different from a scholarship. The reason is a scholarship isn’t bound to only the asnaf that has been set by syarak. Furthermore, a scholarship is given according to the criteria set by the sponsor without taking into account the background of the recipients, whether they are wealthy or otherwise.

According to the above question, using scholarship money for one’s parent’s needs is permissible. The reason is the money is given and the person now is its owner and it is his right to use it as he sees fit or al-tasarruf. It is a different matter if the sponsor specifically states that the scholarship money is only to be used for one’s studies. However, if the sponsor didn’t set any such condition, then it is permissible to use the money according to his needs. Especially in the situation when his parents are sick, poor or in need, then it is the responsibility of the child, regardless of whether it is a son or daughter, after managing his/her needs to help their parents and this is a form of ihsan (excellence/perfection). [3]

Once again, in our opinion, the scholarship money must first be used for the needs of one’s education such as the study fees, his necessities and lastly if there is some left then it can be given to his parents.

May Allah SWT grant us blessing in the wealth that we own and a good understanding of our religion. We end with the supplication:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّا نَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا ، وَرِزْقًا طَيِّبًا ، وَعَمَلاً مُتَقَبَّلاً

“O Allah, I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision, and deeds that will be accepted.”

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] See: https://prpm.dbp.gov.my/cari1?keyword=biasiswa

[2] Surah al-Taubah (60)

[3] See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie, (4/290-294), and Fiqh al-Manhaji, (4/173-175)

Kami amat mengalu-alukan sumbangan anda untuk penyelenggaraan operasi Maktabah Al-Bakri.

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