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Who raises the child if the mother passes away?

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding a mother who passes away leaving a child? Who will raise the child in her place?

Answer:

All perfect praise is for Allah ﷻ, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah ﷻ, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger.

A mother has the greatest right in raising a child. In the case of her passing away then the child’s maternal grandmother (followed by great-grandmother etc.) will be given priority. In her absence the paternal grandmother (followed by great-grandmother etc.)  will be given priority. If none of these are present, then the mother’s sister will have priority, followed by her stepsister (from the mother’s side). Then the father’s sister followed by his stepsister (from the father’s side). If none of these are present then the maternal aunt’s daughter, then the stepsister’s daughter etc.

In most cases the child will go to the maternal grandmother, if she is absent then the paternal grandmother as mentioned above.

And Allah knows best.

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari