How to Deal with an Overprotective and Meddling Father?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

Do you have any advice on dealing with persistent bottled-up feelings of resentment towards my overly protective father? I stopped working due to his micromanaging & trust issues that he has towards me. In comparison to my relatives, he seems to support and praise them for being independent adults, but when it comes to me, it is not the case. This causes arguments.

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration with your father’s behavior, and I pray you can find some autonomy and compromise with him.

Father

A father’s rank is great in Islam; as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, “Do not turn away from your fathers, for he who turns away from his father will be guilty of committing an act of disbelief.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

The default behavior with one’s father is respect, polite treatment, and silence in the face of confrontation. However, disagreements are natural and will arise in any normal family.

Disagreement

Knowing the respect and honor that is due to parents, they may be disobeyed at times, and that is not sinful. Please have a respectful discussion with your father about working, and request that he allow you some freedom and decision-making. Ignore what he says to others, as it is praiseworthy that he be kind to his relatives, but instead focus on your relationship with him. Hear him out and ask for compromise on what is important to you.

Please see these links for details:
When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?
What Constitutes Disobeying One’s Parents (’Uquq al-Walidayn)?

And ask your father to read this article:
An Open Letter to Parents: Micromanaging Impairs your Child’s Executive Function Development

Turn to Allah

With any difficulty in life, and even when not in difficulty, you should be building your relationship with Allah most High. Focus on performing your prayers well, gaining Islamic knowledge and reading Quran daily. Seek to purify your soul, increase your worship, spend time with pious friends, and pick up a beneficial hobby. Your most powerful tool is dua. There is a lot to do in the world, and I don’t want you to drop everything you do because your father micromanages you.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.” [Hakim; Bayhaqi (sound)]

Related
What Can I Do About My Parents’ Controlling Behavior?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.