How Can I Guide My Irreligious Family?
Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I live away from my family, but I am concerned for them because they don’t behave as Muslims should. They are involved in a singing club and have even invited a man from the group to come and live with them. My brother sings and dances on Youtube and is obsessed with becoming a celebrity.
My mother has unexplained headaches. They are hoarders with their house so full of junk, including a Hindu statue. And my mother has taken off her hijab, and they barely pray anymore. Please help. I have been labeled the ungrateful daughter who only criticizes them.
I am sorry that there is so much going on with the family that you can’t control. I am afraid you can’t change them or help them by force or criticism. It simply doesn’t work. Try to digest that first.
The first thing you need to do is to pray for them. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Allah descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the first part of the night is over and says, ‘I am the Lord; I am the Lord, who is there to supplicate Me so that I answer him? Who is there to beg of Me so that I grant him? Who is there to beg forgiveness from Me so that I forgive him? ‘He continues like this till the day breaks.” [Muslim]
Allah can change the condition of anybody, and that is easy for Him. Pray that they see their errors and change by themselves. Ask Him to send you as a helper to them when they need it.
Love and Silence
The second thing you need to do is not complain to them for at least a year. They need to know that you love them unconditionally, and you need to remember you would not be here if it weren’t for them. Show them respect by being silent when they engage in their activities and quietly leaving the room if it entails music. Complaining to them hasn’t changed them so far.
Offer your help in their cooking and chores, and kindly offer to help organize the house, but without compulsion or criticism. There are many ways to help manage an area without telling them or making them upset. You can take things out of an overstuffed freezer and claim that you want to eat them. When you cook it, everyone will either eat it or see that it doesn’t taste good and has to be thrown out. You can tell them that you are selling your things online or having a garage sale. Please encourage them by telling them it makes a lot of money. Ask if you want to post their items too.
Please encourage them to be religious. Pray in front of them, read Quran around them and speak of the fruits you are reaping from your worship. Bring the company of religious women to their house, invite them for dinner or invite them for coffee. Sometimes, we can convince a person about religion just by seeing the nur (light) in people’s faces.
Another small thing you can do is to hang up Quranic verses around the house and remove pictures (if they accept it). Hopefully, its presence will make a difference in the environment and their hearts.
May Allah give you the best and reward you for being so concerned for your family.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, 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.