What Is the Point of Being Religious Outside and Horrible at Home?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


Why be outwardly religious if one can’t be just? Religious individuals supporting my father’s unjust actions are making me question myself. I’d rather abandon the hijab than be religious and corrupt.


Thank you for your question. I empathize with how you feel, and you are right to want to be religious, kind, just, and good within and without.

Good character

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed, the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.” [Tirmidhi]

You are correct that people may sometimes forget what the best deeds are and focus more on the routine acts of worship or their outward religious appearance. Being good to one’s family is of the utmost importance, and even when giving to charity, one is encouraged to give to one’s family for more rewards.

Zainab, the wife of `Abdullah, said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘Will it be accepted as a charity on my part if I spend on my husband and the orphans in my care?‘ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘She will have two rewards, the reward for charity and the reward for upholding ties of kinship.’” [Ibn Maja]

Role Model

My advice is to pay no heed to those who are sinful in their personal lives and do not take them as your role models. Ask your Lord to send you role models in your life who display noble character both inside and out. When you find that someone is wanting in their character despite looking religious on the outside, remember that they likely have a desire to be religious, and this is probably stemming from their love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). They just lack spiritual training. And if you find someone has noble character but is sinful in their outward appearance, they are lacking as well, although good character has more value with Allah Most High. Strive to have both and don’t let another’s actions affect your practice of this great religion.

Of course, our foremost model is our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah Most High has told us in the Quran, “Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah, you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah often.” [Quran, 33:21]


Please say this du`a daily:

اللّهُمّ ارْزُقْنا حُسْنَ المُتابَعَةِ لِنَبِيِّكَ الكَريمِ صَلّى اللُه عَليهِ وَسَلَّم ظاهِراً وبَاطِناً فِي عافِيَةٍ وسَلامٍ بِرَحْمَتِكَ يا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِين.

O Allah, grant us the excellence of emulating your noble Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) outwardly and inwardly in safety and wellness, or most Merciful of the merciful.
Please see these links as well:

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 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.