Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am 21 years of age and my whole life, I have suffered emotional trauma and abuse from my parents. They have forced me to leave my career aspiration and forced me to take a healthcare degree which I am almost finishing and dread every day. I have recently begun an extra job as a support worker but due to low pay and the fact that I am helping others, my parents are adamant I leave this job too.
They constantly make duas against me and call me horrible and shameful names. They often say they wish I was dead and had not been born. From a young age, they abused me and still do, but now emotionally more than physical as I was in care when they last did that.
Is it permissible for me to leave this abusive home?
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your suffering at the hands of your parents and I pray that you find the courage to stand up to them respectfully yet firmly.
Respecting parents is a great act of worship as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us: “The pleasure of the Lord lies in the pleasure of the parent. The anger of the Lord lies in the anger of the parent.” [Tirmidhi]
At the same time, a child deserves respect, some room to grow, and the right to study what they wish and be allowed to think. This is evident from the way that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), treated his daughters. When dealing with their insults, if you remain silent, or you respond to their bad character with politeness, gentleness, and patience, this is tremendous respect in itself.
It is permissible to leave your home if it is abusive because it is obligatory to protect oneself from harm. No one is obligated to tolerate abuse, but what about a different approach? What about staying at home and telling them that you will not put up with their insults? Tell them that you will leave the room when they call you names and respectfully ask them to respect you. Spend less time at home, study outside, and keep yourself busy with worship in your free time. I am not a fan of you moving out because anger and resentment can fester even when you are gone. Try to improve your relationship with them before you ever leave the home.
While you are living with them, you should take steps to make your life more bearable. This is a test from Allah and I know that you can learn and get stronger from this, in sha Allah. Dealing with your parents graciously will bring many blessings in your life, and can eventually transform them.
- Turn to Allah through patience, prayer, and supplication;
- With the severity of your current situation please contact a local mental health professional to assist you as soon as possible;
- Pray the Prayer of Need before dawn.;
- Read Quran daily with the meaning and give charity regularly, even if only a little to increase the blessings in your life and to learn wisdom
- Don’t make dua against them, rather make dua for them so that your heart may start to soften toward them;
- Pray with them because bonding with them will bring change;
- Buy them gifts or do little favors to soften their heart;
- Always be polite, and choose silence over confrontation, this in itself is great respect;
- Ignore what they say about your worth. You are worthy of love, and respect, especially because you are a believer, and you should have been born, it was Allah’s perfect will and perfect plan.
Supplication of the Oppressed
Find solace in this hadith and make dua: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’” [Tirmidhi]
Relationships with parents usually improve over time, so you can expect and pray that your father will be quite different as you grow up, move out, get a job, marry and have kids. Be sure not to repeat the abusive cycle.
Please see these links as well:
How Should I Handle Abusive Parents?
Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents
How to Deal With a Verbally Abusive Father?
How Should I Deal With Parents Who Abuse Me in Every Manner?
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.