Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I recently learned that my father, mother, and older brother all have done ghiba (backbiting), namima (tale-bearing), and buhtan (false accusation) of me and my fiancée. They have done this to try to make me leave her even though the sister is known in the community as an upright Muslima.
I have never spoken a foul word to any of them but instead internalized their abuse and have become suicidal because of it. With every failure I have, they tell me it’s because Allah won’t put any barakah in my life unless I listen to them completely.
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration and how much you must be suffering at their hands. I pray that you can find some peace and resolve this as a family.
Listening to Namima
My first advice to you is not to listen to any tale-bearing. Imam Nawawi explains the enormity of it here:
“Anyone approached with a story, who is told, ‘So-and-so says such and such about you,’ must do six things:
- Disbelieve it, for talebearers are corrupt, and their information unacceptable;
- Tell the talebearer to stop, admonish him about it, and condemn the shamefulness of what he has done;
- Hate him for the sake of Allah Most High, for he is detestable in Allah’s sight, and hating for the sake of Allah Most High is obligatory;
- Not think badly of the person whom the words are supposedly from, for Allah Most High says, ‘Shun much of surmise’ [Quran, 49:12];
- Not let what has been said prompt him to spy or investigate whether it is true, for Allah Most High says, ‘Do not spy’ [Quran, 49:12];
- And not to do himself what he has forbidden the talebearer to do, by relating it to others.” [Nawawi, al-Adhkar]
If anyone tells you that your family is slandering you, don’t listen to it, don’t believe it, and don’t inquire about it. Rumors can get out of hand easily and the most well-intentioned person can cause problems like this. Ignoring the rumors should cut out half of your problems.
Not speaking up to your parents and brother is a mistake. You have a right to explain your feelings and to ask them to support your decision instead of destroying it. Bottling your feelings up will lead to more mental health issues and you will be ruining your own future and marriage. It is not disrespectful to ask your family to stop harming you and it is obligatory to prevent abuse. Respecting parents is obligatory, but obeying them is not unconditional, and taking this abuse is not called for.
Think of Your Wife
Remember that you must protect your soon-to-be wife from their harm as well, and if you let them walk all over you now, you are setting up a precedent for disaster in your marriage. Defend her tooth and nail, be firm, be independent and rest assured that the only ones you have to listen to, completely, are Allah and His messenger, (Allah bless him and give him peace).
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.