Question: I am 15 years old and have just moved to my remarried mother’s house because my father has prevented me from visiting her or even talking to her on the phone for the last three years. Am I sinful for doing this?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Thank you for your important question.
May Allah give you ease and light, and comfort you in this very difficult time you are in. Being caught between two people that you love is very trying. May He reward you for your patience, and give you sincerity and clarity.
Given that you are now a woman and no longer a girl, you do not have to stay with your father. You are allowed to stay with both as you and they see fit.
Child custody and visiting rights
Given that your mother remarried and lost her custody rights, and you lived with your father. That doesn’t mean that you were not allowed to see your mother and speak to her. What he did was not right.
That said, now that you are no longer a child and now a woman, it is perfectly fine for you to live at either house. Your father, however, is still obliged to support you until you get married.
The Lion’s Pride
While we acknowledge that what your father did was wrong, we do need to try and empathize. Men, like women, have emotions, and clearly, the deep wounds of the divorce have still not recovered. This makes him (or perhaps both of them) very sensitive.
One of the very sensitive issues for men is the control and loyalty of their children. Both men and women love their children and wish to be with them. For either a man or a woman, it is very hard to have the children live away from them and to be with someone else, especially the spouse of one’s former husband or wife. But for men, this difficulty is beyond jealously. It is an attack on their very being. It is, for want of a better word, like a lion’s pride being taken over by another male lion. Emotionally, it means war, anger, death …
This is why Allah gave your father the right to your custody when your mother got remarried. It was his God-given right as a father.
Now that you are at your mother’s house, with her husband. You can just imagine how his blood boils. He feels he has been side-stepped by you, and now challenged by another male. That’s why he is so annoyed. It is not that he doesn’t love you and has disowned you.
So, what you need to do is understand where he is coming from, understand your rights, and work with him within reason. But don’t take it too personally (if that’s possible?!). He is only angry with you because he cannot show his anger and natural paternal jealousy in any other way.
Stuck in the Middle
Many children of divorced families feel torn apart. They feel like they don’t know whom to side with, and are often used as tools to hurt the other ex-spouse. It is not exactly a trip to Disney Land!
The good thing is that divorce isn’t that bad, it is allowed in Islam after all. The flames of hurt, anger, revenge, and jealousy do eventually burn down, especially when both sides have moved on and are remarried.
Right now, you just have to ride out the storm in a strategic, sympathetic, and loving way.
I don’t know all the specifics of the situation, but my personal advice would be to eventually (whenever you see fit) go back to your father’s house, apologize (even though you were not wrong) for leaving without asking him, and ask him very kindly if you could visit your mother on a regular basis.
If you honestly feel that he will not let you do this, I would ask your mother to press for visitation rights.
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I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language