Was It Disrespectful To Ask My Absent Father Why He Looks for Us?

Question: One parent has tried hard to raise us, but the other parent abandoned us and did unspeakable, sometimes criminal things. That parent comes to see us occasionally but then verbally abuses the present parent. The other day, I asked the visiting parent, “Why are you looking for us? You abandoned us…“. My present parent says that I have a right to ask why the other parent is looking for us, considering I suffered a lot. I always try not to be rude at all, but I worry. Was that sentence disrespectful?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. You must have truly suffered, having had a single parent raise you and then listen to this verbal abuse. May Allah raise your rank and give you much good.

Respect

Respecting parents is a Qur’anic injunction, regardless of what kind of people the parents are. Although one must protect oneself from even a harmful parent, one is not allowed to be disrespectful. Allah, Most High, has told us, “For your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And honor your parents. If one or both of them reach old age in your care, never say to them ˹even˺ ‘ugh,’ nor yell at them. Rather, address them respectfully.“ [Qur’an, 17:23]

High standard

The morally high standard of respect that you see in the verse above tells us that one should not even utter a word of disrespect to them, let alone a whole question that might seem rude. Although I am not belittling your suffering at all, nor am I claiming that your pain doesn’t count, I feel that your question to your parent might have been rude.

Repentance

Don’t let this eat you up, but rather, make repentance and ask Allah to guide you to treat your parent the same way you would like to be treated when you are a parent. See if you can work on your relationship with the parent for a source of healing in the long run. See these links for more info:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/will-allah-forgive-someone-who-i-forgive-for-wronging-me/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/quran-articles/serve-parents-now-late/

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, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.