Can I Disobey My Parents and Live Alone as a Young Woman?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I studied for nearly four years in a different city from my parents. Now I graduated and want to work here in the city where I studied.

My parents don’t want that, because they say it is haram for a woman to live alone. I really don’t want to live with my parents, because they mentally abuse me and my sisters and it’s exhausting. I am happier when I have a healthy distance from them. They threatened me with cutting me off if I don’t return.

They also say that coming home is respecting my parents and being a good Muslim. They also said that everything I do for my religion like having Quran lessons would be haram if I live alone.

Answer

Thank you for your question. It is permissible for you to live alone and you should prevent them from abusing you, but I pray that you can compromise with them somehow so they are not angry with you.

Living Alone

It is not true that everything that you do will be haram if you live alone. A girl may live alone, but it would be considered disliked if she was not safe. I would recommend that you live with another Muslim girl so that you are not alone. Living outside of a campus can be a different experience altogether.

Please see the ruling on the permissibility of a girl living alone here:
Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?
Can I, as a Woman, Live on My Own? [Shafi’i]

Prevent Abuse

Although coming home and listening to your parents would be a great act of obedience, a Muslim should not subject oneself to abuse from them. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is so common among Eastern families that it is no longer understood to be abuse. I don’t know how bad the abuse is, but I also feel that I cannot tell you to stay in that city against their will. This requires istikhara and really trying to get their consent.

Compromise

Perhaps move back in with them for a while and then see if you can leave again. Pray that Allah makes a path for you to leave while they are happy and willing. What if you find a compromise and ask them to let you stay there one more year to work. What if you promise to visit often, and have them visit you as well? Perhaps consult family members or an imam or have someone speak to them to let you stay longer. Perhaps if you had a job offer already that they approved of, would make it easier to accept?

Turn to Allah

Remember that parents have a hard time letting their children grow up, especially a daughter who wants to go out into the world unmarried. They want to protect her and shelter her for as long as they can. One day, in sha Allah, you will understand this feeling too.

Turn to Allah in patience and prayer, and fulfill your obligations to Him well. Fill your free time with goodness, such as serving your parents, helping your sisters, gaining knowledge, beneficial hobbies, and spending time with pious friends.

Perhaps you will find a blessing by going back home or perhaps Allah will open a way for you to stay there.

Please remember this hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah, the Almighty, but that Allah will replace it with something better.” [Ahmad]

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.