Can I Pursue a Career That Goes Against My Parents’ Wishes?

Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Assalaamu `alaykum


Is it ok to pursue a career that goes against my parents’ wishes? I REALLY don’t want to go into any medicinal line but my mom insists, “listen to your parents.” And when she says that, I sort of get scared.  However, if I do pursue medicine, then I’ll be forcing myself into a career path that would just be a drag for the rest of my life AND my plans for getting married would be postponed by too many years for me to handle.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

Wa alaikum as-salam,

May Allah Most High reward you for your concern.  Unfortunately, being forced into a career path is a common cultural problem, mainly for the children of immigrants to the West.

You are bound to respect your parents in every situation, but you are not religiously bound to pursue a career path against your wishes, especially when it is disadvantageous for you to do so.

As an adult, what is sought of you is that you respect, serve and help your parents, and give them good company.  Parents can be advisers, but not the ultimate decision-makers in their adult child’s life.

If it was not a question of emotional and spiritual harm, there would be merit in obeying them.  This rare level of obedience is neither obligatory nor expected, but it can’t be totally discounted either.

However, if you feel that obeying them in this will bring about emotional or spiritual harm, usurious debt, resentment against your parents, sexual frustration or sin due to delayed marriage, or a wastage of money because you won’t try, then you don’t have to force yourself down a path you dislike.

My advice would be to pray the Prayer of Guidance, and settle on a career.  Share that respectfully with your parents, listing your reasons briefly, and refrain from argument and debate.

Then, be a responsible adult and be proactive with your career plan- don’t hesitate, or bicker, or rely on your parents too much or show immaturity or fear in your decision.  Let them respect you for choosing.

Study hard, work honestly, beautify your character, comportment and inner self, deal with them gently and humbly, and show them that you can still be someone who they can be proud of.  Insha Allah they will come around eventually, but how fast often depends on the good character you embody.


Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani