Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Since I was very young, I was physically and psychologically abused by my parents. I became very depressed and confused. It resulted in me not praying and committing sins. I then decided to distance myself from them, and from then on, my life got a lot better.
I found out that obedience to parents is very important in our deen. What should I do?
Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah make a way out for you from your tribulation.
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” [Qur’an, 17:23]
Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor.’ The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]
I am so sorry to hear about what you have been through. You were an innocent child, entrusted to your parents, and they broke that trust, over and over again. AlhamduliLlah, now that you are an adult, you are in a better position to decide what to do about your estrangement from them.
Rights of parents
I strongly encourage you to sign up for the lesson The Rights of Parents when registration reopens. We are commanded to show respect and kindness to our parents, even if they are oppressive.
Because your parents have hurt you so deeply, it is even more important for you to understand what Allah expects from you in this situation. This course is life-changing, subhan Allah, and I recommend that all children complete it, especially those who were abused by their parents.
Please speak to a culturally-sensitive counselor to support you through the process of reconciliation. Getting back in contact with your parents is probably going to be extremely difficult for you, so please take it in stages.
Do you have close friends and/or family members? Please lean on them for support. Childhood wounds run deep, and may threaten your well-being. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with too much contact with them, too soon. Think of reconciliation as a marathon, and not a sprint.
You can start with sending your parents gifts, postcards, emails, letters, and the like. Work your way up to calling them on the phone. When you are ready to visit them, please go with a trusted companion, instead of going alone. Limit your interactions with them to an amount you can handle.
Insha Allah over time, and through repeated exposure to them, your tolerance to them will increase. The minute you feel yourself sliding into depression, please withdraw and do things to help you recover e.g. read Qur’an, make dhikr, speak to your counselor, spend time with friends, etc.
Always make that intention to mend ties with them for Allah’s sake. This intention will carry you through the inevitable rough patches. Please perform the Prayer of Need as much as you need to, to keep you going. Make dua for Allah to make this easier for you, and for Him to soften your parents’ hearts.
May Allah reward you for wishing to mend ties with your parents. Trust that Allah Most High knows how hard this is for you, and that nothing is lost with Him. I pray that Allah makes easy your path to Jannah, through your desire to show kindness to your parents.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.