Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I try to advise my father who is about 40 years older than me about Islam because I want good for him. My father says things like “I have done so much for you. Instead of thanking me, you attack me”, for things that are meant to be good. He seems to feel offended and doesn’t want to be criticized but rather praised. How should I see it? Shouldn’t he do it for Allah or it is normal to seek appreciation at that level from humans? He gets angry fast. It’s difficult to talk with him.
Thank you for your question.
May Allah reward you for your sincerity and for wanting good for your father. For now, you need to stop laying it on thick and let him see the fruits of your lifestyle.
Advising parents is never easy, and one way to do it is to let them watch you practice the religion for a few years before you say anything. This can have a more profound effect, and you would be surprised how much parents pick up by being around it so much. Most importantly, be good to him, make dua for him, now and after his passing, and by Allah’s grace, much good will blossom from it.
If you know what your father wants from you, give it to him. Praise him, tell him that he has done so much for you because it’s true, thank him, and then tell him how much you enjoy practicing Islam, and how you feel that your heart has opened up. Let him see your transformation and this will get him thinking and contemplating. Stirring someone’s heart instead of telling them what to do is far more effective in da`wah (calling them to Allah).
Please see this excellent advice from Shaykh Habib Umar here, as well as from others, on advising parents:
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.