My Brother Refuses to Support his Parents

Interest, Parents, & Upholding Good Character

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Faraz Khan

Question: I graduated college early because my family does not have alot of money and i didnt want to accrue much debt. I have a student loan which wont accruse interest until six months after graduation. I can pay it off, but my parents want me to contribute more money to other things. In the past they have had extremely poor decision making in terms of finances. I don’t have much faith in the decisions my parents make when it comes to money matters. Theyve squandered alot of wealth, despite our family situation, on things like lavish weddings, cars, and so forth. They keep taking my brothers savings and spend it without care, thousands of dollars. My parents call me “molvi” and claim that I am very disrespectful for a “molvi” because I try to share the perspective of my brother (who is older) and me. If my parents are upset with me, then Allah is displeased. If I start dealing with interest, then Allah is displeased with me.  I have really tried so hard, but I don’t see an easy way out of this   Please advise.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith. May Allah Most High bless you with ease in this difficult ordeal. Amin.

Avoiding Interest

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us a key principle when dealing with circumstances such as yours, as he is reported to have said, “There is no obedience to creation if it entails disobedience to the Creator.” [Tabarani, Mu’jam Kabir; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba; Musnad Shihab]

Dealing is interest is unlawful and entails disobedience to Allah Most High; hence, you must take all possible means to avoid it. This is where Allah’s good pleasure lies, inshaAllah.

By the grace of Allah Most High, you have hitherto been able to navigate your way through this situation while avoiding interest; this is very commendable, and your reward is inshaAllah with Allah. You must remain steadfast and not be swayed by decisions that would affect your ability to pay back your loan before interest begins to accrue.

Repaying your loan before that point is your utmost financial priority. Anything else – even if demanded by your parents, and even if it entails a good deed such as maintaining kinship ties, supporting your sister, or the like – is secondary and therefore given no priority over your primary concern. Use this as a gauge to determine whether or not to listen to your parents’ financial requests.

Respecting Your Parents and Upholding Good Character

Notwithstanding your financial priorities, your duty towards your parents should be one of utmost love, respect, kindness and sincere counsel. Obey them in all matters that do not entail contravening the Sacred Law, and be gentle with them.

Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “I was sent to perfect noble character.” [Mustadrak Hakim; Sunan Bayhaqi]

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “Verily Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness in all matters” [Bukhari, Muslim], as well as “Gentleness is not found in something except that it adorns it, and is not removed from something except that it ruins it” [Muslim].

Also, please see the discussion on Patience and Trust in the following answer:

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani