Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My mother is having an extra-marital affair and is having zina with that person. What should I do, as in Islam, children are not allowed to say a word to their parent. Should I say something to her or just pray to Allah for her guidance?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for my delay.
I am deeply sorry to hear that your mother is having an extra-marital affair. This must be incredibly heartbreaking for you. I pray that Allah grants you the wisdom and guidance to deal with this tribulation.
It is reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) observed: The best of’ the deeds or deed is the (observance of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents. [Sahih Muslim]
I strongly encourage you to enrol in the SeekersHub course Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents. This will give you a solid foundation on how to interact with your mother, even under better circumstances. In short, it is sinful to disrespect your mother by raising your voice, belittling her, or other forms of rude behaviour. It is not disrespectful for you to calmly and gently speak about how worried you are about her.
You know your mother best. Will speaking to her lead to her actually leaving her sin? Or will it potentially create a rift between the two of you? Is there anyone else you could confide in, who could actually influence her? If you do approach someone, ensure that it is someone trustworthy, who will not disclose your mother’s sin to anyone else.
Reach out to Allah to turn your mother’s heart. Perform The Prayer of Need and ask Him to help her make a sincere repentance.
If you are unsure about how to best approach her, then please perform The Prayer of Guidance. Watch what Allah unfolds for you. For example, if He makes it easy for you to speak to her about this, then that is a sign that it is better for you to bring it up. On the other hand, if it is too difficult for you to bring this up to her, then that may be a sign that it is better for you to leave it.
If it is difficult for you to speak to her, perhaps you can write her a letter. Start with stating how much you love her, then list how concerned you are about her affair and appeal to her conscience, then end it with more affirmations of your love for her.
Allah Most High says: “And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination.” [35:18, Qur’an]
Please remember that your mother is an adult, and she alone will answer for her choices. Her decisions may wound you, but you are not responsible for them. Please do not blame yourself. It is up to her to decide the path that is pleasing to Allah. Nobody can force her.
Please look after yourself during this time. Know that there is no shame in seeking out support from a culturally-sensitive counsellor, psychologist or therapist. You need to process your feelings of anger, grief and betrayal.
Keep up a daily spiritual practice of dua/awrads to keep you nourished and grounded, alongside exercise, a healthy diet, and mindfulness. Sit in the company of people who remind you of Allah. Draw strength from SeekersHub’s collection of scholarly podcasts and lesson sets.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a person said: Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).” [Sahih Muslim]
This may be very difficult for you to hear, but even though your mother is committing a major sin, she is still your mother, and deserving of your love and dua. She is especially in need of your dua because of her trial.
Extra-marital affairs are often the result of long-term unhappiness, discontent and disconnection from Allah. It may take a long time for your mother to find her way back, unless Allah wills. Consider this an exercise of building your patience and compassion.
I pray that Allah brings about the best possible outcome for you and your mother.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.