Do I Have to Limit Myself to Learning from My Father If He Insists on Me Doing So?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

If my father commanded me to ask him concerning any questions I have about the deen, and my father is not a scholar but instead, a layman, am I obliged to follow his command considering it will cause a lot of problems, especially as some of my questions may be complicated, or I may be ashamed of?

In addition, am I obliged to answer all of my father’s questions in any conversation we have if it will cause many problems to answer those questions? For example, he might ask, why did you do this and tell the truth, knowing that it will cause many problems.

Answer

Learning from Those Who Know

Thank you for your question. It is a Quranic injunction to ask those who know, instead of a layman. Allah, Most High, said,  فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ – “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” [Quran, 16:43]

Taking one’s religion from someone other than a scholar of traditional Islam is a mistake and perpetuates falsehood, causing misjudgment and straying from the truth for generations to come. Please take your religious knowledge from reliable scholars who can have learned through a reliable chain of knowledge. You can find such knowledge here at Seekers, in our courses and answers, by the grace of Allah.

Consider taking a course on the absolute essentials of fiqh, which is personally obligatory knowledge:
Absolute Essentials of Islam (Shafi‘i): Habshi’s Encompassing Epistle Explained: Getting Started With Your Belief and Practice

Tact

Speaking to your father, you should speak with tact and sometimes withhold details without lying, not to upset him. You are certainly not obliged to tell him all of your reasons and shameful details. However, I encourage you to nurture a relationship of openness, honesty, and trust with your father. It would help if you told him that you want to communicate with him wholeheartedly and hope that he won’t get angry with you. Slowly, over time you’ll see that he’ll become your friend, in sha Allah.

And Allah knows best.

[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.