My Parents Prevent Me From Practicing: What Should I Do?
Answered by Abdullah Anik Misra
Question: I find it so hard to practice islam because every time i make an intention to do good i am stopped from doing so. I wanted to wear niqab but my parents weren’t happy with it so i stopped and due to other reasons as well. I wanted to attend halaqah’s but my father doesnt like it when i go so i stay home. My parents especially my mother treats me unfairly and complains to guests about me when i have done no wrong. Sometimes i feel she hates me and it leads me wonder why she gave birth to me in the first place. the only reason why i obey her is for Allah’s sake but sometimes it just goes to much that i cant handle it so i shout and raise my voice at my mother and i know how shameful that is but i am unable to control my anger. Please advice and tell me what i should do. Jazakallah for reading this.
Answer: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuh,
Jazak Allahu khairan for your question. I think it appropriate to begin with the words of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him):
“Surely, actions are only by their intentions. And for every person is that which they intended…” (al-Bukhari, al-Saheeh)
It is very admirable to see that your aspirations are high and you have a strong desire to improve your Deen and do what is good. Both modesty and knowledge are highly praiseworthy. However, in both of those situations, although you think that you did not realize your practice of Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:
“If somebody intends to do a good deed and they do not do it, then Allah will write for them a full good deed in his account with Him…” (al-Bukhari, al-Saheeh)
The essence of our works is not in their completion, or even actualization, because that is not in our hands, rather the secret of works and their acceptance lies in the intentions that are behind them. The final results are always in Allah Most High’s hands alone. Once you tried and put your best effort forward to do good, and for some reason, what you wanted didn’t happened, you shouldn’t feel that your Islam is lacking.
When Parents Prevent One from Practicing an Aspect of Deen
It can be upsetting when your parents try to block you from doing what you feel is important for your Deen. As a rule of thumb however, as long as they don’t ask you to do something that is unlawful (haram), or prevent you from doing something that is obligatory (fardh), then you should remain patient and try to listen to them. If they ask you to do something haram or religiously disliked, or prevent your obligatory acts or a sunnah, you are not obliged to obey them. However, in other than these cases, or when the obligation to do a certain act is differed upon between the schools of thought, there may be more reward in submitting to their demands, keeping your intentions pure, and then doing the good deed when you can, rather than arguing and disrespecting them until you get your way, only to achieve something that is a recommended act or something that there is dispensation for.
In terms of the niqab, your aspirations are praiseworthy, but since the obligation to wear it is differed upon between the schools of thought, and in modern times and places, between contemporary scholars, you have a strong reason to take the opinion your parents are pushing for.
As for learning, it is also admirable that you have the zeal to seek knowledge and attend halaqas. However, you should never disrespect your parents over this as the praiseworthy is not attained by unpraiseworthy means. Alhumdulillah, many times, when you intend to do good and are prevented from doing it, Allah Most High opens up another way for you to do it. In this case, with all the growing online communities of Islamic learning, you can take a light course to keep up your inspiration, or go right up to serious spiritual studies. That way, you would please your parents and move forward in seeking knowledge at the same time. Do look into the Seekers Guidance Fall Session course listing to see what you can benefit from.
Excellence to One’s Parents and Thinking Well of Them
Since there are cases where one doesn’t have to obey their parents, one can still be considered “good” if they politely disobey in those situations. But while unconditional obedience to parents (taa’at al-waalidayn) is not a duty in Islam, being good to one’s parents (birr al-waalidayn) is an unconditional duty, so one would not be considered as doing “good” if they disrespectfully obeyed them when it was required (say, by storming off to one’s room or yelling “Fine!” while also doing what they ask). Allah Most High says,
“Your Lord has decreed that you shall not serve any but Him, and to be good to parents, whether one or both of them attains old age with you; say not to them ‘Uff!’ neither scold them, but speak respectful words to them, and lower to them the wing of humbleness out of mercy and say; ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them, as they raised me up when I was little!'” [Qur’an, 17.23]
Allah Most High particularly highlights how indebted we are to our mothers when He says:
“And We ordained upon man concerning his parents; his mother bore him enduring weakness upon weakness, and his suckling is up to two years – therefore be thankful to Me and to your parents…” (Quran. 31:14)
Try to think well of your parents and give them excuses rather than assume that they are doing those things out of a lack of regard for religion, or because they dislike you. Positive thinking (husn al-dhann) will in turn help you to respect them and ward off anger and discontentment (which as you rightly said, distances you from Allah). The fact that you recognize that shouting at them is wrong, and feel shame for it, is a good start, and of course, seek Allah’s and their forgiveness and ask Allah Ta’ala for strength is maintaining your composure. Even when they complain about you to others or some do other similar seemingly unfair act, putting up with that entails a great reward. Your beautiful example may also make you win their hearts and change their behavior towards you. Remember, in most cases, we are only with our parents for a limited time; perhaps later on, you will be able to do the things you wanted to do, but the chance to be good to them may not always be there. May Allah Ta’ala make us all good to Him, and good to our parents.
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani