Answered by Shaykh Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I have recently converted to Islam. My atheist father has been abusive towards me and my mother since my childhood. He has left us for another family but he keeps calling me while being drunk. It scares me a lot. I have stopped answering his phone calls. I am sinful for this?
Answer: Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Walaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakathu,
Thank you for your question and the opportunity to write a reply. May God make you firm upon His faith, draw you closer to Him, and ease your hardships in this life and the next. May He also bless your parents with Islam as He has blessed you, and make you a cause for their guidance and a cause for the spreading of guidance throughout the world.
We know that different people, depending on their situation and their relationship to us need to be treated differently. We do not treat our grandparents the same way we treat our friends, nor do we treat a person with an illness the same way we treat someone who is healthy, even though we wish the same thing for both of them. Similarly, in spreading Islam we must deal with everyone individually and in a way
best suiting them and their situation. What is to remain fixed in our actions and the starting point of all our efforts though must be mercy, and wanting what is best for them. If the Prophet SAW was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, and we are followers of the Prophet, then it is upon us to do the most we can to show mercy in all our actions, and any more than we can do is not asked of us
We are ordered to obey our parents in all matters which do not conflict with our religion. We are also to help them in whatever way we can. In the case of non-Muslim parents, what greater help can one offer than that of Islam? However we should also remember God’s words,
“God does not burden a soul with more than it can bear” [2:286]. It is upon us then to do the most we can to facilitate them coming into Islam, and whilst sometimes we may not be able to speak to them or even be with them for whatever reason, we can always pray and ask God
to make their hearts accepting of Islam and divine guidance.
The Prophet Muhammad SAW said in a hadith, “The most beloved people to Allah are the most beneficial of them for people”. If we make this our sincere purpose and strive for it, we believe that God will choose for us that which is best and enable us to do that which pleases Him. If speaking with your father causes intolerable emotional and psychological anxiety, and you are the best one to judge your situation, then not being in contact with him could be excused. However even with staying out of contact, he should know that the door is open, and if he were to change you would be accepting because ultimately it is not the person we dislike, but their actions. By showing the beautiful manners of Islam with the intention that he too can receive the gift of faith from God, God may choose to make you a means by which your father improves his life and even insha’Allah enter Islam.
While honouring and respecting one’s parents is an important part of Islam, what is important for us to realise is how we honour and respect them. So pray to God that He makes your situation easier and that He improves your father’s state. Pray that He enables you to carry the responsibility of faith and beg your Lord in prostration, after prayers, in the middle of the night, and at all times to bring your parents into Islam and unite you all in paradise “among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, the witnesses, and the righteous. What excellent companions these are” [4:69], and such a thing is not difficult for God.
[Shaykh] Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila