Younger Sister Woes: Dealing With Wisdom & Leading By Example

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: My younger sister has been seeing a boy, who is related to the family, behind our backs. She also has many male-friends and communicates with them on a flirtatious manner. She has been caught red-handed several times. My entire family have denounced this completely telling her such practices are impermissible and that she should wait until it is time for her to get married. My elderly father is completely distraught; everything she says is a complete lie.  She feels the need to latch onto boys because of the problems at home. I’m incredibly stressed out and no one else in my family steps up.  I truly feel I’m losing hope, I’m praying constantly to Allah to help but it just keeps getting worse. Please advise.

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray all is well.  Shaykh Faraz has asked me to answer this as he is currently travelling and unable to respond.

Firstly, I commend you for your concern. However, you should not get depressed or burdened due to the choices and actions of another, independent adult. You can advise, but whether a person follows or not is out of your hands, and up to Allah Most High.

Secondly, you have to understand your sister, not cynically, but empathetically. As a teenager with emotions and needs, she knows what’s wrong from right, so pushing her won’t help- she has to be inspired to change.   I’ll give a list of quick advices insha Allah:

1. Don’t let your father take this burden on. If he can’t do anything, there’s no sense worrying him. Don’t mention it to him; cover your sister’s faults from him. Comfort him in other ways.
2. Your sister is leaning on others for self-validation and support; let her lean on you instead. Take her out, buy her gifts, write her notes, confide in her, ask her advice, and spend time with her without lecturing her or mentioning this; when trust builds, she may confide in you for advice.
3. If your sister has fallen into a relationship and is in the world of work, it’s a sign that its time to get married. Don’t belittle her feelings. Suggest marriage tactfully when the mood is good. If the guy is good – HELP her make it happen. Sisters since time immemorial have bonded over discussing their marriage ideals – by filling her heart with dreams of marital bliss, she is one step further from sin.
4. If she is hiding her sins, don’t spy on her or try to “catch her”. Doing so is unlawful and sinful. Don’t expose her sins without need to your family. Don’t suspect her unnecessarily. Let her go about life normally- you are not a guardian to her. Give her space to go through this phase and return for herself . Warnings have proven ineffective, so simply pray for her and emphasize the good she does.
5. Beautify your inner-self and increase your love for Allah Most High through Islamic spirituality. The most effective message is a beautiful example.  When people notice how fulfilling a relationship with Allah actually is, they willingly break their negative relationships to attain this ultimate fulfillment.

May Allah Most High bring all of us back to Him in this life, before He brings us all back to Him for the eternal life that follows.

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Sidi Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He converted to Islam in 2001 and completed a degree in Business Administration. In 2005, he left Canada to pursue Islamic studies. He now lives in Amman, Jordan with his wife and two daughters, where he studies various Islamic sciences and concurrently serves as the Study Abroad Director at the Qasid Institute.