Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil counsels on the role and duty of daughter toward parents, being a woman, feeling isolated overwhelmed by expectations.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I am tired. I don’t feel like I understand my purpose anymore. Especially when I see so many of my sisters in Islam living a life of independence. I am confused about exactly what Islam says on the matter – it has been my long held belief that a girl or woman doesn’t leave her parents home except by marriage.
Am I wrong? I was under the impression that this is based upon a hadith. What happens if she doesn’t get married? Is she forced to leave and find her independence?
I am one of three sisters. One who has gotten married, one who lives independently of us, and me. I do not wish for marriage. But I see myself as being responsible for my parents as they get older. I have no mahram other than my elderly father. No other family here. I do work, part-time alhamduliLlah.
Should I leave the home and leave my parents alone? (I don’t want to, because I am afraid to lose them in any sense, even by their own natural end).
I sometimes feel like nothing I do is right before my father. I feel like I studied and obeyed them in this regard. But now, I am so tired with how pointless everything is. I studied two degrees, trained for a long time, and all for what?
I remained confused about my faith, I have lost friends, and become more isolated. I genuinely believe women need a mahram to travel randomly around the globe if for pleasure and not for purpose.
I’ve become disheartened, disillusioned, for clinging onto things that others maybe don’t consider important. Please advise me.
Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Dear sister, please know that Allah knows the deepest contents of your heart. If you do not want to move out from your parents’ home, then please, by all means, remain there.
Please do not compare yourself to your sisters, as tempting as that may be. Three of you are completely different individuals, with unique strengths and challenges. Your responsibility is to measure yourself against the yardstick of what is pleasing to Allah, in this present moment.
Please refer to these links to clarify your confusion about the permissibility of an unmarried Muslim woman, living alone: Can I, as a Woman, Live on My Own? [Shafi’i] and Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?
The only scenario in which I would encourage you to move out from your parents’ home is this – if staying with your parents were harming you, in some way.
It does not have to be outward abuse, but if you feel that staying with your parents is contributing to feelings of stagnation, then perhaps it is time for you to make a change.
Caring for Parents
It is praiseworthy for you to take on the main responsibility of caring for your parents in their old age. However, please know that goodness to your parents remains a personally obligatory act for all of your sisters. Your commitment to caring for your parents does not lift the responsibility from their shoulders.
I suspect that because you live with your parents, then your sisters take you for granted. They know that you are there every day to be of service to your parents, so perhaps they do not try harder to be there for them, too.
I encourage you to complete this transformative course: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfil Them.
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Sura al-Dhariyat 51:56)
You describe that nothing you do is right by your father. I am sorry – this is deeply painful, for any daughter. Please know that when a father is chronically displeased with his children, it actually reflects his own chronic displeasure with himself.
I encourage you not to live your life for your parents, especially not your father. This can be very hard to do at first, because it has become an ingrained habit. Live for Allah, and within the realms of permissibility, please do things that bring you joy. Find ways to nourish your heart, body, mind and soul.
Please know that perhaps creating some physical distance between you and your father may help you realign with your values, instead of always being drawn to what is pleasing to him.
You were created to worship Allah, and your journey to that includes working on your weaknesses and harnessing your strengths.
I suggest that you look up one of the many Muslimah life coaches online. Find someone who resonates with you, and commit to exploring ways to improve your life. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What do you want to get better at?
Marriage and Possible Depression
You describe that you do not want to be married. Is this because you have been hurt before, or because you genuinely are not interested in marriage?
You have also described yourself as losing friends, feeling lonely, and being exhausted. Could your low moods and lack of interest in marriage be something you could explore, within the safety of a culturally-sensitive counsellor’s office?
Please refer to this link for clarification: Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?
Dear sister, your soul is yearning for relief. Please feed your soul with the the cool, sweet waters of dua, the Prayer of Need, reciting and listening to Qur’an, and other acts of nearness to Allah.
Clarify your confusion about your faith through seeking out healing knowledge. SeekersHub courses are in abundance, alhamdulilah, so decide which ones resonate with you most, and strive to complete them.
I pray that this has been helpful. Please keep in touch.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.