Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My father goes around telling religious people to fix me and that something is wrong with me, taking away my respect, calling us disrespectful, and causing me social anxiety. He acts really religious and runs a masjid. He used to beat me and my siblings up badly leaving bruises for the smallest things when we were younger. He says disgusting things, swears, and curses and tells us that we will amount to nothing and be slaves to others.
Growing up, I distanced myself because I can’t take this anymore. I stay away from them so that I don’t disrespect them. My mom blames us and says my dad is right and even hits her.
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that your relationship with your father is so difficult and I pray that it gets easier and that you heal from this trauma.
Verbal abuse is not permitted in our religion, and parents don’t have the right to neglect, humiliate, hurt or harshly criticize their children. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not teach us this and it is contrary to the Sunna. I daresay that you have done the right thing by distancing yourself from your father and I encourage you to remain respectful and choose silence over talking back. Your silence is actually respecting them.
You can’t do much about the slander. Just know that Allah Most High hears everything and He will defend you, and truth always manifests itself over falsehood in the end. Also, keep in mind that your father might have grown up with some family trauma of his own and he doesn’t know how to break the cycle. Supplicate that Allah helps him overcome this.
Please see these links as well:
Rights of Children in Detail
I don’t know how old you are, or if you are a boy or girl, but either way, you should make plans to move out when you are able. Some people succumb to the fact that they can only make their escape when they marry, but it is possible to leave before that. Please pray istikhara, consult elders and friends, and look at your possibilities. You would have to be independent financially. Perhaps discuss the matter with your mother. If it is not possible right now, at least plan on it in the future.
In the Meantime
In the meantime, try to gather some courage and hope from the following hadith. Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, “If any Muslim obeys Allah regarding his parents, Allah will open two gates of the Garden for him. If there is only one parent, then one gate will be opened. If one of them is angry, then Allah will not be pleased with him until that parent is pleased with him.“ He was asked, “Even if they wrong him?“ “Even if they wrong him,“ he replied. [Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad]
Your patience will be greatly rewarded and Allah is with you and will compensate you, by His grace. I urge you to try to express your feelings with them so that it becomes easier to respect them. Bottling up your feelings will definitely make it worse. Defend yourself politely, and learn when to step back and not engage. There are many coping mechanisms that you can try so that you don’t end up in an angry confrontation.
Bonding with your father will also help. Praying with him, going out with him, or doing little things to make him happy can change hearts. Turn to Allah in every circumstance, with prayers on time, reading a bit of the Quran daily, and supplicating before dawn, with the Prayer of Need.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[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, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.