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My Father Will Disown Me If I Marry the Man I Choose. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I met someone at university who is a practicing Muslim. We both come from the same cultural background and we don’t have any valid Islamic reason as to why this marriage cannot go ahead.

My mother told me that I could find my own spouse in the past. This is why I went forward with him and told my parents a couple of months after I spoke with him.

My father disagrees with ‘love’ marriages and gave me an ultimatum. He either wants me to ignore him, or get married to him quickly and quietly. My family won’t be part of the ceremony and a part of my life.

I’m really finding it difficult to progress as both our families know and my parents are making my life difficult and are just extremely aggressive towards me.

What can I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Marriage

Dear sister, I am so sorry you are going through this heartbreaking situation. You have found the man you want to marry, and your family threatens to disown you if you go ahead with this. It is a terrible thing to be forced to choose between your future husband, and your family.

Please know that your parents have a deeply cultural perspective on what constitutes a respectable start to married life – namely, them arranging your marriage for you. Anything else, in their mind, is sinful. This is not necessarily true. Please know that so many other Muslim couples have met outside that context, and so long as they maintain the etiquette of proper gender interaction, then it is still a permissible and blessed way to begin married life.

Even in the scenario where there is sin in the beginning, Allah’s Mercy is vast. The door of repentance is always open. A complete repentance wipes away sin, and a couple can still have a blessed marriage. Alhamdulilah, the Mercy of God surpasses that of humans.

Support

Who do you have for support? Do you have trustworthy friends you can confide in? If you fear falling into backbiting, then I suggest that you see a culturally-sensitive counsellor to help you deal with your feelings of depression. Therapists are bound by confidentiality laws.

Abuse

Your parents’ aggression towards you is deeply harmful for you. They may think that bullying you will get them the outcome that they want, but all it does is hurt you and break your trust in them.

Please know that you are worthy of compassion, even if your parents’ own trauma and fixation on honour make it so difficult for them to be kind to you. They do not have to agree with your life choices, but it is sinful for them to be so hostile towards you.

I pray that this experience will make you a better parent.

Mediation

Is there an elder in your family or your community whom you can approach, to advocate for you and your future husband? Or do you fear that this could only make things worse?

Surrender

It sounds that you are exhausting every possible avenue. I invite you practice what is termed ‘radical acceptance’.

Instead of fighting your reality and hoping for things to change – perhaps it is time to surrender to it. Accept that your family is unlikely to change. Accept that marrying the man you choose will mean losing them. And when you have accepted this reality, then ask yourself if that is what you are willing to sacrifice. You alone will live that.

It is possible for your marriage to thrive, even if you lose your family. It will be incredibly stressful, especially in the beginning. But if you and your husband hold strong and have enough support from his family and your friends, then you can become a better person through this. Time heals.

Know that patience is not passive. Patience is an active striving to have a heart that smiles with Allah, no matter how life unfolds. There is wisdom in every moment.

Reconciliation

Even if your family tries to shut you out, please do your best to extend compassion to them. Send them gifts on important occasions, write them letters and emails, and so on. Your siblings are all adults who ought to still keep ties with you, even if your parents forbid it.

It is common for estranged families to soften once grandchildren are born. Pregnancy is often a time of deep emotions and reconciliation. The birth of a grandchild is a mercy in more ways than one. I pray that you and your family can forgive each other and look forward to the future.

Prayer

“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide for him from sources he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” [Qur’an, 65:2-3)

Please know that the decision is one only you can make. I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance as often as you need to before deciding what to do.

Again, dear sister, I am so sorry that you find yourself in such difficulty. The hardship you are going through indicates to me how much Allah loves you. Draw closer to Him, and trust that He will deliver you from this, in His Time.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

My Father Verbally Abuses My Mother and Siblings. Is It Sinful for Me to Move Out?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am a 33 year old unmarried woman who lives with my parents and siblings. My father has always been strict since we were children e.g. he would beat us over school work. My mother is afraid of my father divorcing her. That’s why she never defended any of us.

To make things worse, my brother-in-law sometimes tries to physically harm or grab my younger sisters. They do not complain because we do not have anyone to stand up for us us – all of our relatives fear my father. We have to look outside our family for help. Recently, I told my father about some of my problems, and he replied to me so rudely, stating that we all are dogs.

I am fed up with day to day abuse. How do I handle this? Will moving out from here be a sin on my part? I just want to shift and live in peace.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Father

Dear sister, I am so sorry that you are going through so much pain because of your father.

Your father sounds mentally unwell. No father in his right mind would call his wife and children such terrible names.

It also sounds like he has been doing this for decades, and nobody has told him that it is unacceptable. Long-term abuse can shred self-esteem and the ability to assert oneself. Please do not blame yourselves for his horrifying behaviour.

Moving out

If your father continues to abuse you this way, then I strongly suggest that you move out of your family home. This may be culturally frowned upon, because you are unmarried, but please know that it is not sinful. If remaining in your home will continue to cause you emotional, spiritual and mental harm, then I would argue that it may be obligatory for you to move out.

Please remember to still keep ties with your family, even after you move out. Because interactions with your father sound extremely toxic, I encourage you to limit your contact with him. Perhaps you can limit it to emails, phone calls, and slowly build your way up to face-to-face contact. I do not recommend visiting him alone.

Sisters

I am very concerned about your younger sisters’ safety. Your brother-in-law needs to be confronted. You do not need a man do this for you. Islam empowers you to protect your own dignity, and the dignity of those whom you love.

However, some misogynistic men do not take the word of a woman seriously. If that is the case, then it would be wise for you to approach someone who can advocate for you. You describe your relatives as being fearful of your father. Is there someone outside your family who can speak to your brother-in-law?

I strongly suggest that you and your sisters attend an assertiveness course together. You do not need to remain victims. Alternatively, is there a Muslimah coach you could speak to?

Support

I strongly encourage you to seek out a culturally-sensitive counsellor. You have gone through tremendous pain and it’s important for you to learn how to heal. Please know that through this journey, you will grow and become the a better, kinder, stronger version of yourself. All of your your suffering is not in vain.

Family

When you have a deeply traumatised and enmeshed family dynamic, you can feel responsible for fixing everything – this is especially the case for the eldest child. This is a very heavy burden to bear. Please know that only you can heal yourself, through Allah’s help. You need to fix your oxygen mask first, so to speak, before you can help anyone else.

Please keep in touch. I pray that Allah heals you, your family, and reunites you all in Jannah, where there is no more pain.

Please see:

Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
How Do We Deal With Parents Who Emotionally Abuse Their Children?
How Can I Help My Mother Despite My Abusive Father?
How Does a Child Deal With Parents Who Fight Each Other?

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

My Father Stares at My Body. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am unmarried, live with my parents, but feel uncomfortable because my father stares at my body. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Hijab

May Allah reward you for striving to observe hijab, as difficult as you find it right now. Know that none of your effort is wasted on Allah. The harder your struggle with it, then the greater the reward.

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night. Ask Allah to make wearing hijab easier on you, and to help you overcome this problem with your father. Nourish your spirituality by listening to SeekersGuidance podcasts and courses.

Father

This is a troubling situation. I recommend that you listen to your instincts.

I have some suggestions. One is for you to still dress modestly at home, avoid being alone with your father, and relax in terms of your dressing only when you are away from your father.

In a best case scenario, this could be a temporary and awkward phase. In a worst case scenario, then your father may be harbouring inappropriate thoughts about you.

Each time your father comments about your physical appearance, draw a firm and polite boundary. Say that you feel uncomfortable when he speaks about you like that. Keep drawing boundaries with him. If he is being tested by these inappropriate thoughts, it is his responsibility not to act upon them.

Mother

Have you spoken to your mother about this? She is likely to become defensive, and this will break her heart. No mother wants to hear this about her husband.

I encourage you, at the very minimum, to attend culturally-sensitive counselling about how to deal with this situation. If your parents are willing to join you too, that would be ideal. This is a problem that can be worked through.

Marriage

I do not recommend marriage as a way to solve this problem. I do encourage you to marry if Allah sends you a suitable prospect. Do perform the Prayer of Need to ask for a loving and righteous spouse.

Even if you don’t see any suitable prospects on the horizon, I encourage you to prepare yourself for marriage. Know yourself and know what you would want in a spouse. Please read Before You Tie The Knot and listen to Getting Married with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani,

Moving out

If you feel increasingly uncomfortable in your family home because of your father, then I suggest that you consider moving out. It is important that this move helps you draw closer to Allah, and not further away.

You do not need to cite the real reason why, especially as your parents are likely to go on the defensive.

I pray that Allah grants you safety, peace of mind, and a way out of this dilemma.

Please see:

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

How Do I Deal With an Abusive Father?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My father is abusive towards my siblings, myself, my mother, and even his workers.

He works so hard to give us the best material wealth, but abuses us. He destroyed the life of our big brother.

He makes our mother work from morning to evening. His verbal abuse towards my mother and my brother has not stopped over the years. How do I deal with a father like this?

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Father

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

It is likely that your father has a serious and undiagnosed mental illness. A sane and healthy person would not behave the way he does.

It does not sound like he would be open to therapy, especially if he is actively harming you, your siblings and your mother, and shows no remorse. Are you in a position to remove yourself, your mother and your siblings from harm?

In terms of interacting with him, you must keep interactions with him civil and respectful. If he does something to hurt you or your family, then remove yourself from harm. Ask him to stop.

Self-care

Please strive to wake up in the last third of the night, even if it’s 5-10 minutes before the entry of Fajr. Perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to heal your family, and to lift this terrible harm from all of you. Strive to read these duas as often as you can: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Please look after yourself. Do you have trustworthy friends who can look out for you? What are your support networks like?

Healing

Please see a holistic therapist who can help you process and let go of your anger and grief.

Mother and siblings

Because your father is unlikely to change, then you must do everything in your power to protect yourself and the rest of your family. I am very concerned for your safety and that of your family. Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward.

Responsibility

When you are trapped in an enmeshed family dynamic with significant trauma, it is very difficult to leave, or to persuade others to leave.

Victims of abuse often feel a strong bond with their abuser. Your brother, for instance, and your mother. All you can do is offer the option of leaving, and of rebuilding a life within a place of safety. You are not responsible for how they respond.

If they choose to stay, then you must work on keeping yourself safe and well, even if it means moving out on your own and earning your own keep. By watching you, perhaps your mother and brother can see for themselves how healing it can be for you to live apart from your father.

Dua

Islam calls us to excellent character, regardless of what the other party does.

In short, yes, it is better for you to make dua for your father. Despite all the terrible things he has done to wrong you and your family, he is still your father.

When you are ready, please enrol in and complete the SeekersHub course Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents. InshaAlah, the course instructor, Shaykh Rami Nsour will be able to answer further questions about your father.

Patience

“O you who have believed, seek help in patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.” [Qur’an, 2:153]

The tribulation of having a dysfunctional family is a heavy one. Trust that with patience and excellent character, Allah can transform you through this trauma.

Please see:

How to Deal With a Verbally Abusive Father?
My Father Assaulted My Mother and Me. Can I Move Out?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

My Father Is Emotionally Blackmailing Me to Get Married. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My father is blackmailing me to get married against my will. I had someone else in mind, but my father rejected him. Should I just accept his orders so this torture ends, and trust in Allah? Or should I fight for my God-given rights?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Marriage

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

Dear sister, I am sorry that you are in such a difficult situation. Who you marry is a tremendously important decision, and it must be yours to make. You alone will bear the ultimate brunt of your marriage, whether it be a happy one, or a troubled one.

The fiqh is clear. Your marriage contract is invalid if you are forced into it.

What is your prospective suitor like? Aside from the fact that your father is forcing you, what good qualities does he have? Is he someone you could build a life with? Try to reflect upon this from a place of calm. If he is suitable for you, then I recommend that you give him a chance. If he is not, then you need to speak your truth.

Consequences

Your sanity and safety matter to Allah. What are the consequences if you go against your father’s wishes? Who can you call on for support? Please proceed wisely.

Prayer

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance until the day you have clarity, or until the day of your nikah.

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, before the entry of Fajr. Pour your sorrow out to Allah.

Support

Who does your father listen to? What is your mother’s role in this situation? Can she advocate for you, to your father?

Do you have grandparents, aunts or uncles who can persuade your father not to force you into marriage? If not, can you find a respected member of your community to support you?

Seek comfort in regular recitation and listening to the Qur’an. Listen to podcasts such as Content of Character to inspire you, and to remind you of what is pleasing to Allah.

Good character

Please empower yourself with knowledge. When registration reopens, please enrol in Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and
Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.

All parents are deserving of respect and good character – even abusive ones. The key lies in balance, and this is an ongoing conversation. Do not be a doormat, and do not be an oppressor. Assert yourself with conviction and excellent character.

Patience

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” [Qur’an, 2:155]

Please know that Allah knows how hard this is for you. Nothing is lost with Him. Do your best to exercise patience tempered with wisdom. Always strive to uphold excellent character, especially when your father does not.

I pray that Allah guides you to what is most pleasing to Him. May He bless you with a loving and tranquil marriage which brings you and your husband closer to Him.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

How to Deal With a Verbally Abusive Father?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Throughout my childhood, I witnessed my father beat my mother. I have reach the point of hitting him. I regret this so much and have asked him for forgiveness, but he continues to verbally abuse me to the point where I want to commit suicide. What do I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Help

Dear questioner, please seek out professional help. You are in a lot of pain, and it sounds like you need a culturally-sensitive counselor and psychiatrist.

I am so sorry that your father hit your mother until she bled, and that you and your sister have resorted to self-harm. You have been through a tremendous about of pain.

You need to learn better ways of coping with your strong feelings. A healthy, sound mind does not contemplate suicide, and the fact that you are reveals your deep trauma. Please look into the trauma healing work of Hakim Archuletta and Peter Levine.

Father

Your father sounds extremely volatile and unwell. I pray that Allah grants him shifa.

Please keep yourself safe from his harm, but please do not cut ties with him. If you are still living in his house, then please do your best to find a better living situation. Do you have any other family members you can stay with? Find a group of good housemates you can live with.

Limit interaction with your father to a point which you can handle. Your sanity and emotional health matter to Allah. I pray that over time, you can heal, and then slowly increase your exposure to him.

Repentance

Never despair in the mercy of Allah. The door of repentance is wide open for you. I urge you to wake up in the last third of the night and perform The Prayer of Need as regularly as you can.

I pray that Allah helps you transform your trauma, heals you, and makes you a means of good in this world and the next.

Please see:

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

My Father Assaulted My Mother and Me. Can I Move Out?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I am unmarried and support my family financially. Unfortunately, my father has a temper, and he recently hit my mother and me. I no longer feel safe. Is it permissible for me to move out?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Safety

Dear sister, I am so sorry that you have been physically assaulted by your own father. May Allah grant you and your entire family a complete healing.

Because you have been hurt, you have the right, and possibly the obligation, to move out. Please do everything in your power to stay safe, and heal.

Mother

Please speak to your mother before you move out. I am concerned for her well-being, especially after you leave your family home.

Please assess the level of risk your mother is facing. Will staying in your father’s home bring more harm to your mother? If so, is it possible for you to take your mother with you, at least temporarily, until your father gets some help?

Is there an elder in your community he takes advice from?

Prayer

When your family is so fractured, it is an absolute must for you to wake up for tahajjud. Wake up in the last third of the night, and perform The Prayer of Need. Beg Allah for help and healing.

Family ties

Please continue to support your family financially, and in whatever way you can manage e.g. email, call, send gifts etc.

It may take many years before you are able to have a civil relationship with your father. In the meantime, please make dua for your parents, after every obligatory prayer, and during tahajjud.

Counseling

I urge you to speak to a culturally-sensitive counselor.

Please look into the trauma healing work of Hakim Archuletta and Peter Levine. Hakim Archuletta teaches at the yearly Zawiyah retreat in Rosales, Spain. Please bring your family if you can.

Dear sister, I pray that Allah helps you transform your trauma, and makes you a mean of healing for others.

Please see:

Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?
How Can I Help My Mother Despite My Abusive Father?

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Am I Sinful for Not Answering the Phone Calls of My Abusive Father?

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.

Wassalam,

[Shaykh] Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

How Can I Help My Mother Despite My Abusive Father?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Asaalam alaykum

My father is being unjust towards my mother and directing his anger at me. He calls her names and tries to control what she does and where she goes. My dad threatened to never want to see me again if I defend her. It pains me to see how he treats her.

What should I do?

Answer:  In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate           

Dear brother, thank you for sending in your question. May Allah grant you ease and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

Your situation is a challenging one, being stuck in the middle of your parents fighting. There is no quick solution to such problems, but insha Allah I hope we can provide some understanding and advice.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A HUSBAND AND WIFE

When two people marry, they each have certain rights over one other. They do not “own” each other, but rather, are living with each other for one another’s mutual benefit. These rights should be fulfilled with kindness and gentleness towards one another, and not begrudgingly or with resentment. Similarly, marriage is a means to bringing emotional and financial comfort and security to one’s life, good companionship, raising righteous children, and to help each other strive in the religion. This is only possible when there is mutual respect and harmony, and working towards it requires patience and compromise from both husband and wife.

At the same time however, it is normal for couples to temporarily disagree, quarrel and argue at times. There is no sin in this as long as the boundaries of the law are not transgressed.

Problems occur when these quarrels become constant and escalate, until the house is miserable, everyone’s lives are effected, and people transgress the lawful boundaries. When such frequent conflicts occur in marriage, the first step is to try and resolve the issues between the spouses. When this stops becoming possible, advice and council should be sought from upright and able family, friends, or community/religious figures, who may provide a positive influence on the spouses, and provide solutions and support. If all this fails, then separation, temporary or permanent, may be the only option, and this again should ideally be done with the support and advice of a reliable third party.

AL NUSHUZ (rebelliousness)

You said that your father has justified his behavior towards your mother due to her falling under the category of a “rebellious wife” (naashizah) and that the Qur’an justifies his actions. The Qu’ran never permits or condones abuse of any kind.

The legal definition of “rebelliousness” in classical books of law is: The disobedience of a wife through denying the husband his rights over her, which include obedience to him [in all things permissible], living with him in a way that is well known as the norm and custom, making herself available to him [physically], and remaining at home [unless allowed or with excuse].” [Tuhfa al Muhtaj]. The books go on to discuss details, giving the examples of turning away, scowling, and general unreceptive behavior when previously the wife was kind and amiable. However, if this is her normal character traits, then it is not considered “rebellious”, unless she increases in them. Nor is insulting or cursing considered “rebellious”, though she is sinful for doing so and should be reproached for it.

The steps for dealing with a “rebellious” wife include warning her that her actions are sinful and displeasing to God, withdrawing her rights as a wife, and leaving her bed for a period of time. As for the “hitting” mentioned in the Qur’an and books of law, this is on the condition that it be light and not harmful, and only if one thinks the wife will return to right conduct, otherwise it is impermissible. Ibn Abbas, the great Companion and Quranic commentator, when asked what is meant by “hitting which is not harmful”, explained, “[With] the siwak or the like].” [Tafsir al Tabari]. The siwak is an extremely small and light stick or twig used for brushing one’s teeth. Most scholars, including my own teachers, warn husbands against even using this.

Whether your mother falls under the ruling of naashizah is unclear from your question, and is certainly not the most important issue here. However, even if she was legally considered a naashizah, the law does not allow any form of abuse, constant antagonizing, oppression, or unreasonable demands and control.

Your father should first ensure that he has a right to consider her a “rebellious” wife or not by speaking to a qualified scholar. Whatever the ruling, he must remain within the limits permitted to him for dealing with such matters. A husband’s transgression of the law towards his wife, even if she is rebellious, is just as sinful as the transgression of a rebellious wife.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A CHILD AND PARENT

Allah Most High commands children to be kind and respectful to their parents. He tells us, “Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.” [17:23]

A child does not, however, have to put up with abuse, whether verbal and physical, or passively standby and watch parents abuse one another. There is absolutely nothing in the Shariah that permits abuse of any other person, whether it be one’s spouse, child, or any other person. Even a family pet has its right and is not permitted to be abused. How so then, for a fellow human being?!

In such cases, the child is permitted to seek support or help the victimized party against abuse.  However, this firmness in correcting a parent’s behavior must be delicately balanced with respect and good manners. Given the nature of domestic conflict, this can be a difficult balance to maintain, but maintained it must.

As for your father’s threatening to never see you again, as long as you are not the one cutting off ties, and remaining respectful to both parents throughout, then there is not much else you can do. You must ensure you keep the ties of family, even if they are wrong. How they deal with that is up to them.

WHAT TO DO NEXT?

Try speaking to your father when he is not angry with you or your mother. Avoid speaking to him during or after a quarrel. Explain to him with gentleness that the family cannot continue like this. Ask him what it is that is annoying him. Perhaps there is some stress there, or something you are not aware of. Tell him you are willing to help both of them if they want to make things better. If you find there are certain issues that always cause the same problems, try to find a solution or a way of avoiding the problems or certain times when they erupt. Tell them about what you have come up with. Let your father and mother know how much it is affecting you.

If you feel you cannot talk to your father, consider writing down your thoughts and feelings in a letter. Be sure to remain respectful when writing without descending into attack.

Sometimes, when life and stress overtake us, we forget the important aspects of our life and the religion. Indeed, we may forget ourselves and who we really are. Only when we hear words of wisdom again are we remind of the simplicity of life and our own nature. In your writing or discussion, remind your father of certain words of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), which may strike a chord with him. Be sure not to come across as condescending or as if you are teaching your father something new, as no one likes to be talked down to, especially by one’s own children. Rather, say, “As you already know …” etc. Insha’Allah, hearing such words will soften his heart.

Such hadiths include, “Woman was created from a rib, and if you try to straighten a rib you will break it, so deal with her gently.” [Musnad Ahmad], “No believing man should hate a believing woman: if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will like another.” [Muslim], and most importantly, “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah]. Likewise, Allah tells us, “And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good” [4:19].

If your father is unwilling to talk to you, then try to find a family member, friend, or someone else that your father respects and may listen to. Do this with tact and wisdom, as your father may get angry if he finds out that you told someone else about your home affairs. Also, if you think it’s possible, ask your parents if they are willing to see a marriage councillor.

Often, negative behavior stems from ignorance, and the only remedy for changing this is through gaining knowledge. Knowing each other’s rights with clarity, the boundaries of human behavior and relationships, and the purpose of marriage and child rearing can all help change one’s behavior, and in turn relationship with everyone else. If both your parents are willing, try to get them to do an Islamic marriage course. For example, consider SeekersHub’s course, Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages, which is free.

If physical abuse takes place, then get yourself and your mother out of the house. Go to somewhere safe and get other people involved.

I pray that Allah finds a way out of this situation for you and your parents, and brings you all happiness and harmony.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007 I travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where I spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with my main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, I moved to Amman, Jordan, where I continue advanced study in a range of sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, I am a qualified Homeopath, and run a private clinic in Amman.

My Father Emotionally Abuses Us and I Have Sinned With Someone of the Same Gender. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My father emotionally abuses my mother and my family. This makes me so sad.

Also, I have sinned with someone of the same gender.

What do I do about all the prayers I missed?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

I pray that Allah lifts your tribulations, and grants you a complete healing.

Father

Narrated Anas (may Allah be pleased with him): Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

Yes, we are obligated to treat our parents with respect and kindness, but we are also obligated to protect ourselves and our loved ones from oppression. Your father is oppressing your mother. He is obligated to stop and ask for her forgiveness.

I am so sorry that you have all endured so many years of abuse. Your father sounds like a deeply troubled man with many unresolved issues. People like him often taken out their anger and disappointment at those under their care. This is not the way of our Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace), who was the best to his family.

Is there a community elder or family member he respects and listens to? I encourage you to ask them for help. Only approach them if you feel it will cause more benefit than harm. If confiding in others will cause more harm to your mother, then refrain and think of another strategy.

I encourage you, your siblings, and your mother to attend family counselling sessions. Ideally, it would be beneficial for your father to join too. Even if he does not want to go, please go on your own. Growing up with an abusive father who is so hostile to your mother damages on the way you view love and trust. It is possible to heal, so seek comfort in that.

Friend

Acting upon same-sex attraction is sinful. Each time you have thoughts of repeating this sin, please seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan, make wudu, and occupy yourself with acts of good.

As you have sinned with this person and he is a source of temptation for you, I strongly suggest that you remove yourself from his life. Please do your best to limit your contact with him, for the sake of pleasing Allah. Work towards ending your friendship completely. If cutting off ties with him immediately will work better for you, then please do that instead.

Find friends who will remind you of Allah, and call you to good. Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to help you in this situation. It is natural to want love, sexual fulfilment and companionship, but it is important to gain that through permissible means. Please see a culturally-sensitive counsellor and work on healing. I pray that this turbulent phase in your life will pass and be a distant memory.

There is a great push in today’s society towards embracing an active homosexual lifestyle, but this is not the way of our Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). Even if you do not find yourself attracted to the opposite gender and do not see marriage as a viable option for you, your spiritual struggle is to remain celibate. Please read this article written by a Muslim man who is doing just that: The Strange Elephant In The Room: Struggles, Passions and Hopes. I pray that Allah rewards you for refraining from sin, for His sake.

Repentance

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Verily, Allah when He created the creation, He wrote with His Hand concerning Himself, that: ‘My mercy prevails over My wrath.’” [Tirmidhi]

Alhamdulilah, it is not too late for you to make your repentance. The fact that you wrote to us is already a sign of Allah’s concern for you. No matter how numerous your sins, dear sister, Allah’s Mercy is far, far greater. I pray that this will be the beginning of a new chapter in your life.

The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) stated, “None makes the religion difficult except that it overcomes him. So, aim for what is right, stick to the moderate way…” [Bukhari]

1) Make the intention to pay back your prayers, and come up with a reasonable plan to do so.
2) Learn the personally obligatory parts of your religion (purity, prayer, fasting, zakat) on SeekersHub, once registration reopens. Sign up for one course per term. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself. Start with either Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP) or Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Shafi’i Jurisprudence (STEP).

Please write back if you have any more questions. I pray that Allah grants you healing, tranquility, and the courage to draw nearer to Him.

Please see:

Estimating the Number of Makeup Prayers
Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents
Tackling Homosexual Feelings: Supplication, Repentance, and Going Cold Turkey
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
A Reader On Gender Interaction

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.