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My Mother Treats Me Like a Maid

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My mother backbites about one child to the other. She scolds me for my siblings’ mistakes is always rude to me. She is never interested in my important events. There are many helpers in the house, alhamdullilah, so she doesn’t do any housework nor cook. She only gets up to do her daily tasks. I come home tired after work, but she asks me to do all the housework at night because we don’t have a maid at night. I do it but she finds faults in that as well. My other siblings come home tired too, but they can rest or sleep without doing chores. My dad and I do almost everything. Even though I control myself sometimes I shout at her when she interferes with my chores.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

I empathize with your difficult situation. Everyone deserves to live with respect and dignity and not be put down or abused. May Allah help you to get out of this situation.

Backbiting

Allah Most High says, “O believers! Avoid many suspicions, ˹for˺ indeed, some suspicions are sinful. And do not spy, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of their dead brother? You would despise that! And fear Allah. Surely Allah is ˹the˺ Accepter of Repentance, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 49:12]

And He Most High says, “Woe to whoever disparages others behind their back or to their face.” [Qur’an, 104:1]

Hudhaifa reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A slanderer will not enter the Garden.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished and not for anything very great. One of them did not guard himself against urine and the other was involved in backbiting.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Please see the following links for a definition of backbiting and what to do when you hear it:
What Constitutes as Slander, Backbiting and How to Avoid It?
What To Do When You Hear Slander and Backbiting

You can’t control it when your mother backbites, but you can control listening to it. When she starts, just change the subject. If you can tell her that you don’t want to listen to slander, judge whether she can respectfully accept that or whether she will get angry. Act accordingly. If she can’t handle your reasoning, just leave the room or change the subject every time she starts. You could also respond to each of her complaints by saying something positive about the person.

Like a maid

You don’t need to accept being treated like a maid. If she genuinely needs help, you can divide your chores throughout the week and do them at your pace, not hers. If you are tired, tell her so. Ask your siblings to get involved in the chores as well, don’t expect your mother to tell them. Explain to your siblings that if you all work together at night, the chores will get done faster.
It is not obligatory for you to do your mother’s chores. Your obligation in Islam is to be kind to her, not to obey her.

Try your best not to shout at her, because it is sinful to disrespect one’s parents. I am not saying that you are unjustified in your anger, but channel your grief and anger into du`a in the last third of the night instead of shouting. Ask Allah to help and send you something better in your life. Perhaps, it is a good time to marry? Ask Allah to facilitate whatever is best for you, and ask Him for `afiyah (relief).

May Allah make it easy for you and give you `afiyah.

Shazia Ahmad

My Parents Humiliate Me Every Day. What Do I Do?
How Do We Deal With Parents Who Emotionally Abuse Their Children?
Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

My Mother Rejects Suitors Even Before I Meet Them. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

If a marriage proposal comes from someone out of state, my mom automatically rejects it. I’ve never even had the opportunity to sit down with a single person that has asked for my hand. I won’t even find out a person has asked until days if not weeks after my mother has already rejected the proposal. I cannot take this anymore. 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. Please forgive me for the delay.

Mother

It sounds like you need to have a calm discussion with your mother about your desire to get married. Many parents struggle to let go of their adult children. Explain to her that you feel ready to get married to the right person, and you want her love, blessings and support. Can you speak to your father about this too? Do you have aunties or any other respected elder in your family or community you can ask for support? Often, mothers respond better when another elder encourages them to listen to their children.

Destiny

Ubadah b. al Samit said to his son: “Son! You will not get the taste of the reality of faith until you know that what has come to you could not miss you, and that what has missed you could not come to you. I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace say: The first thing Allah created was the pen. He said to it: Write. It asked: What should I write, my Lord? He said: Write what was decreed about everything till the Last Hour comes. Son! I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) say: He who dies on something other than this does not belong to me. [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Dear sister, please know that whatever is destined for you will reach you, no matter what your mum does. When Allah wills, you will marry the man Allah has destined for you. Draw comfort from that, especially when you begin to get angry and upset at your mother.

Practice having a heart that smiles with Allah, no matter what is going around you. I encourage you to do breathing exercises when you start to feel angry at your mother. I also strongly encourage you to do this course Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfil the Rights of Your Parents to help you better understand the rank of your mother.

Trials

Narrated `Abdullah: I visited Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) while he was suffering from a high fever. I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! You have a high fever.” He said, “Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you.” I said, “Is it because you will have a double reward?” He said, “Yes, it is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves.” [Bukhari]

Your challenge is an incredible opportunity for heartfelt dua. Channel all of your strong feelings into the Prayer of Need, in the last third of the night. Allah is listening, and trust that He will answer you when the time is right.

Marriage

I encourage you to do your due diligence before you get married. Do your research by doing the course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and reading Before You Tie The Knot.

Read articles like these:

Emotionally Intelligent Husbands Are Key to a Lasting Marriage

I encourage you to learn more about yourself, and what you believe you need in a partner. What is your parents’ marriage like? Know that what you saw growing up, both the good and the bad, will be your default in your own marriage.

Marriage is indeed a gift and a protection, but it also deeply emotional growth work. Think of it this way – your patience and diplomacy with your mother is excellent training for marriage, and for your interactions with your future in-laws.

I pray that Allah blesses you with the gift of a loving and righteous husband.

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

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 Family Members Financially Exploit Me. Do I Need to Get Married to Improve My Circumstances?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My father passed away recently. Lately, I feel so frustrated because I think I need someone to make me feel I am special, someone who will help me with my business, and someone who will marry me, to be my mahram. I feel this because I am tired of being abused in terms of money by my relatives. I cannot say no to them.

For example, my mother is always borrowing my money for my siblings and their families. I feel it’s so unfair. I’m always crying and think that if my father were here, that would not happen. So it makes me think that I need someone to marry me, for my relatives to think that I also need to save money because I have my own family. What should I do?

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.

Boundaries

Dear sister, I am sorry that you are struggling so much with the death of your father, and the financial troubles with your family. You sound like a kind, generous and loving young woman, and I pray that Allah rewards your sacrifices in this world and the next.

When you feel lonely and overwhelmed, it is natural for you to long for the support and love of a husband. We were all created to long for that special kind of companionship. If Allah wills it, then marriage would be a wonderful protection for you. However, until that happens, I suggest that you work on improving your assertiveness skills.

Marriage

Keep in mind that when you are feeling vulnerable, you risk rushing into marriage with an unsuitable husband. If you do not learn how to assert yourself, then you risk getting married to someone who can take advantage of your kindness and generosity. A stressful marriage can potentially make things worse for you.

Please educate yourself through the SeekersHub course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages, the lesson set Getting Married with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, and by reading books such as Before You Tie The Knot.

Instead of hoping that marriage will make things easier for you, trust that you already have the skills within you to improve your life. For example, you need to learn how to be more assertive with your family members, and how to budget your finances.

Support

Who else can you lean on for support? Do you have close friends? Other relatives?

I urge you to wake up in the last third of the night, every night, or as frequently as you are able to, and perform the Prayer of Need.

Counselling

Please look for a Muslimah life coach, culturally-sensitive counsellor, psychologist, or holistic healer, to help you learn how to say no. Start to value your own self, independent of any man in your life. You are already important because you exist. You already matter to Allah. Allah has blessed you with the gift of belief.

Assertiveness

If you are struggling to find help, then I strongly suggest that you try some self-hypnosis downloads. You can listen to tracks such as these in the comfort of your own home:

Assertiveness training
10 Steps to Absolute Assertiveness

Please focus on growing stronger and more grounded. This will help you make better life choices.

It can be extremely difficult to say no to family members, especially your mother. The first time you say no will be the hardest. I pray that it gets easier with practice.

Finances

Could you consider hiring a financial planner to help you with your finances? Sit down with a professional to work out a proper budget. Decide how much you want to save, how much you can donate to your family, and how much you need for expenses.

When you have a budget in front of you, then you will feel less overwhelmed. You do not need to be married and have children to create a budget.

Father

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) as saying: “A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your ‘if’ opens the (gate) for Satan.” [Sahih Muslim]

I am sorry that you have lost the protection of love and of your father. As heartbreaking as it is, know that now you have the opportunity to learn how to stand up for yourself. You do not need to remain a victim. You can choose to empower yourself.

Trial

Narrated Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” [Bukhari]

This dunya is a place of tests and tribulations. I encourage you to reflect on the most common and recurring tests in your life. Allah sends these trials to you to help you grow, out of love for you. The sooner you learn these lessons, then the sooner you can move on to your next area of growth. Know that growth is often painful, even though it is good for you.

I encourage you to read up on Growth Mindset to help you reframe your challenges.

Self-care

I suggest that you download apps such as Calm and Headspace to help you learn how to notice and let go of your troubled thoughts. Mindfulness will not make your fears and worries go away, but it will help you cope better with them. Ensure that you are eating nutritious food, exercising, keeping good company, and giving in charity either in time, money, or both.

I pray that Allah grants you courage, wisdom, and nearness to Him.

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

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 Friend’s Mother Pushes Him to Get Married to Her Niece. What Should He Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My friend is in love with a young woman and wants to marry her. Unfortunately, against his wishes, his mother has arranged a marriage to his cousin. His mother said that if he is a good son who wants her duas, then he must obey her. What should he do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Balance

This is a very challenging and delicate situation.

Please recommend this book to your friend: Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples by Salma Elkadi Abugideiri and Imam Mohamed Hag Magid. It has an excellent section which goes into detail about the challenge your friend is facing.

In short, the authors do not recommend getting into a marriage simply because one’s parents are forcing one to. This can lead to great heartbreak and resentment.

Mother

The obligation upon your friend is to treat his mother with respect and kindness. It is not obligatory upon him to follow her blindly. However, it is a major sin for him to break her heart. This is why it is so important for him to tread carefully.

I strongly encourage your friend to enrol in this course – Excellence With Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.

Mediation

Is there another family member or community elder who can advocate for him? This situations sounds like it needs a delicate hand, and another elder may be the key to persuading his mother.

Your friend needs to communicate these points to his mother, in a way she can accept, most likely through the advocacy of an elder:

1) it is not her right to force her son into marriage.
2) her niece will be unhappy because her future husband is in love with another woman.
3) working together with her son instead of against him will help everyone in the long run.

Marriage

Please encourage your friend to perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward. He must watch what Allah unfolds for him, as objectively as possible.

For example, a clear sign for him to pursue marriage with the woman he loves is his mother softening her stance. A clear sign for him to let go is his mother refusing to change her mind.

Please encourage your friend to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, even if it’s 5-10 minutes before the entry of Fajr. Ask him to beg Allah to make a way out of this situation.

Ideal

The best case scenario here is your friend winning his mother over and gaining her blessings before he marries the woman of his choice.

Persuading his mother will take some time and a lot of effort and patience. Some short-term discomfort and delay will pay off tremendously in the long run. Even the best of marriages take a lot of adjustment in the beginning, and it is far better for your friend to have his mother’s blessings.

Caution

If your friend does not successfully persuade his mother and decides to go ahead with marrying the woman he loves, then it may be an uphill battle. The stress of in-laws who do not accept a new spouse can be too much to bear, and end up causing divorce.

If your friend manages to keep his new marriage afloat, then often the birth of a child helps to smooth things over. Grandchildren have the uncanny ability to soften even the hardest of hearts.

I pray that Allah blesses your friend with the patience and the wisdom to be kind to his mother, while being honest with himself.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Do I Have to Marry Someone Within My Caste to Please My Family?
Can My Mother Force Me to Marry Someone?

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 Mother Refuses to Let Me Marry Until I Buy Her a House. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My mother made it very clear that I am not allowed to marry until I buy her a house. This distresses me deeply. I feel so terrible, have moved out of home, and have fallen into the sin of pornography. My mother has also threatened to ruin the life of whoever I marry. What do I do?

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.

Mother

Dear questioner, your mother in this scenario sounds extremely unwell. Despite this, you must still treat her with respect. Respect does not mean blind obedience. Respect means not raising your voice at her, being patient with her, and being of service to her.

When registration reopens, I please enrol in and complete this course: Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.

Please do everything in your power to mend ties with your mother. Give her gifts. Ask her how she is. Help her with her errands. Do this out of sincerity, and not because you want her to give you permission to marry. Please work on establishing a genuine, caring relationship with her. Take a break from the battleground of marriage talks.

Fears

Try to understand what your mother is afraid of. The elderly often have very strong fears, and struggle to communicate them. Instead of having vulnerable and honest conversations, it is easier for them to lash out in anger. Is she afraid that when you marry, you will abandon her? What have you done to reassure her?

Prayer

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about getting married. You may think it is a good idea, but only Allah knows best.

Please perform the Prayer of Need about healing your relationship with your mother.

Marriage

Are you still addicted to pornography? If so, then please refer to Purify Your Gaze.

When registration reopens, please enrol in and complete Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. in the meantime, I encourage you to listen to:

1) Podcasts such as Content of Character and The Rawha.
2) Lesson sets such as Getting Married.

What do you have to offer your future wife?

It sounds like unless things change, you must inform your future wife that:

1) that your mother is deeply unhappy with you and whoever you marry
2) you have a pornography addiction which you are working on healing.

The right woman for you will be able to accept your challenges and be a support for you.

Support

What kind of support do you have? How are your prayers? Are you sleeping, eating and exercising well?

Blessings

Fiqh-wise, you can get married without your mother’s blessings. However, there is the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law. It is far better for you, your wife, and your future children, for you to marry with your mother’s blessings.

I pray that Allah grants you the wisdom, courage and patience to draw closer to your mother, and through that, closer to Allah.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Missed Prayers
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 Mother Abuses Her Children. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My mother yells at everyone around her. Everyone just agrees with what she says to avoid conflicts. She treats all of my siblings badly, except for my youngest who is allowed to insult us. I fear being a mum if it means hurting my children the way my mother has hurt us. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah soothe your heart, and make things easier for you.

Counselling

I cannot imagine how painful it must be to be tested with a mother like yours.

Please seek out a culturally-sensitive counsellor. You need to process your feelings, learn better coping skills, and learn healthier ways to interact with your mother. You cannot change your mother’s behaviour, but you can change your own. Learning mindfulness, meditation, and other relaxation activities will help you manage your feelings of anxiety and stress when you are at home with her.

Education

I urge you to do complete this life-changing course: Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.

When you have been hurt for so long, it’s tempting to completely distance yourself from your abusive parent. However, this is not the way of our deen. Empower yourself with life-giving knowledge. Know what Allah calls you to, in this difficult situation, and do your utmost to rise to the occasion.

Prayer

Please do your best to waking up before the entry of Fajr and perform the Prayer of Need. Beg Allah to soften your mother’s heart. When speaking to creation gets you nowhere, take it as a reminder to speak to the Creator.

Motherhood

Salman reported that Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Verily, Allah created, on the same very day when He created the heavens and the earth, one hundred parts of mercy. Every part of mercy is coextensive with the space between the heavens. and the earth and He out of this mercy endowed one part to the earth and it is because of this that the mother shows affection to her child and even the beasts and birds show kindness to one another and when there would be the Day of Resurrection, Allah would make full (use of Mercy).” [Sahih Muslim]

Under normal circumstances, a mother’s mercy is truly something tremendous. I am sorry that you have not experienced this with your own mother. I pray that Allah will give you the chance to show love, patience and compassion to your own children. As you know, firsthand, motherhood is not for everyone. However, with the right tools, abused children such as yourself can become incredible parents. What you have is the gift of insight, and a determination to not repeat history.

Books such as “Parenting From The Inside Out” by by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed. will help you process your grief, help free you from your past, and help you be the best mother you can be. Healing from childhood trauma is a lifelong journey, and having a child is a tremendous incentive to heal. You will still make mistakes because you are human, but inshaAllah, your children will not ever undergo the pain you went through with your mother.

This may be incredibly hard for you to believe, but perhaps the arrival of grandchildren will soften your mother’s heart. Anything is possible through the Mercy of Allah.

Support

Who do you have for support? What are some things you can do to help you feel better?

Siblings

It can be difficult to navigate relationships amongst siblings in an abusive home. It sounds like your youngest sibling has been given license to treat the rest of you badly. This is unacceptable. Calmly state that it’s not OK for him to behave that way, and walk away. There is no need for you to fall into the trap of argumentation and name-calling; simply assert yourself firmly and respectfully. Your youngest sibling is learning from the unfortunate example of your mother, so model better behaviour.

I pray that Allah soothes the hearts in your household, softens your mother’s heart, and inspires you to respond in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Please see:

I Am Estranged From My Abusive Parents. Am I in a State of Disobedience to 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.