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Being a Daughter, a Woman, and Living This Life

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil counsels on the role and duty of daughter toward parents, being a woman, feeling isolated overwhelmed by expectations.

 

Question:

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.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Living Alone

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?

Exception

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.

Father

“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.

Life Coaching

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?

Travel

Please refer to this link for clarification: Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?

Spiritual Nourishment

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.

Please see: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Infertility: Why does Allah Not Bless Some With Children?

As part of the SeekersHub Ramadan series, Supplications from the Qur’an, Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad al-Azhari addressed a sensitive and sometimes painful topic:

Infertility

Why does Allah bless some of us with children, and others not? Is it better to be a happy, childless couple than to be an unhappy pair of parents to a child, who has been sent to test us? When praying for Allah to grant us children, what should we pray for – just any child or one that is a “trust bearer”?

This is a beautiful, concise explanation – just ten minutes, that is sure to move you and humble you.

Listen to it on our podcast or watch it here:

 

Resources on infertility and parenting:

The Powerful Dua of a Parent
Maryam: Blessed Mother & Child
Raising a Muslim with Manners
Prophetic Advice For Raising Righteous Children
Raising Children with Deen and Dunya
Making Ramadan a Time for Young Hearts to Grow
Ibn Khaldun on the instruction of children and its different methods
Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children
The Prophet Muhammad’s Love, Concern, & Kindness for Children
On Parents Showing Righteousness to Children
Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz’s advice on duas to read during pregnancy and labour and for infertility

Raised in Adornments and Ineffective in Disputes: The Meaning and Background of Verse 43:18 of the Qur’an

Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Could you please point me to an explanation of the verse 43:18, that says:

“(Like they then for Allah) a creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing silk and gold ornaments, i.e. women) and who in dispute cannot make herself clear”?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for your question.

The verse 43:18 is part of a series of verses in which Allah Ta’ala is refuting the polytheists who ascribed children to Allah by saying that the angels were His daughters. Yet, for themselves, they preferred having sons because they looked down on female children.

Allah Most High then uses their own stereotype against them: if they feel that a female child is simply raised in adornments and unable to defend herself in a dispute and thus undesirable, why do they then ascribe a daughter to Allah?  This is a rhetorical technique that Allah often uses to expose their self-contradictory views, and thus disprove the entire belief system of polytheism as illogical and baseless.

An Analysis of the Verses

Allah Most High says:

“And they [the polytheists] invented an offspring for Him [Allah] from amongst His servants… truly, the people [who do that] are clear in their disbelief! / Or [do you claim that] He took daughters for Himself from that which He created, while dedicating sons for you all?!/

[Yet,] when one of them is given good news of [the birth of a daughter], which they ascribe to the Most-Merciful, their faces grow dark and they are brimming [with disappointment]! / [Do they even ascribe as child to Allah] a being who is ‘raised wearing adornments and unable to make a clear argument in a dispute’?” [Quran 43:15-18]

The background of this verse is that the disbelievers of Mecca used to falsely ascribe offspring to Allah Most High, who is exalted above having any sort of co-sharer in divinity, whether through partner, consort or child.

The polytheists went further to say that the angels were the daughters of Allah, while they used to prefer having boys for themselves.  Their pre-Islamic culture saw daughters as weak, dependent and unable to earn and defend themselves- in short, a burden.

Allah Most High, when refuting the claims of the disbelievers, often uses their own cultural stereotypes against them to point out their contradictions.  Allah describes female children not according to their essential reality, but rather, according to the cultural stereotype of the ones being addressed, to emphasize their hypocrisy.

As Ibn al-Athir comments, “The purpose of this [manner of argument] is to expose their false ideology, and that they do not soundly use their intellect in their beliefs.   Otherwise, then when they ascribed children to Allah, they wouldn’t have chosen daughters to ascribe to Him, while they themselves considered daughters to be some disliked and weak.” [Ibn al-Athir, al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir]

Daughters and their Place in Islam

These verses also contain a refutation of the false idea that daughters are inauspicious and useless compared to sons, by ascribing disappointment in having a daughter to people who do not worship Allah Most High.  Had there been any shame in daughters, Allah would not have made His final Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have four of them.

Islam has shattered this pre-Islamic outlook here and in many other ways, including the banning of the burial of baby girls, the optional slaughtering of a sheep in thanks and celebration for their birth, and the promising of Paradise alongside the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a reward for one who raises daughters properly.

As Imam al-Sakhawi said, “and had there not been auspiciousness in [daughters], the purest lineage and prophetic bloodline, would not have been carried forth through a woman”, because it was through the Prophet’s only surviving daughter, Fatima, that his lineage continues until this day, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them both. [al-Sakhawi, al-Maqasid al-Hasana]

And Allah knows best.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani