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Told by Parents to Cut Ties with Brother

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil gives a detailed answer on being asked by parents to cut ties with a brother.

I have an older brother who is very dear to me (raised me and my sister very well). He is a really great guy, but recently he has “fallen in love” with a horrible woman. She had her eye on him when he was in relations with her cousin, and since then she had flirted with him and made him fall in love with her.

She is older and also has two young children. She always goes out and she shows my brother off as if they are married. She has sworn at my parents many times and called my family bad names, but my brother really wants to marry her and she won’t let go.

This has been going on for four years and my parents are very hurt by his actions. They have done everything to get him to stop other than agree to let him marry her. I am very lost and don’t know what to do. It’s like choosing between my parents and brother. I resent his girlfriend as well, I really don’t like her. My parents gave them two chances, They ruined both, but they won’t stop asking to get married.

My father said to my brother that he can go get married but we will cut all ties with him. Should we be cutting ties with my brother? In Islam, we are supposed to do everything for our parents, but we are also told not to cut ties, so I’m very confused on what to do at this point.

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

Cutting off Ties

“If they strive to make you associate with Me anything about which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. Yet keep their company in this life according to what is right.” (Sura Luqman 31:15)

I am sorry to hear about your troubled family situation. It is very difficult when your own brother wants to marry someone who has treated your family so poorly.

Even so, cutting off ties with your brother is impermissible. You are permitted to keep a reasonable distance from him and his future wife e.g. visiting them monthly instead of weekly, for example.

Even if your parents forbid you from visiting him, please know that there is no obedience in disobeying Allah.

Looking to the Future

Please know that if your brother has children, then they are innocent from the sins of their mother, and are still your nephews and nieces. Especially while they are young, the only way you can cultivate a relationship with them is through keeping on civil terms with your future sister-in-law. You do not have to like her, but you do have to treat her with respect and kindness.

Cultivating Influence

Connection brings about influence. Cutting off ties will render your parents and you powerless. The more you distance yourself from your brother, the more he will stay connected to the woman he wants to marry, instead of you and your family. If your parents cut him off, how will they get to know their future grandchildren? Choosing short-term relief will cause long-term pain. Choosing short-term difficulty (working on accepting a difficult daughter-in-law) will bring about long-term happiness, inshaAlah.

Wisdom behind This

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (peace and blessings be upon her): Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Keys of the unseen knowledge are five, which nobody knows but Allah.Nnobody knows what will happen tomorrow; nobody knows what is in the womb; nobody knows what he will gain tomorrow; nobody knows at what place he will die; and nobody knows when it will rain.” (Bukhari)

Allah Most High knows what we do not know. This whole difficult situation is a means to exercise patience and good character.

Perhaps your brother just needs to learn the hard way by getting married to this woman. Perhaps Allah has destined this woman to be the mother of his children.

Perhaps marriage will soften her heart. Being a single mother of two children is no easy task. Perhaps the security of marriage will help to bring out her kindness, and perhaps she will ask forgiveness from your parents. The question is whether or not your parents can find in their hearts to forgive her. In the end, she is the wife your brother has chosen.

In case his marriage does not work out, then it is all the more important for you to stay in touch with your brother.

Goodness to Parents

Narrated Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him: A man asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him: “What deeds are the best?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “(1) To perform the (daily compulsory) prayers at their (early) stated fixed times, (2) to be good and dutiful to one’s own parents, (3) and to participate in Jihad in Allah’s Cause.” (Bukhari)

It is indeed your personal obligation to be respectful and kind to your parents. However, this does not include obeying them in that which displeases Allah. Explain this to them calmly, with the utmost deference.

See Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn and Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfil Them.

Beneath your parents’ anger are probably deep feelings of helplessness, disappointment, grief, and so on. They are both probably so heartbroken that after everything they have done to raise your brother, he has turned his back on them by wanting to marry a woman of bad character. This is a great test for them.

Good Character and Boundaries

It is a very big headache to feel stuck in between your parents and your brother and his future wife. So I encourage you to see it this way: the more they complain about each other to you, the less likely they are able to mend ties. They need to talk to each other, not about each other. This is, of course, easier said than done.

It is all the more important for you to show good character. This does not mean being a doormat, however. When you do attend your brother’s wedding and visit his family home, be kind and patient. If your future sister-in-law starts to badmouth your parents, then draw a polite and firm boundary, e.g. “Please do not speak about my parents like that.” Suggest that she raise her concerns directly with them, with a mediator.

Similarly, suggest that your parents find a wise elder/local scholar to mediate a discussion with your brother and his future wife.

Working with Reality

Four years of bad blood is a long time. Unless your brother’s future wife has an undiagnosed mental illness, I do not understand the motive behind her bad behavior towards your parents. Is she lashing out in response to feeling shamed?

She probably knows that she is not ideal wife material. It sounds like your parents would have preferred that your brother marry someone younger and a virgin, and perhaps someone of their choosing. Instead, he chose a culturally frowned upon older single mother. She didn’t “make him” fall in love with her – nobody has that kind of power. He freely gave his heart away and wants to marry her.

Growth Mindset

She is either a problem or an opportunity for growth – and she is not going away. I advise you and your parents to accept this reality, and to embrace her place in your brother’s life with open, forgiving hearts. At least she is Muslim. Reflect on that. She is openly sinful, but at least she is still Muslim. Imagine your brother wanted to marry a non-Muslim single mother.

I am not saying that what she is doing is right. I am merely stating this fact – she is not going away. So show her compassion and good character, in the hopes that she will soften, and perhaps one day ask your parents for forgiveness. I pray that your brother knows the responsibility he is carrying, by being a stepfather to two small children. Perhaps his kindness to them will help them be better in behavior than their mother.

However, for as long as he is angering your parents, then he is not in a good state with Allah. So I encourage your parents to find a way to forgive him for his foolishness, and his poor decision-making skills. He has many other virtues, from your description. It is better for your parents’ hearts, too, to let go of their understandable anger. May Allah elevate their ranks in Jannah for enduring so much. You all have a choice in how you respond to this tribulation. It has dragged on for far too long, so choose forgiveness, compassion, and mercy.

Reflection Exercise

Imagine the difference in these two scenarios:

Scenario A (what your parents are headed to): A wedding where your brother has none of his family with him, a heart full of rejection, anger and sadness, and a daughter-in-law who is even more sure that her in-laws do not want her, and stepchildren who will not know their stepfather’s family. Your sister-in-law is unlikely to want your brother’s unborn children to have a relationship with any of you. Rejection breeds more rejection.

Scenario B: A wedding with the blessing of your parents, and a joining of families. Your brother’s heart overflowing with love for all of you, your future sister-in-law softened by the acceptance of her in-laws, and her children knowing that they have a stepfather, new step-uncles and step aunties, and even step-grandparents. Your brother’s children will be happily embraced by your parents. Love brings about more love.

The choice is yours. I pray this has been helpful.

Please also see When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How? and Do I have to Obey my Parents if they Order me To Leave Sunnah Acts?

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Do I Have to Obey My Parents If They Stop Me From Listening to Religious Talks?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My father, due to me becoming more religious, has banned me from listening to tafsir of the Quran. Can I disobey?

Also he has requested that everything else Islamic I listen to from the internet should be sent to him. Is it reasonable?

Answer: Assalam alaykum. I pray you’re well.

Obeying parents is a weighty issue in Islam, however it is not unconditional, and there are times when one can, or must go against their wishes.

Obeying parents

Obeying parents is a general command. One does not have to obey them when they forbid one from performing obligatory acts, in the same way one does not listen to them if they order one to do something prohibited.

As for when the parents forbid one from recommended or permissible acts in which there is some worldly or religious benefit, then there is some details to this. The upshot of which is that if doing so does not result in neglecting their rights and needs (if they are dependent) then one is not obliged to obey them. Further details can be found in the following answer:

When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?

However, even if one is not obliged to listen to one’s parents in some matters, one is always obliged to treat them with respect and gentleness and not show irritability or anger.

Considerations

While your father’s demands and rules seem harsh, and may need to be relaxed, he may not be laying down these rules out of disdain for you being religious, but out of fear you may listen to negative talks that would seem ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’. Given the current political scene and problems, one can understand his fear. You are his son, and he may be worried that you will change.

Also, as you are living under his roof, he may feel that he has a responsibility over what is listened to/watched in the house. It may not be fair, but perhaps the best way forward and to show him how better a person you are for practicing the religion, and to avoid further confrontation, is to meet him half-way. Try the following:

– If you listen to a talk, tell your father you want to listen to it together (or the whole family even). Let him see the scholars you are listening to, and over time, he will realise that the path you are on is one of true religious knowledge, and not anything to be concerned about. If it’s tafsir that he’s particularly concerned about, then listen to those together. Both of you will benefit.

– If you do listen to talks on your own, send him the link and let him monitor them. Over time, like you said, he probably won’t check each one, and he’ll realise there’s nothing to worry about.

– Perhaps seek out a local scholar who may subtly intervene for you and reassure your father.

– If none of the above work, and you choose to disobey your father’s orders, then avoid confrontation, treat them with kindness, be polite, and let your actions show them that whatever you are listening to is having a positive effect on you. Getting angry and aggressive will only double their concerns.

By playing by your father’s rules, a) he is reassured, b) you get to listen to at least some talks on a regular basis, and c) you have fulfilled your parents’ rights by showing consideration and respect. When you do things this way, I have no doubt that Allah Most High will open up doors for you.

Final Note

Lastly, I should say, the above is written in the view that you are listening to talks by scholars of sound traditional learning. One must be careful who one takes their religion from, as there are a lot of religious talks out there, especially on the internet, that are not based on sound knowledge and wisdom, espousing many erroneous views and inciting their listeners to a hate-filled and narrow minded view of the religion. These should be avoided at all costs.

And Allah knows best.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Can I Make up Fasts Even If My Parents Prevent Me From Doing So?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I want to make up my fasts from previous years however I am only allowed by my parents to do so once a week. It causes my mother mental and emotional distress every time it comes up. Should I push it? Is this shirk in any way?

Answer:Wa’alaykum assalam. Thank you for writing in. May Allah reward you greatly for making up your missed fasts.

Making up obligatory acts of worship

The scholars state that worship missed for a valid excuse must be made up, but it is not obligatory to make them up immediately, though recommended. Worship missed without a valid excuse must be made up immediately. [Bushra al Karim]

‘Immediately’ means spending all one’s time and efforts to make them up, other than the necessary aspects of life such as eating, sleeping, working etc. In practical terms however, the most realistic way to make up worship is to estimate the amount that one can maintain and continue on it, increasing when possible.

Obeying parents

The general rule in regards to obeying parents is that one does not have to obey them when they forbid one from performing obligatory acts or confirmed sunnas, in the same way one does not listen to them if they order one to do something prohibited.

What is obligatory however, irrespective of what they are asking one to do or not do, is that one treats their parents with kindness and patience. You can find more information about obeying/disobeying parents here.

Wisdom and Practicalities

Given the above, the basic ruling is that you are not obliged to comply to your parents’ wishes that you only make up one fast a week. However, how you practically go about this must be coupled with wisdom, especially given your living conditions.

You’ve mentioned that there is no valid reason they are forbidding you to make up more fasts. However, there may be some fear there that they haven’t expressed, even if it is irrational.

Perhaps the best approach would be talk to them again (or get someone else to talk to them that they will listen to). Explain to them that it is of the utmost importance that you make these fasts up, and that as an adult you are obliged to make them up as soon as possible.

If they get very upset or distressed, or life at home becomes unbearable, then perhaps try to reach a mutual agreement that will be more comfortable with them, such as increasing 2 days each week for example. If they are worried about your health, then assure them that you’ll take a rest if you show any signs being unwell.

Do your best to stick to your intentions as much as is possible, while showing your parents good character and an easy nature. Inshallah, over time they will accept your firmness and determination.

As for shirk, no, this doesn’t enter into your case.

May Allah make things easy for you, and grant you tawfiq in fulfilling your obligations to Him and your parents.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

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

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Since I was very young, I was physically and psychologically abused by my parents. I became very depressed and confused. It resulted in me not praying and committing sins. I then decided to distance myself from them, and from then on, my life got a lot better.


I found out that obedience to parents is very important in our deen. What should I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah make a way out for you from your tribulation.

Abusive parents

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” [Qur’an, 17:23]

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]

I am so sorry to hear about what you have been through. You were an innocent child, entrusted to your parents, and they broke that trust, over and over again. AlhamduliLlah, now that you are an adult, you are in a better position to decide what to do about your estrangement from them.

Rights of parents

I strongly encourage you to sign up for the lesson The Rights of Parents when registration reopens. We are commanded to show respect and kindness to our parents, even if they are oppressive.

Because your parents have hurt you so deeply, it is even more important for you to understand what Allah expects from you in this situation. This course is life-changing, subhan Allah, and I recommend that all children complete it, especially those who were abused by their parents.

Moving forward

Please speak to a culturally-sensitive counselor to support you through the process of reconciliation. Getting back in contact with your parents is probably going to be extremely difficult for you, so please take it in stages.

Do you have close friends and/or family members? Please lean on them for support. Childhood wounds run deep, and may threaten your well-being. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with too much contact with them, too soon. Think of reconciliation as a marathon, and not a sprint.

You can start with sending your parents gifts, postcards, emails, letters, and the like. Work your way up to calling them on the phone. When you are ready to visit them, please go with a trusted companion, instead of going alone. Limit your interactions with them to an amount you can handle.

Insha Allah over time, and through repeated exposure to them, your tolerance to them will increase. The minute you feel yourself sliding into depression, please withdraw and do things to help you recover e.g. read Qur’an, make dhikr, speak to your counselor, spend time with friends, etc.

Always make that intention to mend ties with them for Allah’s sake. This intention will carry you through the inevitable rough patches. Please perform the Prayer of Need as much as you need to, to keep you going. Make dua for Allah to make this easier for you, and for Him to soften your parents’ hearts.

May Allah reward you for wishing to mend ties with your parents. Trust that Allah Most High knows how hard this is for you, and that nothing is lost with Him. I pray that Allah makes easy your path to Jannah, through your desire to show kindness to your parents.

Please see:

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, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajid. 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.

I Work in My Parents’ Restaurant and They Do Not Let Me Pray on Time. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I work at my parents’ restaurant. They wait till they get home to make their prayers up. They won’t let me pray at work and I have to make them up at home. I told them I was going to leave school and find another job to be able to pray on time, but they threatened to kick me out. What can I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which is pleasing to Him. Please forgive me for the delay.

Parents

This is a delicate situation. I pray that Allah guides your parents and inspires them to uphold their prayer. They are blessed to have you as their son. Continue to make dua for them. Although they are in the wrong for forbidding you to pray at work, you must still treat them with respect.

Reflect on the Prophetic injunction that “there is no obedience to creation if it entails disobedience to the Creator.” [Tabarani, Mu’jam Kabir; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba]

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah for an opening.

Solutions

Please sit your parents down and explain that you love them, respect them, and that it is extremely important that you pray on time. Make it clear that you will do so quickly, efficiently, and it will not impact on your job performance.

If they still disagree, when you are at work and prayer time enters, is there anywhere for you to privately perform your prayer? Please remain steadfast on praying on time.

Is there a compassionate local scholar, family member or community elder who can speak to your parents on your behalf?

When all else fails, explain to your parents that you will need to look for a new job that allows you to pray. Many non-Muslim employees are very understanding about your need to perform your prayers.

Threats

Some parents make empty threats when their children do not fall in line. I hope that your parents are bluffing. If not, please save up money and be prepared to live on your own, or with a Muslim roommate. Don’t break ties with your parents even if they do kick you out. Visit them, call them, and give them gifts.

Please refer to the following links:

When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?
If My Parents Prepare Meat That is Not Halal, Should I Avoid Eating It?
Positive Spiritual Thinking: Choosing Mindfulness (taqwa) and Embracing Trust (tawakkul) by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Alpha

How Should I Deal With a Mentally Ill Mother?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: As Salam Alaykum,

My mother is seriously mentally ill. She fluctuates between emotional extremes. Because of this I have endured a lifetime of severe emotional abuse. I can’t go on living this way with her bullying me. What can I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The Divine Command

Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا (الإسراء 23)
Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and 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 honour (Qur’an 17:23).

In this verse, Allah has prohibited us from uttering the word “uff” (translated above as “a word of contempt”). In Arabic, the word “uff” signifies the slightest degree of annoyance or displeasure. The scholars point out that Allah’s prohibiting us from uttering even the word “uff” to our parents means that greater forms of harm (e.g. verbal abuse, physical harm, etc.) are even more reprehensible.

In addition, Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ (لقمان 14)
And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), “Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal (Qur’an 31:14).

Notably, throughout the entire Qur’an, Allah does not command showing gratitude to anyone other than Him and one’s parents (as in the verse above). These and other texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah show the incredible emphasis that Islam places on honoring one’s parents. For more, one could consult Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous (Riyad al-Saliheen), of which chapter 40 is titled “On dutifulness to parents and maintaining ties of kinship.”

A Command Not Unconditional

Although we are obligated to maintain honor and respect for our parents at all times, this does not necessarily mean that obedience to them is obligatory in every situation. Please carefully read this Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s article, which clarifies this issue in great detail.

Given your mother’s mental illness, obeying her when she requests your personal information or that of your daughter could very likely result in serious worldly harm coming to you or your daughter. Hence, you do not have to obey her in these requests. Of course, you should maintain respect and politeness, even when denying her requests. In doing so, you may want to consider enlisting the help of someone who has influence over your mother such as her parent, spouse, sibling, community leader, or religious scholar. Such people can assist in convincing your mother to respect your rights as an independent adult and also to obtain the professional medical care that she clearly needs.

Turning to Allah

Finally, after taking all worldly means to resolve this situation, you should not forget the greatest means of all: turning to Allah, the One who brings ease after hardship. This can be done by increasing in all forms of worship such as prayer, dhikr, fasting, giving sadaqah (charity), etc. In particular, prayer and supplication in the last third of the night is one of the greatest means for one’s requests to be answered. Also, the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) taught us to make the prayer of need (salah al-hajah) for any worldly or other-worldly need that we have. The prayer of need is very simple: It is essentially to raise one’s need to Allah Most High, by performing ritual ablution (wudu), praying 2 rakats (or four), and then making whole-hearted dua to Allah. Any dua is acceptable, but duas that have been transmitted in the Sunnah are best. The dua which has been specifically transmitted in relation to the prayer of need (as recorded by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) is as follows:


لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلامَةَ مِنْ كُلّ إِثْمٍ
لا تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلا غَفَرْتَهُ وَلا هَمًّا إِلا فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلا حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلا قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ

La ilaha il Allah Al Halim al Karim
Subhan Allahi Rabi Al ‘Arshi Al ‘Adhim
Al Hamdullillahi Rabi Al ‘Alamin
Ass’aluka mujibat rahmatika wa ‘aza’im maghfiratika wa al ghanima min kuli birr wa al salamata min kuli ithm
La tada’ li dhamban ila ghafartahu wa la haman ila farajtahu wa la hajatan hiya laka rida ila qadaytaha ya Arham ar Rahimin.

There there no god but Allah the Clement and Wise.
There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty.
Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin.
Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!”

Wassalam,
Umer Mian

Photo: Danumurthi Mahendra

When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam’aleykum

A sister is facing difficulties with her parents. It seems nothing she does pleases them. She is organizing a fundraiser but her father accuses her of using it as a means to do wrong. She also teaches 13-15 year old girls in an Islamic school; her father does not want her involved in this either. What can she do?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Obedience to parents is a general obligation, and one of the most central social injunctions of Islam. Being bad to one’s parents is one of the greatest of the major sins, as the Qur’an and our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) repeatedly explained.

Not Unconditional

HOWEVER, obedience is not unconditional and absolute. If parents forbid one from one’s fard, wajib or confirmed sunna duties, one may not listen to them, as is the case if they order one to do something haram or prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman).

If parents forbid one from something recommended (mandub) or permitted in which there is a personal worldly or religious benefit, then there is detail concerning this point:

-If doing this act leads to the non-fulfillment of one’s obligation or duty to one’s parents, such as financially providing for them or serving them if they are old and have no means but you, then you HAVE to obey them;

-If doing so does not lead to such non-fulfillment, or if they are not dependent on your providing or service, then if obedience to them will lead you to forgo real personal worldly or religious benefit, then one may disobey them, though, as some scholars clarify, this would have to be done with respect, politeness and in an indirect, non-confrontational way, because any show of disrespect, or impoliteness to one’s parents is a grave sin. [Culled from Ibn Abidin’s Hashiya, al-Tahanawi’s Imdad al-Fatawa, Shaykh Taqi al-Uthmani’s Commentary on Jami` al-Tirmidhi, and Imam al-Saffarayini al-Hanbali’s Ghidha’ al-Albab]

At the same time, it is especially important for sisters to realize that Islam generally discourages women, especially young women, to spend unnecessary time outside the house, especially when there is fitna or danger, and, as such, some of the parents’ fears about the sister may stem from this, and have some justification. Therefore, while she should not give up doing such Islamically praiseworthy activities, they should not lead her to spend undue time outside the house, and she should do them in a way that keeps her parents happy.

Usually, being exceptionally good, well-mannered, and loving with parents (and others) makes them so grateful to one that they just cannot be upset with you, even if they disagree with your actions. After a while, they will even grudgingly accept that your religious practice has made you a better child and a better human being. This is what we should seek, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I was only sent to perfect noble manners,” And, “The most weighty thing on one’s scales on the Day of Judgement is good character.”

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Jim Boud

Should I Listen to My Husband or My Mother?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Having been recently married, I am noticing a general conflict between the advices from my husband and my mother. I love both of them and do not wish to upset either of them. Should I obey to my husband or my mother?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for your sincerity in refining your character and improving your ties with your family.

Balance

The key here is balance and discretion. The first year of marriage is challenging because you are now learning to balance the new roles in your life – wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, friend etc. Over time and through trial and error, inshaAllah you will get the hang of it.

Time

Ensure that you spend time with your mother – she is probably missing you. Give her gifts, call her, and be of service to her. Do the same for your husband.

Istikhara

If you are absolutely stuck in a matter and are unsure how to proceed, please perform the Prayer of Guidance and wait to see what unfolds.

Please refer to the following links:

Balancing Marital Privacy Against Living with My Mother
Is the Husband’s First Priority His Parents Whereas a Wife’s Her Husband?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

My Mother Does Not Want Me to Read up on Death and Judgement Day – Is It Haram for Me to Disobey Her?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My mom doesn’t want me searching up things about Judgement Day and death. Is it haram for me to disobey her and educate myself on the Hereafter, death and Judgement Day?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for having such sincere concern for your mother.

Obeying parents

No, it is not unlawful for you to disobey her by seeking out this critical knowledge. It is unlawful for you to disrespect or abuse her in the process.

It is important for you, as a Muslimah, to understand these matters which impact on your soul. Be tactful about your research because you know it upsets her i.e. don’t openly advertise what you are studying. Your duty as a daughter is to be kind to her, help her, and be respectful. You do not need to obey her if she calls you to something which will cause you spiritual, emotional or physical harm.

Continue to make dua for your mother.

Rights of parents

When registration re-opens, please enrol in The Rights of Parents to help you better understand the rights of your mother upon you.

May Allah guide you to what is most pleasing to Him.

Please refer to the following link:

Can I Pursue a Career That Goes Against My Parents’ Wishes?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Do I have to Obey my Parents if they Order me To Leave Sunnah Acts?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Since the beard is sunnah and not wajib in the Shafi’i madhhab, I was wondering what the ruling was for following/performing sunnah acts when parents forbid it without a good reason?

Answer: Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Dealing Righteously with Parents

Dealing well with one’s parents is an Islamic principle; dealing poorly with them, sinful. The Qur’an says: Worship Allah; do not join anything with Him, and be good to your parents (4:36); and: Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully. Lower to them the wings of humility towards them in kindness and say, ‘Lord, have mercy on them, just as they cared for me when I was little’ (17:23-4).

The Prophet (peace be upon him), in a Hadith narrated by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), also described the major sins as associating others in worship with Allah, and dealing poorly with one’s parents (Bukhari).

General Principle of Obedience

The general principle is to obey one’s parents in matters that do not entail disobedience to Allah or His Messenger: ‘If they strive to make you associate with Me anything about which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. Yet keep their company in this life according to what is right…’ (31:15).

There are, however, other situations in which it is permissible to disregard parental orders:

Recommended Acts

It is better to not leave off recommended acts if your parents order you to do so – such as keeping the beard in the Shafi’i school, or other sunnah acts. That being said, this should be done while maintaining mutual love and kindness.

Permissible Acts

It is better to obey one’s parents if they order you to do, or leave off, something that is permissible. It is, however, not considered sinful disobedience to disobey or disregard a parental order or prohibition regarding something that

– Does not harm or does not entail negative consequences for the child, or;
– Falls under the general rubric of advice or preference, or;
– Is generally considered silly or unreasonable, or;
– Doesn’t have a very good reason behind it
– Disobeying it would not be considered to constitute undue hardship for them

An example of an order that does not have to followed in a permissible matter is a parental order to divorce one’s wife. An example of a prohibition that does not have to be followed is preventing one from traveling for the sake of knowledge.

Additional Guidelines

The above constitute general guidelines. Disregarding parental advice, if one must, should be done in a manner that is respectful, maintains ties, and seeks to please. It is not permissible in a manner that is harsh, disrespectful, or abusive.

Furthermore, interpersonal relations are highly dependant on time, circumstance and custom. Different scenarios will necessarily demand varying courses of action, which can only be determined by knowing these circumstances, as well as a healthy dose of common sense.

Source: Al-Zawajir

Shuaib Ally