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Can My Mother Force Me to Marry Someone?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My mother wants me to marry a man living in our house who has helped us before the death of my dad. I am in a relationship with someone else that I love and we want to get married.

Can my mother force me to marry the man she chose?

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

May Allah facilitate ease for you in this challenging situation.

Contrary to the father, the mother may not enforce marriage upon the daughter. Similarly, the validity of a marriage is not dependent on the mother’s approval or permission.

That being said, the mother holds a very high and lofty position in Islam. The Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam said, “The parent (mother and father) is the best door to Paradise. You may destroy that door if you wish; or you may protect it.” He sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam also said, “Paradise lies beneath the feet of mothers.”

I would advise that you determine why is it that your mother prefers the gentlemen living in your home over your current “partner”. It may be that she believes he is not the right person for you. She may have some insight into the situation that you may not be aware of. I therefore advise that you have a sit down with your mother with an open heart, trying to understand what her reasons are. Mothers only act out of concern for their children. If however, you find that her reasons are not acceptable, then try speaking to one of her friends or a local scholar that may speak to her about your situation.

Nonetheless, always remember that your mother is irreplaceable and that as far as possible, strive to please her.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Parents – Your Door to Allah’s Acceptance, by Ustadh Uthman Bally

Sometimes a door to Allah is opened in the form of a good deed, such as praying or giving charity but then the door of acceptance is still closed. Through parents, this final door can be opened. parents the door to acceptanceUstadh Uthman Bally recounts story upon wonderful story of how the relationship with our parents can have a major effect on our futures.

From a companion of the Prophet who couldn’t say the kalima on his deathbed until his mother forgave him for his harsh tongue, to the grandson of the Prophet who would never share a plate of food with her mother for fear that he would take a piece that she wanted. Then there’s the people who gave joy to others that their joy became angels that praised God until the Day of Judgement, and the man who gave away his one good deed.

“You might do a very small act, which then becomes your opening.”

We are grateful to Ha Meem Foundation for this recording

Resources for Seekers

What Can I Do to Rebuild my Connection With Allah Which Was Stronger Before I Had Children?

Answered by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I am a mother of several children. Since having them I feel I am unable to connect to Allah anymore in my prayers and du’as.

What can I do to rebuild the connection to Allah which was stronger before I had children?

Answer: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Try to work on increasing your knowledge and remembrance of Allah Most High. This can be attained by:

-spending a small amount of time with the Quran daily, and reflecting on the meanings

-listening to beneficial classes whenever you are driving in the car or in the kitchen, you can even take SeekersHub courses in this manner

-busy your tongue with remembrance of Allah throughout your day, and salawat on the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. This can be as simple as saying bismillah before each of your actions and intend seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High. This helps to keep one in a more calm state, for “verily with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest”.

-make a high intention before each of your actions throughout the day, that you are seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High. For example: when washing clothes, thank Allah Most High for the blessing of having those clothes, for having soap, for having a washing machine to wash clothes, make dua for the owners of the clothes that they conduct themselves with righteousness and piety now and in years to come, etc.

-keep toys in bins that are not accessible to your toddler except when you give them to him; this way you can take down a bin of unfamiliar toys to occupy him while you are praying; you can also give the 5 month old an unfamiliar baby toy when you are about to pray to occupy her during that time

-try and spend just 5-10 minutes a day reading beneficial islamic books which help you to learn about Allah and His Messenger to increase in love and reverence of Him

-find friends or relatives who can help you with the children for the days when you are feeling overly stressed or anxious; the highest stress level for a mother is when continuous caring for children under the age of 5, so once in a while it is ideal if you can leave them for just an hour or so, to go and do your groceries, run necessary errands, or do something you really enjoy when you feel your patience is running thin (you can usually tell this is happening to you if you have an angry outburst about a minor issue)

We also have a lesson set on improving one’s prayer which you can find here.

I recorded a class on improving one’s prayer which you can watch here.

Wassalam
[Ustadha] Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar)

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.

Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.

My Mother Doesn’t Want Me to Marry Someone Who Has Repented From His Troubled Past. What Can I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I want to marry someone who used to be involved in criminal activity. He has made his repentance, and is a practising Muslim now. My mother disapproves of him due to other reasons. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you clarity during this critical juncture of your life.

Mother

Your responsibility as a daughter is to treat your mother with love, respect and compassion. Please do your utmost to reassure her, and leave the outcome with Allah. Remember that He is the Turner of Hearts. Her motherly instinct is to protect you from perceived danger. I pray that you will understand her better one day, when you become a mother too, inshaAllah.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to soften your mother’s heart. Bring in a trusted family member or community elder to advocate for the man you wish to marry. Give your mother the opportunity to get to know him better. Ask your mother what would help her feel more at ease. She may have a clear idea of what kind of husband she would want you to have, but has not communicated that to you. Do your best to listen to her concerns.

Where is your father in this scenario? You need your father’s blessings to marry this man, as in most circumstances, your father will be your wali (legal guardian) during your marriage contract. However, if your father is no longer alive, not contactable, or estranged from you and your mother, then please consult a trustworthy local scholar for more advice on how to proceed.

Istikhara

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up til seven times to help you decide on how to move forward. Although it is extremely difficult to do so, please do your best to remain open to either outcome. Watch how events unfold – your mother softening her stance towards this young man is the clearest sign that marriage to him is good for you. Continual difficulty in wanting to marry him may be a sign that it is not good for you.

Throughout this process, please do your utmost to observe the appropriate gender limits with him.

Marriage

MashaAllah, it is heartening to hear that you are studying Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. Please encourage the young man to do the same.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you are already attached to him. He has shared details of his past with you, you’ve met his parents and they seem to approve of you. Although intercultural marriage is a beautiful expression of the mercy inherent in Islam, it takes a lot of patience, compassion, and communication. Love is not enough. It is likely that you will encounter challenges with his family, but this is part and parcel of getting married. I encourage you to look at resources such as the Gottman Institute and the Stay Married blog.

Past sin

I commend you for not holding his past against him. I pray that Allah grants him a complete repentance. If it is good for your deen and dunya to marry him, please do your best not to bring up his past when you are upset with him. This is part of the wisdom behind concealing sin. Allah knows best.

Please see:

What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?
A Reader On Gender Interaction
When Love is Not Enough: Reassessing Marriage in the Muslim Community – Mental Health 4 Muslims Blog

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.

How Can I Reconnect With Allah and Pray on Time Despite My Busy Schedule?

Answered by Shaykh Faid Said

Question: Assalam alaykum

Being a single mother of two children with special needs makes it extremely difficult to hold on to my prayers. I find myself exhausted and unable to pray which in turns plunges me in sadness and a bit of despair.

How can I reconnect with Allah in a manner strong enough to withstand my busy, stressful and sometimes difficult life?

Answer: Assalam alayykum,

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Here is the answer of Shaykh Faid Said to your question:

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said is a jewel in the crown of traditional Islamic scholarship in the United Kingdom and we at SeekersHub are ever grateful for his friendship, guidance and support. He was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree.

I Am Stuck Between My Mother and My Wife. What Does Islam Say?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am the only son, and am stuck between my mother and my wife. I have been trying to solve this issue over the last few years by using proofs from the Qur’an and Hadith, but it hasn’t worked. My wife has left to live in her own home with my 2 year old daughter, and she is not coming back. 

What do I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

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

Balance

This is a delicate situation, and I am sorry that things have escalated to this point.

Islam calls to balance in all things, especially when it comes to the rights of others. May Allah reward you for trying your best.

Counselling

I strongly recommend that you and your wife sit down for marital counselling. You have a toddler—she needs both her parents to be emotionally available for her. Children can sense when something is wrong, especially with their parents. Your daughter needs to feel safe, and because of that, healing your marriage is a top priority. In reality, you have three women to think about, and not two.

I recommend that you apologize to your mother, and explain that you need stay with your wife. Focus on healing your marriage, and while you do so, continue to spend time with your mother. She will be very unhappy that you are no longer living with her, so bear her complaints with patience and good character. If possible, spend at least every weekend in your mother’s home.

Privacy

Your wife has rights to separate living quarters. Please read that carefully, and reflect on why your wife no longer wants to live with your mother. Hear her out. Living with in-laws can be stressful, even for the best of marriages.

Mother

I strongly encourage that you enroll in The Rights of Parents course and The Successful Islamic Marriage when registration reopens. Please prioritize this. It is obligatory upon you to know what Allah expects from you in both your relationship with your parents, as well as your wife.

Many elderly parents expect their adult children and grandchildren to live with them. With mutual respect, a lot of compromise, and a focus on good character, this living arrangement can be a source of great blessing and mutual benefit. However, this doesn’t always happen.

Do whatever you can to be of service to your mother. Spend time with her, help her with errands, go to family functions with her, and so on. Is your mother a widow? If your father has passed away, then it is even more important for you to be there for her. Even so, you must balance her needs with that of your wife’s.  This truly is a difficult scenario, and I pray that Allah makes it easier for you, and reward you for trying your best.

Dua

Remember that Allah is the Turner of Hearts. Please stand up in the last third of the night, perform The Prayer of Need, and beg Allah to ease this great tribulation. I pray that Allah grants you a way out of this and blesses you with the gift of wisdom.

Please see:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Contented In-Laws

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

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.

Will I Have a Bad Child Because I Was Bad With My Mother?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I am a 14 year old girl who has given my mother a very hard time. I was just very cruel to her. She has forgiven me every time and we’ve moved on, however, she said the one thing that will stay forever is the fact that Allah will give me a child just like myself. How can I fix this?

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

May Allah reward you for your question.

Obedience to one’s parents is an obligation second to belief in Allah and is emphasized in the glorious Quran and in the Sunnah of the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam.

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. [Isra: 23]

The Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam said, “The pleasure of your lord lies in the pleasure of your parents.” [Ibn Hibban]

Be grateful to Allah that you have acknowledged and understood the great position a parent holds at this young age. Ask of Him that He continues guiding you, enabling you to show kindness to your mother and that He grants you many years of opportunity to honor and respect her.

The concern you have raised emanates from two traditions:

Wahb ibn munabbih related that Allah said to Nabi Musa alayhi al-Salam, “Honor and respect your parents, for the one who does so, I will prolong his life and gift him a child who similarly honors and respect him. Whoever disobeys his parents, I will shorten his life and give him a child that disobeys him.” [al-Targib wa al-Tarhib by al-Asbahani]

Abu Hurayrah radiyaLlahu anhu narrates that the Messenger sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam said, “Show respect to your parents and your children will show respect to you.” [al-Mu’jam al-Kabir]

These reports serve primarily as an admonition, encouraging one to show respect, kindness and honor to one’s parents. Secondly, even though they appear to be general, the legal maxim has it that there is no general text except that it may be qualified. The reality bears testimony to this fact. Many a times, a parent may have been disobedient, yet Allah blesses him or her with pious offspring; and many a times a parent may have been obedient, yet Allah tests him or her with disobedient children.

You have, alhamdu liLlah, turned to Allah in sincere repentance and you have also asked your mother to forgive you for your behaviour — and she has forgiven you. You should have high hope that Allah has forgiven and erased the sin and its potential consequences.

Our advice to you is that you are still young. Your mother is still with you. Make the most of this opportunity. At times, when your mother may be unnecessarily harsh or perhaps inconsiderate, remind yourself that Jannah lies beneath her feet, and that she is the best door to Jannah. Constantly ask her to pardon you for any wrong you may have done and always ask of her to pray for you. The prayer of a mother is like an arrow that does not miss its target. If there is any residue of hurt within her, Allah will, inshaAllah, remove if from her heart.

May Allah be with you
Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

My Wife Does Not Want to Move in With My Elderly Mother and Disabled Brother. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My elderly mother lives alone at home. I am her youngest child, and I live with my wife and children in our own home. I would like to move back in with my mother but my wife is does not want to because of the neighbourhood and my brothers are often present at my mother’s house.

I feel if I say to my wife, “I want to move in and you have to come with me,” it will cause issues among us. What can I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer to this dilemma.

Balance

This is a very challenging situation. On one hand, you want to keep your mother company in her old age, and bring happiness to her heart. On the other hand, your wife does not want to give up her right to private quarters.

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times about moving in with your mother. Watch how events unfold to help you ascertain the best way to move forward.

Logistics

Asking your wife to move in with her elderly mother-in-law and disabled brother-in-law is asking her to go above and beyond the call of duty. Please acknowledge that and express that to your wife. Explain that you know that this situation is not ideal, but you’d like to figure out a compromise. Don’t make the mistake of demanding this from her. See her perspective, and do your best to win her over. Please perform the Prayer of Need every day, especially in the last third of the night, and beseech Allah for help.

It is common for marriages to fall apart because of the stress of living with in-laws. Please seek protection from that. On the other hand, living with your mother is an excellent way of being of service to her in her old age. insha Allah your wife will be able to be on board and secure her place in Jannah through her sacrifice.

Repentance

The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Whoever persists in asking for forgiveness, Allah will grant him relief from every worry, and a way out from every hardship, and will grant him provision from (sources) he could never imagine.” [Ibn Majah]

Make constant istighfar every day and trust Allah will make a way out for you.

Alternatives

What are some alternatives you can both come up with? An option is for all of you to spend the weekends at your mother’s home, and weekdays in your own home. At least this way, she gets some company. Perhaps start with this first, and see how it goes.

Another option is for you to make the effort to spend more time with your mother during the week. Try to see if you can have dinner with her at least on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Based on your wife’s concerns, would your mother be willing to sell her home and move to a different neighborhood? I know that is probably unlikely. Most elderly people do not fare well with big life changes, so it would be more realistic for your wife to accept that nosy neighbors are part of life, and a means of refining her character.

Moving in

If there is no other option other than moving in, then I encourage you to please refer to this website, Contented In-Laws, for some excellent tips. This rule is especially useful—Rule #8 Try to Buy a House with a Living Room and Bathroom for Each Party.

Even though your mother and your wife have a good relationship right now, it is extremely challenging for both of them to share the same living space, every single day. Allah knows this about His creation, hence the wisdom behind the ruling of a wife’s rights to her own separate quarters. However, for many families around the world, moving in is the only option. This is why having a separate kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom makes a world of a difference.

If you do move in with you mother, then ensure that you set firm boundaries with your brothers when they come to visit.

Balance

I cannot state this enough: please do your best to strike a healthy balance between your mother and your wife. You may be torn with feelings of guilt because you are not living with your mother, and you may also be feeling frustrated with your wife. Both of them have valid perspectives, and your role is to give both their due, to the best of your ability. You will juggle this role for as long as you, your mother, and your wife are alive. I pray that Allah grants you the wisdom and compassion to fulfill this role, and reward you immensely for your struggles.

When registration reopens, I strongly encourage you to do The Rights of Parents course and the Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life course. In the meantime, you can download the free lesson sets on Getting Married.

Please learn what the rights of your mother and your wife are, in order to help you fulfill them. Don’t rely on cultural norms or expectations—rely on what Allah demands of you.

Please see:

What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

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 Tajwid. 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.

My Mother Makes Supplications Against Me. Will Her Duas Be Accepted?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My mother doesn’t care about her children. I’m the one looking after my younger siblings and they see me as their mother. Yet, my mum is not satisfied with me. She often makes the supplication that if I get married I should not have a happy life. Will her supplications be accepted?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, I am so sorry that your own mother is making dua against you.

Duas

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Allah created a hundred mercies, and He placed one mercy among his creation, they show mercy to one another by it, and there are ninety-nine mercies with Allah.” [Tirmidhi]

Never despair in the mercy of Allah. So long as you aren’t wronging your mother in any way, then you have nothing to fear, inshaAllah. Trust in the Mercy of your Creator, who sustains you from heartbeat to heartbeat.

Empathy

Can you try to imagine why your mother is so unhappy with her life? Did she or does she have an unhappy marriage? How badly was she wronged? As Shaykh Usama Canon described, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Abusive parents were often abused themselves.

It is against the nature of a mother to be so unkind; she sounds deeply hurt and in need of therapy. Please don’t blame yourself. It is normal to long for your mother’s acceptance, but she sounds unwell and incapable of praising your efforts.

Reward

Trust that even if your mother is unappreciative, all of your hard work is not lost with Allah. I pray that all of your sacrifices will manifest as mountains of good deeds on your scale, on the Day of Judgement.

Hope

The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: ‘The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say, “if only I had done such and such” rather say “Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala (Allah has decreed and whatever he wills, He does).” For (saying) ‘If’ opens (the door) to the deeds of Satan.'” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Have high hopes in Allah, and trust in His Mercy. Sometimes, He breaks our hearts so we remember to attach our ultimate happiness to Him alone. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that if only your mother was kinder, then everything would be perfect. Dunya will never be perfect. Allah gives us exactly what we need to drive us to Him. It is heartbreaking to have a mother like yours, but perhaps her harshness is teaching you how important it is to be compassionate.

Forgiveness

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced, whose parents, one or both, attain old age during his life time, and he does not enter Jannah (by rendering being dutiful to them)”. [Riyad as-Salihin}

Return your mother’s hurtful words with kind ones. When she says she makes dua against you, tell her that you make dua for her. Over time, your sincerity will increase, inshaAllah. Patience with her could be your path to Paradise, inshaAllah. Find it in your heart to forgive her, even if this process takes time.

Please see a counsellor to help you work through your emotions, so that you are able to reach a point of acceptance. Being a mother figure is draining, so please look after yourself. You are doing incredibly well, mashaAllah.

I pray that Allah blesses you with a loving and tranquil marriage, righteous children, and tawfiq in both worlds.

Please refer to the following links:

What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
VIDEO: How To Develop Meaningful Relationships With Parents (Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Zahir Bacchus & Shaykh Rami Nsour)

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Andy Wilkes

My Father Will Abandon My Mother Once My Brother and I Marry and Move Out. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My parents have an unstable marriage. I know my dad will expel my mother once me and my brother are married. My mum wants us to marry one of her nieces from Pakistan so that one of us will stay with the parents. But we don’t want that.

Is there any way to make my parents, especially my father, see that what they are doing is wrong?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us, and for seeking an answer to your family’s difficulties.

Parents’ Marriage

I am sorry to hear about the state of your parents’ marriage. If you know that your father will mistreat your mother after you and your brother leave your family home, then you must both come to an agreement about how to look after her.

Whoever marries you or your brother will have to deal with the reality of potentially living with her mother-in-law and the other will stay with her father-in-law. For most women, this is not easy, especially if you marry someone who grew up in the West. This is the advantage of marrying from ‘back home’. Women who were raised in more traditional settings are usually much more at ease with living with extended family.

It is worth mentioning that a wife has rights to completely separate living quarters. An ideal scenario could be living next door to your parent or your parent lives in the main house and you and your wife in a granny flat at the back. However, not everyone can afford that.

You must have a clear discussion with your parents, especially your mother, and let them know where you and your brother stand. Reassure her that you want to look after her, but it has to be with a wife and living arrangements of your choice. Start the conversation now, before you meet someone you do want to marry. Be prepared to give and take.

Migration

Abu Huraira reported that a person said: “Allah’s Messenger (upon hime be blessings and peace), who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment?” He said: “Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).” [Sahih Muslim]

When Muslim parents migrate to the West from traditional cultures, they hold onto cultural practices and expectations. Meanwhile, their children integrate into their new home and want more Western lifestyles. The big clashes often start when it comes to children getting married, if not sooner.

It sounds like your mother has it all planned out – one of her sons will marry her niece, she will live with both, and that way, she is safe from being abandoned by her husband. However, the reality is that neither you or your brother are keen. Speak to her with gentleness, and help her see your point of view. Try your best to understand hers. She sounds afraid of being abandoned, and those who are afraid of losing their loved ones cling on even tighter, instead of letting go and trusting that Allah will provide.

Advising parents

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]

Your parents are oppressing each other through living a daily cold war. I encourage you and your brother to speak to your parents calmly and kindly. Pick settings where they are more likely to be receptive to your advice. Clearly, you would need to have separate conversations with each of them. Tell them how you are concerned about the state of their marriage, and how they’ve lost their sincere concern for one another.

Many parents dislike getting advised by their children, especially when they know they are in the wrong. Who do your parents listen to? Is there a community elder or local scholar who can intervene?

Sometimes, parents in unhappy marriages choose to stay out of convenience, or fear of ‘losing face’ in the community by getting divorced. All you can do is advise them, and if they choose to stay in a dysfunctional marriage, that is their choice, and they will be the ones to answer to Allah. Fighting reality will only make you miserable. You can use this as a reminder that the dunya is imperfect.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah for help. Please watch this excellent video on How To Develop Meaningful Relationships With Parents.

Your Marriage

Marrying from Pakistan does not automatically doom you to relive your parent’s marriage. Marrying from your locality does not guarantee a happy marriage, either. Be open to either possibility, and leave it to Allah. There are pros and cons to each scenario, and I pray that Allah blesses you with what brings you closest to Him. I pray that you turn to Allah in times of good, so that He does not draw you closer through times of difficulty.

Please educate yourself about the spirit and the law behind a successful Muslim marriage by doing this course before you get married.

Counselling

You carry the wounds of growing up in a home with a toxic marriage. Before you even consider getting married, please speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor. As much as you consciously do not want to repeat your parents’ marriage, the reality is that your subconscious default is what you saw growing up. It will take time, effort and patience, but you can modify your baseline and become a better husband and a better father, inshaAllah.

Universities often have counsellors or psychologists as part of your student services. Please consult them, and please encourage your brother to do the same. Speaking to your respective therapists will help you counsel your parents, or at the very minimum, help you come to peace with what you cannot change.

Please refer to the following links:
How Does a Child Deal With Parents Who Fight Each Other?
My Parents Tend to Fight Very Often: What Should I Do?
A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Kamal Zharif Kamaludin