Goodness to parents is one of the greatest character traits one can have. Here are some of SeekersGuidance’s best resources on the subject.
The Virtues of Parents
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
[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.
An oft-repeated theme I see is this: parents who are deeply unhappy with the cultural background of the person their son or daughter wishes to marry.
If you’re single and reading this, then it’s likely that you have parents who are actively involved in your lives. If you’re from a very cultural background, then it’s possible that your parents want you to marry from that same culture. Sometimes, even the same village. Parents want what’s best for their children, based on their understanding of the world. Invariably, their version of what’s best is so different to their adult children’s.
Rather than wait until you meet Mr or Ms So-Right-For-You-But-So-Wrong-For-Your-Parents at your local halaqa, college, or work, please broach the topic from now. Even better – please enrol in and complete this course: Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. (I know how hard it can be to successfully completing an online course. Pair yourself up with an accountability buddy. Discuss lessons after you listen to them.)
Ask them what they envisage for you in terms of a suitable marriage partner. They may surprise you, or they may not. They key is to let them talk, and then really listen. Not a “I’m pretending to hear you so then I can get my opinion in”, but a sincere, open-hearted kind of listening. Stay calm. Read between the lines. Try to understand what your parents are really telling you. Is it fear of the unknown? Is it social pressure from their friends and family members? Is it their own baggage from their marriage?
Help them feel like you actually care about what they have to say. Then use wisdom and tact to offer your point of view. Ask compassionate scholars and/or elders in your community for support, if need be.
Is talking to your parents a sure-fire way of guaranteeing their blessings and smooth sailing? I can’t guarantee that. But I can hope and pray that it’s a step in the right direction. I encourage you to enrol in The Rights of Parents to get an idea of the tremendous station of parents, and the reward in treating them with goodness.
May Allah soften the hearts of our parents, give us the wisdom and patience to approach them, and bless the ummah of our Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I am in love with a man who is already married to his cousin. His mother is not letting him marry me, because she does not want her son to have two wives. What can we do? Does he have to obey his mother?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking an answer. Please forgive me for the delay.
Dear sister, please tread carefully. Love is not enough to sustain a marriage, especially if you are a second wife. The fact that you are in love with a married man is a not a good sign of his faithfulness to his first wife. For your sake, please marry a man of good character and religion. A clear indicator of a man’s character and religion is his ability to remain faithful to his first wife, and not lead on another woman.
Please read and reflect on this: Can a Husband Marry a Second Wife Without His First Wife’s Permission?
Your husband is free to do as he chooses. He is not obligated to obey his mother, but he is obligated to treat her with respect.
If you go ahead and marry him, you risk earning the wrath of an unhappy mother-in-law, and an unhappy first wife. Is this the life you want for yourself, and your future children? Choose wisely.
Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times to gain clarity on what to do next. If Allah makes the path to marriage easy, then that is your sign. If Allah makes it difficult, then that is your sign. The challenge is being open to what Allah makes clear to you, and that is difficult when you are already in love.
I pray that Allah blesses you with a righteous, loving and tranquil marriage, and the gift of righteous children.
Please refer to the following links:
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: My non-Muslim family often have events where alcohol is the main feature of parties and get togethers. Most recently my brother is having a first birthday party for his son with alcohol on tap.
What should I do? We are often put down for our beliefs and feel like outsiders.
Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which pleases Allah, and heal the rifts within your family.
This is delicate situation. A gathering in which alcohol is present is not a place for a believer. However, they remain your family, and it is important to keep family ties in a manner which pleases Allah.
I would suggest that you apologise and explain that you are not comfortable being at events where alcohol is served. Instead of attending your nephew’s first birthday party, offer to take them all out for a meal, or a picnic at a park. Provide an alternative setting for them to enjoy your company. Be steadfast on this, and ask Allah to grant them understanding.
Boundaries are important in facilitating harmonious family ties. Make it known to them, calmly and respectfully, that you do not expect them to agree with your religious beliefs, but you do expect them to treat your Muslim family with basic respect.
If you do not stand up to them respectfully, they will continue to think it is acceptable to put all of you down. Your dignity as a believer is sacred. Be an example for your children to follow. Being assertive takes practice, and if you need to, see a counsellor, life coach or psychologist to help you.
‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb reported from his grandfather that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Shall I tell you about who among you I love the most and the one who will be seated closest to me on the Day of Rising?” The people were silent, so he repeated that two or three times. Then the people said, “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “The one among you with the best character.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]
As challenging as it can be with your non-Muslim family, try your best to have good character when you are with them. Treat them with kindness, be patient with their shortcomings and make dua for Allah to guide them. The wheel of life is constantly turning, and it is not difficult for Allah to guide your entire family, if He wills.
Be assertive when you need to be, and always follow it up with acts of love and kindness. InshaAllah, through your patience with your family, your heart is being constantly polished. May your interaction with your family grant you a heart which pleases Allah, on the Day you meet Him.
Please refer to the following links:
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
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!”
Every year, the Is Christmas haram? debates happen full force. Whether you’re a convert to Islam or not, we hope you find the following resources helpful.
Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: My question is regarding whether an unmarried young woman can live alone. If someone is trying very hard to be good to her parents but cannot seem to gain their love and compassion or affection, and is a victim of emotional abuse, what can she do? Can she move away from her parents?
By abuse I mean yelling and name calling, indecent looks from the father towards his daughters, the father disconnecting from the daughters and making them and their mother feel guilty for not being financially independent from him. The mother and father also shame each other and try to involve the children in their fighting. Both of the eldest daughters have emotional and physical imbalances (depression and suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, migraines from high levels of stress, and sleeplessness) partly resulting from and aggravated by this situation. It is an atmosphere of intense suspicion and stress.
I should mention that there hasn’t been any physical punishment of the children for many years and that both parents work hard to maintain the family financially.
Answer: As salamu alaykum,
May Allah make your situation easy and give you the strength to deal with it. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said,
لا ضرر و لا ضرار
“There can be no harm nor reciprocating of harm.” (Muwatta)
If you are being harmed by being at home, then you have the right, and possibly obligation, to leave the house if you are able. You would then be obligated to maintain contact with your parents and family in whatever is feasible for you (in-person, phone, email, text, mail, sending gifts etc).
Daughter Staying at Home
If a parent if not harming their daughter, then they can say that she has to live at home until marriage. But, if they harm the daughter, then they don’t have the right to demand that nor does the daughter have the duty to obey. Sometimes, when you separate, it will allow the relationship to heal, but maybe after many years and some disagreements.
The Emigration (Hijra)
Think about the Hijra of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). He had to leave Mecca and it made his family angry and they fought him. But it took him leaving for them to realize who he was and then come to respect and accept him. Everyone will experience aspects of the seera in their lives, and thus everyone will have to make a hijra, or even multiple hijras. Maybe it is time for you to make your Hijrah.
Answers Are Based on What is Presented
I can only answer based on what you describe so I give you the answer according to that. You then have to see if the answer applies to your situation and then you make the decision. I cannot make the decision for you.
Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: Assalamu Alaikum,
My teenage cousin does not dress immodestly, but she fails to wear hijab. She is a lovely girl. Initially, her mother had diplomatically spoken to her about the importance of wearing hijab, but my cousin has still refused.
Now, her mother has told her non practicing oldest son, who my cousin fears, to tell her to wear hijab. The situation has escalated where he has been monitoring what she wears and will not allow her to leave the house without hijab in a very threatening manner. She cries and feels resentful and upset each time. I feel this is making her hate the hijab and religion, especially since it is coming from someone who is very far from practicing Islam. Is this permissible? Should they leave my cousin alone until she decides to wear the hijab on her own?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum,
Thank you for your question.
Hijab is not just an outer act of devotion, but a reflection of an inner conviction in God and His law. Modesty can’t be legislated, particularly in an atmosphere of double standards, harshness, and criticism. This is not how to endear anyone to Allah Ta’ala and His religion.
What I will say, however, is that parents can have expectations. Any reasonable young person should understand that as long as he or she eats their parents’ food, sleeps in their bed, and lives under their roof, they ought to be willing to live up to their part of the bargain, which is respect for rules.
Once your family member is out on her own, how she dresses is her business. However, as long as she lives in a Muslim household that places certain expectations on its members, she should be willing to meet those expectations, her personal feelings aside.
Finally, this situation serves to illustrate the importance of instilling modesty in girls from a young age. It’s very difficult to embrace hijab as a teen when opinions are forming, obstinacy sets in, and peer pressure is intense.
May Allah make things easy,
Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I asked by mother to get married and she told be about a lady. She said I should speak to her and then marry her if I like her. Now she wants me to cut things off because she doesn’t think the lady’s mother is a good person, even though her mother is very pious and reads the Qu’ran often. Should I obey my mother, or follow my heart and marry the lady?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
It would generally be much wiser to marry with parental approval.
Parents can be convinced. However, realize that they have deep concern, and only want the best for you. It would break their heart if you went ahead without their consent.
If your mother is not keen on it, it may be that she has seen or noticed something which may be detrimental to the relationship in the long term. Women notice things that men don’t. Marriage is a coming together of families, and not simply of the husband and bride to be.
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Your love of something blinds and deafens.” [Abu Dawud] It could be that there is an issue which you haven’t considered.
If you have done your homework on her, asked those worthy of consulting, prayed istikhara, and still feel that you should marry her, then continue to insist without any arguing.
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
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