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If My Parents Prepare Meat That is Not Halal, Should I Avoid Eating It?

Answered by Ustadh Torab Torabi
Question: My parents get mad at me for eating halal. They yell at me for this. Although, I secretly am still eating halal. For example if they make haram meat at the dinner table, I say I am too full or my stomach hurts. It is really hard to keep this up because they are starting to catch on and realize that I am trying to eat halal. What should I do?
Answer: Walaikum Asalaam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh.
Anytime one is dealing with his parents, he should be very careful not to transgress the bounds placed by Allah. Islam is a religion which fervently espouses filial-piety, and so we must be cognizant of how we interact with them, regardless whether we are on the side of truth or not. Alhamdulillah it seems that you have chosen the correct way to approach this common problem, which is to do so with the utmost adab and respect.
With all this being said, we also have a very important axiom in our religion which says, “There is no obedience to creation in disobedience to the Creator.” You are correct for not eating Haraam meat and should strive to continue doing so.
My advice is to sit down with your parents and ask them why they are upset that you eat Halaal. Let them know that you love them and that after Allah and His Messenger, they are the most beloved people to you. But also mention that you don’t want to disobey Allah and that eating Halaal is very important to you. Try to understand why they are upset and address the issues. Most problems between people actually stem from miscommunication.
Here are some related answers that should prove to be beneficial inshaAllah.
Growing a Beard
Dealing with Parents
Parents and Practicing
May Allah allow us to worship Him in the the way that is most pleasing to Him and may He grant us Prophetic wisdom.
Ameen.
And Allah knows best.
Torab Torabi
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With Non-Muslim Parents (II)

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My non-Muslim parents and relatives are against my practicing of Islam. Obedience and submission to God has no place in their mind. Since I am with them now, far away from scholars and people to ask for advice, my faith is terribly low. Here, I’m involved in sin because I don’t find the strength to tell my family I don’t shake hands with women and that I must fast in Ramadan. My mother seems to be unable to bear such changes because she had many trials in the last years. She cries almost every day. So I don’t know how to tell her that it’s not finished, there’s something more, it’s not just praying five times a day and not eating non halal meat and not having girlfriends.

I keep making supplication to be delivered from this situation but I think my faith is weak. I don’t uphold the prophetic character because it’s hard for me, having no living example around me, being sad and stressed for this situation, finding hard to communicate with people, particularly my parents, without starting talking about impermissible stuff, slandering, or things like that. Please advise me.

Answer:
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith. May Allah Most High shower you with blessings and ease for you your affairs, especially in the approaching blessed month of Ramadan.

Misgivings Regarding Weakness of Faith and Supplication Not Being Answered

In the Qur’an, Allah Most High calls the devil “the deceiver” [gharur], as he most often resorts to trickery and deception when casting misgivings in the breast of the believer. This is termed “satanic whispering” [waswasa], and is such a common tactic of the devil that Allah sealed His Book with the chapter that teaches us to seek refuge in Him Most High from such whisperings [Sura Nas].

Moreover, one of the aims of the devil’s whispering is to push the human being into despair and depression, making him feel so low as to lose all hope in Allah and His infinite mercy. When the believer entertains feelings of worthlessness and being undeserving of Allah’s compassion, he should immediately recognize those feelings as stemming directly from the devil and, as the Qur’an commands, “take him as an enemy” [35:6]. How does one respond to an enemy? Combat. This combat against the devil entails seeking refuge in Allah Most High, performing ablution, and turning one’s heart sincerely and solely to Allah Most High, in full hope, reliance, gratitude and love of the Divine. These lofty states of the heart are the most potent weapons against Satan, as he despises nothing more than a believer expressing love and gratitude towards Allah. Part of having true hope in Allah is to be certain that He will answer one’s supplication, as He Himself states in the Qur’an, “Call on Me, and I will surely answer you” [40:60]. This is a promise from Allah, and as He Most High states, “Allah never breaks His promise” [3:9].

Increasing the strength of one’s faith is a gradual process, and one should not get disheartened by slips and lapses in one’s practice, but rather take the means to ensure long-term growth and improvement. These include learning one’s religion, implementing what one learns to the best of one’s ability, and turning to Allah for help in obeying His commands. In light of your being a convert to Islam, I would recommend taking the steps outlined in the following answer with regards to dealing with your non-Muslim parents:

Love For Your Parents and When Not to Obey

Allah and His Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] exhort the believer to love his parents and family, whether they are Muslim or not. The believer’s attitude towards his family should reflect ihsan, or kindness and excellence in conduct, in all circumstances. Allah Most High says, “And We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents” [29:8]. However, obedience to one’s parents is conditioned upon it being in accordance with the Sacred Law. As such, the verse continues, “But if they strive to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not.” Allah Most High gives the example of parents trying to compel their child to engage in the most heinous of crimes, namely, associating partners with the Divine [shirk], yet the verse extends to anything prohibited by Allah. This is supported by the oft-cited prophetic statement, “There is no obedience to creation if it entails disobedience to the Creator” [Tabarani]. On a practical note, I would strongly encourage you to take courses on Islamic law [fiqh] to learn the limits of the Sacred Law and when you can or cannot take legal dispensations when dealing with your parents.

Finally, to encourage the believer to be strong and steadfast in the face of such an overwhelming trial, that of refusing to obey one’s parents in sin while simultaneously displaying the kindness and excellence owed to them despite their attitude, Allah Most High ends the verse with the most important thing to keep in mind with trials, “To Me is your final return, so I will inform you of what you used to do.” [Nasafi/Madarik al-Tanzil] The believer’s destination is Allah, and as such his hope is in Allah, his heart is with Allah, his days are for Allah, his nights are for Allah, and his very breaths are for Allah. The believer desires nothing except to win the good pleasure of his Lord. Keeping one’s destination in mind alleviates the toils of the journey, no matter how arduous, especially when the destination is one of ultimate joy and felicity.

Feelings of Being Left Without Guidance

If your questions to scholars are not being answered immediately, be patient and have a good opinion of both those scholars as well as Allah. Allah would never leave a servant without guidance; rather, such delays are part of the trials of life that He gives us to test our patience and contentment with the Divine Decree. Have the very best opinion of your Lord, and you will find Him to be as you conceive of Him. If you have firm conviction that He is always with you and will always give you a way out of your troubles, then He will never leave you in a bind. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] taught us that Allah says, “I am in the opinion of My servant” [Bukhari].

Remember also that such thoughts, that Allah would leave you without guidance, are again from the devil’s whispering, so take him as an enemy and never believe his vicious lies.

Fasting in Ramadan and Your Mother’s Feelings

If you are of sound health then you must fast in Ramadan. Do not worry about your mother’s emotions. Treat her with as much kindness, love and respect as you are able to, and leave the rest to Allah. The word for “heart” in Arabic is qalb, derived from a root meaning “to turn over or change.” Human hearts by their very nature are constantly changing, swaying from one emotion to the next, except those who Allah Most High makes steadfast on the truth. Remember that everything in this universe, including the emotional state of your parents, is in Allah’s hands. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] is reported to have said, “The hearts of the children of Adam, all of them, are between two fingers of the fingers of the All-Merciful, like one single heart; He turns them whichever way He wants” [Muslim]. And Allah says in the Qur’an, “And verily, He alone is the One who causes laughter and causes crying” [53:43]. So consign the matter of your mother’s heart and emotional states to Him, and trust His wisdom and decree. He is in full control, and He will never let you down, inshaAllah.

Dealing with Hardship

Focus instead on your own heart and relationship with Allah. The above hadith regarding human hearts ends with the following beautiful supplication: “O Turner of hearts, make my heart steadfast on Your obedience.”

اللّهُمَّ مُصَرِّفَ الْقُلُوْبِ صَرِّفْ قُلُوْبَنَا عَلى طَاعَتِك

Along with this supplication, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah, send abundant blessings upon the Messenger, and learn about his blessed life and character [peace and blessings be upon him]. The more one learns about his life, the more tranquility one finds in the face of hardship.

Lastly, remember the following words of our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] and realize that the hardship you face brings much good for you in both this life and the next: “No toil, sickness, anxiety, sadness, harm, or stress afflicts a Muslim – even the thorn that pricks him – except that with it, Allah erases some of his sins” [Bukhari, Muslim].

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.

A Convert Dealing with Non-Muslim Parents

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I reverted more than a year ago.  I’m 19 now. My parents live in Italy and I live in England with my sister. Now I am back to Italy again for the summer.  My present trouble is unless I tell my parents clearly that certain things are prohibited, I’ll find myself involved in them. If I tell them clearly, I can’t imagine how they would take it. Very bad, for sure, because for them these are just crazy, anti-social, foreign rules, not related to one’s relationship with God. Also Ramadan is approaching and I will be on the coast with them: they’re just totally against to fasting and I think they could force me to eat.  Please advise.

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh brother in Islam,

Congratulations on your being guided to Islam! Reading your letter gives me a feeling of nostalgia- this was my exact life story almost 10 years ago. I’ll share with you some brief advices I have learned since then:

  1. Be with Allah Most High, and He will be with you when you need Him. Be firm with your belief and obligatory acts, and Allah Most High will make your heart firm. Be easy-going with others, and things will be made easy for you.
  2. Lower the wing of humility and obey your parents (short of disbelief, leaving a fardh act, or committing a clear sin). This summer, your job is to do everything you can in their service, forget the internet or even spending beyond prayer times in the masjid.
  3. Never ever get angry or drawn into a debate. Smile, say “ok”, or if heart-broken, simply show it but don’t complain, and take a time-out.
  4. Be neat in your appearance – no scruffy beard; cool out on cultural dress and smell good. Dress a bit nicer than normal, even at home. Comb your hair and shower.
  5. Don’t throw Islam in their faces. Don’t tell them what to do. Don’t make your room seem like a different country. Go out with them and have fun. Be a vegetarian if needs be.
  6. Be firm that you have to pray and fast – no exceptions. Don’t list off what you can’t do, except major acts like drinking, eating unlawful meat, etc. Know that unless you’re ready to handle the backlash, you may not be able to stop every unlawful cultural custom this time, so cling to repentance – its still your first year, so be patient.
  7. Learn fiqh (Sacred Law) so you don’t go overboard in applying rules; balance that with a course on spirituality or Propehtic behavior. Do well in school.

This is just a stage of life you have to go through – your parents will be displeased but you must show them you are still their son. Your parents’ hearts are in Allah’s control. Trust in Allah, be patient, and relish the sweetness of faith.    May he make you, and us, pleasing to Him.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Sidi Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He converted to Islam in 2001 and completed a degree in Business Administration. In 2005, he left Canada to pursue Islamic studies. He now lives in Amman, Jordan with his wife and two daughters, where he studies various Islamic sciences and concurrently serves as the Study Abroad Director at the Qasid Institute.

My Parents Prevent Me From Practicing: What Should I Do?

Answered by Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I find it so hard to practice islam because every time i make an intention to do good i am stopped from doing so. I wanted to wear niqab but my parents weren’t happy with it so i stopped and due to other reasons as well. I wanted to attend halaqah’s but my father doesnt like it when i go so i stay home. My parents especially my mother treats me unfairly and complains to guests about me when i have done no wrong. Sometimes i feel she hates me and it leads me wonder why she gave birth to me in the first place. the only reason why i obey her is for Allah’s sake but sometimes it just goes to much that i cant handle it so i shout and raise my voice at my mother and i know how shameful that is but i am unable to control my anger. Please advice and tell me what i should do. Jazakallah for reading this.

Answer: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuh,

Jazak Allahu khairan for your question.  I think it appropriate to begin with the words of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him):

“Surely, actions are only by their intentions.  And for every person is that which they intended…” (al-Bukhari, al-Saheeh)

It is very admirable to see that your aspirations are high and you have a strong desire to improve your Deen and do what is good.  Both modesty and knowledge are highly praiseworthy.  However, in both of those situations, although you think that you did not realize your practice of Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:

“If somebody intends to do a good deed and they do not do it, then Allah will write for them a full good deed in his account with Him…” (al-Bukhari, al-Saheeh)

The essence of our works is not in their completion, or even actualization, because that is not in our hands, rather the secret of works and their acceptance lies in the intentions that are behind them.  The final results are always in Allah Most High’s hands alone.  Once you tried and put your best effort forward to do good, and for some reason, what you wanted didn’t happened, you shouldn’t feel that your Islam is lacking.

When Parents Prevent One from Practicing an Aspect of Deen

It can be upsetting when your parents try to block you from doing what you feel is important for your Deen.  As a rule of thumb however, as long as they don’t ask you to do something that is unlawful (haram), or prevent you from doing something that is obligatory (fardh), then you should remain patient and try to listen to them.  If they ask you to do something haram or religiously disliked, or prevent your obligatory acts or a sunnah, you are not obliged to obey them.  However, in other than these cases, or when the obligation to do a certain act is differed upon between the schools of thought, there may be more reward in submitting to their demands, keeping your intentions pure, and then doing the good deed when you can, rather than arguing and disrespecting them until you get your way, only to achieve something that is a recommended act or something that there is dispensation for.

In terms of the niqab, your aspirations are praiseworthy, but since the obligation to wear it is differed upon between the schools of thought, and in modern times and places, between contemporary scholars, you have a strong reason to take the opinion your parents are pushing for.

As for learning, it is also admirable that you have the zeal to seek knowledge and attend halaqas.  However, you should never disrespect your parents over this as the praiseworthy is not attained by unpraiseworthy means.  Alhumdulillah, many times, when you intend to do good and are prevented from doing it, Allah Most High opens up another way for you to do it.  In this case, with all the growing online communities of Islamic learning, you can take a light course to keep up your inspiration, or go right up to serious spiritual studies.  That way, you would please your parents and move forward in seeking knowledge at the same time.  Do look into the Seekers Guidance Fall Session course listing to see what you can benefit from.

Excellence to One’s Parents and Thinking Well of Them

Since there are cases where one doesn’t have to obey their parents, one can still be considered “good” if they politely disobey in those situations.  But while unconditional obedience to parents (taa’at al-waalidayn) is not a duty in Islam, being good to one’s parents (birr al-waalidayn) is an unconditional duty, so one would not be considered as doing “good” if they disrespectfully obeyed them when it was required (say, by storming off to one’s room or yelling “Fine!” while also doing what they ask). Allah Most High says,

“Your Lord has decreed that you shall not serve any but Him, and to be good to parents, whether one or both of them attains old age with you; say not to them ‘Uff!’ neither scold them, but speak respectful words to them, and lower to them the wing of humbleness out of mercy and say; ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them, as they raised me up when I was little!'” [Qur’an, 17.23]

Allah Most High particularly highlights how indebted we are to our mothers when He says:

“And We ordained upon man concerning his parents; his mother bore him enduring weakness upon weakness, and his suckling is up to two years – therefore be thankful to Me and to your parents…” (Quran. 31:14)

Try to think well of your parents and give them excuses rather than assume that they are doing those things out of a lack of regard for religion, or because they dislike you.  Positive thinking (husn al-dhann) will in turn help you to respect them and ward off anger and discontentment (which as you rightly said, distances you from Allah). The fact that you recognize that shouting at them is wrong, and feel shame for it, is a good start, and of course, seek Allah’s and their forgiveness and ask Allah Ta’ala for strength is maintaining your composure.  Even when they complain about you to others or some do other similar seemingly unfair act, putting up with that entails a great reward.  Your beautiful example may also make you win their hearts and change their behavior towards you.  Remember, in most cases, we are only with our parents for a limited time; perhaps later on, you will be able to do the things you wanted to do, but the chance to be good to them may not always be there.  May Allah Ta’ala make us all good to Him, and good to our parents.

Wasalaam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani