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Being a Daughter, a Woman, and Living This Life

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

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am tired. I don’t feel like I understand my purpose anymore. Especially when I see so many of my sisters in Islam living a life of independence. I am confused about exactly what Islam says on the matter – it has been my long held belief that a girl or woman doesn’t leave her parents home except by marriage.

Am I wrong? I was under the impression that this is based upon a hadith. What happens if she doesn’t get married? Is she forced to leave and find her independence?

I am one of three sisters. One who has gotten married, one who lives independently of us, and me. I do not wish for marriage. But I see myself as being responsible for my parents as they get older. I have no mahram other than my elderly father. No other family here. I do work, part-time alhamduliLlah.

Should I leave the home and leave my parents alone? (I don’t want to, because I am afraid to lose them in any sense, even by their own natural end).

I sometimes feel like nothing I do is right before my father. I feel like I studied and obeyed them in this regard. But now, I am so tired with how pointless everything is. I studied two degrees, trained for a long time, and all for what?

I remained confused about my faith, I have lost friends, and become more isolated. I genuinely believe women need a mahram to travel randomly around the globe if for pleasure and not for purpose.

I’ve become disheartened, disillusioned, for clinging onto things that others maybe don’t consider important. Please advise me.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Living Alone

Dear sister, please know that Allah knows the deepest contents of your heart. If you do not want to move out from your parents’ home, then please, by all means, remain there.

Please do not compare yourself to your sisters, as tempting as that may be. Three of you are completely different individuals, with unique strengths and challenges. Your responsibility is to measure yourself against the yardstick of what is pleasing to Allah, in this present moment.

Please refer to these links to clarify your confusion about the permissibility of an unmarried Muslim woman, living alone: Can I, as a Woman, Live on My Own? [Shafi’i] and Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?

Exception

The only scenario in which I would encourage you to move out from your parents’ home is this – if staying with your parents were harming you, in some way.

It does not have to be outward abuse, but if you feel that staying with your parents is contributing to feelings of stagnation, then perhaps it is time for you to make a change.

Caring for Parents

It is praiseworthy for you to take on the main responsibility of caring for your parents in their old age. However, please know that goodness to your parents remains a personally obligatory act for all of your sisters. Your commitment to caring for your parents does not lift the responsibility from their shoulders.

I suspect that because you live with your parents, then your sisters take you for granted. They know that you are there every day to be of service to your parents, so perhaps they do not try harder to be there for them, too.

I encourage you to complete this transformative course: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfil Them.

Father

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Sura al-Dhariyat 51:56)

You describe that nothing you do is right by your father. I am sorry – this is deeply painful, for any daughter. Please know that when a father is chronically displeased with his children, it actually reflects his own chronic displeasure with himself.

I encourage you not to live your life for your parents, especially not your father. This can be very hard to do at first, because it has become an ingrained habit. Live for Allah, and within the realms of permissibility, please do things that bring you joy. Find ways to nourish your heart, body, mind and soul.

Please know that perhaps creating some physical distance between you and your father may help you realign with your values, instead of always being drawn to what is pleasing to him.

You were created to worship Allah, and your journey to that includes working on your weaknesses and harnessing your strengths.

Life Coaching

I suggest that you look up one of the many Muslimah life coaches online. Find someone who resonates with you, and commit to exploring ways to improve your life. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What do you want to get better at?

Marriage and Possible Depression

You describe that you do not want to be married. Is this because you have been hurt before, or because you genuinely are not interested in marriage?

You have also described yourself as losing friends, feeling lonely, and being exhausted. Could your low moods and lack of interest in marriage be something you could explore, within the safety of a culturally-sensitive counsellor’s office?

Travel

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

Spiritual Nourishment

Dear sister, your soul is yearning for relief. Please feed your soul with the the cool, sweet waters of dua, the Prayer of Need, reciting and listening to Qur’an, and other acts of nearness to Allah.

Clarify your confusion about your faith through seeking out healing knowledge. SeekersHub courses are in abundance, alhamdulilah, so decide which ones resonate with you most, and strive to complete them.

I pray that this has been helpful. Please keep in touch.

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

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Can I Prevent a Child from Seeing His Birth Parents?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Asslamu Alaykum

I have legal guardianship of a baby who is two years of age. Both his parents are addicts and have lost custody of their child. At present, neither parent has joined a rehabilitation programme to stay clean. I am looking after the child on my own – I am a single female. I am being pressured by the child’s family to allow the child to see the parents. What is the Islamic perspective? Should I allow the parents to see their child with the hope that it will help them change? What are the rights of the child regarding this?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum

This is clearly a sensitive situation. On the one hand, birth-parents have a privileged position in Islam when it comes to the rights they possess over, and are owed by, their children. Yet, in this particular situation, there was clearly good reason to transfer guardianship of the child to a responsible adult who could provide the child the care and nurturing he or she requires.

Therefore, what we have is a conflict between the basic rights of the parents and the interests and well-being of the child. The state has already determined that the parents are in no position to care for the child, and the reason cited (drug addiction) makes clear that the interests of the child may be undermined if the parents are allowed to have a sustained relationship with him or her especially when they are not attempting to ameliorate their situation.

Given this, you need to strike a balance between the rights of your child’s birth-parents and his or her interests/well-being. One way to approach the matter is by thinking of it along a spectrum running between very limited or no contact to a regular relationship with frequent visitations. It may be best to start off from one end of the spectrum and then move your way across when you feel the time is right based on the parents improving their own situation and not being a negative/harmful impact on the child.

The basic rights of the parents in such a situation, for example, may initially be fulfilled by keeping them updated regarding child’s progress, sending them pictures, through letters, etc., otherwise known as indirect contact. When you feel it is appropriate, you may wish to allow them to speak to the child on the phone or through video chat. And then the situation might improve to an extent where some form of direct contact is possible, such as supervised visitations. It is important that even when one has reason to limit contact between child and parent, that the former grow-up knowing that the latter deserve some degree of respect and possess rights that children are meant to fulfill.

Of course, all of this would be subject to any local laws surrounding the issue of the rights of birth parents and the type of contact they are permitted to maintain in such situations. Therefore, you should take the above advice merely as general suggestions that you can take into consideration when consulting legal experts.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

My Mother Is Alone, Is It Permissible for Me to Move out of Her Home?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am a convert woman and I am about to get married. Do I move away from my mother, who is a single working parent? I am an only child.

Also, she is Catholic and there are Idols, pictures, and sculptures everywhere.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for clarifying this issue.

Mother

Abu Huraira reported that a person said: “Allah’s Messenger, 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).”

MashaAllah, may Allah reward you for having such sincere concern for your mother. I pray that Allah blesses you with pious and compassionate children who will also have sincere concern for you.

Privacy

Especially in the early stage of your marriage, there is great wisdom in living alone with your husband. Enjoy the solitude and use this opportunity to solidify your relationship. Have you spoken to your husband about your living arrangements? What is his opinion?

It is permissible for you to move out of your mother’s home after you get married. For a detailed explanation, please read this article: A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws.

Is it possible for you to still live close to your mother? If that is not possible, then please ensure that you are in regular contact with your mother. Ideally, call her every day, and make it a point to visit her regularly. Is it feasible for you to visit her at least once a fortnight? Or once a month? You know your situation best. I encourage you to enroll in this course, The Rights of Parents.

Moving forward

As your mother gets older and is in greater need of your support, then do consider moving in with her. Please try to work out an arrangement where at least your private living space is free from idols and the like. If she is willing, then there is the option of her moving in with you.

There is tremendous reward in looking after elderly parents, especially when it is difficult. I pray that Allah guides your mother to Islam, and reunites her with you in the highest level of Jannah.

Please see:

A Convert Dealing with Non-Muslim Parents

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 Deal With My Difficult Mother in a Respectful Way?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My mother has never been good at expressing her love towards me.

Her behaviour has caused me a lot of pain. She forced me to marry a guy just because it would look good in the eyes of people and that marriage ruined my life.

She lies all the time. I have come to a point where I don’t even feel like talking to her. Things are tense with my brother also. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for wanting to do things right by your mother.

The rank of your mother

Mu’awiyah ibn Jahima reported: Jahima came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I intend to join the expedition and I seek your advice.” The Prophet said, “Do you have a mother?” He said yes. The Prophet said, “Stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.” [Sunan An-Nasa’i]

As difficult as it might be to hear this, your mother still has rights over you. Please commit to completing this course, The Rights of Parents, to give you a better idea about the rank your mother has, and your responsibilities towards her. Although she sounds like an extremely difficult person to be around, she still deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. You do not need to agree with or condone what she does, but you do need to fulfil your end of the deal. Allah will not question you on what she did, but He will question you on how you responded to her. May Allah helps us all be patient with our parents, as they have been patient with us.

Dealing with her

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

Accept that your mother has a very bad habit of lying. If you don’t expect anything different from her, then you are less likely to be disappointed. If she chronically denies having lied to you, then pushing her to tell the truth will only aggravate both of you and worsen an already strained relationship. She is the way she is, and she is a test of your good character. You can apply this to your brother, too.

Focus on building bridges. Make happier memories with her, if at all possible. Make her tea or coffee. Buy her gifts. Help her with errands. Focus on her positive qualities, especially the fact that she gave birth to you and raised you into who you are today.

Boundaries

Please see a counsellor, psychologist or life coach to help you learn how to stay well despite your mother. It would help to learn coping strategies as well as better communication and conflict resolution methods. A good therapist will help you see your contribution to this problematic interaction with your mother, and help you change things from your end. You cannot change your mother’s behaviour, but you can learn how to better manage your own behaviour.

Tahajjud

Never underestimate the power of dua. If you want lasting change, complain about creation to the Creator. Allah knows the contents of mother’s heart, and He alone can change it. Wake up before Fajr and make heartfelt dua for Allah to help you. Perform the Prayer of Need.

Motherhood

I pray that Allah blesses you with a righteous and loving spouse, and grants you the gift of children. Once you have a child of your own, you will be better able to forgive and appreciate your own mother, despite all the pain she has caused you. I pray that Allah grants you the chance to be a more loving mother to your own children.

Please refer to the following links:

Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents
I Can’t Stop Misbehaving With my Mother. What Can I Do?
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Doubting My Ability to Suceed Due to Insults from Family and Friends

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Asalaamu Aluykum

After failing to excel at school growing up, after a 2 year delay, I managed to get into a top ten University. Recently I failed one unit due to not studying something that was forced on me.   I have suffered a lot due to stress. The University acknowledged my situation and has allowed me to carry on and pick a suitable subject.

However i have doubts whether I should carry on. I am the only member of my family that has had problems with education. Ever since the age of 16 strangers, friends, and family have told me I am slow and stupid.

My self esteem is very low and I doubt I can do well at University after listening to what others say.  I feel sad and lonely at times. I want to study and do well so I can work for the ummah.  I regularly send blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) at night to help with feelings of sorrow and loneliness.

Answer: May Allah make things easy for you my dear brother. The situation that you are dealing with is not an easy one. When insults come from those who are closest to us they can hurt and damage us the most.

Rights of Parents

My advice to you first and foremost is to remain humbly respectful to your parents no matters what they say to you. Ibrahim alayhis salam had a father who told him that he would stone him. Yet in response, Ibrahim alayhis salam spoke very respectfully to him. You should consider taking our course on the Rights of Parents to help you guide your way through dealing with your parents.

Deen vs. Dunya

Another thing that you should be sure to train yourself to think about, is the difference between the knowledge and work of the deen (religion) and that of the dunya (worldy affairs). As long as you do not fall short in your religious affairs, then others do not have a right to blame you. The only exception is dunya that serves the deen, like working to support ones self and their family.

University Studies

In terms of carrying on with your university education, why would you stop it? As long as it does not take you away from studying the knowledge of this deen, then you should keep going with it. It will give you a standing to support yourself throughout your life and make learning and practicing the deen easier.

Insults

In terms of people insulting you in various ways, you do not have to stand for it. You should politely tell your parents that those words harm you. For others who hurl the insults, you can be more assertive in letting them know they have hurt you. You should also remove yourself from the place where you are being insulted.

This is a type of hijrah (immigration), even if it means just going to to another room. Do not sit there and take it. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, taught us to not allow ourselves to be belittled. So you must do whatever you can to protect your honor.

Dealing with the Pain

You have found a wonderful way of dealing with the pain that you are experiencing Sending prayers on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a healing for the hearts. I would also encourage you to increase your reading of the Quran as well. Reading Sura Yusuf has been found to help heal sadness.

Abu Dom Dom

You should also implement the practice of Abu Dom Dom. He was a man in Jahiliyya (Days of Pre-Islamic Ignorance) who used to say every morning, “O Allah, I give my honor as a charity to the people.” He would intend that everything that he was owed, in terms of people slighting his honor, he would give away as charity. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, said, “Are any of you incapable of being like Abu Dom Dom?” This practice of “giving up” things is a time-tested healing.

As long as we hang on to the hurt that others have caused us, it will continue to hurt us. Even physiologically every time we think about the hurt our body releases cortisol and other hormones that cause stress similar to when we first experienced the pain the first time. Thereby leading to a perpetual hurt. The practice of Abu Dom Dom, approved and encouraged by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) can break this vicious cycle.

Please keep in contact with us here at Seekers and take our courses. There is healing and guidance in seeking knowledge.

Your brother,

Rami Nsour

Advising My Father to Keep a Beard

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: I know it is disrespectful to tell your parents to do thing, 
but I also know it is sunna to keep a beard and it is highly disliked to shave the beard. Is there a way that I can tell my father to keep his beard without being disrespectful.

Answer:

The Sunna of the Beard

Before answering your specific question, it is important to understand that the scholars have valid difference in regards to the obligation of keeping a beard. Some of the madhabs, including the Maliki and Hanafi, have considered keeping a beard on the entire jawbone to be an obligation. Other scholars, such as some of the Shafi’is, have considered that it is a Sunna and to shave it would be disliked but not prohibited. Because this valid difference of opinion exists, one would have to be gentle in advising of keeping a beard.

Enjoining Righteousness (Hisba)

One of the three conditions to enjoin righteousness (hisba) is that there be consensus on the matter that is being enjoined. If there is a valid difference of opinion, then one must take a different approach which is called advice (nasiha) and must use more gentleness in the method (Dardir, Hashiyatul Sharh al-Kabir). For more on the conditions of Hisba see the following answer: The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

Hisba with Parents

Imam Malik was asked about how a person goes about enjoining righteousness with a parent and he said, “He does so but also lowers the wing of humility” referring to verse 17:24 (Mawlud, The Rights of Parents). Normally, not angering a person is not a condition of Hisba but in the case of the parents, it is. Imam al Ghazzali in the Ihya, when speaking about enjoining righteousness, also mentions that a condition of this when dealing with the parents is that they do not become angry.

Noble Speech

Allah ordered us to speak kindly to our parents and to use “noble speech” when speaking with them (Quran 17:23). Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib was asked what constitutes noble speech to which he responded, “The way a meek slave who has committed a crime would speak with his harsh and majestic master” (The Rights of Parents, Mawlud). So, imagine you are that slave and you wanted to advise you master about following the sunna of keeping a beard, how would you approach the topic? Or would you approach it at all?

In conclusion, if advising one’s father to keep a beard will make him angry, then it is prohibited to do so. And Allah knows best.

Which Parent Has a Greater Right to Obedience Within the Home?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Which parent has more right upon me when both my parents have differing requests upon me, with regards to matters of the house like cooking?

For example, earlier today my mother had requested that I cooked for breaking of the fast. She desired that I cook the food one way,  whereas my dad wanted me to cook the food another way. At first, I thought my mother had more rights upon me due to the following hadith:

[Hadith Bukhari 8.2, Narrated Abu Huraira]

A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man said. “Who is next?”  The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your father.

But, I felt uncomfortable because this is a matter of obedience and perhaps my dad has more rights upon me due to my father being the major provider in our home and it’s his money that was spent for the ingredients to cook.

Answer
: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Scholars mention that the hadith you cite, where the mother is mentioned three times before the father, is with respect to love, tenderness and compassion, as understood from the wording of the original question posed by the Sahabi, “Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” [Ibn Battal, Sharh Bukhari]

With respect to obedience within the home though, the father has more right as he is the provider and maintainer of the family. [Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha]

Having said that, wisdom on the father’s part would entail not getting too involved with the mother’s maintenance of the home, but rather giving her space to manage things as she deems fit, and Allah knows best.

wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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.