[This article was published in the 22nd issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (), February - March 1998]

Sisters' Counseling Section

I can't Get Along with My Father!
Dear Sister,

I'm having many problems with my father lately. Many times I've tried talking to him, but he avoids any discussions. Mum can't help much either, and tells me to just be patient. I understand that I must be obedient to my parents, and I love my father very much, but things are getting real tense at home. What do you suggest I do?

What exactly is it that you cannot talk to your father about? Is it about your friends, intended career, school, hobbies, your behaviour - what aspect of your life is it? You need to find out what it is that causes your father to behave this way.

Another question that you need to answer is, does it concern Islam? Whatever your father says, you must obey him. However, the only time that you can disobey him is when what he tells you to do is against Islam. "And We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents. And if they compel you to associate partners with Me of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. Unto Me is your return, then I will inform you of what you were doing." [29:8] See also [31:14-15].

For example, if the cause of his behaviour towards you is your friends, then ask yourself, "Why does he object to my friends?" Is it because he thinks your friends are a bad influence on you? That they may lead you away from Islam and into doing things that are un-Islamic? In this case, you have to obey him and leave your friends. Another example is if the cause of his behaviour is due to your intended career. Maybe he wants you to be a singer. In this case, you have to disobey him because this is un-Islamic work.

The point is whatever it is that causes your father to react the way he does, you need to ask yourself further if it is for Islamic reasons or not.

Having said the above, your general behaviour towards your father must be good and dutiful whether you obey or disobey him for Allah. This is the minimum requirement that Allah puts on us as a duty towards our parents, regardless of whether they are good or bad, Muslim or non-Muslim.

There are more than five places in the Qur'an that Allah has commanded children to be good and dutiful to parents, this include: "And worship Allah and associate naught with Him and do good to parents." [4:36] "...Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents..." [6:151]

You will notice that Allah always mentions "do not associate partners" with Him before He says to be good and dutiful to parents. Associating partners with Allah is the major sin that Allah does not forgive, unless the person sincerely repents. Being good and dutiful to parents is, therefore, a serious duty upon us.

Under no circumstances are children to raise their voices and argue back to their parents or act in a disrespectful manner: "And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour and lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say, 'My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young'." [17:23-24]

Therefore whatever your father does you must be patient even if you disagree with him, and even if he is unjust to you. For example, if he wants you to do something un-Islamic, do not argue and shout but talk nicely and respectfully. If he still does not see it your way, do not become angry but remain patient and say to yourself, "He is my father, I must honour him."

Please note that whatever we have said here concerning the father, it applies to the mother even more so: Abu Hurairah (r.a.a) reports that a person approached the Prophet (s.a.w) saying, "Who is most entitled to my good conduct?" "Your mother" the Prophet replied. "Then who?" He asked again. "Your mother" the Prophet replied. "Then who?" He asked. "Your mother", the Prophet replied. "Then who?" he asked. The Prophet replied, "Your father." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Among the Prophets who were respectful to their parents were Yahya and Eesa (a.s.). Regarding Prophet Yahyah (a.s.): "And doing good to his parents, he was not arrogant not rebellious (to Allah or his parents)" [19:14].

And Prophet Eesa (a.s.): "And I am virtuous to my mother and He (Allah) has not made me arrogant, unfortunate." [19:32]

As you can see, to be good to parents also means not to be arrogant and rebellious. These are the feelings that we need to eliminate from our hearts.

Therefore, whatever problems you have with your father, bear with it with patience, and be good and dutiful towards him. Then, Insha' Allah, Allah will remove the problem and put tranquility between you.

Please write to us with any query or problem you might have at:

Sisters' Counseling Committee
PO Box: 216, Lakemba
NSW 2195 Australia
Fax: (02) 9740 7921
E-mail: umm_pub@tig.com.au

This section is an exclusive service to Nida'ul Islam Magazine provided by UMM Publications, publishers of Hawwa Magazine for women.

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