How Can I Help Non-Practising Family and Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalamu alaykum,

I have friends who I’ve known for almost a decade, who don’t practice unfortunately. I try my best to drag them to Islamic events, talk to them about Islam. This is the same case with my siblings.I try my hardest, but there’s only so much I can do.

What should I do in this situation? Especially when I feel like I’m losing my own imaan by being around people who don’t care about their deen as much.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Priorities

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” [Qur’an, 2:214]

The nature of this dunya is one of trials, and we are often tested by those whom we are nearest to. InshaAllah, successfully navigating this difficulty will help you attain closeness to Allah.

Your priority is learning your fardhul ‘ain (personally obligatory knowledge), in order to ensure that your acts of worship are sound and valid. Lectures and so on move the heart, and do serve a purpose, but it is safest for you to learn your fiqh and aqidah from teachers who are connected to the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). Seekers Guidance offers courses in Hanafi and Shafi’i Fiqh as well as Aqidah. I strongly recommend that you pick a fiqh class which is closely aligned to what you are already practicing. If your family is from the subcontinent, then Hanafi fiqh would be best. Study Aqidah as well, to solidify your belief.

Prayer

Please strive to pray all of your five daily prayers. Guarding our prayers is of the utmost importance. Do not let them go because all the prayers that we miss must be paid back before we meet Allah. There is something deeply transformative about guarding our prayers no matter how unmotivated we may feel – there is a medicine in salaat which we cannot find in any lecture.

Convincing others

It sounds like you are very tired of trying to persuade others in your family and circle of friends. My advice is for you to stop trying. Focus on improving your own worship. Be the example you want others to follow. Your adult friends and siblings are accountable for their own actions, as you are accountable for yours. If they wish to spend their time pursuing other things, then that is up to them. We cannot change people unless they want to change.

Take comfort in knowing that guidance is ultimately from Allah. The most non-practising sibling/friend you have could be inspired by Allah one night to make his/her taubah, and return wholeheartedly to Him. No amount of haranguing from you could have the same effect. On the contrary, you could drive him/her futher away from the deen, no matter how praiseworthy your intentions.

Gently ask your mother to make dua for her wayward children, instead of relying entirely on you to guide them back. Their state with Allah is not your burden. Your state with Allah is your responsibility. It is natural to be concerned about our family members, but not to the point where you tire yourself out and miss your own prayers.

Good company

“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

It is the nature of humans to seek companionship, so choose your companions wisely. Make new friends who inspire you and remind you of Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Tahajjud

Seek comfort in the last hour of the night, before the entry of Fajr. Make dua, and stand up for tahajjud prayer. Pour out your concerns to Him, the All Powerful and Most Merciful. You were created for Allah alone, and only He can truly soothe your pain. No matter what your mind may tell you, your heartache and exhaustion will not be relieved when your friends and family start practising the deen. That is a situation you cannot fix by your own hands.

Reconnecting to Allah and submitting to the wisdom of His Decree, however, will soothe your heart, inshaAllah. Part of His Wisdom is the current state your family and friends are in. The wheel is always turning, as Shaykh Nuh Keller has said. None of us know the states we will be in when we meet Allah, but we can prepare by doing our best and by making plentiful dua for a good ending.

I pray that Allah eases your heartache, makes you steadfast on prayer, and guides your loved ones back to Him, when the time is right.

Please refer to the following links:

A reader on missed prayers
Is it disbelief to miss prayers and pray them late?
How Can I Give Islamic Advice to My Family When They Know About My Sinful Past?

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani