What are the mother and father’s rights with respect to disallowing a child to move out of their family home under any circumstance?
I am asking this question on behalf of a brother who is well into his 30’s and finds himself in a difficult situation. The brother has been seeking halal employment for over 2 years now without any luck due in large part to several factors outlined below.
The brother’s character:
The brother is what I would call an observant Muslim and very patient with his family considering some of the parentally imposed restrictions he accepts especially considering his age. He prays, fasts, and I don’t know him to have ever engaged in things like drinking, drugs, clubbing, etc. Amongst people he is known as a good brother. I also know that he does a lot of things for his parents like cooking, cleaning, etc. that I don’t know many brothers to do.
The brother’s financial problems:
The brother is several hundred thousand dollars in debt due to a combination of obliviousness and misunderstanding with respect to the Islamic stance on taking out loans that carry interest.
He is repentant for it and hasn’t done it since, but the situation stands that he incurs large amounts of accrued interest each month due to the loans and if they continue to not be paid, because of the capitalized interest, it will reach an unsurmountable pay-off amount.
In this respect, the brother fears he will be receiving continued sins for not making haste in paying off the debt and aiding in the collection of interest.
The brother is also essentially bankrupt with no money to pay for anything even the smallest amenities because of his unemployment.
Why the brother is unemployed:
Although there are likely many factors at play when it comes to why a person can’t find a job, the most germane ones I typed out below.
The brother is very educated and capable but is unable to find work because of various restrictions.
The brother’s parents, without any compromise whatsoever, demand that he remain at home, permanently, even if it means bankruptcy or will ruin his future like, for example, rendering him financially unable to get married.
Because of this parental demand, the brother can only be employed at a job where he can come home every night. Any job requiring him to move is out of the question even if the brother offers, as he has, to take his parents with him and provide all of their needs.
On top of that, the family forbids him from working in many different lines of work, i.e., blue-collar work because they believe it is shameful work. This requirement further limits the brother’s job oppurtunities because the location where he lives has incredibly limited white collar job oppurtunities. The majority of the educated people living in his locale move upon graduating to cities with a demand for college educated individuals. The brother not only possseses bachelor’s level degrees but also holds advanced degrees which makes it even more neccessary for him to move to an area that has a demand for the type of work his edcuation has qualified him for. Conversely, if he applies for jobs he is overqualified for, his parents would not allow it because they deem it unbefitting, as mentioned above.
Finally, the jobs the brother has gotten offered within the locale his parents demand have thus far been for haraam work like in the mortgage, banking, or insurance industries. The brother has continually turned down these jobs for fear of the sin involved but his educational background attracts these types of recruiters and limits his job oppurtunities further.
The brother has been offered a very lucrative job offer which would be of the kind his family would accept if not for the fact that the job is overseas. The job is one that the brother found after much painstaking work, in a field that is halal, and at a position and salary that is very difficult to find.
Why the brother wants to go:
(1) The job is very lucrative financially.
(2) The job is completely halal.
(3) The job would allow him to start paying off his debts and start saving for his and his families’ future.
(4) The job would likely allow him to get married because one reason he is not married is becuase his family demands he have a certain amount of money availalbe prior.
(5) The job is situated in a Muslim country in a very religious environment.
(6) The job would allow him to raise future children in an environment he feels is more conducive and less burdensome on children then growing up in a non-Islamic environment.
(7) The job is in an affluent country with no war or poitical problems.
(8) The job would allow him to go to the masjid to pray which he currently cannot do because of the parent’s belief that it’s unneccessary and too far from home to travel for.
(9) The job would allow him to make Hajj and Umrah which he is currently not allowed to do because of the parents restriction on him leaving the home overnight, for any reason.
(10) The job would also allow him the flexibility to pursue Islamic studies which he cannot currently do because any such center would be too far away from home for his parents to agree to and would require him to move which his parents would not allow – the brother has essentially exhausted all local educational resources. Other oppurtunities the brother has found within his locale have been out of his reach financially because he remains unemployed due in large part to the work restrictions mentioned earlier.
(11) He is also sometimes made a partner to things he wishes not to be a part of, but is forced to because of his families actions which often neccessitates him defending them verbally, physically, etc. This leads to a situation whereby there are both Islamic and legal repercussions for his defense of family. He hopes that maybe, if he lives independently or with his family overseas, he could avoid these situations either because he’s not in the midst of it being in another country OR his family might not engage in such activities in a new environment.
How the brother approached the subject:
- He has politely, over several months, mentioned his financial situation, how grave it is, and the difficulty he is having in finding any employment.
- The brother has asked, politely, over the course of several months, about whether he could take the job giving his parent weeks at a time to think about it between bringing up the subject so as not to bother or nag them.
- They delayed giving an answer hoping that the delays would esssentially result in him losing the job. When the brother mentioned more pointedly that he needs a response, and that he was serious about the job, is when the parent’s provided an unequivocal and very emphatic “No.”
The brother’s responsibilities in the home:
- The brother routlinely cooks, cleans the home, and cleans clothing from time to time.
- Outside of this, the brother has no real say in anything else of significance in the home.
- The brother also does not provide any financial support due to his unemployment.
- Both parents are healthy and require no special medical care or attention. T
- he parents also live with many other of his siblings who are also available to take up the work the brother does like cooking and cleaning.
The parent’s reasons for forbidding the brother from moving:
(1) If you leave it will destroy the family – leaving includes moving at all, even after marriage, even if next door.
- As to how the family will get destroyed, no further elaboration is given except they believe moving out means you will inevitably break ties with your family permanently. They cannot fathom a reality where a family member could live in a different home and yet still maintain strong family ties and no amount of polite discussion, references to Islamic figures, Ulema, or Shuyookh change that opinion – the parent’s will absolutely not allow any discussion on the matter.
(2) If you leave, Allah (swt) will destroy you as it is our right, even if arbitrarily, to forbid
you from working or moving out.
(3) We are old, spend your time with us. When the brother tells them he wants them to come with him, they scoff at the idea because they prefer all family members to be under one roof and should they come with him, they could not be with everyone at the same time. When he then offers to bring everyone with him, and that he will financially support everyone, they again scoff at the idea and declare he could never do that and end the conversation immediately neither wanting nor giving a chance for the brother to provide any evidence to show that he could.
(4) No Islamic reward would sway their opinion – they prefer the brother’s life situation to remain as it is to any Islamic reward they could possibly get for allowing him to leave and have said as much.
Consequences from parents for leaving:
(1) The parents esssentially promised to curse the brother either outright or in their hearts.
(2) Will not forgive the brother.
(3) Probably cut the rest of the family off from him.
(4) Create other obstacles to his pursuing the overseas work.
What the brother wants to know:
(1) Can he leave without getting sin for disobeying?
(2) If he doesn’t leave even if he is allowed to Islamically speaking and endures his living
situation as it is, what type of reward, Islamically speaking, would he receive?
(3) Can you please answer all these questions assuming that there is absolutely zero chance that any elder, Sheikh, or any other Islamic figure could speak with the parents without it turning into something very negative.
If possible, the brother would appreciate it if you could respond to the brother’s question privately via the provided e-mail. جزك الله خيرا
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
On the outset, Shari’ah emphasizes greatly on obedience and respect to one’s parents. Allah Ta’ala states in the Quran,
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ
Translation: We have given mankind (emphatic) instructions concerning his/her parents (to treat them kindly and to make every effort to please them). (Surah Luqman. Verse 14)
Consider the following verse as well,
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. وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُلْ رَبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
Translation: Your Rabb has commanded that you worship only Him and that yu treat your parents kindly. If any one of the two or both of them reaches old age with you, then do not even tell them “Oof!” and do not rebuke them. Speak gently with them.
Lower for them the wings of humility out of compassion and say, “O my Rabb! Show mercy to them as they had (been merciful towards me when they) raised me when I was young.” (Surah Bani Israeel. Verse 23-24)
It is clear from the above verses that it is necessary one obeys and respect one’s parents and do as much as one can to fulfill their wishes.
On the other hand, as stated in your query, the parents are only permitting your brother to work in jobs which entails Haram.
You also state the brother is in a lot of debt and he incurs large amounts of accrued interest each month due to the loans. Hence, it is necessary that he adopts means to the best of his ability to free himself from the debts and interest, even if it means that he has to leave the parents against their will.
As a general principle, one cannot obey a creation while disobeying Allah. Almighty Allah Ta’ala has a greater right over us. Even though Shari’ah emphasizes on the obedience of parents, one cannot violate the rights of Allah Ta’ala to please their parents. The principle of Shariah لا طاعة لمخلوق فيمعصية الخالق There is no scope for obedience to mankind when it results in disobedience to Allah Ta’ala).
Our advice is the brother approaches his parents again and explain the situation with utmost love and respect. Love has the power to turn the bitter warm. Employ Hikmah (wisdom) when dealing with them. Always be diplomatic in the approach towards parents. One might have the right objective and aim in mind, but the method of conveying the message across maybe totally incorrect and not suitable to the situation.
Explain to them the gravity of the situation, and the necessity of abstaining from a Haram income. Bring to their attention that Allah’s obedience is greater and above everything. Ultimately let them know that the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala is greater than the pleasure of one’s parents, and likewise by indulging in Haram, the displeasure of Allah is far more detrimental than their displeasure, in which all will suffer the consequences and he wishes well for the entire family to save them from that. Even if it means for him to leave his parents and family against their wishes, he would have to do so.
Initially there might be an explosion of emotions from the parents. One should be calm and collected and make a lot of Dua to Allah Ta’ala and Inshallah if the purpose is to please Allah, Allah will change the hearts of the parents.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.