Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra
Question: I have heard of a hadith of a Yemeni man who wanted to see the Prophet (pbuh) but his mother was elderly and needed him, so the Prophet (pbuh) told the man to stay where he was. (If know of a reference for this hadith or its authenticity, I am interested.) This emphasizes the importance of caring for parents and decreasing their distress even when sacrificing the righteous companionship (even of a prophet).
Is it permissible for parents to forbid their children from the company of the righteous or attending gatherings of the righteous if they are afraid their children will fall into the wrong group (such as extremist groups)?
What if the parents are not in need (e.g. healthwise) of their children?
What are the permissible and recommended means of dealing with this situation for the children if in their opinion the company they are seeking is righteous and not astray?
What if there does not seem to be a means of convincing the parents? What if the source of the disagreement is a theological one and the parents do not trust the scholars present?
If you could mention both what responses are permissible and which are most beloved to Allah, it would be appreciated. Jazakum Allah khayran.
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful,
As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your question. May Allah Most High bless you for the concern you have for respecting your parents.
The story you are speaking about is that of Owais al-Qarni, who lived in Yemen during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) time, but did not get to meet him (and thus, become a Sahabi) because he was in the service of his elderly mother who needed him constantly. A link on his virtues is attached below.
Yes, it is for discerning and knowledgeable parents to guide their children if they fear that they will fall into the wrong groups. This is especially when one is living with them as a child.
Later as an adult, their wishes should be respected, but politely weighed against whether the fear is legitimate, and how staying away from good Muslim company is detrimental to one’s faith.
Parents must be spoken to with tact and great respect. This seems to be an issue of conflicting ideas about the religion, so seek out a trustworthy scholar, who follows traditional Islamic scholarship and understands the society very well, and perhaps ask him his advice, or to mediate a discussion.
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Further readings include:
My Parents Stop Me From Practising: What Should I Do?
Is Obedience to Parents Absolute?
The Role of Parents in Our Lives
Hadeeth Related to Owais al-Qarni (may Allah be pleased with him) in Sahih Muslim:
Usair bin `Amr (Ibn Jabir) reported: When delegations from Yemen came to the help of (the Muslim army at the time of Jihad) `Umar would ask them :”Is there Owais bin `Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) amongst you?”
(He continued searching him) until he met Owais. He said, “Are you Owais bin `Amir?” He said, “Yes”. `Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) asked, “Are you from the Qaran branch of the tribe of Murad?” He said, “Yes”. He `Umar again said, “Did you suffer from leucoderma and then you were cured from it but for the space of a dirham?” He said, “Yes”. He `Umar said, “Is your mother still alive?” He said, “Yes”.
He `Umar said, “I heard Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, `There would come to you Owais bin `Amir with the reinforcement from the people of Yemen. He would be from Qaran (the branch) of Murad. He had been suffering from leucoderma from which he was cured but for a spot of a dirham. He has a mother to whom he is very dutiful. If he were to take an oath in the Name of Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He), Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He) would fulfill his oath. And if it is possible for you, ask him to ask forgiveness for you.’ So, ask forgiveness for me”.
He Owais did so. `Umar then said, “Where do you intend to go?” He said, “To Kufah.” He `Umar said, “Let me write a letter for you to its governor,” whereupon he Owais said, “I love to live amongst the poor people”.
The following year, a person from among the elite (of Kufah) performed Hajj and he met `Umar . `Umar asked him about Owais . He said, “I left him in a state with meagre means of sustenance in a decayed house.” (Thereupon) `Umar said, “I heard Messenger of Allah saying, `There would come to you Owais bin `Amir of Qaran, a branch (of the tribe) of Murad, along with the reinforcement of the people of Yemen. He had been suffering from leucoderma which would have been cured but for the space of a dirham. He has a mother to whom he is very dutiful. Were he to swear, trusting Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He), for something, Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He) would fulfill his oath. If you can ask him to pray for forgiveness for you, do so”.
This man went to Owais and asked him to pray for forgiveness for him. Owais said to him, “You have just returned from a blessed journey, it is you who should pray for forgiveness for me; and did you meet `Umar?” The man said, “Yes”. `Owais then prayed for forgiveness for him. People became aware of the high status of Owais and he set out following his course. [Imam Muslim, Saheeh].
Another narration is:
A delegation from Kufah came to `Umar . Among them was one who used to make fun of Owais . `Umar enquired, “Is there anyone among you who is from Qaran?” So this man stepped forward. Then `Umar said, “I heard Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, `A man will come to you from Yemen named Owais. He will have left in the Yemen only his mother. He was suffering from leucoderma and prayed to Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He) to be cured of it. So he was cured except for a space of the size of a dinar or a dirham. Whoever of you should meet him should ask him to pray for forgiveness for him.”’ [Saheeh Muslim]
Another narration is:
`Umar said: “I heard Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, `The best one of the next generation (At-Tabi`un) is a man called Owais, he will have a mother and he will be suffering from leucoderma. Go to him and ask him to pray for forgiveness for you”. [Saheeh Muslim].