Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I am unmarried, live with my parents, but feel uncomfortable because my father stares at my body. What do I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
May Allah reward you for striving to observe hijab, as difficult as you find it right now. Know that none of your effort is wasted on Allah. The harder your struggle with it, then the greater the reward.
I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night. Ask Allah to make wearing hijab easier on you, and to help you overcome this problem with your father. Nourish your spirituality by listening to SeekersGuidance podcasts and courses.
This is a troubling situation. I recommend that you listen to your instincts.
I have some suggestions. One is for you to still dress modestly at home, avoid being alone with your father, and relax in terms of your dressing only when you are away from your father.
In a best case scenario, this could be a temporary and awkward phase. In a worst case scenario, then your father may be harbouring inappropriate thoughts about you.
Each time your father comments about your physical appearance, draw a firm and polite boundary. Say that you feel uncomfortable when he speaks about you like that. Keep drawing boundaries with him. If he is being tested by these inappropriate thoughts, it is his responsibility not to act upon them.
Have you spoken to your mother about this? She is likely to become defensive, and this will break her heart. No mother wants to hear this about her husband.
I encourage you, at the very minimum, to attend culturally-sensitive counselling about how to deal with this situation. If your parents are willing to join you too, that would be ideal. This is a problem that can be worked through.
I do not recommend marriage as a way to solve this problem. I do encourage you to marry if Allah sends you a suitable prospect. Do perform the Prayer of Need to ask for a loving and righteous spouse.
Even if you don’t see any suitable prospects on the horizon, I encourage you to prepare yourself for marriage. Know yourself and know what you would want in a spouse. Please read Before You Tie The Knot and listen to Getting Married with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani,
If you feel increasingly uncomfortable in your family home because of your father, then I suggest that you consider moving out. It is important that this move helps you draw closer to Allah, and not further away.
You do not need to cite the real reason why, especially as your parents are likely to go on the defensive.
I pray that Allah grants you safety, peace of mind, and a way out of this dilemma.
[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 in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.