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Promise to one’s parents

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Without my consent, my mum made a promise that I would pay for a poor person’s Hajj if certain things happened. My mum believes those things have happened. It’s actually difficult to pay for a person’s Hajj as I do not know anybody personally who would be eligible for this charity. Is there an alternative I can do to fulfill her promise?

Assalamu alaykum

Thank you for your question.

Obedience to one’s parents has a high position in Islam. Allah says in surah al-Isra, “And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Qur’an, 17:23] Accordingly, good treatment of one’s parents is the best of actions after belief in Allah.

Nonetheless, there are instances where one is not obliged to show parents obedience.  The 18th-century Shafi’i jurist, Bujayrami, listed some of these instances:

1. when they instruct one to leave an act of worship;
2. when they tell one to sin;
3. when they instruct one to divorce a spouse that he or she loves; and
4. when they instruct one to sell one’s property (Hashiyah al-Shirwani).

The fourth example establishes that one is not under an obligation to fulfill the financial instructions of one’s parents. Accordingly, you are not obliged to send someone for Hajj in the first place. If, however, you wish to fulfill the promise made by your mother, you could do so, and in turn, you will earn a great reward from Allah.

If your only concern is identifying someone who is eligible for this charity, you may speak to your local imam or contact us at Seekersguidance, and we will gladly put you in touch with a worthy candidate.

Dealing With Difficult Parents and Keeping Promises

And Allah knows best.
Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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