Question: I know someone in a toxic household who is planning on leaving. She wants to know if it is permissible to cut off communication with her family. If it is not, would one-way communication, such as letters or calling/messaging from a hidden number, suffice? Can she leave without telling them because she knows this may harm her? Can she refuse to share her location because she fears they will stalk and abuse her?
Thank you for your question. I pray that your friend’s situation improves, and I pray that Allah rewards you well for supporting and helping her as a friend.
Cutting off communication
It is not permissible for her to cut off communication with her family. Please see this answer about the details of maintaining ties of kinship and how:
One-way communication is not giving her parents their due rights. They should contact her when they wish, and I feel that your friend is taking the wrong means throughout this whole thing by not trying to mend her relationships. Running away from her problems will not solve a thing but make them worse.
First, it sounds like your friend is angry and her parents aren’t listening to her. She should sit down with them and tell them how she feels. If that doesn’t work, she should involve a sibling, relative, friend, elder, or local imam to communicate with them together. She should even talk to a school counselor that can give her tips. She may even consider writing her feelings in a letter and giving it to them because it’s easier than confrontation and freezing up.
If she truly fears abuse and bodily harm, she should call the police; a Muslim should never be physically struck on the face or hit in any way that leaves a scar or bruise, for example. If her methods are not working, she should tell her parents that she wants to move out to a relative’s or friend’s home and ask them to give her some space. Perhaps she can start by just spending weekends there and then see if the situation improves.
Pray istikhara and turn to Allah about how to deal with this. Don’t run away, deal with the problem sooner than later, and exhaust all measures. The Prophetic way was to use wisdom, love, and positivity to solve issues and not threats, escape, or cut people off. One way is blessed. The other is not. If she does things the right way, I guarantee you that Allah will make a way out of her, and the solution may come from whence she never imagined. Please see these links for more tips:
Given the considerations in such cases, please consult reliable local scholars about the situation’s specifics—Jazakum Allah khayr.
May Allah bless you and your friend, give her a way out, and give both of the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.