Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I can’t live with my father for my own good. He is abusive both mentally and physically. There is no sort of love between us. It’s like I’m a burden on him because I can’t do anything. He doesn’t treat me like his son, but like a slave who has to do everything and get nothing back. If I contest, I’m abused. I’m not allowed to go out with my friends or buy anything even if it’s a simple calculator for school.
I’ve been told constantly that I’m good for nothing and he makes it seem that if I was dead, he would be better off. I have no say in my life. I’m 16 now but I have no money and I am not allowed to get a job for some reason.
What I can do from an Islamic point of view?
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are suffering from your father’s treatment of you, and I pray that your relationship improves and that Allah rewards you for your patience.
With the severity of your current situation please contact a local mental health professional to assist you as soon as possible.
Respecting parents is a great act of worship as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us: “The pleasure of the Lord lies in the pleasure of the parent. The anger of the Lord lies in the anger of the parent.” [Tirmidhi]
We acknowledge the importance of being good to them, but it does not mean that one must be subjected to their abuse.
A child must still be respected, treated well, given room to grow, be educated and be allowed to think instead of being treated like a slave. This is evident from the way that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), treated his daughters. For example, if you are silent when he insults you, or you respond to his bad character with politeness and gentleness, and patience, this is tremendous respect in itself.
While you are living with him and because you are so young, you should take steps to make your life more bearable. This is a test from Allah and I don’t want you to fail or lose hope. Dealing with your father graciously may bring many blessings in your life, and could even change him.
- Turn to Allah through patience, prayer, and supplication;
- Pray the Prayer of Need before dawn;
- Read Quran daily with the meaning and give charity regularly, even if only a little to increase the blessings in your life and to learn wisdom;
- Don’t make dua against him, rather make dua for him so that your heart may start to soften toward them;
- Try praying with him, because bonding with him will change him;
- Consider buying him a gift or doing little favors for him to soften his heart;
- Always be polite, and choose silence over confrontation, this in itself is great respect;
- Ignore what he says about your worth. You are worthy of love, and respect, especially because you are a believer;
- Consider doing something simple to make some pocket money: Babysitting is a very classic way for teenagers to make money after school.
Supplication of the Oppressed
Find solace in this hadith and make dua: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’” [Tirmidhi]
Relationships with parents usually improve over time, so you can expect and pray that your father will be quite different as you grow up, move out, get a job, marry and have kids. Be sure not to repeat the abusive cycle.
May Allah give you 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, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.