Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
A friend is going through severe problems. She has a daughter and three sons, and they all live together along with her husband. She takes Islam seriously however her husband was born and raised such that his mindset is like a Chinese person. Her husband does not pray and does not follow Islam at all. She tried her best to raise her daughter in an Islamic environment in childhood, but her husband would stop her and tell her to let their daughter follow her dreams and do whatever she likes. Her daughter has grown up, does not pray, and has become a policewoman. She is scared for the religion of her sons as her husband stops them from being raised Islamically. What shall she do?
Thank you for your question. I empathize with her frustration, and I pray that she can still fulfill the obligation of raising her children with the Islamic knowledge that they deserve to have.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Beware. Every one of you is a shepherd and everyone is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shall be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian, and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” [Muslim]
Ask her to look at the following links to see the rights of children and how they should be taught, especially the 12-part podcast series by Habib Umar:
Keys to Raising Righteous Children: Eight Lessons on Successful Parenting
The Believing Future: Habib Umar’s Advice on Raising a Believing Generation
Prophetic Parenting: Q&A – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Traditional Methods of Raising Children
The best thing that she can do is to speak to her husband about the haram and halal. She should not compromise on teaching the children what is obligatory and what is prohibited. She must tell him that it’s important to her, but not to nag or criticize him. Ask him to read the above links and get an idea of what an Islamic upbringing looks like. She should also befriend families who are raising their children in the right way. Their company will help the children and will cause her husband to see things in a different way. Always use kindness in communication, and she will get much better results:
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, “Allah is kind and loves kindness, and He rewards for kindness in a way that He does not reward for harshness.“ [Ahmad]
Hide if Necessary
If it’s necessary that she hide certain things from him, she may do so. It is permissible to defy one’s husband in ensuring that one can teach the children their religion, whether it be reading Quran, learning fiqh, Islamic manners and so forth. However, she should do so with the utmost possible respect for him, in the gentlest way, and not make him feel like an enemy in the home. A delicate balance of love, honour and inching her way to get what she wants, is the way to do it. Most of all, she should be a role model of Islamic character, and that will be her children’s biggest teacher.
She should pray to Allah to facilitate this matter for her. Her challenge is very difficult, but if she has patience and seeks guidance, she will be able to balance respecting her husband and giving him rights with raising the children correctly. She should certainly get up for tahajjud, pray the Prayer of Need and place all of her trust in Allah. He will not abandon her as He knows that what she wants is what He wants.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When half of the night or two-thirds of it is over, Allah (the Blessed and the Exalted) descends to the lowest heaven and says, ‘Is there any beggar so that he be given? Is there any supplicator so that he be answered? Is there any beggar of forgiveness so that he be forgiven? (And Allah continues saying it) until it is daybreak.’” [Muslim]
Please see these links as well:
How Can I Raise My Children in the West? [Video]
Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children
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.