Treating Parents
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Saadia Malik

My non-Muslim mother is very uncomfortable with the stance of Islam on women. I want your help in satisfying her. Simultaneously, I want to address another almost larger concern with her, one that embarrasses me. My family life growing up was very poor. Inheriting generations of abuse, my father was an incredibly mean and abusive person - towards my mother, older brother and myself. My mother, in turn, was incredibly abusive towards me exclusively. I left home at an early age (16 years), finished school and university, made my way in the world with many errors, but ultimately found my husband, married and became Muslim, alhamdulillāh. The relationship with both parents has been repaired to where I visit and correspond as though nothing wrong had ever occurred in the past (they are now divorced). However, I lie to myself because I still have great anger towards my mom exclusively. Strangely, I feel absolutely no resentment towards my father. I've completely forgiven him. Please help me. I want my heart to be pure and washed from the past – yet, it won’t let go.


Some things, it seems, are best left in the past. The fact that your mother mistreated you and did not raise you in the ideal manner, may be a product of her own circumstances and difficulties. Many a time, we end up venting our frustrations on people who never made us miserable in the first place. In this case, you were the victim. Although, the weakness displayed by your mother is something that she and every one of us must learn to fight and rectify, if you do not see her apologizing or feeling sorry for all that cannot now be undone, it would not help matters if you were to tell her that you still hold a grudge against her.

In my opinion, the sensible way to go about it would be for you to keep reminding yourself how your Allah requires of you to remain kind and considerate to your parents under all circumstances. Returning evil with good and harshness with mildness, can win over the worst of one’s enemies. And she, after all, is your mother. Also, since she must already be in her old age or approaching it, you should make the best effort not to let her be alone. The best way to win her over is to let her realize on her own that her misgivings are not being returned an eye for an eye. The process can be painful and slow, but worth the effort. Secondly, if she feels antagonistic towards Islam for peculiar reasons, her reservations must be addressed carefully and in a subtle manner. You must look for the right moments to convey to her how your religion makes you a more secure, happy and confident lady. For example, taking over your husband to meet with her, would be a good idea. In the course of these meetings, who better than the ‘husband’ to stress how Islam has made him respect his ‘wife’, and so on. This is just one recommendation. Carefully looking into other possible scenarios that can win over your mother’s trust and change her false impressions about Islam can help ‘de-mystify’ the subject of Islam with your mother.

In the end, just keep reminding yourself of Allah’s words from the Qur’ān, enjoining good treatment of parents (see 2:83, 6:151, 31:14-15). Reciting them over and over again, and reflecting upon the divine directives will help heal your heart. Pray to Allah and put your trust in Him. God willing, your own children will discover what a wonderful mother God chose for them.

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