Obeying Parents in deciding upon a Career
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Saadia Malik

My wish is to do a Masters in Engineering Science (buildings). But the problem is that my parents want me to become a doctor, even though I am not at all interested. They have been forcing me to become a doctor to serve humanity. I want to know whether it is disobedience of parents, if I don’t listen to them in this case. Please help me.


After Allah, the Qur’ān has acknowledged the status of parents as foremost, and so their right to your good behavior and obedience is essential. Some of the verses that enjoin a Muslim to such behavior are as follows:

And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in two years was his weaning: [hear the command]: ‘Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: To Me is [your final] goal’. (31:14)

 We are required to obey them except if they force us to shirk:

 But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me, things of which you have no knowledge, obey them not. (31:15)

 It is obvious that your parents are, God forbid, not forcing you into this unpardonable sin, but in fact, they want you to adopt a line of profession that runs averse to your own interests and aptitude.

In my opinion, it is best that we are allowed to proceed with what we feel comfortable and derive maximum utility from – of course, keeping in mind, Islamic morals and principles. My sincere suggestion to you would be to sit down with a calm and composed mind, and have a solemn discussion with both your parents. Of course, there is no denying that they wish you to become a doctor because they perceive that to be in your best interests. What you should ideally do is to tell them that as a son, you are conscious that you are duty bound to them for respecting them and for seeing to it that they derive happiness from whatever you do. Tell them that going into the field of medicine is not what you feel confident about, and entering the extensive program with such a mindset will do you no good, and thus, neither will it do them any good. It would not be premature to think that adopting a profession that one is least likely to appreciate and enjoy, can lead to greater problems in life, such as personality conflicts, depression, et cetera. You should calmly request your parents that if you take up engineering, you will be able to treat them and love them better, for then, you will be happier with the route your life will be taking and with the thought that your parents have backed you all the way.

As far as helping humanity is concerned, convey to them sincerely the thought that you hope to excel as an engineer on the basis of hard work, commitment and potential, and that can help humanity. How? If you progress well, there can be no limit to the amount of social work you can do, on an individual basis as well as on an organizational basis.

However, you must be careful that this should all be said in a way that the respect of your parents is not sidelined or sacrificed in any way. And to ensure that, I would advise you to keep a flexible mind, even after saying what I have expressed above. In other words, your own interests should be balanced with your parents’ in this matter. You should regularly offer the du‘ā of istikhārā, which will inevitably help you in making the right decision. Once you’ve spoken your heart out to your parents, tell them that you would still be keeping a flexible mind while exploring whether going into the medical profession can still manage to attract you. And for that, you can request any doctors among family and friends to talk to you about all that the field of medicine has to offer. If possible, visit hospitals with them and observe what goes on in their daily lives as doctors. Also, try to research on it, as much as possible, and allow your parents an active role in this process.

In the end, request your parents to support you in your honest endeavors, and to back you at the time of decision. Inshā Allah, all will happen for the best. In case it appears that you are destined to become a doctor, then take it as a test from the Almighty, and pray to Him to instill in you, the vigor and the determination to willingly accept this profession. Remember, nothing is beyond His reach.


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