Friday, April 19, 2013

How to Deal With Non-Muslim Parents?

How to Deal With Non-Muslim Parents?

I am a revert, al-hamdu lillah (all praise to Allah). I want to know how I have to treat my parents and what are my duties towards them if they don't stop me from following Islam. Because according to Islam every person has to respect and take care of his or her parents. Does this also apply to a Muslim with non-Muslim parents?

How to Deal With Non-Muslim Parents?

How to Deal With Non-Muslim Parents?

How to Deal With Non-Muslim Parents?

If your parents are more or less accepting of your decision to be a Muslim, you are very blessed. They may not totally understand your decision, and they may not be totally happy with it. However, if they are not fighting with you or trying to prevent you from practicing Islam, you have a much smoother road ahead of you.

We Muslims should be gentle and kind to our parents. We should always treat them with respect and obey them in any reasonable request that does not go against the teachings of Islam. This is not always easy to do, especially for those of us who were raised in societies where it is common for young people to rebel against their parents.

Note that in at least four places, the Qur'an puts kindness to parents immediately after worship of Allah alone. The Qur'an says what means:

{And (remember) when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none save Allah (only), and be good to parents and to kindred and to orphans and the needy, and speak kindly to mankind; and establish worship and pay the poor due. Then, after that, ye slid back, save a few of you, being averse.}(Al-Baqarah 2:83)

{And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and into the neighbor who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbor who is not of kin and the fellow traveler and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful.} (An-Nisaa 4:36)

{Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them to attain old age with thee, say not "Fie" unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.} (Al-Israa 17:23)

{And it was said unto his son): O John! Hold the Scripture. And We gave him wisdom when a child, and compassion from Our presence, and purity; and he was devout, and dutiful toward his parents. And he was not arrogant, rebellious.} (Maryam 19:12-14)

{And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents. His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying. But if they strive with thee to make thee ascribe unto Me as partner that of which thou hast no knowledge, then obey them not. Consort with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who repenteth unto Me. Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what ye used to do.} (Luqman 31:14-15)

Note that these last three verses are addressed to mankind, not just to Muslims. And in none of these verses is there anything to indicate that kindness is only to Muslim parents. Even if our parents try to make us ascribe partners to Allah, we are told to treat them kindly.

There is also a hadith that tells us that Asma' bint Abi Bakr was visited in Madinah by her pagan mother. This was at a time when the pagan Quraish had a treaty with the Muslims. Asma' asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) how she should treat her mother. He instructed her to treat her mother kindly. He (peace be upon him) said: "Yes, do an act of kindness to her" (Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud).

So you see, sister, your parents still deserve respect and kindness, even if they don't follow your beliefs. Love them, listen respectfully to them, but don't obey them if they tell you to do something that is against Islam. Help them and even share their joys and sorrows with them. Remember that one of the best forms of da`wah(inviting people to Islam) is through your example.


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Thank you for your good question and your interest to know Islam's teachings towards your parents though they are non-Muslims.
Indeed, Islam gives a high priority to the relationship between children and parents by ordaining the children to obey their parents, including non-Muslim parents. Muslim children are ordained not only to obey and treat well their parents, but they are also prohibited to irk them with even a minor sound as a sign of irritation.
In one of these divine orders Allah Almighty says in the Qur'an, (And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion, and say: O my Lord! have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.) (Al-Israa’ 17: 23)
The Sunnah also highly asserts this; `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "What is the best of deeds?" He said, "Prayers at their due time", I said, "What next?" He said, "Filial dutifulness, (i.e. dutifulness to parents)", I asked, "What next?" He said, "Jihad." (Al-Bukhari)
Responding to your question, Sheikh Gamal Qutb, the Ex-Head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar Ash-Shareef, stated,
Parents, whether Muslims or not, have the same rights upon their children including: respect, reverence, obedience, love, and spending if they are in need. Allah the Exalted ordained Muslim children to have the best behavior towards their parents even if they were non-Muslims. He Almighty says in the Qur'an, (And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world kindly, and follow the way of him who turns to Me, then to Me is your return, then will I inform you of what you did.) (Luqman 31: 15)
It is clear in this verse that children have to keep the best relation to their parents (keep company with them in this world kindly), even if they are struggling to lead them astray. However, they must disobey them only when ordered to abandon their faith or to become pagans.
As for the Sunnah, Asma' bint Abi-Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "My mother (the divorcee of Abu-Bakr) came to visit me during the covenant between the Prophet and Quraysh. Then I asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, "My mother came to me desirous, can I communicate with her?" He said, "Yes, make good your relation with your mother." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Given the above, it becomes very clear that you should have the best treatment towards your parents even if they are non-Muslims, as the children owe them a great debt, (of course not a financial debt), and they have to repay some of these debts especially in their old age.

Ahmed Ata Almahallawi
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