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How Can I Choose Between My Parents and Islam?

Questioner

Aaliyah

Reply Date

Mar 16, 2017

Question

I recently reverted to Islam after about 6 months of intense reading and attending Quran class (al-hamdu lillah). I hid all this from my parents only because I wanted to find out who I was first without them roaring up on me and telling me that this is not right. The day I took my Shahadah, I felt an immense release of weight on my body — it was as if it was all lifted from me and I couldn't help but cry. That night when I went to bed, I thought to myself, "I've held on to a firm hand — and that hand is of Allah." Allah has given me strength but just a couple of weeks ago, I shared my story with my parents. They are not pleased at all. They simply want me to follow what they follow (my parents are born Buddhists, but don't follow the religion at all). They simply say that they're simple-minded people and there's no need for me to delve into religion and God. Society will condemn my parents (according to them) and they will never be able to live in peace should I decide to continue with Islam. What's sad is that they don't even want to discuss how I came to this juncture and decision — they simply want me to leave it, no reason given. Just do it. Today, my mom took away my scarf and prayer mat because she said that I can no longer pray in the house nor anywhere else. They've asked me to choose either parents or Islam, but both are important to me. I really thought maybe I should consider learning Buddhism and delve more into it because it'll make them happy, but I can't, I just can't abandon what I've found. Islam is too encompassing of all other teachings. Buddhism talks about cutting oneself off entirely from worldly things. Well, Islam tells us not to be attached to worldly things but at the same time, I don't have to abandon relations and living within a worldly life. Moderation. In addition, Buddhism doesn't even believe in God! How can I embrace that when I know in my heart that there is a Supreme Power (Allah)? I just feel that my love and spirit of Islam is being taken away. I've been praying and making du`aa' for my parents but they want an answer now. I don't want to leave the house and live independently (even though I work now and can support myself) because to me, that's simply pushing them further away from me. When I told them that Islam encompasses all the beautiful teachings you find in all world religions, they just simply didn't want to understand. They keep saying "you're Chinese and a Buddhist and no matter what you do, you'll die as a Buddhist." My dad stopped my mom a few years ago when she was getting into Daoism. He just doesn't want any of us to follow a particular religion. I told him I want to explore, he said I can do all the exploration I want but not embrace anything. Just look at it from far, admire it, and live your life. That sounds like such an empty life to me! They told me to stop praying the "Muslim way." Help!

Consultant

Answer


Salam Aaliyah,

Thank you for your question and for your confidence in writing to us for help in finding an answer.

The situation you find yourself in at the moment is certainly a very complicated one and is causing you a lot of pain.

Before saying anything else, we must remember that Almighty Allah is in control of all things and is the Master of all situations and circumstances.

There is nothing that is outside the scope of His power and His mercy. That is why Muslims should never despair and that is why the answer to your problem is just waiting to be found.

We need to remember, in answering this question, that Muslims have the greatest respect and reverence for their parents. We listen attentively to what our parents have to say, and it is our duty to love and respect them.

This love and respect includes praying for them, asking Him to care for them. It could be that this situation is a way that will bring the whole family closer together and closer to Allah.

It is this duty to Allah that should inform all the decisions we make.

You obviously took your preparations for embracing Islam very seriously, by reading and by attending Quran classes, so when you came to your decision to declare Shahadah, it was an informed decision.

The tears that you shed reflect how Allah entered your heart after your mind had submitted to His mercy. Al-hamdu lillah.

Welcome to Islam!

The situation in which you find yourself now is complicated, but there are certain things we can point out that might help you know what to do. 

First of all, although you will always be indebted to your parents and will always listen to their advice, you are an adult and at an age when you can make decisions on your own.

The decision about how you continue to live your life is your decision alone.

In life, we all make choices and we have to live up to the consequences of the choices we make. You must decide your priorities and make your choice.

Second, there may be many reasons why your parents are objecting to your choice of Islam, but one of them could actually be a genuine, although unfounded, fear for your safety.

We all know how the television and newspapers present Islam as a religion of extremists and terrorists, and how our television screens present to us every day images of violence and bloodshed that claims to be in the name of Islam.

While we know that Islam is a religion of peace and, as you say, a religion of moderation, any parents would be worried if they thought their son or daughter was getting involved in anything that might cause them harm.

You will not convince your mother and father overnight that Islam is both gentle and sweet, but you can begin to do so.

Show them by the way you act and speak that you are still the same daughter they have always had. You have not become an extremist or a religious maniac, but have found great happiness and peace in your life.

Show them this by what you do. Continue to laugh and joke with them. Continue to show how much you love and respect them. Begin to teach your parents about Islam by living what you have come to believe.

In terms of having had your prayer mat taken away, this is not a big deal. You can pray in any place that is clean, with or without a prayer mat.

In terms of not being able to pray in the house, you can pray at any time during the night or when the door to your room is closed.

Similarly, you can pray when you are not in the house, either in a mosque or in a quiet place at your work. So, there are ways in which you can fit in the five daily prayers without it becoming a major cause for arguments at home.

Perhaps the demand for an immediate answer now to a choice between your parents and Islam is an impossible choice that you cannot give them.

Perhaps you need to continue quietly praying and carrying out the duties of your religion, but for the time being not making these a reason for discord at home. I don’t mean you should keep your Islam a secret, but perhaps you can find ways that do not make it a reason for argument right now.

Maybe it is going to take some time before your parents come round to the idea of you being Muslim. It doesn’t seem that it will happen immediately.

So, use this time to strengthen your own faith and to tell your parents very gently and very quietly by what you do and say, that Islam is not going to harm you or them. On the contrary, let them see how Islam has brought great goodness into your life.

Ultimately, the decision of what to do can only be made by you. Perhaps Almighty Allah is using this test to strengthen your faith and to use you as His instrument in telling others about Islam.

You may need to make some very difficult decisions some time in the future, which might even include having to move out of the family home.

But if your parents have your best interests at heart, they will come to respect the decision you make if you can show them that it is making you happy and is not going to harm any of the family members.

Many Muslims before you have been called upon to make heroic sacrifices. Many more, though, have been called upon to carry on living their lives quietly as good and faithful Muslim men and women, asking Almighty Allah to help them in all the circumstances of life.

May Almighty Allah strengthen your own Islam.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How to Tell Your Parents about Your Conversion

I Was Taught to Hate Islam

A New You: A 21st Century Guide for New Muslims

 




About Idris Tawfiq

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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