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I Didn’t Spend Enough Time with Dad; Now He’s Gone

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 17, 2018

Question

As Salam aleykum, I am the 4th child of 5 children. My 3 elder sisters are from a previous marriage which ended in divorce. My parents live separately as my father was an alcoholic addict.

He never cared about our well-being but left all responsibilities to our mum. He also constituted a public nuisance and so I disliked him and was very ashamed of him. As I grew older and started a family, I felt the need to help him when I could, not out of love but in accordance with the dictates of Islam as a child to her parents. I kept my distance from him but sent him monthly stipends.

I didn't keep in touch, but never missed the monthly payment. I was told he died and has been buried. I worry about meeting my Creator. What can I do? Please advise me.

Counselor

Answer


I Didn’t Spend Enough Time with Dad; Now He’s Gone

In this counseling answer:

• Turn to Allah in your prayers. This will soften your heart and bring you some psychological ease.

• Forgive him by focusing on his good aspects and the Mercy of Allah, and finally, use your experience to benefit yourself and your family by learning from his mistakes.


Wa Alaikum salaam wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh sister,

Inn lilahi wa in a ilayhi rajioon. Sorry to hear of your loss and the difficulties you faced as a child. Alhamdulillah, you now have your own family to focus on, but you are troubled by worrying about how Allah will judge you for having had little contact with your father before his passing.

In Islam, we are obliged to maintain family ties. It is also important to also obey our parents except if they are ordering us to do something against Islam. Furthermore, we are encouraged to care for our parents as they cared for us in childhood.

And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. (Qur’an, 31:14)

In your case, your father seemed to abandon his responsibilities towards you. However, despite maintaining little contact with him in more recent years you did continue to care for him financially by sending him money regularly. Masha Allah, this is an admirable attitude towards him given his lack of care towards you as a child.

You have further stated that you did this for the sake of pleasing Allah, which is a sign that you fear Allah. He will surely reward you for this, in sha Allah.

Additionally, what you did in providing for him financially is a way of maintaining family ties too. This is an act of charity also.

Despite your concerns, there is no more you can do for him in this life, but there are some things you can do to ease your anxieties, and for both him and you in the Hereafter.

Pray for his forgiveness

If your father was a believer, then you can ask Allah for his forgiveness. He made mistakes by drinking alcohol excessively and not caring for his children. However, if he is a believer, then there is still every chance that Allah can and will forgive these things. It can be difficult to seek Allah’s forgiveness for the sins of one who has wrong you, but it will eventually bring you to ease with the situation both in terms in your relationship with Allah and your feelings towards what happened historically with your father.

Turn to Allah in your prayers. This will soften your heart and bring you some psychological ease. You did all you can to improve the situation despite your father now being gone. You can’t do anything to go back and changes things, but praying is the closest you can get.

Forgive him

As a child, he wronged you and this had a significant impact on your feelings towards him into later life. It can be incredibly difficult to forgive those who wrong us, especially when they hold such a profound effect on our lives. However, Islam places great emphasis on the importance of forgiveness. There is much wisdom in this.

Firstly, it softens our hearts to forgive those wrong us not only towards them but towards others me generally. Being a person who engages in much forgiveness will soften your heart more widely and it helps to improve relations with all.

And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers (Qur’an, 42:40)

To make this easier, try focusing on any of the positive things your father did, or any of his positive traits, however small, just to open the way to making the process of forgiveness easier.


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Furthermore, remember that Allah is All-Forgiving and forgives almost all sins. At some point in life, you will have wronged someone also, however small and asked for Allah’s forgiveness also. Ask yourself that if you expect Allah to forgive you, shouldn’t you try to forgive others also?

And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Qur’an, 24:22)

Learn from his mistakes

You have suffered a lot as a result of your father’s actions and, therefore, know firsthand how it feels to be wrong by someone close. You can use this experience as something to benefit yourself; turning something negative into something more positive.

He is not alive to learn from his own mistakes, but you can. Use this as a motivation to treat your own children in the best manner that will not leave them feeling as you have all this while. Treat them how you wished to be treated as a child and give them the upbringing that you did not have.

Summary

Losing a parent comes with a heavy burden. However, in your case, the burden comes from your anxiety over how Allah will judge you due to your lack of contact with him in his final years. This is causing you continued to bother, but there are things you can do to ease your anxieties.

Ask Allah for the forgiveness of both you and your father. Forgive him by focusing on his good aspects and the Mercy of Allah, and finally, use your experience to benefit yourself and your family by learning from his mistakes.

May Allah reward your concern for how He will judge you. May He forgive your shortcomings and grant you success in this life and the next.

Amen,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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