How To Maintain Self-Respect with Parents’ Rude Guests?

11 August, 2020
Q There are people from relatives and non-relatives who have misbehaved or have been disrespectful to my parents . I have heard that Islam says to behave well with everyone even if they are bad to you. But I think there is more to know , that how can I also behave as per Islam and the same time don't spoil my self respect, also be a good sensitive child of parent . And those who have wronged to my parents , they think themselves to be of greater position than me. So if I behave gently with them , they would take it that I am honoring them for being great , to have privilege from them , as if to throw a penny I am leaping to catch that. They live abroad , when they come to home they would carry loads of gifts with them for me , but those gifts also feed their pride as if I keep looking for them. I don't want to take those , how can I deny to take those , keeping Allah pleased? Really in a moral crisis  . Please give advice. It's urgent. Jazakallahu khairan for this nothing in return for advice, may Allah be pleased with you.

Answer

Short Answer:

  • A Muslim is wise enough to know when someone is manipulating, deceiving, insulting or humiliating them. A Muslim also does not allow such injustice to continue, once they sense it happening. They are obligated to practically stop injustice. At the lowest level of faith, they have to dislike it in their heart.
  • There are respectful ways to avert the vileness of arrogant people and rude guests. The key is not to blow up, or be disrespectful towards them. Never let them make you stoop to their level of conduct. Try to follow the 5 tips below…

………….

Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for the question.


May Allah reward you, sister, for being concerned about maintaining your dignity. Indeed, it is from ideal Islamic moral character, for a Muslim to maintain their self-respect. It is also praiseworthy that you worry not to displease Allah when dealing with hurtful behavior from people.

Social interactions in Islam

Undoubtedly, a Muslim is enjoined to maintain good social ties with others. Especially with our close biological relatives, Islam obligates that we maintain good ties. Unfortunately, there are often two extremes when it comes to maintaining social relations:

On one end, a person becomes totally aloof and cut off. This is, by default, not allowed in Islam, except in cases of dire necessity. The other extreme is when a person violates the commands of Allah in their social interactions. They prioritize pleasing people over pleasing Allah.

The question is: how does a Muslim strive to maintain the ideal balance?

The ideal Muslim social conduct and character

Here is the default setting for a Muslim’s social interactions:

They always follow Islamic guidelines for meeting people. If their cultural practices agree with these, they adopt them. If they do not, a Muslim unapologetically discards culture for Islam.
They are polite and respectful, exhibiting the best conduct towards others.


They honor guests and overlook minor shortcomings in others’ behavior. They feed others, accept banquet invites, and exchange gifts — for the sake of Allah. But the focus is on giving, rather than taking.


They avoid mixing freely with non-mahrums, but display politeness towards them.
They rush to help those in need, as charity, without expecting anything in return.

By default, a Muslim is exhorted to remain patient when someone mistreats them. Allah says in the Quran:


“..and when they are angry, they forgive.” [42:37]

This ensures that social relationships do not get spoiled at the slightest pretext.

Good deeds done with the wrong intentions   

It is a sad fact that many Muslims today, fall short in following Islamic etiquette when socializing with others. Their intentions can also get tainted, due to diseases of the heart. E.g. arrogance, ego, and greed for social status and prestige, often sully relationships.

People also often socialize to attain worldly benefits. Therefore, you will see them meeting only successful, wealthy, and well-connected people. Poor, ill, and unfortunate people are never allowed to be their guests or hosts.

For this reason, many people also do not give gifts with the right intentions. At times, it is done just to show off their wealth and social status. Or to control and dominate the recipient, or request a favor from them.

Or, the intention might be to deride the recipient. Many people also give lavish gifts, or host extravagant banquets, just to boost their ego. To show others how supposedly ‘awesome’ they are.

We cannot (and should not judge) another person’s intentions. However, we should use wisdom when dealing with people. This is because our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:


“A believer is not stung (by something) out of the same hole, twice.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

A Muslim is wise enough to know when someone is manipulating, deceiving, insulting or humiliating them.

A Muslim also does not allow such injustice to continue, once they sense it happening. They are obligated to practically stop injustice. At the lowest level of faith, they have to dislike it in their heart.

A Muslim’s dislike for evil is not rancor or malice. Rather, it is a praiseworthy trait of rightly-guided believers, which Allah has mentioned in the Quran:


“…and He has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Such are the [rightly] guided ones.” [49:7]

A Muslim can sense it clearly when someone is mistreating them. Rude guests should be dealt with in the following manner:

At first, they should be patient and not show immediate reaction. They should give gentle advice to rectify the behavior. But if the behavior defiantly continues, they should respond in a way that curtails the evil.

How To Maintain Self-Respect with Parents’ Rude Guests?

Sister, you have to take some practical steps to stop the injustice of these people. You should start by changing the way you react to their condescension.

There are respectful ways to avert the vileness of arrogant people and rude guests. The key is not to blow up, or be disrespectful towards them. Never let them make you stoop to their level of conduct. Try to follow the tips below, next time your parents’ contacts lavish you with gifts:

  1. Do not get up from your seat to accept the gifts. Instead, ask them to place them on a distant table.
  2. Thank them for the gesture in a neutral tone. But do not show excitement to receive these gifts. Remain calm and collected. Give them a dua, e.g. say, “Jazakum Allah for the gesture”.
  3. Do not unwrap or open the gifts in front of them. If they insist, you can inform them that you will do so later. Remain unruffled if they get offended, or berate you for doing this. Keep smiling politely in return, and do not lose your cool. Remember, no one can force you to say something you do not want to say.
  4. Wait a few days or weeks. Then quietly pass on these gifts to less fortunate people, who need them more. Do this for the pleasure of Allah, as an act of charity.
  5. Try not to let anyone else know that you have given away these gifts as charity. In Islam, the giver of a gift does not have the right to obligate the recipient regarding what to do with it.

Over time, if you continue to maintain your dignity like this, you will see a change, insha’Allah. These rude guests will stop treating you with derision. If your hunch about them is correct, they might stop meeting you altogether. And this will be Allah’s favor upon you.

Allah will, in His mercy, remove these negativity-inducing people from your life. And He will replace them with others, who are righteous. Who are kind towards you, and value and respect you.

You will then enjoy social interactions that add to your good deeds and bring you true joy, insha’Allah.

I pray that this happens soon for you, sister.

And Allah knows best.

I hope that this answers your question.  

Salam. Please stay in touch.

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