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Kindness to Non-Muslim Parents?

23 May, 2024
Q 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?


Short Answer: 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.


As-salamu alaykum Ayesha,

Welcome to Islam. And thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Many new Muslims seem to develop an “us-and-them” attitude and think that they should not treat their non-Muslim relatives and friends well, but this is not the case at all.

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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 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)


{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 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-emphasis added)

Some of these verses address mankind, not just 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.

I hope this answers your question sufficiently.

Contact us again if you have more questions. Salam.

(From Ask About Islam’s archive)

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

How to Honor and Respect Parents Even After Their Death

I Converted to Islam: How to Tell My Parents?

How Can I Choose Between My Parents and Islam?