Short Answer: The trial of an only son who was born in Indian culture, where sons are levied a high degree of responsibility for taking care of parents, having Muslim parents who do not adhere to Islam as much as they should, is indeed a difficult one. This is because, if the son wants to take time out to learn and practice Islam, at the cost of his worldly education or career, which his parents believe will ensure their own future financial stability and prosperity, he is bound to face opposition from them. This is due to the fact that in Desi (IndoPak) culture, parents usually have very high ambitions for the worldly success (financial stability) of their sons.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
It is heartening to note, brother, how sincerely you have repented for your sins and turned back to Allah, with so much humility.
Congratulations, brother, on this great deed.
Surely, Allah loves that sin which makes a believer sad, repentant and humble, more than the good deed that makes him or her arrogant.
You are still very young, and the good news for you is that if, with the help of Allah, you can remain steadfast in your new quest to gain more knowledge of Islam and to act upon it, then Allah will grant you higher ranks with the passage of time.
Being an Only Son
That being said, the trial of an only son who was born in Indian culture, where sons are levied a high degree of responsibility for taking care of parents, having Muslim parents who do not adhere to Islam as much as they should, is indeed a difficult one.
This is because, if the son wants to take time out to learn and practice Islam, at the cost of his worldly education or career, which his parents believe will ensure their own future financial stability and prosperity, he is bound to face opposition from them.
This is due to the fact that in Desi (IndoPak) culture, parents usually have very high ambitions for the worldly success (financial stability) of their sons.
Because of this, they can tend to perceive his pursuit of full-time religious studies or work (service of Islam) as a major cause of their own future loss of prosperity and social prestige.
Secondly, in India, if an only son moves out of his parents’ home, even temporarily, to pursue religious education and work, they can face social pressure and unwelcome questions from their network of relatives, neighbors and friends.
People might assume that their only son has “deserted” them, even if that is not the case.
They can barrage them with questions about who will “take care of them” in old age.
Not all Indian Muslim parents have the grit and strong faith to handle such questions from a critical society that places sons (who are past the age of 20) on a very high financial & social pedestal.
Brother, perhaps you already know all this. I am only informing you about what your parents will face in case you choose to temporarily move out of their home to gain knowledge of Islam.
Indeed, your intentions are good, valid, and sincere.
It is just that it would be the ideal solution if you could gain knowledge of Islam without putting your parents in a situation that would cause them pain.
Leaving All Worldly Matters: Some Suggestions
So here is what I suggest you do:
1. Pray every day to Allah, through istikharah and salatul hajah, preferably at the time of tahajjud, that He allows you to join a program for seeking knowledge of Islam, with the approval of your parents.
2. Intend in your heart, from now, that you will always be good to your parents.
Then, talk honestly to your parents about your sincere intentions to become a better Muslim, and endeavor to gain their approval and permission for allowing you to move out of their home for some time, to gain knowledge of Islam and acquire a higher level of faith.
Be prepared for them to get shocked.
Muslim parents based in India who have only one son, can become very insecure if their son asks them for permission to move out. This is because they might fear that he will never come back once he tastes the many freedoms outside the home.
So talk to them in a very loving and soft tone, and reassure them that you intend to come back, live with them, take care of them, and get married with their approval.
Indeed, doing good to parents is one of the greatest righteous deeds in Islam.
The more successful you will be in convincing them of your eventual return as a MORE caring and better son, the higher the chances that they will let you go.
3. Try to find a program to study Islam under qualified teachers, which is as near your parents’ home as possible.
4. If your parents refuse to let you go, you can join online programs to gain Islamic knowledge instead, such as IOU. In the meantime, do continue to pursue your worldly career side by side. If pursuing a halal career will make your parents happy, then strive for a win-win situation: working at a career and pursuing Islamic knowledge, side by side, together.
5. Cut off all possible means of communication and contact with that place/person/people who facilitated you to commit that big sin that you mention you have repented for.
This curtailment of all avenues that lead to a sin, is a part of sincere repentance for that sin.
I ask Allah to bless you with high ranks of faith, Islamic knowledge, righteous actions, and steadfastness.
And Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your questions.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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