Short Answer: You are not alone in what you are dealing with your mother. Parents, especially mothers, are granted a high status in Islam, and it is important for us to be good to them, but obedience to Allah overrides obedience to humans. Hijab does not need to be observed in private spaces around other women and close male family members. As for Ramadan, try to get home late, around the time when you can break your fast.
Salam alaikum my sister and thank you for your question.
Congratulations on your acceptance of Islam as your religion!
May Allah bless you always, aid you in performing good deeds, and reward you with the best in this life and the Hereafter, Ameen!
You Are Not Alone
First, I want to assure you that you are not alone in what you are dealing with your mother.
It is very common for converts to have issues with their families accepting their new religion.
It can feel very isolating and disheartening to not have familial support in something that is so important to you, but know that you have the entire world community of Muslims supporting you as our beloved sister.
Obedience to Allah Overrides Obedience to Humans
The core Islamic belief is tawheed, the oneness of Allah.
There is no god except Allah, and Allah is greater than anyone or anything else that has ever existed.
We are asked to obey Allah’s Laws, because as our Creator, Allah knows what is best for us.
Human-made rules and laws, while important, can never take precedence over the laws of Allah. Allah has said in the Quran:
“We have commanded people to honor their parents. But if they urge you to associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, then do not obey them. To Me you will return, and then I will inform you of what you used to do.” (Quran 29:8)
There is also a narration from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, where he said, “There is no obedience to any human being if it involves disobedience to Allah” (Musnad Ahmad).
Allah has made these two things obligatory, so we must keep these laws to the best of our ability, regardless of what other people may say or think.
Respect for Parents
While you don’t have to obey your mother’s rules regarding hijab and fasting, this does not mean that you may be disrespectful or unkind to her.
Parents, especially mothers, are granted a high status in Islam, and it is important for us to be good to them. Allah says in the Quran:
“Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Allah, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully.” (Quran 17:23)
If you feel comfortable and safe doing so, continue to talk with your mother about these issues. Let her know how important these things are to you.
Tell her that even if she doesn’t agree with them or accept them, you want her to be respectful of your choices.
Remind her that you will always be her daughter and that you will always love her, even as you grow up and go through changes in life.
It can be difficult for parents to see their children transition to adults and become more independent; they may worry that they didn’t do a “good enough job” in raising their children, and they may even feel grief over the “loss” of their child to adulthood.
Acknowledging that your mother may be having these feelings and sympathizing with her can be reassuring to her.
What to Do About Fasting and Hijab
Hijab does not need to be observed in private spaces around other women and close male family members (fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, brothers, sons, nephews, and uncles related by blood), so you don’t have to worry about wearing it all the time.
To make your mother more comfortable with the idea about hijab, you could invite her to go shopping with you and pick out hijab-friendly outfits together that you both like.
Since you are under 18, during Ramadan you will likely be in school for most of the day.
Maybe during Ramadan you can do some extra after-school activities, such as volunteer work, a part-time job, participating in a club at school, or even doing homework at a friend’s house.
Doing these things will mean you’ll get home late, probably around the time when you can break your fast.
Make sure that your mother sees that you’re eating during the evening, so that she knows that you’re not harming yourself by not eating or drinking.
Lenience During Times of Necessity
Some converts have more difficult family situations than others.
Their families may threaten to kick them out of the house, stop supporting them financially, or worse if they continue to practice Islam.
If you find yourself in this situation (Allah forbid), know that Islam does allow for leniencies.
In times of necessity or danger, people are allowed to break the rules to the extent necessary to avoid harm.
For example, if your mother threatens to kick you out if you wear hijab, you may not wear hijab in front of her, even if you’re out in public.
If she threatens you with any kind of harm if she finds out you’re fasting, you may break your fast in front of her if you are forced to (while continuing to fast when she is not around).
These are not ideal situations of course, for many reasons, but Allah is All-Merciful:
“Allah intends ease for you, not hardship” (Qur’an 2:185).
Allah knows what you are going through and that your heart is sincere and desires to obey the Laws, and if you are forced to break any of Allah’s Laws, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Do remember that these leniencies are only for times of real need and danger, and you should follow the Divine Laws to the best of your ability otherwise.
I hope this helps, and that your mother is able to respect your choices.
May Allah guide us all to what is best, Ameen!
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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