Dad: The Most Abusive Person I’ve Ever Seen

29 April, 2021
Q I have a very abusive father who never acted as a responsible father or husband. He is not faithful to our mother. I have a brother and a sister. My father doesn’t pay any house expenses or for our education. He does have money but whatever he has he spends it all on himself and on his own pleasures. We have heard many times that he is also involved in many activities that are illegal in Islam. My brother is an eyewitness. He is also accused of infidelity.

My parents have been married for 27 years. My mother tried to divorce him many times, but nobody supported her and she was under pressure from the family. But now all 3 of us have grown up and the situation is getting worse day by day. My father threatens me that he will spread rumors about me in the society. He already did that once. It’s because we support our mother and not him. He even left the house thinking that we will beg him to come back and he would again insult us publicly. But that did not happen because this time my mother is being strong not to get back with him.

Am I doing something wrong by not supporting my father because after all, I am his daughter? The house is legally ours, not his. I have tried communicating with him in many ways. But all the answer I get from him is that if he has not fulfilled his duties as a father (which he admits but is not ashamed of), that does not mean I should not fulfill my duties as a daughter. For example, whenever he comes home, we serve him food and tea. And the money for that is not given by him. He still would complain that the tea was not good or the food was not fresh. He wants everything that is there in a financially well-established home but is not ready to finance it. He won’t respect us or our mother. In fact, he is the most badly abusive person I have ever seen but wants us to respect him like he is the best father on earth.

Answer

 


In this counseling answer:

• I would suggest dear sister that in sha’ Allah you suggest to your father that if he wants to have his family back, he needs to get counseling first and resolve whatever it is that is bothering him (in a respectful way).

• I encourage you in sha’ Allah to support your mother.

• Pray to Allah (SWT) for guidance and strength in this matter.

• I would also suggest that in sha’ Allah you, your siblings and mom also seek family counseling to help cope with the trauma your father has caused.


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

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I am so sorry to hear of your father’s lack of respect and failure to take loving responsibility for his family. This is an Islamic requirement. You must respect your father, yes, but you do not have to support his unislamic behavior nor his illegal activities. When he comes to visit, be respectful, but do not feel you must support anything he does that is against Allah. Fear Allah more than him for Allah is most high.

As far as his threatening to spread rumors, I ask, who would do such a thing to their own child? However, there are many parents with mental health disorders and they need help. In fact, dear sister, should he again spread rumors, I am not quite sure of the community’s response as you said, he is involved in illegal activities, he is unfaithful to your mom and does not support his family. What credibility does he have?

I would suggest dear sister that in sha’ Allah you suggest to your father that if he wants to have his family back, he needs to get counseling first and resolve whatever it is that is bothering him (in a respectful way). Suggest he sees a counselor and a trusted imam for guidance. Express your love for both him and your mother, but state that it is unislamic for him to treat your family this way and that you are praying to Allah that he will change his ways.

Dad: The Most Abusive Person I’ve Ever Seen - About Islam

Given the situation, as he does not own the home, he does not support the family, he is cruel as well as engaging in haram and illegal activities, you can support your mom by encouraging her not to get back with him. As you and your siblings are adults, I am not sure if you are married and have separate homes or not, but if you do, perhaps you can bring your mom to stay with you for additional support and to strengthen her resolve.


Check out this counseling video:


At any rate sister, no, you are not wrong for supporting and protecting your mother. The Prophet Mohammad stated:

“Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives and then those who come after them.” (Al-Bukhari/ 5971)

Therefore, of such great importance is mothers that the Prophet stated it three times! The debt we owe to our mothers is magnified due to the difficult nature of pregnancy – not to mention the nurturing and attention paid to us in our infancy. We must treat our mothers in a manner befitting their exalted position – and, again, revere the wombs that bore us. Thus, “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother”.

So dear sister, I encourage you in sha’ Allah to support your mother, pray to Allah (SWT) for guidance and strength in this matter; and try to convince your father to seek counseling if he does, indeed, desire his family back. I would also suggest that in sha’ Allah you, your siblings and mom also seek family counseling to help cope with the trauma your father has caused.

You are all in our prayers. Please let us know how you are doing.

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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 Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.