Slaves of an Abusive Father

25 September, 2016
Q As-Salamu ‘Alaykum. It all started with my dad who has always been verbally and physically abusive to my sisters, mum and me since I was a child. As I grew up, I did not understand why my dad was treating us badly as we were all obeying his rules and literally working as slaves for him and his many guests. He would not let my mum rest even one day; he would always shout and swear at her if the food or the tea wasn't good. He would also beat her and us for the stupidest things, for example bringing the wrong spoon or plate. I started hating Islam at one point because he would say that he was a man and he could do whatever he wanted, but as I grew up I learned that his behavior was nothing but wrong according to Islam. But then I started wondering why my mum would allow herself to stay with a man like this and let her kids go through all these mental breaking episodes. In addition, he also cheated on her. My mum tried to get a divorce twice, but then he promised her he would change. Just recently, mum kicked him out of the house and tried to get a divorce again. She was so determined and I became so happy because she did not deserve such a cruel man. He made her and all of us sick. But after two months, she decided to go back to him! I got very angry and upset. I do not understand why she would go back to a man who disrespected her, her children, her parents and even his own parents and, of course, GOD at the first place! How can she forget all the things he put us through! He made my sister so depressed that she almost committed suicide. I kept thinking, does she not care about us? Doesn’t she love us? To make this short , I do not speak to my parents at the moment, because my mental health is weak and tired, and also because after all these things I think we deserve better than being fooled by a man who wants nothing but waitresses in his home - not kids and wife. I am very angry at my mum for going back to him. What can I do?



As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,

You have been tested very severely, and I am happy that, through it all, you came to a correct understanding of Islam and strong belief rather than driving away out of ignorance!

I worked in drug and alcohol rehabilitation for five years and their mantra jumped into my mind when I was reading your question: “God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

My dear sister in Islam, feel comforted in that Allah (swt) tests the hardest the ones He (swt) loves the most, and then move on with your life. Pray for your mother that one day she has the strength, wisdom, and support she needs to get out of this abusive relationship. BUT, please don’t judge her harshly. People need to be forgiven. People need to be loved, even when they are weak! Allah (swt) even asks us to forgive our enemies!

So, please do not be mad at your mother. She is suffering, and the best thing you can do for her is to love her. At least you can give her this in the face of her husband not giving her that and abusing her, too. I know that this may be hard for you, but giving love to others gives solace to your heart. It feels good for both; it makes you feel good that you have done the right thing. Bottom line, love just plain feels good and is a healing thing.

Anger and hate are negative feelings and as such are hard to carry around. Thus, they are the opposite of healing. Love feels light. Have mercy on your mother. She is your mother, and for that she deserves your love and respect. In addition, she needs it right now the most because of what she has been suffering from her husband. Your protection for yourself is in your own heart – that you know that the abuse is wrong and you can leave and not be subjected to the abuse anymore. You don’t have to approve of your mother’s decisions to continue to feel love for and to continue to show her love!

I hope this helps because I am worried about your mental health as you said that it was weak. My dear sister in Islam, you are on the right path because you found the truth about Islam in the face of oppression, so let that reinforce your sense of self and self-respect so that your mental health can improve. Improved self-respect is help from Allah (swt), in sha’ Allah.

Lastly, once you make up with your mother and establish that you will be there for her through thick and thin, even if you don’t agree with her choices, advise her that she has to get away from that dangerous “domestic violence” situation because it puts her safety, and even her life, in danger. Are there any shelters for victims of domestic violence in your area? Or, can your mother stay with you or another sibling of yours? Or, does she have a sister or brother or parents with whom she could stay to get out of that dangerous situation? In sha’ Allah.

You may be obliged to Allah (swt) to report your father’s violence to her to the police if he injures her physically or is capable of that! I do not think the police can do anything about emotional abuse, but, in front of Allah, that, too, is very serious. So, you should try to protect her from that by advising her respectfully to get out immediately. Abuse is not Islam!

I hope these suggestions help, In sha’ Allah.


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