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I Hate My Lazy Brother

03 April, 2021
Q As-Salamu Alaykum. I know that in Islam we are supposed to love our brothers a lot, especially our blood brother, but in my case, I just cannot love my younger brother. Though I try, something stops me from doing so. Every time he speaks to me or does something, anger boils up inside me, and I wish he was not born. Part of it is because he does nothing useful in the house, except sitting on his phone watching YouTube videos. He is constantly lying to our parents, hanging out with friends most of the time, and despite our best efforts, he doesn't pray and oftentimes even jokes with it. I am not jealous of him; I just hate him, which I know I shouldn't do. If you have any way of fixing this issue between me and him, that would be much appreciated! Jazkallah.

Answer

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum brother,

Thank you for writing to us. I am sorry to hear of the issues with your brother as well as your feelings of hatred towards him. While you are 17, and you stated your brother is younger, I want to point out that there are many different changes he is going through as a young teen. While this does not excuse his behavior or neglect of Islam, it may help you to better deal with the situation. While everyone usually adjusts, eventually, to the changes that adolescence brings, others have a more difficult time.

In the younger part of the teen years, cognitively, there is a variation and often a fluctuation in thinking ahead regarding consequences of behavior. Some teens are still in the phase wherein they just cannot think ahead; they disregard consequences. They often think in absolute terms and use humor or sarcasm to express themselves, often irritating others, especially adults. At this life stage, teens can also be very self-centered and egocentric, believing that nothing can harm them and that no negative outcomes can occur from their behaviors. At this time, teens also continue to form their own identity separately from parents/family which entails trying to fit in socially, examining their own ethics and values in contrast to mainstream society, and often going against what parents have taught them.

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Erikson refers to this time of development as the psycho social stage of Identity versus Role Confusion and states: “Teens need to develop a sense of self and personal identity. Success leads to an ability to stay true to yourself, while failure leads to role confusion and a weak sense of self.”

During this time, your brother is testing the boundaries of his, the societies as well as your parents’. This is all part of finding himself in terms of the world at large. Hopefully, this phase will not last too long, and in sha’ Allah your brother will soon realize that the values (of Islam) he was raised with are the only truth and righteous path to take.

Also, keep in mind that your brother may have gone through something that you are unaware of, possibly teasing at school, bullying, or any numerous things that may have caused him to act out in this way as a defense.

You stated you hated your brother. However, further on, you stated “It’s not really that I am jealous of him…” which leads me to ask, why did you mention jealousy?  Has someone felt you were jealous? Do you perceive your parents as treating him differently than you, perhaps “letting” him get away with these behaviors?

My dear brother, I ask that you show more tolerance towards your brother. The more you react negatively towards him, the more he may distance himself from the family and Allah (swt). Pray for him, make du’aa’, ask Allah (swt) to guide him, and ask Allah (swt) to forgive you for feeling hatred for him. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) sternly advised his followers:

“The best of you is he who is best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.” (Tirmidhi)

By saying this, he reminded the ummah to emulate his behavior when dealing with their own families.

Also, Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

“Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the gravest lie in talk, and do not be inquisitive about one another, and do not spy upon one another, and do not feel envy with the other, and nurse no malice, and nurse no aversion and hostility against one another; and be fellow -brothers and servants of Allah.” (Muslim)

Brother, this hadith shows us how strongly the Prophet Mohammad (saw) valued treating family members well. As you are a practicing Muslim, alhumdulillah, it is incumbent upon you to treat your brother well even when his behavior is haram and disturbing. By being an example of kindness and patience, you are displaying the qualities that a Muslim should show, and this act in itself may bring your brother back into the folds of Islam and the family, in sha’ Allah. Perhaps, this is a test for you yourself as a Muslim. Ask yourself, how would the Prophet Mohammad (saw) treat his brother?

My dear brother, I know this is very difficult to go through, and I ask you to re-evaluate your feelings. Is it really hate, or is it anger, or is it indeed jealousy? (You mentioned it was not, but you did mention it for some unconscious reason).

I hope this helps. I also included some links below which may be helpful in understanding what may be going on. While all the links may not be specific to your situation, they do contain helpful advice to your situation as well as good insight. You and your brother are in our prayers.

Salam,

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.