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Abandoned Me As a Child, Now Asking for Help

11 October, 2023
Q I am a Muslim. My father married a second wife when I was in 8th grade. Since then, even though my father was in better position to help, he ignored us. My mother was there supporting my education. She took loan, went to bed hungry, and faced all sorts of rough life just to provide me with a good education.Before I joined the university, I asked my dad for help, but he refused. However, he built a mosque and a new room for his second wife which could have paid my university fees. Still my mom continued to struggle with my education until I got scholarship. I am graduating in few months. My father suggests now that I should help him before my mom. Please help me.




As-Salamu `Alaykum Brother,

I am not an Islamic scholar, and I cannot provide fiqh or advise you from an Islamic legal perspective. I will provide you with my own opinion only. It will be your duty to determine if you feel what I say is congruent with Islamic teaching. For that, you might want to talk to a scholar.

With that said, I would advise you to be kind in action and words to your father, but use the resources that your mother and you worked so hard to acquire on making yourself strong.

You will be caring for your mother and possibly a wife in the future. You will need your resources and earning power in order to provide for them adequately.

Your father is integrated into the Muslim community. If he is in need, he can turn to his brothers for assistance.

If your father wants to get to know you as a human being and is not asking for your money or your help, then I would encourage you to get to know him.

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This might help you answer questions that you may have had about why he abandoned you and your mother and neglected his responsibilities.

But, I would not advise giving him your money as this is clearly something that your mother empowered you to have and, therefore, should be used for your future wife, children, and your mother.

So, I say, make yourself strong and healthy. You cannot take care of a wife and family or your mother, unless you invest in yourself and make yourself strong.

Take care of your mother and yourself physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I can imagine that your father asking you for help after all these difficulties must evoke an emotional response within you. You do not have to expose yourself to emotional abuse.

You might also consider letting your father know that although you are open to getting to know him as a human being and developing a friendly relationship, you do not want him asking you or your mother for help now or in the future due to your need to make yourself strong for your own future and to care for a future wife, family, and your mother.

If your father agrees to this, then you might benefit psychologically and emotionally from exploring a friendship with him. If your father does not agree to this, you would want to be firm, kind, and refuse to be manipulated.

I am not clear about whether or not you and your mother live with your father and the second wife. You mentioned that your father built a second room and, therefore, it “sounds” as if all of you live in the same home. Is your father having difficulties paying for the living costs in a family situation where all of you are sharing the same home?

If this is the situation, you might want to investigate the financial situation thoroughly and try to determine if your contribution is necessary in order to maintain your mother and/or to insure that you do not lose your home. This is a different situation in that you are really contributing for the sake of all concerned rather than giving into your father’s greed.

If you find that such a contribution is needed in order to maintain a place to live, and you intend to bring your future wife to this home, then you might look at your situation through this lens.

This is a very emotional issue because your father did not seem to care about you and your mother enough to maintain you and he is expecting you to maintain him while his second wife benefits.

So, this is a decision that you want to make by determining what is truly in the best interest of your mother and what will facilitate your ability to grow strong so that you can ensure that your mother and future wife and family have maintenance.

If you know what your priorities are, you will be better equipped to make a decision about how to manage your money when you work. Thus, if your priority is to become strong financially so that you can maintain your mother and your future wife and family, then make your decision based on what will facilitate that best.

This is my opinion only. I do encourage you to discuss this with an educated scholar as well if you remain unsure about what your priorities should be. I pray this has been helpful to you. Remember ALLAH guides us when we turn to Him. Consider spending some time in prayer and ask for the healing of your heart as I sense that you are hurt by your father asking you for this contribution.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.