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Dad Has Psychological Problems; I Can’t Live with Him

30 December, 2021
Q Assalamu alaikum,

My father never had a steady job, so my mother and uncle took care of all the finances. Mostly, my father’s behavior was very harsh towards us and my mother, and we were tired of the constant fighting.

I hate to say it, but he was also a sex addict and had some psychological problems. Though he never attempted anything, we were scared that he might at some point. So, after my uncle’s death, my mom and all 3 of us decided that this should end.

We sat with him and told him if he wants to stay with, us he should change himself and get a decent job and stop his habit, but he said refused. He didn’t want to change and said he didn’t want to stay with us either.

We found a place and moved without him, with the means of getting a three-month break. We gave him a chance in that break to go to a psychiatrist and get treated so that we could reunite as a family, but he hasn’t done anything thus far.

He moved to his brother’s house, but after he got in a fight with his nephew, they moved him to a one-bedroom house. He is in a bad condition and has no money, and his health is deteriorating. My mother kept in contact with him, but we didn’t, and it’s been 2 years already.

I feel guilty and sorry towards him for what he’s going through, but I don’t want to live with him anymore. I also feel like since too much time has passed, the gap has widened, and I don’t know what to do Islamically.

We barely even have enough funds to support ourselves how, so can we support him? I have truly forgiven him for everything he did, which is more than I can even begin to explain, but is it necessary to support him or live with him? What is the Islamic ruling for me in this type of situation?

I need help and advice, but I can't talk to anyone about it as everyone I know will judge us. I can't tell them everything either as it's stated that we should keep others sin as a secret. Please advise me.


In this counseling answer:

I would say you are not bound to stay with him or support him, as he never fulfilled his role as a father. However, Islam enjoins us to be good to our parents, especially in their old age.

If you’re afraid that he might be harsh with you or belittle you again, set your boundaries with him.

Make duaa.

Remember that this life is a test.

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Assalamu alaikum sister,

I am sorry to hear that you’re in a difficult position. You state that your father has never been there for you and your family. He has neglected you financially and emotionally, in addition, his attitude towards you and your mother was always very harsh and dismissive.

You were always supported by your maternal uncle, and when he passed away, you and your family moved out because your father was unwilling to change his ways. Your father was living with his relatives, but after a while due to his behavioral issues, he is now living alone, doesn’t have money, and is also in bad health.

Dad Has Psychological Problems; I Can’t Live with Him - About Islam

Your question is if you are supposed to support him in this state, even though you are not financially stable yourself.

Sister, I know you are going through a lot of emotional pain, turmoil, and guilt. I believe that it is not easy to forgive a person who has impacted your life adversely for so long. You were rejected by your father as a child and it must make you feel deeply hurt, sad and angry.

Due to the situation, I would say you are not bound to stay with him or support him, as he never fulfilled his role as a father. However, Islam enjoins us to be good to our parents, especially in their old age. 

In the Quran, Allah SWT says,

“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents” {4:36}

According to a hadith, Narrated Al Walid bin Aizar,

“I heard Abi Amr ‘Ash-Shaibani saying, “The owner of this house,” (he pointed to ‘Abdullah’s house) said, ‘I asked the Prophet, ‘Which deed is loved most by Allah?’ He replied, ‘To offer prayers at their early (very first) stated times.’ ‘Abdullah asked, ‘What is the next (in goodness)?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘To be good and dutiful to one’s parents.’ ‘Abdullah asked, ‘What is the next (in goodness)?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘To participate in Jihad for Allah’s Cause.’ ‘Abdullah added, ‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated to me these three things, and if I had asked more, he would have told me more.’ ”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 73 Hadith 1]

Allah SWT also says,

 “… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)…” {Quran, 4:1}

 Therefore, while you may choose not to live with him or support him financially, you should not cut him off from your life completely.

I know that staying in touch with him will be hard for you, and it may bring back painful memories. However, keeping in mind what Allah has prescribed for us as believers, it is important to maintain ties with him.

Remember That You’re an Adult

Sister, it is important to remember that you are an adult and capable of making your decisions. If there is something that you do not like in your father’s behavior, you can let him know that it bothers you.

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However, remember to be gentle. He has already played his part, whether good or bad, and now it’s your turn to play yours. If you let your behavior be affected by how he treated, you as a child, there would be little difference between you and him in the eyes of Allah SWT.

Set Healthy Boundaries

If you’re afraid that he might be harsh with you or belittle you again, set your boundaries with him. Do not let him affect you negatively, and instead of feeling pessimistic about meeting him, know that you are fulfilling your right as a daughter and being there for him in his difficult time.

You do not necessarily have to provide for him financially, only if you feel comfortable and can manage it easily. However, I believe your brother should contribute some percentage of his earnings to his father.

Make Duaa’

Sister, duaa’ is a very beautiful and powerful thing! It brings you closer to Allah SWT, instills faith, and heals hearts. Make duaa’ for yourself, your family, and your father. Ask and pray to Allah SWT to forgive your father.

Praying for your father will bring you peace and wash away all the negativity and guilt you have felt on his behalf.

Life is a Test

It’s important to remember that this life is a test. We have all been sent in this world to worship and obey the commands of Allah SWT. On this path, we all encounter a multitude of problems which are sent to us by Allah SWT as a test, where he sees whether we fulfill His commands.

Allah tests all His believers in different ways; some with health, some with wealth, and some with relationship problems. However, Allah SWT doesn’t burden anyone more than they can handle.

In the Quran Allah SWT says,

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear” {2:286}

Furthermore, as long as we continue to believe in Allah SWT and turn to Him in times of need, He rewards us for the struggles we endure on the path of Islam.

Look for Positive Activities

Remember that self-care is essential, especially when you live in an emotionally draining environment or situation. Be sure to take out time for yourself and indulge in things that you enjoy doing. Find out positive activities or hobbies for yourself such as writing, painting, taking a walk in nature, or anything that soothes and relaxes you.

It is essential to understand that you can give out good to others when you are also being good and compassionate to yourself.

Connect to Allah SWT

Last but not least, connect to Allah SWT and ask Him to guide you through life. Allah is the All- Seer and All-Hearer. He knows what is in the hearts and knows of your pain. In shaa’ Allah, He SWT will open doors for you and your family and help you heal.



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About Zainab Farrukh
Zainab Farrukh is a Counseling Psychologist. She is deeply inspired to bring about change at the individual, interpersonal and global levels.  She can be reached on her Facebook page – Thrive Now