My Sister Neglects Prayer & Hijab: How to Help Her?

17 December, 2019
Q As-Salamu Alaykum. I have a sister who is 24 years old. She doesn't pray and doesn’t put on the hijab. She has low self-esteem, and since she studies at the university, she doesn’t aspire for her best. This has caused a lot of worries in my family to the extent that I feel like running away from her. Any time I see her, I feel like crying; she makes me so sad by not performing her prayers. How can I help her change? I don't want her to die in this state.


In this counseling answer:

• Instead of looking at her with anger or sadness, you try to get closer to her.

• Kindness, love, and patience will bring her back, in sha’ Allah.

• Make du’aa that Allah guides her.

AsSalamu ‘Alaykum,

I’m sorry to hear of your sister falling back from Islam. Sadly, this sometimes occurs when one goes through certain changes regarding identity or else.

According to you, she has low self-esteem. While you did not provide much detail, I can only say that she may suffer from depression or other issues you do not know about. Often, when people are very depressed or have had a traumatic experience, they shut down, even in their relationship with Allah (swt).

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I would kindly suggest that instead of looking at her with anger or sadness, you try to get closer to her. Draw her to you; don’t push her away. Take her out for lunch and spend the day together doing something she enjoys. Have a light talk and don’t mention her issues such as wearing hijab or praying; she already knows that she hasn’t been practicing Islam properly and it probably does bother her, whether she says so or not.

Your job, as someone who loves her, is to try to find out what is going on in her life, how she feels, and what it is like at the university. Eventually, ask if something happened to cause her to change. Not right away though because you will have to build trust first.

My Sister Neglects Prayer & Hijab: How to Help Her? - About Islam

It won’t come easy or fast as it appears she is hurt, and hurt people tend to withdraw and do not trust others easily. So, please be patient. Keep reaching out to her, making her feel part of the family. Make her feel loved and valued even though she has strayed from the righteous path.

Kindness, love, and patience will bring her back, in sha’ Allah. Punitive measures such as cutting her off, reprimanding her about hijab and prayers, or condemning her will only push her further away from you, the family, and Allah (swt). Surely, abandoning prayers and not wearing the veil are sins, but Allah (swt) is Most Merciful and Forgiving, and only He (swt) knows what is in her heart.

Make du’aa’ for her that Allah (swt) guides her and helps her through whatever she has been going through. In sha’ Allah, once she begins to feel worthy, begins to feel loved and secure, she can begin to heal from whatever bothers her. With this healing, in sha’ Allah, she will begin practicing Islam again.

Check out this counseling video:

Life is full of tests and trials. While some people, on the surface, may appear to have left Islam, they are really crying out deep inside for Allah (swt) to help them.

You and your sister are in our prayers. May Allah (swt) guide you to help her, and guide her towards the right path again, in sha’ Allah.



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.

Read more:

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My Son was Hafiz al-Quran but Has Gone Astray

How to Prevent My 20-Year-Old Daughter from Going Astray

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.