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What to Do with My Ungrateful Family?

31 July, 2022
Q As-Salamu Alaykum.

I have been having an internal conflict regarding my family for some time, and I don’t know who to ask. In sha’ Allah I hope you can help me.

My parents don’t have much money to the extent that sometimes buying food is a huge problem for us. When I was studying, I used to take a student loan to support myself. I have fought so hard for my parents and my younger brother and sister.

But a few days ago, my sister called me names and said I was selfish and asked for proof to show that I did anything for my family. This broke my heart like it has done several times before.

She and my brother have severed every contact and now even my parents refuse to talk to me. She said that I was telling everyone that I did this and that when in reality I have done nothing. This has shaken me to my core.

I helped my family by doing all the odd jobs and anything I can, and now I feel like I should not have wasted my time on them and that maybe I was wrong in helping them.

Now, I don’t have anything for me or my children, and my family acts like I don’t matter or they don’t want to help. Also, my husband is a converted Muslim and ours was a love marriage. My husband has helped my parents and my siblings more than me regarding all their problems, but my sister criticized even him.

I don't know what to do. My heart is in a million pieces. Maybe, I should not have married my husband who I truly love, respect and admire, or maybe I should have never helped my family. My faith is shattered. Please help.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• You have no obligation to discuss or prove to your sister that you are helping the family.

• Supporting and helping one’s family should be done according to the person’s ability and means.

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• Decrease the amount of time you spend with your family.


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,

May Allah reward you for the blessing you have been to your family.

As you know, in Islam, we must help our families, especially our parents, who brought us into this world. While I don’t know what has started the fight between you and your sister, her behavior is incorrect.

Sister, you have no obligation to discuss or prove to your sister that you are helping the family.

Almighty Allah made it obligatory for the children to show gratitude to their parents.

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This obligation comes, in importance, right after the obligation of worshipping Him. Almighty Allah says:

What to Do with My Ungrateful Family? - About Islam

” Your Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with you, say not “Fie” to them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.”(Qur’an 17: 23)

Thus, you are fulfilling your obligation, sister, and it is sad that now they argue, refuse to talk to you, and treat you poorly.

As it seems now you are not in a financially good position, it is not obligatory to continue supporting them in the manner you used to.

Supporting and helping one’s family should be done according to the person’s ability and means.

People should not burden themselves with things they cannot bear; rather, they should help their parents even with a small amount of money according to their means.

Always bear in mind that Allah (swt) will bless this small amount, for He says:

“Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.” (Qur’an 4:40)

Have trust in Allah (swt) that He (swt) will grant you more money for anything you spend as long as this is done with pure intention and sincerity.

Allah (swt) also says: “So do not weaken and call for peace while you are superior; and Allah is with you and will never deprive you of [the reward of] your deeds.” (Qur’an 47:35)

While your family may be angry over getting a lesser amount of support from you, I implore of you, sister, not to internalize and let their anger distract you from the beautiful person you are.

You are blessed with a loving husband who, along with you, helped and supported your family.

Why would you say “maybe you should not have married your husband”? He is a gift from Allah (swt), so as your charity and helping your family! You both will be rewarded for your great sacrifices and efforts, in sha’ Allah.


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I suggest, sister, that you decrease the amount of time you spend with your family, for now.

Their talk and words are not healthy, but toxic. Focus on your children and husband, help your parents and siblings with whatever you can, if you can, and give thanks to Allah (swt) that you were able to assist them.

Many young adults are not in the position to assist their families as much as you have.

I understand their treatment of you hurts, but, in sha’ Allah, over time, they will begin to appreciate all you did and what you currently do for them.

Make du’aa’, dear sister, that Allah (swt) helps soften their hearts with gratitude and draw them closer to Him for surely their behavior is unislamic.

Dear sister, you are a wonderful daughter, sister, mother and wife; you are generous and thoughtful.

Please, do not let the greedy workings of Satan steal your joy! May Allah (swt) be pleased with you and grant you His choicest blessings.

Salam,

***

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:

How to Deal with a Broken Family and Stress – Part 1

How to Deal with a Broken Family and Stress- Part 2

How Should Muslims Settle Their Family Problems in the West?

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.