Islamic marriage advice and family advice

How can he deal with stubborn and oppressive parents?

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There is someone who wants me to write his situation down:
''My parents do not want me to study psychology in university because it doesn't have many career opportunities, though I am interested in it. However I do not put much focus on money, as I do not believe in seeking knowledge for worldly purposes and I know that Allah is ar-raziq. They are giving me the choice between either studying engineering or commerce at university. From these two, I would rather study commerce. However, my parents are placing extreme pressure on me to study engineering because of the career opportunities available, even though I have no interest in it.
My parents often refuse to talk to me for days, make angry faces, criticize, insult and embarrass me a lot in front of relatives and friends. I am given lectures usually about money, status, job opportunities and great worldly prospects. All this even though I am a person who is usually content with little and I have no big ambitions.

I have already suffered before in my final years of high school. My parents forced me to study science subjects that I wasn't interested in, and I found it extremely difficult to concentrate in them so I didn't get as high marks as they wanted. Due to my inability to concentrate in those subjects, I gave up (in the hope to study online) and I scored rather low. So I have been blamed and insulted a lot for this. I have also been shamed by them in front of family and friends. Many times my father has threatened to throw me out of the house. My parents say that because of me, they are embarrassed to go in front of society. They also mention how my cousins in Pakistan and the UK are doing so well in their studies, and how some of them are becoming doctors and engineers. I am compared with practically everyone.

I have received university offers, however my parents are increasing their blackmailing, violent threats and harrassments as they did when I was in high school- just so I will study what they want me to. They say nothing is supposed to be easy in life, and they give me lectures through a worldly perspective. They believe anything is possible through hard work, even if it may cause me great pain and unnecessary difficulty. They have a 'no pain, no gain' attitude.

I have shown them a previous fatwa from the site IslamQA which says that parents can not force their children to study or work in something they do not like (http://islamqa.info/en/147294), however my parents do not listen, still quote ayats and hadiths about obedience, and use various emotional blackmailing tactics on me. For example, my mother pleads that if I don't do as my father says, my father will send us overseas and stop supporting us. My mother also says I will only be rewarded for going through difficulties for their sake if I genuinely work hard. And she is a tafseer teacher at the masjid.

When I tell her about my Islamic rights, she tells me to go away and says I  am selfish and uncaring, even after I bring proof from Islamic sources.

Another problem was that I did not want to study in a mixed university due to my high hormones problem at this age, but they still insist. When I showed them a fatwa on it not being permissible to attend a mixed uni and it being better to seek education via distance means, they ignored me and said that I need experience in the outside world. (http://islamqa.info/en/45883) They, especially my father, believes I don't know what I am talking about since he is so 'experienced' and I am not.

My father initially wanted me to apply for government benefits which I am eligible for. Now he is not letting me do that and says I can only work. That means I lose out on 270 dollars per fortnight which I could have put to good use. He says he has no trust in me after my high school marks.

What is your advice to those of us with such stubborn parents?''

-Talha 


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7 Responses »

  1. Another problem was that I did not want to study in a mixed university due to my high hormones problem at this age, but they still insist.......Do you fear you won't be able to control yourself if a boy wants to be friends with you.

    Your parents should let you study what interests you. It appears to me your parents have low self esteem that makes them insult and embarras you in front of your relatives. Psychologists can make good money too if they have a Master's or PhD deg.

  2. Asalamoalaikum,

    Thank you for writing to us.

    In your situation, you do not need to listen to your parents. Their insults, harassment and emotional black mail need to be ignored as difficult as this may be. You have not excelled in the past by studying what they wanted because it is not an area of study that interests you. Therefore, by making the decision to study what they want you study (again) will result in you not doing well and they will continuously blame you for being a “dishonour”.

    You should study what you desire and you will excel in it, inshAllah. There are many great career opportunities if you pursue graduate education after receiving a Psychology degree. If you go on to a Ph.D. level and pursue post-doctoral education you can eventually work as a Professor and researcher in any university around the world.

    Not everyone can be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. If that were the case society would break down and we’d be in a big mess. Keep yourself grounded and go ahead with your interests. You will go far in life this way and one day when you do well your parents will respect you for making the right decision for yourself.

    -Helping Sister

  3. As-salamu Alaykum,
    Although I do not agree with parents making their children feel bad about themselves for their educational or career choices, try to understand the other side of the coin, which is that parents usually try to guide their children to what will benefit them in the future. If they are paying for your education, they may feel they have the right to choose your course of study. I personally believe that psychology is a worthwhile and beneficial field, but I do not know what the opportunities are in your country. If you need a post-graduate degree to find employment in this field, it is possible that your parents feel it is more urgent that you complete a BA and find immediate employment in order to help support the family. I don't really know what they are thinking, but I have seen such scenarios with other people I know. Ask yourself whether your decisions are costing your family money. If they are, then perhaps you do need to work in order to contribute to the costs. When you are paying for your own expenses, your family may be more open to allowing you to make your own decisions.

  4. Salam,

    Being the mother of six children, these are my views.

    It does not matter what your parents want...what is it that YOU want? You are the one who should ultimately decide what it is that you want to major in. It is your life after all is it not? Your parents need to stop pressuring you to major in something of their choosing. They chose their path and now it is your turn to choose yours.

    When one of my sons was finishing up high school, he really didn't know what he wanted to do. He could not speak about his feelings in front of his father because he would be shut down. He discreetly pulled me aside and said, "mom...I'm not sure that engineering is what I want to do." I told him to give it a semester and if he decided it wasn't what he wanted...no big deal. After all...it's not about me or my husband, it is about him, his life and his future. Long story short, he did well and he excelled in his studies. He stayed the course and will complete his masters degree in two months. However, the choice was his and not that of me or his father.

    I watched my husband for years shove down the throats of our two oldest children to be a "doctor". For him, it's all about the prestige of having a child who is a doctor. Our children hated every moment of it but every time they would speak up, their father would shut them down or tell them they weren't trying hard enough. After three years of struggling for a major that neither of them wanted, my daughter woke up one day and said, "I am done." She decided that she was going to go after what she really wanted...and she did. Her GPA had suffered greatly from working towards a field she never wanted. It took her over a year and very hard work to climb out of the hole she was in. She too will finish her masters degree in two months in a major that she wanted and excels at.

    My other son chose his major and his father still criticizes him for it however, in the end of the day you have a right to do whatever it is that you feel is your calling. Threats and the like are not acceptable ever and in fact are childish at best. A parent should listen to their child in regards to their dreams and aspirations, encourage and guide them as best they can. I believe my children will ultimately be happier and better adjusted adults as a result of choosing their own paths. As a parent, I don't believe it is my right to force any of my children to study in any particular field. They ask me my opinion and I give it. I offer advice and my thoughts and they listen. I admire them and encourage them each step of the way.

    You ask, "What is your advice to those of us with such stubborn parents?''

    Speak with your parents and hold your ground. No child should ever have to choose a path that is not of their own choosing. Ask your parents to stop talking and just...listen. Listen to what your dreams are. Listen to what your aspirations are. Just...Listen.

    Salam

    • Dear Sister Najah! Bravo! What an amazing answer masha'Allaah! Hats Off! And please remember us in your prayers! A request!

      Allaah Knows the Best!

  5. take a prayer mat by waking up at tahajjud time.

    do 2 rakat tahajjud and do dua to AllahSWT to teach a lesson to your parents.

    be grateful to AllahSWT always after this.

    peace.

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