Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is my dad right, or am I? Should I apologize?


Screaming father

There are many problems in our family which are all very bad and make us all very upset at times. I am the eldest of 5 sisters. My dad has a broken marriage, and other kids before him. However we doesn't talk much to that family. It's all linked though, because of the whole 'marrying in the family' business which I detest.

Most of the time, we are happy in our little family. I am 19 and studying for a part time degree, and looking for permanent work at the same time. I didn't go to university because my dad didn't let me, and work was a big struggle. Finally my dad relented.

Anyway, the point of this specific issue involves my mum, dad and me. It was 28th day of Ramadan, and my dad's sister had come to stay with us; and also some cousins from abroad. Mum cooked the best dinner and didn't make the food spicy because my aunty has diabetes, and also most of the children do not eat spicy stuff.  We also cooked variety of food and did the best we could. When it came to iftar, my dad started a fight with my mum and said all sorts of bad stuff to her (he usually does this anyway) in front of everyone. He started lecturing about how guests should be treated well, and with the right intention not given a dish of water, etc etc etc.

All of us youngesters got upset obviously, and I sent most of them upstairs. I then decided to go up to my room as well because I was so damn angry with my dad for belittling of my mum in front of everyone.

I was in my room on my laptop, venting my frustration to my cousin and doing some uni work, ( I'm not allowed to talk to any of my cousins as it's a meaningless task- according to my dad) and my dad came into my room. I didn't realise it, so I closed the window down. He asked me what I was doing with so much venom... I said 'nothing much', and then he goes "why aren't you reading ur namaz?". I said I was waiting for the bathroom to be free, and then he grabbed my laptop and  started threatening me that he will break it and all that. I was very protective of my laptop because I bought it with my own money and so I tried to get it back.

Anyway, my dad said a lot of things which hurt me, but it was still ok because I understood that he was upset because of the fight with mum. He ordered me downstairs where my mum and aunty were fighting. I had come upstairs to get away from the atmosphere, so I was angry because my dad was ordering me to go back into the horrible atmosphere that he himself had created.

Anyway, I went and when I got into the kitchen, I couldn't help slamming the door. He came rushing after me and threatened to hit me, and started shouting so badly that I broke up crying in front of everyone and just could not help it. My knees went weak and everything and so I grabbed my mums hand and said, "mum, we are not sticking up with it, let's just go now, anywhere is better than here." Both my mum and aunty physically stopped me from leaving and managed to work out what had happened. I still couldn't stop crying and all. When I was doing the pulling and saying to my mum that we are not staying here, then my dad said, "this is both of you who are ruining my house and from now on you are no longer my daughter." Then he went to tarawee. I asked him, is this what fathers are meant to be like?

After that I couldn't stop crying, and my mum tried to calm me down. I literally fell so sick and ill. This was the worst fight I had ever had with my dad.  It took me hours to stop crying, and I read my namaz and also prayed tauba namaz and shukran namaz for my temp I had got the week before. The night was torture for me. Never had this ever happened to me.

The next day, my dad behaved normally with me and everything else went back to normal. Because of my fear of him I responded to his talk, but not too much because I was so angry with him. That night, my aunty also started a drama of how she wasn't feeling well and too shut up and her heart and all this. She then called her son in the middle of the night, and I found this out in the morning.

During the day I was at work - dropped of by my dad even though it's walking distance. My cousin tried to talk to my dad, but he didn't respond. Same with my mum. He also said that dad wanted to check my emails and I had hidden it from him when nothing about emails was mentioned at the time.  Then my cousin said to my dad that it was wrong of me not to show him my emails and stuff.

Anyway, he went back home and other irrelevant stuff happened and most things went back to normal. Then last week my dad called me into his room and started a whole lecture on how he thought my mum was wrong, and her intentions were wrong, and how we all said things we shouldn't have. He talked about how marriages, mum, family and everything making his ancient beliefs visible. The way he explained was like textbook perfect, and then he asked for my opinion.

I said that obviously in a situation it is different, than sitting here in this room talking like normal people. He then ultimately said to me to stop being influenced by the western muftis and culture and try to come back to traditionalism. My mum wasn't home at this time, and no one else was as well.

Then finally he said to me to go and do salat ul tauba for all the stuff I said to him and ask for Allah's forgiveness, because of course he is the parent, and it said in the Quran to forgive children's wrong doing so he had forgiven me for the stuff that I did and said.

He made it sound like only I made the mistake that night, and it was only right for me to go and do tauba and to ask for forgiveness, when I was sitting there waiting for an apology from him. Honestly I don't think I said anything as bad as he did. He then made it seem like I was not muslim by saying that 'of course' if you disobey parents- Allah is angry, and if Allah is angry and you don't follow the rules of the book, then how can you call yourself muslim?

So I felt even more angry that he could not get the guts to apologize. Am I wrong? Is he right? Also he said that he is transferring all my sisters into an Islamic school, and I will have to help with the fees which I happily agreed to. Now I realise that he emotionally took a bit of my wages and that hurt my ego. Sorry this has turned so long.


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12 Responses »

  1. Your father has a personality disorder. I am serious. If he went to a psychologist, he would be diagnosed with some form of personality disorder that would account for his very volatile and dysfunctional behaviour.

    I say this, because my father was exactly the same way. This event could have been a scene out of my own youth. I was a quiet little mouse so I didn't talk back. So was my mother. The difference is that my father really wanted me to study at university, but he was still volatile. There were a few times that he ripped up some of my textbooks -- out of anger towards something benign that I had done, not because he did not want me to study. Like you, I paid for a lot of things myself, but Al-Hamdolillah he paid for most of my education.

    It may be due to some dysfunctional parenting when your father was young, or it could be something that he was born with. I'm sure if you look back to your family's origins, you may be able to uncover some type of rationale.

    The thing is, you can't change him. That will never happen, unless he wants to change himself, with counselling and behaviour modification. But it does not sound like that is going to happen.

    You do not have to give your wages to your father to help pay for your sisters' tuition. That is his responsibility. But, if you want to do so out of the goodness of your heart, then you should, of course.

    I strongly urge you to save your money so that you can become financially independent. You are only 19 years old. In about 5 years from now, you should consider living on your own, while still maintaining contact with your parents. Do not shut them out, continue to be respectful and kind and helpful. I think it is also important that you are there for your mother, both as a source of emotional support and protection from your father. In a few years, your younger siblings will be a bit older and when you move out they can help with the task of protecting their mother.

    Your father will continue to control you. As you become an adult, you can try to make very small incremental changes so that you slowly leave his grasp. This will make independence much easier. He is threatening to hit you but that won't go on - unless he really does have a psychiatric disorder. If it comes to that point then you will need to take steps to protect yourself, but it does not seem like he is going to beat you, only yell at you and be otherwise aggressive.

    Even without a physical beating, yelling and aggression are both forms of violence, however, and are not permissible in Islam or in an Islamic family. A family should be a source of protection, love and support. However, I find that in muslim families where these values are part of our religious moral code, they are lacking -- hence making us indistinguishable from non-muslim families.

    Please stay strong. The next few years will fly by. I am glad that you are busy with school and a part-time job, as well as spiritual activities like prayer, fasting and dua. Perhaps, adding a volunteer activity in there will be of benefit to you -- it will get you out of the house, your father won't be able to object on any rational basis, and it will keep you occupied.

    Stay strong!

    • Hi there,

      thanks for the advice, my dad also wants me to get married. It is all very very mixed up.

      Anyhow, since this time..he has beaten up my mother ...not badly but a few slaps and stuff. That hasn't happened much in our lives with our mum and this family.

      I am happy at the moment as everything is ok in the family and a cousin that my dad wanted me to get married to...( I had rejected him) messaged me through facebook and we are now good friends and share a good understanding. This year my dad wanted me to marry, i know have no reason to object

  2. Also, I should add that it is very inappropriate for your father to chastise his wife in front of their children. He should be fostering respect for the mother of his children. He should not be talking badly about her behind her back.

    You should ask Allah SWT for forgiveness for talking back to him. But I don't see anything disobedient in what you said or did.

  3. Salam,

    if you talked bad about your father she must ask her dad for forgiveness too...

    • What did she say to him that requires his forgiveness?

      • Salam,

        I said "IF" she talked bad about her father...but if she has not, then she must not.

        Sister I would suggest you to talk with your dad, because in the end he is your dad and he just wants the best for you. Believe me, I have been on this way too and in the end it didn't bring me something.

        Your Father has the duty to love you and your mother...

        • Some of your statements strike me as naive. Not all parents just want the best for their children. Some are hampered by ego, anger, or personality disorders. Secondly, though one may have a duty to love his wife and children that doesn't make it so.


          • Salam Brother,

            I don't want to show you as a naive...
            In which position I am to that? I am just an human like you. By the way I am D.

            Yes you are right, that your dad could have some problems

            ....therefore the best thing is to calm down and to talk with your dad, what he expects from you and make Dua, that he change his bad attitudes.

  4. Dear sister,

    I understand how you feel, I have seen many cases like yours. Sometimes when immigrant parents raise their children in the West, they feel they need to behave in a certain way in order to maintain respect and discipline. My advise to you is to accept him as he is, do not expect him to apologize or to be the father you expect him to be. Expecting him to change will only lead to disappointment. Just remain patient, and be the best daughter you can be.

    Concentrate on your education, and try to not led your family situation affect your education or career. I know it's difficult but just try to remain focused. In a couple of years you will probably be married and living in your own home, so try to be patient with your father. Sometimes parents don't realize that they are hurting their children, so try to forgive and forget. Focus on the good that he does, and ignore the bad.

    Of course never ignore abuse, but try to ignore his tantrums or negative comments. Keep out of his way when he is in a bad mood. Apologize to your father for the sake of Allah. As Muslims we are required to respect our parents no matter what. Keep yourself busy and remain patient. May Allah protect you.

  5. Sister,

    Apology from your dad? Not happening. He won't because he feels he doesn't need to. He thinks he is above an apology because he is your father. Go ahead and apologize. Be the bigger person in all of this. Stay strong and save your money. Keep going to school no matter what. Being educated will give you strength and power. Keep your head up, heart close to Allah and pray for better things to come.


  6. Assalam alaikum Sister,

    The hardest thing to do when growing up is sifting through each experience and learning what to take away from it and what to let go of forever. It is especially more difficult when elders who are supposed to guide and direct us, confuse us.

    I read through your post--it was long with a lot of detail, which indicates to me that you are very confused. We have to respect our parents, love them, and not talk back to them. But, I don't think that in Islam that translates into having the same opinion as them or accept their abuse--I think it is this thing that you are confused about.

    Ultimately, what you have to do is come up with a personal plan for your success in this life. Since you are living at home, you will have no choice but to try to keep the peace. I do personally know that this will be challenging, but it's possible. I agree with sister Precious Star that you should start saving money for yourself and immerse yourself in your studies. When you are not studying, help your mom as much as you can, and educate yourself in Islam more than anything. When you are upset, seek guidance and peace from Allah. Do not lash out or cry--because sister, no one will understand it. I can tell from what you have written, that the response you get in reality is exactly opposite to what you are yearning for when you cry. You might hope to get sympathy, but instead your father will want to control you more and think that you are being brainwashed.

    We can't change the people around us. We don't have control of their feelings, their actions, their words. Understand this and life will get easier. But SubhanAllah, we have control over our thoughts, our words, our actions and as a result, even our feelings. If you want to feel good--think good thoughts, say good things (or don't say anything if you feel the situation can get worse), spend your time working and keeping busy, and inn shaa Allah, you will feel much better.

    You wrote above that there is a proposal for you and that your father has since hit your mother. Your reaction concerned me because you said you were very happy at the moment. Before you accept the proposal, make sure this is what you want, again, help your mother--and again, always think of how to make your life successful--if you focus on changing others, you will find yourself disappointed.

  7. Salam Walaykum,

    It is good that everyone is showing support sister but, what you need to do is to talk to an Alim who can give you a better islamic advise on what to do. It is our human nature to give advice with our emotions. I have been married for 16 years and yes we go through up and down time but now one should raise there womans. In islam it stats over and over again to be kind to you womens. I don't want to quote hadith because I am no an alim. Personal disorder does not justify for beating, either you father gets medical help or your mum should, I had to say it but get seprated with will save the family of the whole family suffer. Islam allowes a women to seprate if the husband is repeating the beating. If you want really want help again I would talk to an alim and he should be helpful.

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