Between Faith & Family
Sister Email from a believer, caught in a common problem - family traditions and culture . . . or commitment to Allah's Way ~ What does it offer? (Maybe a brother with a solution might leave some comments below)
Here's the email to us:
"Salam alaykum Sheikh Yusuf, I don't know what to do. I'm caught between my honor to my family and being faithful with Allah", I'm not this kind of girl to make my family mad at me, but I don't what Allah mad at me either."
You see, they tell me to do something from our culture back home, if you know what I mean (in the old country). But it's not form Islam.
My mom says I have to do it for "honor" of our family name. If I don't it's a big problem for everybody. Possibly even get hurt physically.
OK - Here it is, exactly: They want me to marry my cousin in Pakistan. I don't even know him. I learned he doesn't even pray or fast Ramadan.
Their whole family treats Islam like it's only a social thing. I just can't go for this.
"I don't want to hurt my parents feelings. I really don't want to marry my cousin either. But I don't want my family mad at me either.
They want my to marry him, then come to this country and then get the whole family to come along for the ride. I don't want any part of this.
I need someone who is already here in this country and will take care of my in Islamic way.
Can you help me, or tell me someone who can?
[sister's name deleted] contact us below for more details
Bismillah Al Hamdulillah, was salat was sallam ala Rasoolullah. Let's keep in mind a few points we need for Allah's Help:
1) We have to refer to the Quran and sunnah of Muhammad, peace be upon him. This is a very unique part of Islam, not available in any other ancient religions. (I'm sure you know all of this. I just wanted to say it so others reading this know too)
2) Sometimes a question doesn't give muc information to get an answer to really solve the problem.
3) We must qualify the real problem by asking more questions to find out the nature of the problem.
4) Sometimes a "question" contains misinformation. We must qualify what someone is saying along with what they are implying.
But your question to me seems straight forward, and I feel comfortable, at least to give some basic information, inshallah.
Remember, the most important subject is the worship of Almighty God, without partners or "gods" beside Allah. You must know this clear teaching from Islam: "There is no obedience to creation if it is disobedience to the Creator."
However, at the same time, Allah demands we keep up good relations with our family, especially our parents. Think about what Allah says in the Quran in surah Luqman|
12. And indeed We bestowed upon Luqmân AlHikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.) saying: "Give thanks to Allâh," and whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his ownself. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allâh is AllRich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.
13. And (remember) when Luqmân said to his son when he was advising him: "O my son! Join not in worship others with Allâh. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allâh is a great Zûlm (wrong) indeed.
14. And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.
15. But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.
Prophet, peace be upon him, said "The one with the most rights on us is our mother (mother, mother, mother and then your father). This was to show us how important both of them are in our lives and how we must treat them with excellent care.
Anyway, if you are still with me - now comes the answer, inshallah:
"But if they (either one or both of them) try to make you do something that is "shirk" or "haram" - then you simply can't do it.
If there is no choice in any matter, if it involves oppressing someone (even yourself). So, if you know you don't want to marry someone, especially someone you don't even know, then it is better to explain to them your situation and ask Allah to help you and your family to find a better way.
Advise: Be good to your parents as much as you can. Give service and be dedicated to them for the sake of Allah. But do your best to always put Allah first. After all, He is the One who Created them and He is the One to whom we will all be returned.
Be steadfast, patient and hang in there. Do your best and let Allah do the rest. You are only human and you have limitations. Allah has no limitations beyond what He has willed Himself.
Pray constantly for yourself, your family and for your parents.
If you are really close to Allah and really cry to Him, He might just accept your petition and guide them to Islam as well.
After all, who is the Only real Guide? May Allah make it easy for you and guide your family, ameen.