Limits of obedience to parents
Fatwa No: 123554

  • Fatwa Date:15-6-2009 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 22, 1430
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Question

I am a 21 yr old Muslima who has been away from guidance for almost all my life. Now that I am serious and certain about my Deen and my life, I will do what it takes to make sure I do not lose it. I am aiming to be like Ayesha and Khadijah (R) and I am taught to be a Mercy to mankind. When it comes to marriage, I want to marry a man with the same Islamic mentality that I have and am working towards; a man who takes Prophet Muhamad (S) as his example with seriousness and plans to raise children who are no less than Abu Bakr and Omar (R). I will not marry someone who is attached to the dunya and forgetful of Akhira. My parents are divorced and I just met my father recently. I am better in my Deen with both of their approval. My parents want me to marry for their satisfaction, they are forcing me and pressuring me and they are using “Ta’at al Waalidayn” (obedience of the parents) as a weapon. I am honest in my deen and my relationship with Allah is my most important subject as it should be. 1) I need to know my rights in deciding and going through with my choice of marriage. I need to know what I should do if my parents continue refusing the choice I have made. 2) I know that I am & will try my best in satisfying their needs and pleasing them, but where are the limits of Ta’at Al Waalidayn? Does it mean obedience in everything? That I have to be their slave? That if they tell me don’t pray the Sunnah, I should not pray the Sunnah because it is not fardh? That if they tell me study ‘xyz’ degree for them I must do it or Allah will not be happy with me? And if they tell me to marry the kind of man they want, I must submit to their desire?! Please only give me an answer that will come from the Daleel of the Quran and Sunnah or Qiyas and Ajmaa' As Sahaba. I am sick of people answering with general opinions; I need specific answers and I need you to be sure. If you are not capable of answering from the Quran and Sunnah, then please do not give me an answer.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is a good thing for a girl to be determined to attain the highest level of perfection. Allaah The Almighty may record for her whatever reward she seeks because of her good intention. It was narrated on the authority of Sahl ibn Hunayf  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , said: “Whoever asks Allaah sincerely for martyrdom, Allaah will cause him to reach the status of martyrs even if he dies in his bed.

Also, it is wonderful that a girl wishes to get married to a righteous man; however, she is advised not to be overoptimistic, since she may discover many shortcomings in her husband’s religious commitment, and this is common nowadays. Hence, over optimism might end with unfavorable consequences and thus the wife may get separated or divorced.

Besides, it is evident that parents have a great status in Islam as explained in Fataawa 87019 and 82254. In principle, children must obey their parents in what is permissible. The scholars mentioned the criterion of matters in which parents must be obeyed. A relevant principle here is that what one of the parents or both of them ask their children to do should be of benefit for the children or the parents; and that no great harm or trouble should be caused to the children when they meet that demand. We have explained this in Fatawa 86982.

Moreover, it is not permissible for the parents to force their daughter to marry someone whom she does not want to marry. If the daughter can obey her parents in that respect, then it will be good as clarified in Fatwa 90704, and hopefully Allaah The Almighty will bless her marriage because of her dutifulness to her parents. Nevertheless, her parents are not allowed to oblige her to marry against her wish as we mentioned. Nevertheless, they should not prevent her from marrying the man whom she wants if he has the characteristics of a righteous husband, the most important of which are religious and moral commitment. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was reported to have said: “If there comes to you one whose religious commitment and morals please you, then accept his proposal...

However, if the parents insist on their refusal, then the daughter should try to convince them to agree. If they persist, then she must obey them unless she fears unbearable harm, in which case she is allowed to marry him even without her parents’ approval, such as in the case where she feels inclined to that man and fears temptation if she does not marry him and the like. If, in that case, her father does not accept to marry her off to him, then an Islamic judge or an acting representative such as the head of an Islamic center, as in Western countries for example, should act as her guardian and marry her off. 

Allaah Knows best.

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