Family Hot Topics

Dealing with Family Stuff the Islamic Way

https://stocksnap.io/photo/AUXJX50V26SubhanAllah (Glory to God).

I can’t help but reflect on how we’d all wish to have the perfect family: every member of the family being God-conscious, parents fulfilling the rights of their children and vice-versa, harmony between siblings, a marriage with very few conflicts and loads of happy moments, and delightfully obedient children. Indeed, I doubt that such a family exists on this planet, yet it cannot be denied that there are some families whose happiness radiates wherever they may be; they have strong connections of love and affection. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala exalted is He) preserve such families. The truth is, however, that most of us have conflict and strife within our families; with our parents, siblings, cousins, spouses, children, in-laws, etc. Some of this conflict is minor, while some of it has left stains of trauma and wreaked havoc in the lives of so many. Where I find stability and contentment, however, is in the realization of three important things:

  1. Every family has their issues.
  2. Pure happiness and contentment with one another is reserved for Paradise, and not the life of this world.
  3. Even within our own Islamic tradition, we find countless examples of great people who dealt with tons of stuff.

Consider the following examples:

Parent Issues

  • Ibrahim (Abraham) (`alayhi assalam – peace be upon him), the great man that he was, was threatened by his own father when he preached to him the message of Islam. Not only did his community deny him, but his own father did too. Imagine the pain.

Sibling/Child Issues

  • Qabil (Cain) grew jealous of his brother Habil (Abel) and eventually slew him. These were the first sons of our common ancestor, Adam (as). Imagine the turmoil of murder within a family, and the loss of a child for Adam and Hawa (Eve).
  • The brothers of Yusuf (Joseph) (as) conspired to get rid of him completely. For years, his father Ya’qoob (Jacob) grieved the loss of his son, and upon his eventual return, Yusuf’s brothers were filled with regret for what they had done. Imagine a grief that causes you blindness, as it did to Ya’qoob (as). Not only that, but Yusuf (as) was from a line of prophets (Yusuf son of Ya’qoob son of Ishaaq son of Ibrahim (as)) and was still not immune to such a trial.
  • Musa (Moses) (as) was furious at his brother Haroon (Aaron) (as) when he returned to find the Children of Israel worshiping a calf. He even dragged him by his head as mentioned in Surat Al-A`raf!
  • In Surat Al Kahf, we learn from the story of Musa (as) with Al-Khidr, who was divinely inspired to take the life of a child because that child may have been a fitnah (trial) to the righteous parents. Clearly, their righteousness didn’t lead them to a simple perfect family life; they suffered the hardest trial they could experience as parents and as a couple— the loss of their child.

Spousal Issues

  • Both Ibrahim (as) and his wife Sara, along with Zakariyya (as) and his wife had trouble conceiving a child. As well, Aasiya the wife of the greatest tyrant Fir’awn (Pharaoh) brought Musa (as) into her home after not being able to have her own child.
  • Maryam (Mary) (as) brought Isa (Jesus) (as) into this world alone and with no communal and spousal support. Imagine how we treat such mothers today.
  • Both Lut (Lot) (as) and Nuh (Noah) (as) were betrayed and left unsupported by their wives. They were prophets and still, they had issues in their marriages.
  • Aasiya was severely abused and persecuted by her own husband for merely proclaiming her belief in God (as).

Our Greatest Example

  • The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) lost his beloved uncle Abu Taalib before he accepted Islam.
  • He lost many of his children as infants, children and adults.
  • He lost his dearly beloved wife, Khadijah, and mourned her death deeply.

These are just a tiny fraction of the examples of family stuff that we can draw from our own Islamic tradition. Indeed, what is even more incredible is that those mentioned above were far more pious and sincere to Allah (swt) than we could ever be, despite their hardships.

Notice that their piety did not mean a life of ease and perfection – no! Instead they were tried with things that today, might bring you and me to our knees. Because Allah (swt) tells us that He does not burden a soul with more than they can bear. By testing them with such trials, the Almighty knew that they were capable of coming out purified and forgiven for their sins, inshaAllah (God-Willing).

Now, what about you and me?

I say, family issues are inevitable. Don’t look to the lives of others to escape your own problems – realize that Allah (swt) has placed you in the circumstance you are in because He (swt), in His supreme knowledge, knows you can handle it.

For me, I’ve come to see family strife as bound to occur. Although not easy in the least, my main concern has been managing it as gracefully as I can when it does happen. Our spiritual growth and purification is tied to the moments we want to talk back but don’t, or have been betrayed by a family member and don’t seek revenge. It’s certainly not easy, especially when we have depictions of the perfect family life crossing our sights at every moment. From television, advertisements, social media and other forms of media, we are inundated with false realities of perfect, happy families.

The truth is, we all deal with stuff. The greatest individuals who came before us did

and we certainly are not immune. The key then is, how do you deal with your stuff? With grace, or harshness? With acceptance or bitterness? With resolve or chaos? Consider the following verse:

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” and they will not be tried?” (Qur’an, 29:2)

The choice is ours – let’s figure this stuff out.

And Allah (swt) knows best.

Author’s Note: Please share your experiences/thoughts below, and any further examples we can derive inspiration from.

About the author

Ubah

Ubah was born and raised in Western Canada. She received her BSc in Psychology and is currently training as a psychotherapist through a Masters program focused on spiritually-integrated psychotherapy. In her spare time, she engages with her community through running an all-girl’s program focussed on Muslim Canadian identity and broader community involvement. She is passionate about seeking the links between human behavior, psyche, spirituality and Islamic traditions, and the quest for self-actualization and truth. A comprehensive body of her written articles, poetry, and essays can be found on her website, www.seekingtobetter.com.

9 Comments

  • Asa wa rahamathAllah wa barakatu,
    Thanks for the information and share. Also conveniently, it was the topic I was looking for :), Jazuk Allah khair
    I can share an experience I had with my family, about an argument one day between my parents and how i dealt with it…; hope it is entertaining to anyone..
    Once, I was home from school and heard my parents fighting down the stairs. It was getting very heated and left me to just sit down on the steps and to just listen to them go at it for awhile. For some time I zoned out and just listened to them with many thoughts passing through my own head. I knew their convo was getting worse with every second and pushed me much for the urge to just intervene and wanna stop it even tho I really didn’t know how. The pressure was beginning to get to me… I soon then made the decision to grab the Quran and read to myself, for anything, any guidance, while On the steps. quietly I chose to read. I have both an arabic and english combination quran because my arabic was not that good and the page wasn’t specific but i remember reading a story about Prophet Musa (as).. During that, while listening to them argue, the pressure had before already got to me, and I forsure knew the situation was beyond whatever control I thought I might’ve had, and certainly could’t use the energy I had to intervene cuz i literally didn’t have much. So I just gave my hopes to Allah (Swt) and made dua for aid in my situation. I prayed much and asked for what He (Swt) knows is best, to be. and yeah, Al-Hamdillah. I couldn’t be more happily joyful now because of wat turned out..
    May Allah Guide us and help the Ummah become stronger in our situations.
    Maybe it might’ve not worked out at the exact moment ( who knows) I thank Allah (swt) for it didn’t get worse ( I mean we don’t know if it really can get worse or maybe if it’ll be better later on) and definitely I couldn’t be happier especially on how I handled the situation and how it turned out to be. My parents still fight lol but its cool now a days. In these situations now, I usually repeat to myself praises to Allah (Swt) hoping for guidance and help either now or for later, really just for What He (swt) knows is best.
    One of His names “Al-Rahman” is commonly translated to “Source of peace. That’s definitely what I experienced that day. Al-Hamdillah, and I see it everyday.
    Basically, my advice is to anyone stuck in a situation similar to mine or any of that matter, when you don’t know what next thing to do or to say, leave it to Allah (Swt) in your ways., Bismilliah, you know Ask for help. He is able to do all things and He is the All-Wise. Dua Al-Hamdillah is my best friend now a days.
    May Allah Grant us Guidence and Allah knows best. May Allah forgive me if I am wrong in regards with anything in this post And May we be under His (Swt) protection.

  • MashaAllah, It’s nice.

    Small correction regarding Ibrahim father – he was his uncle not father. Allah(Swt) kept Prophets Mohammad (PBUH) lineage away from idol worship.

    Thanks
    Hussain.

    • Salaam brother Hussain, I beg to differ. In surah 26, Ibrahim (AS) makes dua to Allah swt and asks Him to guide his father, because he had gone astray. The qur’an clearly narrates that Ibrahim (AS)’s father worshipped idols. Allah knows best. 🙂

  • Yes, unfortunately I have dreamt of a perfect family, many times. My siblings and I have witnessed our father’s abuse on our mother, and oh how powerless we felt. There is no 911 in our country. The cheating, the lies, the violence, we even felt like orphans sometimes, because our father had no time for us. He was surrounded by “friends” who encouraged him to sin and transgress, “friends” who are supposedly “religious” 🙁 subhanAllah.

    So recently my dad has been convicted in jail for a crime that he did not commit, related to his job. But we as a family believe it’s a mercy for us. Our prayers were answered. Dad is paying for having been unjust to us. Allah ws a witness to all of the things that happened behind closed doors. We love our dad very much, but we want him to reflect on his mistakes and change.

    As for marriage, I have heard so many horror stories, and witnessed so much husbands’ abuse on their wives, that I myself I’m getting scared of getting married sometimes. I understand no marriage is perfect, but am I supposed to lower my expectations when asking for a good spouse in my duas? 🙁

  • Allow an answer from me ….who has drifted from the custom of religion
    Natures laws will take precedence ….though unwritten ….every other scriptural
    Writing will be subject to it …..reason why nothing we have done so far..has proved to help us in the privacy of our homes ….rich and poor celebrity or man in the street …royalty or commoner
    Because all of it is based on one or other scripture …..mans every thought and action is really either biblical or similar …..it will not work …because these sayings control us …..and as much as we rever it ….it was written by no other than men like you and I ……believe it or not God has never written one word of it …..go back to the hydrogen atom trace it to today and see how God operated and built the inverse …..magical!….
    ….. scripture is just incompatible to everything else …..except perhaps the sermon on the mount and a few others

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