Thursday 18 Ramadan 1440 - 23 May 2019
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She disagrees with her parents about her children’s upbringing

Question

What are the guidelines on obedience to parents? Undoubtedly Islam confirms that, and Allah mentions obedience to them alongside obedience to Him. But what if they interfere with regard to the upbringing of children? For example, I want my son not to sleep early, because he may wake up during the night and prevent me from sleeping, but they order me to leave him alone and let him be. What is the ruling in this case? Can I raise my son as I see fit, so long as it is in accordance with Islamic teaching? I hope that you can advise me.

Praise be to Allah

Obedience to parents is obligatory, so long as they do not tell you: 

1. To commit sin, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience with regard to sin; rather obedience is only with regard to that which is right and proper.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (7252).

2. To do anything that is harmful to the child or to anyone connected to him, such as one’s son, wife and so on, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There should be neither causing harm nor reciprocating harm.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah (2340); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani

3.To do anything that will cause extraordinary hardship, because obeying the commands of Allah is restricted to what one is able to do: “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear” [al-Baqarah 2:286] – so how about the instructions of created beings? 

Please see also the answer to question no. 214117 

With regard to your disagreements about your children’s upbringing, then think about that: if they order you to do something that is sinful, or that is clearly harmful to you, or to them, or they order you to do something that will cause hardship to you or to them, then in such cases you are not obliged to obey them. 

This does not mean that you should reject their instructions in a harsh manner; rather you should do that gently and politely, and avoid showing your disagreement before them if possible. 

If their instructions to you are free of these three matters, then you have to obey them. Would you not like your son to obey you? So you should obey your parents, because honouring them is a religious duty and disobedience towards them is contrary to religious teachings. Try hard to be kind to your parents, treat them gently, honour them and show respect to them as much as you can. 

And Allah knows best.

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