Correct approach to give advice to parents
Fatwa No: 351385

Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Scholar. I live with my non-religious parents. I am more flexible with my mother regarding advising her because she does not react angrily and is not displeased with me (in most cases), but as for my father, I used to advise him, and he would usually become angry or say, “Ok, leave me alone ,leave me alone.” Now I am about to present my papers for Madinah University, and I fear that advising my father would lead to him not letting me go or not helping me to send the papers. I know that advising is obligatory, while going to Madinah University is not. So what should I do? My relationship with him is stable now, without advising him, but when I used to advise him, the tension was higher and the relation was as close. So please advise me on whether I should start advising him after sending my papers to Madinah or whether I should refrain from doing so.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The parents are among the people whom Allah, The Exalted, has commanded us to enjoin to do good and forbid from evils. The religious obligation to show dutifulness and kindness towards them does not prevent doing this. However, giving them advice must be done with a great deal of politeness and caution lest the child commits what Allah forbids in the verses (which mean):

- {And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age (while) with you, say not to them (so much as), "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.} [Quran 23:17]

- {But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in (this) world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me (in repentance). Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.} [Quran 31:15]

The child should seek the kindest and most considerate manner when enjoining his parents to do good or when forbidding them from evils. Al-Hasan was asked about the son advising his father, and he replied, “He should advise him as long as it does not incur his anger; if the father gets angry, the son should refrain from advising him.

Haashiyat Ibn 'Aabideen (Radd Al-Muhtaar) reads, “If he sees his parents committing evil, he should advise them once. If they accept, that is the desired objective; otherwise, he should stop and get engaged in supplicating Allah for them and seeking forgiveness for them; Allah, The Exalted, shall suffice him and rectify their affairs.

Therefore, you should advise your father kindly and compassionately while adhering to the enjoined dutifulness and kindness and using polite and considerate language. That is the obligation regarding advising one's father. If he does not accept your advice, then you should refrain from advising him if it causes his anger, and thus you will have done your duty. Ibn Muflih  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

Chapter on enjoining one's parents to do good and forbidding them from evils: Yoosuf ibn Moosa narrated from (Imaam) Ahmad that he said, ‘He enjoins his parents to do good and forbids them from evils.’ The version of the report narrated by Hanbal reads, ‘If he sees his parent commit an act that he does not approve of, he informs him without violence or impoliteness or harsh language; otherwise, he should leave him alone. The parent should not be treated like other people in this regard.’” [Al-Aadaab Ash-Shar‘iyyah]

If you follow this approach in advising your parents and you choose the suitable time for giving advice, this will make them more likely to accept your advice, and you will earn their love and satisfaction. Rather, they will even help you accomplish your objectives, such as enrolling at the Islamic university in Madeenah and the like.

Allah knows best.

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