Please note: The answers on Hawramani.com constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

Dealing with cruelty from one’s own family

I was born Muslim into a non practising family. When I came back to the deen Alhamdulillah, my family suddenly turned on me. Suddenly everything I do is wrong, they gossip, my siblings have been jabbing me about not doing enough for my parents. I try what I can, I make doa for them but I can’t help being angry inside and it’s killing me. I know it’s my family, but despite me being their source of income, they just put me down. I feel like a convert. How do I be filial to an unkind family?

You just have to be as kind and patient as you can be. Islam does not ask you to have superhuman kindness and patience toward others. You are asked to be the best you can be with the abilities you have. It is natural to feel resentment toward such treatment, and there is probably no quick solution for it.

The clan of Prophet Muhammad instead of supporting him were among his harshest critics. They would mock him and make up lies about him. God asked him to be patient and lenient, and asked him to pray and recite the Quran as much as he could (sura 73). Eventually most of them came to respect him.

Another thing to keep in mind is that being too outwardly religious can be disconcerting for those who are not. It is similar to being a vegan. Some people think that being a vegan makes them a superior type of human who have the right to judge everyone else; they become a nuisance by constantly talking about their veganism and criticizing others for eating meat. As a Muslim, try not to be like that. Do not talk about religion with them and do not do obviously religious things in front of them (reading Quran, etc.). Keep Islam to yourself. If you can build a good relationship with them without reference to Islam, then they will be more likely to accept your religiosity. But if they feel that your religiosity makes you judge them as inferior, then they will be likely to feel threatened and to criticized you in order to make themselves feel better about not being religious like you.

Ask yourself what you would be doing toward your family if you were still irreligious. Do not let your religiosity separate you from them. If they have certain hobbies or things they do that they enjoy, be with them. If you have a sibling who is interested in something (say football), buy them a high-quality football as a gift. If you have sisters, a good gift would be a gift card to a clothing store. Do everything you can to assure them you are still with them and that you honor them and consider them proper humans, and avoid everything that may make them feel you consider yourself different or superior for being religious. Reassure them that you still love them, and the best way to do this is to continue treating them as if nothing has changed since you became religious.

And God knows best.

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