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IslamQA: Is it sinful in Islam to not love your parent?

Assalamu Aleikum, i have a question on which i always get mixed answers, is it haram for a person not to have love towards a parent as long as we dont disrespect them? I don’t have a relationship with my father at all and although it used to make me sad it doesn’t anymore because i’ve grown and accepted it. I’m mature enough to ignore his hateful behavior and ideas, he’s a difficult man for many reasons, is it bad that I don’t want him involed in my life without completely cutting him off?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The reason you get different answers is that people have different underlying assumptions. Those who have had great fathers find it unimaginable that one should not love their father, so they think of it as a character flaw.

At any rate, your father’s rights upon you are all material, not emotional. You have no duty to love him, but you have a duty to be charitable toward him, to care about his welfare, to treat him with respect and to not treat him like a stranger. These are all material duties and can be carried out whether you feel love toward him or not. It is actually a greater act of virtue to carry out your duties toward a parent when their personality makes it difficult to love them. It means these acts are done purely out of a sense of moral duty. When you have to force yourself to be kind and generous toward someone that requires a greater effort and sacrifice and therefore comes with an equally great reward.

Bad parents are a test like everything else in life and they are an opportunity for you to prove your virtue to God by doing what is good and right and kind regardless of how you feel and regardless of whether they deserve it.

If you can avoid them without making them feel bad or making them feel excluded (perhaps they do not care anyway), then that is fine. But if excluding them from something is likely to make them feel bad (such as not inviting them to a party), then it is better to invite them and suffer their presence.

As a human you have as much dignity as your parents and you are not required to sacrifice yourself for them. But by sacrificing some of your comfort and happiness for their sake every now and then you will prove your virtue and gain God’s rewards. A person who sacrifices their comfort to care for a sick parent even though they dislike it will invariably have other parts of their lives made easy and blessed for them: God may make their business prosper so that they have all the money they need while they care for the parent.

As a rule, whenever you make part of your life difficult for God’s sake, God will make other parts of your life easy for you.

And God knows best.
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One thought on “Is it sinful in Islam to not love your parent?

  1. Anon 09

    Jazzak Allah Khair, it’s remarkable how this exact post came up on my tumblr feed first thing this morning. It’s almost as if there was some divine directed pull for me to see this message and response. I am a big believer in no occurrence being a coincidence. So once again Jazzak Allah Khair for your insightful and well thought out response. I find the timing to be divine intervention and reading your response has provided me peace. I’ve recently been conflicted with some family-related grief. My parents disagree with my personal choices and values, and I struggle to abide or endorse their teachings if they against my soul’s values and Islamic internalizations. I’m fighting racist and prejudiced values, which I believe go against our Islamic faith. My father and I always had a broken relationship as I mostly disagreed with his personal choices and behaviors against my mother and other family members. Nauzibillah, maybe I am wrong in my thoughts but I felt your advice helps me cope. There is certainly humility in accepting maybe this ideal loving father-daughter relationship may never occur for me in this lifetime, but through upholding respect and our charitable duties to each other — we salvage what we can. Once again, if I’ve misspoken forgive me, but wishing you well as spread dawa and the peace of Islam.


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