4 Islamic articles on: dealing with family members in Islam

IslamQA: Dealing with a toxic family

Assalamualykum Dear Brother, Allah says that family is a great trial. I have been living in a toxic family environment for some time in which my sisters and mother do not get along. In this situation, I love them both, and it hurts me in a deep way when they fight and I can do nothing at all to make the situation better. I try my best to stick to the commands of Allah and have made constant dua regarding this situation. What should be the response of my heart? Am I too attached to my family members or is patience the only solution?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I’m sorry to read about your situation. May Allah make things better for you. Unfortunately there is often little that we can do about how others, including our family members, behave. The best we can do is be patient. Something that helps greatly is to have a close relationship with God, such as through daily Quran reading. This helps detach you from worldly concerns and enables you to always act according to what is good and right regardless of how others behave.

May Allah bless you.

IslamQA: Dealing with intrusive family members

My parents and siblings ask way to many questions about my life, sometimes finding out way more than they need. What should I do? It's bothering me. Sometimes I feel like I have no privacy or that they give me no space. The relationship sometimes feel nonreciprocal as well, for example they do not always answer me or do not share with me about what's going on in their life. Can you give me some advice one what I should do?

Unfortunately it is very difficult to change the way family members treat us since they have been doing that for years and think it is the right way to behave. The best course of action is just to be patient and to try to minimize it in whatever way possible without upsetting them.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: How to be kinder and more polite to family members

I keep being rude to my mother. How do I stop this habit? She always says things that make me angry even though I know she’s right. I’ve apologised to her so many times and I ask God for help but nothing is changing.

It is natural to be rude and impatient with people close to us when they do not act in the way we expect or make us feel unworthy and unappreciated. What you are trying to do is go against the course of nature by being kind and polite even when she gives you cause to be angry. This is not a state that can be maintained without work, because it is not natural. What is natural is to act the way people act toward us.

The only way to maintain your kindness and politeness toward your mother is to maintain an unnatural state of open-heartedness and selflessness. This can be done through reading the Quran for 30 minutes every day, performing all the voluntary prayers and sincerely praying for God’s help and forgiveness during every sujūd (prostration).

It is the ego that causes us to be rude when its interests are threatened (such as when someone makes us feel unimportant and useless). The way to break this cycle is to take the ego out of the equation. The Quran helps with this because it constantly reminds us about the fact that this world is not important and will end soon, and the fact that we were created to worship God rather than worship ourselves. The Quran’s teachings and reminders soften the heart and weaken the ego’s hold on us so that we end up as calmer, more polite and less self-centered people. And maintaining this state requires dedication. It is not something we can achieve then take for granted. The ego will always reassert itself if we do not fight it.