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Dealing with Toxic or Abusive Parents


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  • ummtaalib changed the title to Dealing with Toxic or Abusive Parents

Dealing with an abusive father

I would like to ask if your father abuses you as a child and has hurt you and beat you up leaving you with marks to go to school and has abused you since a little child to the point you felt like you worth nothing and you didn’t do anything to deserve what had happened to you and he later abandons you because he believes that you disrespected him, when all your life he made you feel as if everything was your fault when it wasn’t and mother of that child even knows that because she has been abused as well. Since 14 the child’s family has been divorced and the father has used Allah swt for his wrong doings and has been very cultural. I read a hadith saying that cutting off ties who are blood related and not being helped will not enter paradise and this whole time this person has not been helped or supported and abandoned since 14 years old from his father.This child lives with his mother who has supported him. My question is what should this person do , what should the one do who has been abandoned, not been supported, and been abused by his father? This person is good and loves Islam and tries his best to be good and has been making dua and praying for his father but is still full of pain, while his father doesn’t feel at all he has done anything wrong and feels nothing towards this child. Is this kid at fault? Is the child in a state of getting bad deeds because of this problem? Is there any way to get closer to Allah swt to get rid of this pain?



In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah. May Allah’s peace and blessings shower upon our beloved Messenger.

Dear Questioner,

I pray that this message finds you in a state of strengthened iman and renewed spirits.

Children who have suffered abuse often blame themselves, seeking to find some explanation for the abuser’s behavior. Please understand this: You are not at fault for what happened!

No parent has the right to abuse his or her child. Allah Most High has entrusted parents with a tremendous amana or trust: raising, nurturing, and loving a human being, and teaching that child about his or her religion.

When a parent violates this trust through abuse, be it physical, mental, or emotional, or neglects his or her child through abandonment or non-support, these actions constitute enormities, major sins in the sight of Allah Most High. The abusive and negligent parent will have much to answer for on the Day of Judgment, when Allah Most High knows what we have done, down to an atom’s weight of good or evil.

It is obligatory for that parent to repent to Allah Most High and beg His forgiveness for violating the responsibility with which he or she was entrusted.

You are right to continue to pray for your father. Allah Most High hears and responds to our prayers, often in ways that may not be immediately apparent. A crucial first step in resolving your anger toward your father is to pray for him. It is completely natural that you have a certain amount of resentment. The thing to remember is that:

1. You are not at fault. A child does not ask to be abused.


2. Your father is answerable to Allah Most High for what he has done.


3. Resentment and bitterness can tear a person’s heart. You don’t want to be weighed down by these feelings, so strive to put things in perspective and move on with your life. Alhamdulillah, you have a mother who seems to have looked out for you.


4. Yes, you will feel pain, but you can channel these feelings in a different direction. Allah willing, when you start your own family, you will know what NOT to do in raising your children.


5. As far as your relationship with your father is concerned, you can still maintain family ties by praying for him and being good to him, but you MUST NOT subject yourself to any type of abuse. The Prophet, peace be upon him said, “A person should help his brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed. If he is the oppressor he should prevent him from doing it, for that is his help; and if he is the oppressed he should be helped (against oppression).” [Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6254]


6. Last but certainly not least, you may want to seek the help of a qualified counselor or therapist to help you work through these issues. The effects of child abuse can linger well into adulthood, and it may be of benefit to learn some strategies for coping with your pain, learning from it, and moving beyond.

Turn to Allah Most High in all your thoughts and prayers. Be constant in your obligatory prayers and perform voluntary worship. It is reported in a Hadith Qudsi:

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said:

‘Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.'”


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  • 9 months later...

Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Assalamu alaykum,


I am a Muslim female in my 20s. I live alone away from my mother.  I, for most of my life, have spoken to my mother everyday. As I have grown older, however, I have found it to be difficult to speak with my mother everyday, as I feel like she attempts to become overly involved in my life–in a way that makes me very anxious and makes me feel as if I am being watched.  Also, I still have issues with abuse from my father when growing up and my mother not giving me enough support.


After being diagnosed with depression and anxiety and taking medications, through the course of therapy I have come to realize that my mother is actually quite controlling and seems to not like it when I attempt to show independence.


My mother, despite knowing about my mental conditions and that they get worse when I come home, still insists that I come home to visit and talk every day. I decided to limit our contact and our phone calls for my emotional well being.  When I did this, I felt calmer and got more accomplished, but my relationship with my siblings worsened because my mother expressed how she was hurt that I didn’t contact her as much anymore.  I started to call again and she liked that, but my emotional well being worsened again.

I also realized that my mother seems to have been having an affair while I was growing up and maybe even now. I’ve seen my mother lie often, so she probably wouldn’t admit it if I asked her.

With regard to calling my mother, what would you recommend given that frequent calling seems to oppress me and less frequent calling upsets her? Also, with regard to visiting–especially given the situation that I am afraid of my father–what would you recommend?


I study human psychology and, examining my family dynamics, it appears that my family is enmeshed and dysfunctional. I have been taught that the way to help deal with such a situation is to establish clear boundaries, as enmeshed families like mine tend not to have them.  At the same time, I do not want to shrug off my religious obligations. Also I am concerned that if my mother is overly involved in my life, it may affect any future marriage that I may have and any possible future relationships with my children.



Answer: In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Wa alaikum as-salaam wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for your question.

We know from revelation that life is characterized by tribulation. For example, Allah Ta’ala says, “O you who have attained to faith! Behold, some of your spouses and your children are enemies unto you: so beware of them! But if you pardon [their faults] and forbear, and forgive-then, behold, God will be much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.Your worldly goods and your children are but a trial and a temptation, whereas with God there is a tremendous reward.” (Al-Qur’an, 64:14-15)

Although the outward purport of these verses is directed towards parents, children, from experience, sometimes know very well that the trial runs both ways. Those closest to us can pose the biggest challenge because they know us so well and, hence, can manipulate us to their advantage, causing us much hurt. However, as the Qu’ran counsels, we should take the higher path and choose forgiveness.

I’m glad you’re in therapy as the situation with your mother is a lot to handle. However, please make sure you’re doing things for your spiritual well-being. A regular morning and evening program of dhikr, supplication, and prayers upon the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, works wonders.

Please understand that our parents are human beings and are far from perfect. Sadly, there are Muslim parents who are dishonest, dysfunctional, and abusive. There are parents who will attempt to live vicariously through their children and try to have total control. However, as adults, we can do several things:

1. Mitigate the harm of family members by responding with kindness, refusing to argue, and establishing clear boundaries. I can’t tell you what boundaries you should establish in interacting with your mother. Only you know what works and what doesn’t. Do consider, however, the patience of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, in his dealings with his family members. And do try to recruit some supportive people in your life.

2. Learning how not to be as parents: Children can bring out the worst in some of us, sadly. While we would ideally like to be our best selves as parents, children, with their constant demands for our time and attention, not to mention their need for material resources, can push parents to the limit. That is why children, as Allah Ta’ala says above, can be the ultimate test. I know it’s difficult to understand but your mother might feel as frustrated with you as you are with her, but she has not found a healthy way to handle that. So learn from this situation how not to be as a parent.

3. Choosing peace and forgiveness.:Everyday, wake up and actively choose to forgive your family members and be at peace with their imperfections.

Finally, to address your suspicions of your mother’s infidelity, it is best to leave this alone. Even if you have proof, it would be difficult to confront your mother given your relationship. Pray for her and ask Allah to send her some spiritual support. And encourage your siblings to take her around good, religious people; let them know you care.

May Allah Ta’ala grant ease,

Zaynab Ansari

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Question: Since I was very young, I was physically and psychologically abused by my parents. I became very depressed and confused. It resulted in me not praying and committing sins. I then decided to distance myself from them, and from then on, my life got a lot better.

I found out that obedience to parents is very important in our deen. What should I do?



Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh,


I pray this finds you well. May Allah make a way out for you from your tribulation.

Abusive parents

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” [Qur’an, 17:23]

Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor.’ The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

I am so sorry to hear about what you have been through. You were an innocent child, entrusted to your parents, and they broke that trust, over and over again. AlhamduliLlah, now that you are an adult, you are in a better position to decide what to do about your estrangement from them.

Rights of parents

I strongly encourage you to sign up for the lesson The Rights of Parents when registration reopens. We are commanded to show respect and kindness to our parents, even if they are oppressive.

Because your parents have hurt you so deeply, it is even more important for you to understand what Allah expects from you in this situation. This course is life-changing, subhan Allah, and I recommend that all children complete it, especially those who were abused by their parents.

Moving forward

Please speak to a culturally-sensitive counselor to support you through the process of reconciliation. Getting back in contact with your parents is probably going to be extremely difficult for you, so please take it in stages.

Do you have close friends and/or family members? Please lean on them for support. Childhood wounds run deep, and may threaten your well-being. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with too much contact with them, too soon. Think of reconciliation as a marathon, and not a sprint.

You can start with sending your parents gifts, postcards, emails, letters, and the like. Work your way up to calling them on the phone. When you are ready to visit them, please go with a trusted companion, instead of going alone. Limit your interactions with them to an amount you can handle.

Insha Allah over time, and through repeated exposure to them, your tolerance to them will increase. The minute you feel yourself sliding into depression, please withdraw and do things to help you recover e.g. read Qur’an, make dhikr, speak to your counselor, spend time with friends, etc.

Always make that intention to mend ties with them for Allah’s sake. This intention will carry you through the inevitable rough patches. Please perform the Prayer of Need as much as you need to, to keep you going. Make dua for Allah to make this easier for you, and for Him to soften your parents’ hearts.

May Allah reward you for wishing to mend ties with your parents. Trust that Allah Most High knows how hard this is for you, and that nothing is lost with Him. I pray that Allah makes easy your path to Jannah, through your desire to show kindness to your parents.

Please see:

Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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