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My Father Is My Problem!

My Father Is My Problem!

Published in May 9, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy



1- This is a very touching message we have received via email from a male Egyptian young man; of course, it does not apply to most fathers in Egypt or elsewhere; yet, it indicates a very bad and serious change in the sense of morality and moral duty within any given society. We quote the entire message here followed by our reply.  

2- (... I earn my living through a respectable job as a journalist in a respectable newspaper in one of the countries of the Gulf region; I typically read your articles and books on your great Quranism website; this encourages me now to write to you about my problem; in fact, my father is my problem! I feel ashamed of him and his being my father is a source of disgrace to me; this is why I left Egypt for good and settled in in one of the countries of the Gulf region where I work. Yet, my father is still chasing me through the phone; he demands that I spend money on him by giving him a monthly allowance so that he'd go on with his addiction to hash (i.e., hashish) and with his gluttony. During these phone-calls, he resorts to verbal abuse, insults and foul words! This is why I feel he's a disgrace and this makes me remember the painful memories of my miserable childhood. As a child, I never felt that he cared for me or loved me; he typically verbally abused me and insulted me as a child; he gave me severe beatings (more often than not) for no apparent reason; the same harsh treatment has been suffered by my mother (his wife) and my three sisters. In fact, he never spent a penny on me and my sisters for our sustenance and education. The only kind-hearted person who cared for me and for my sisters and spent lavishly on us was my wealthy paternal uncle; he was 10 years younger than my father; he never got married because he suffered from one of the heart diseases. This is why he treated me and my sisters with tender loving care and financed everything within our education and provisions; he even helped my three sisters in their marriages. As children, he gave us pocket-money, bought us new clothes, etc. Meanwhile, my father was absent in all occasions in our lives as a family, and he kept mistreating my mother, my sisters, and me. Even during summer holidays, I used to spend my days at the house of my paternal uncle to avoid seeing my father who beat and insulted me for no apparent reason and continued his harsh treatment suffered by my mother and my sisters. My kind paternal uncle encouraged me to enroll into the postgraduate studies program, after obtaining my university degree in mass communication and journalism; he gave me the money for my education until I obtained my MA degree. Once I got this job as a journalist in one of the countries of the Gulf region, I readily left Egypt so as not to see my father again and to keep away from the troubles he has caused. My father caused more troubles even to my noble paternal uncle; both he and my father were business partners; my father's profits and money were spent only on hashish and luxury food items; my paternal uncle undertook the mission of taking care of everything in the business while my father never worked at all, but my paternal uncle (may God bless his soul) bore patiently with him. when my oppressed mother inherited her late father who left her a stretch of land, my father forced her to sell this stretch of land and he took all the money to himself to eat kebab and other expensive meals and to smoke hashish in the nearby café. Every night upon his return, he typically insulted and mistreated my mother and my sisters (before their getting married). At first, my mother never desired to sell her stretch of land so that she'd leave some money in store for her children in the future, but my father was furious because of her refusal to gratify him and he drove her out of the house while threatening to divorce her! My paternal uncle stood against my father (for the first time) in such a situation; yet, my oppressed mother obeyed my father so as not to leave my poor sisters forever (I was outside Egypt during such events). Because of the quarrel between my father and my paternal uncle, my paternal uncle bought the share of my father in the business so that they would part forever as partners and as brothers; they seemed to me to hate each another after this quarrel over the stretch of land owned by my mother. The business became owned only by my paternal uncle. I had to take a leave to visit Egypt so as to attend the funeral of my poor mother who died suddenly; I had to stand by my married sisters in such a situation. I saw my father for the first time in years: he grew uglier and fatter; he never took care of his clothes and his appearance and tidiness; his addiction to hashish and food makes him look monstrous now! I take great care that my employers, friends, etc. would never see him. If I ever get married, I will never let my future in-laws meet with him! He is a source of disgrace and shame in our native village! He never care about people's opinions of him! In contrast, I take great care about my own reputation and my appearance. Naturally, I avoided  my father (as much as possible) during the burial and the funeral of my late mother. When I was alone with my paternal uncle, he told me that my oppressed mother died out of sorrow and broken heart because of years of harsh treatment and physical abuse. My father spent all the money she received when she was forced to sell her stretch of land after he forced her to give him all the money so that she would avoid being divorced and thrown to the street gutters! My paternal uncle told me that he feels he would die suddenly and soon because of his poor health and heart problems; in order to avoid his being inherited by his harsh, hard-hearted brother (my father), he secretly sold his apartment and his business to me within legal, registered contracts, and I promised him that I'll give the half of such wealth to my three sisters upon his death. At first, I refused what he proposed, but he insisted on this plan; my sisters and me accompanied our paternal uncle to the lawyer and everything was done according to the wishes of my noble paternal uncle within legal, registered contracts. They saw me off at the Cairo Airport as I had to return to my job. Months later, my noble paternal uncle died; he knew and felt he'd die soon. I attended the burial and funeral of my paternal uncle, and when my father tried to lay his hands on the business and the apartment as an inheritor, he was surprised to know that I own everything previously owned by my noble paternal uncle; my father was mad with rage and he beat me before the employees! I bore patiently with such an insult so as not to make more scandals! So as to take revenge, my father offered his house for rent (because the house would be one day inherited by me and my sisters) and threatened to sell the house one day soon enough if I refuse to give him a great share of the wealth I've received from my noble paternal uncle. To avoid trouble, I sold the business and the apartment and gave my sisters their due shares as per the agreement I made with my noble paternal uncle and I divided the liquid money also among us as per the agreement made. I never gave my father a penny, of course. I've decided never to return to Egypt and to settle for the rest of my life in the Gulf country where I work so that I avoid my father. I feel glad that my sisters are happily married and settled and that they lack nothing at all because of the money of my noble paternal uncle. My father is my worst enemy now; his fury increased when he knew what I've done; he phones me, more often than not, to verbally abuse me and to insult me; he demands from me a monthly allowance and a share of the money I received from my late paternal uncle. My father brought to me a corrupt Sunnite fatwa that he is the only inheritor of my paternal uncle. Is that true? My paternal uncle did not own anything when he died, as you know now from my message. The more important question is as follows: should I be kind and charitable towards this father despite everything I've narrated here in my message? Shall I give such a father a monthly allowance? What do you think? Any advice? ... Thank you ...).




Firstly: regarding inheritance:

  Since your paternal uncle, when he was alive, has given you the entirety of his wealth within legal contracts, he died while never possessing anything to leave to others as inheritance; hence, your father has no right at all to receive anything from what you have received, as a gift, from your paternal uncle. 


Secondly: Some of our dear fellow Quranists have asked us to write a Quranist article about behaving kindly and charitably to one's parents; we do so here in response to the above message:

  The Almighty Lord God commands people to be kind and charitable towards their parents; for instance, this command has been given to the Israelites: "We made a covenant with the Israelites: "Worship none but God; and be good to parents..." (2:83). God has given the same command to Quran-believing people several times: "Worship God, and ascribe no partners to Him, and be good to the parents..." (4:36); "Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be good to your parents..." (17:23); "We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents. His mother carried him with difficulty, and delivered him with difficulty. His bearing and weaning takes thirty months..." (46:15); this is repeated within the Quranic Ten Commandments: "Say, "Come, let me tell you what your Lord has forbidden you: that you associate nothing with Him; that you honor your parents..." (6:151). We note the following points.

1- These commands regarding honoring one's parents come directly after the command of worshiping God within monotheism; this accentuates the vital importance of being kind and charitable to one's parents.

2- The Quranic command of being kind and charitable to one's parents does not differentiate or distinguish mothers from fathers by placing the formers above the latters or the vice-versa; both one's mother and father must be treated equally within charity and kindness.

2/1: This is indicated by the term (parents) used in the Quranic text without specifying the sex; i.e., the male parent and the female parent.

2/2: When God mentions the troubles and cares of mothers who get pregnant and rear their children, He does not make mothers better than fathers: "We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents. His mother carried him with difficulty, and delivered him with difficulty. His bearing and weaning takes thirty months..." (46:15); "We have entrusted the human being with the care of his parents. His mother carried him through hardship upon hardship, weaning him in two years. So give thanks to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the destination." (31:14).

2/3: The verses we quote above negate the silly Sunnite hadith of placing mothers above fathers in the degree of good treatment by their progeny; the unknown fabricator of this hadith apparently hated his father, like the sender of the above message (we refer our readers to the subtitled-into-English Episode No. 219 of our YouTube show titled "Quranic Moments" about refuting this silly hadith on this link:

3- Being kind and charitable to one's parents should increase when they reach the senile, old age that is accompanied by deteriorating mental and physical health and the need of more care as the mission undertaken by the children.

3/1: God says in the Quran: "God is He Who created you weak, then after weakness gave you strength, then after strength gave you weakness and gray hair..." (30:54); "God brought you out of your mothers' wombs, not knowing anything..." (16:78); "...Some of you will be brought back to the worst age, so that he will no longer know anything, after having acquired knowledge..." (16:70); "...and some of you will be returned to the vilest age, so that he may not know, after having known..." (22:5). This means that sometimes, the senile, old age is accompanied with forgetfulness or even Alzheimer's disease apart from general bodily weakness; it is as if the parent(s) would turn into small children who even cannot go to the bathroom or use the toilet to defecate and urinate. 

3/2: Hence, we understand the greatness of these Quranic commands about caring for one's parents during their senile, old age: "Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be good to your parents. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor scold them, but say to them kind words. And lower to them the wing of humility, out of mercy, and say, "My Lord, have mercy on them, as they raised me when I was a child."" (17:23-24).

3/3: Within the senile, old age, the parents, or the living one among them, would turn into another stage of childhood; they are like children who need to receive tender, loving care all the time without limits. When one's parents receive their baby, they bear patiently with this baby with love and feel happy by caring for it; in contrast, the children might be impatient and cannot stand caring for their parents during their senile, old age or the second stage of childhood. The Quranic sharia legislations entail that the children must treat their senile parents kindly and charitably with all the patience, mercy, and humility as per the verses 17:23-24.   

4- Of course, obeying one's parents within charity and kindness does NOT include disobeying God if the parents desire to impose polytheistic beliefs or practices on their children and to make them reject the monotheism of (There is no God except Allah). One must never obey mortals within disobeying the Lord God.

4/1: The Lord God says the following in the Quran: "We have advised the human being to be good to his parents. But if they urge you to associate with Me something you have no knowledge of, do not obey them. To Me is your return; and I will inform you of what you used to do." (29:8).

4/2: Hence, the children must never obey their parents' commands of disbelief/polytheism while behaving politely, kindly, and charitable towards these parents: "We have entrusted the human being with the care of his parents. His mother carried him through hardship upon hardship, weaning him in two years. So give thanks to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the destination. But if they strive to have you associate with Me something of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. But keep them company in this life, in kindness, and follow the Path of him who turns to Me. Then to Me is your return; and I will inform you of what you used to do." (31:14-15).

5- God commands pious believers to be kind and charitable to their parents and relatives: "Worship God, and ascribe no partners to Him, and be good to the parents, and the relatives..." (4:36); "Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be good to your parents. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor scold them, but say to them kind words." (17:23); "And give the relative his rights..." (17:26); in case the parents are like the type mentioned in the above message, this verse about moving away from them but within kind, charitable treatment and words applies in that case: "But if you turn away from them, seeking mercy from your Lord which you hope for, then say to them words of comfort." (17:28).


Lastly: we say the following to the sender of the message:

1- We always assume that the senders of the messages we receive via email are telling the truth; we base our replies on the face-value of the contents of the messages and questions we receive; sometimes, we analyze the words of any messages to look for lies, contradictions, and illogicality; the male sender of the above message has given a very bad portrayal of his father.   

2- We assume that the sender of the above message is telling the truth; yet, there is a fact that he has forgotten; namely, his father, however cruel he might be now, was overjoyed when his first baby, a boy, was born and he cared for him with love and tenderness. Typically, the first years of one's life are not committed to one's memory as one grows up; no one remembers the first three years of one's life. God says the following about this first formation: "You have known the first formation; if only you would remember." (56:62).

3- However bad and cruel your father is, he is still your father; you have to bear patiently with him as long as he is still alive; God commands being kind and charitable to one's parents for their being one's biological father and mother regardless of their having performed their duties towards their children or not.  

4- You should bear in mind that one day, you will be a father; you might reach the senile, old age and you will need the tender loving care of your children; any good deeds of charity will be fully repaid to you in this world and in the next one. You should remember that God never wastes the reward of those who perform good deeds: "...We will not waste the reward of those who work righteousness." (18:30).


The views and opinions of authors whose articles and comments are posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of IQC.