Date : 02-12-2015

Question :

What is the difference between obeying one`s parents and honoring them, and should I obey my parents in whatever they order me to do; especially, when they refuse an eligible suitor?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Honoring parents is a general concept that includes treating them kindly and pleasing them. Allah, The Almighty, says(what means), "Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."{Al-Isra` 23-24}.

Obeying one`s parents is being kind to them, but kindness here isn`t intended in its general sense; therefore, sons and daughters shouldn`t obey their parents in whatever they order them to do, as indicated by unanimous agreement of the Muslim scholars. This is why some scholars have set the concept of disobeying parents, and when should sons and daughters obey them. Defining "disobedience to parents, " Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said, " It is when the son or the daughter harm their parents by word or deed, save in two situations: when the parents order them to commit a sin and disobey Allah, and when they are unrightfully adamant about a certain issue."{Fateh Al-Bari 10/406}. Accordingly, issues pertaining to the life of a son or a daughter, such as joining a certain faculty, choosing a job, or a wife don`t go under the umbrella of "obedience to parents."

In terms of Sharia, the father is the legal guardian of his daughter, so he is in charge of choosing the most eligible suitor for her; however, he isn`t at liberty to prevent her from getting married or to show adamancy when choosing a husband for her. Allah, The Almighty, says(what means), "do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands"{Al-Baqarah/232}. If her guardian continues refusing qualified suitors, it is permissible for her to go to a Sharia court so that the judge decides whatever he sees fit . In this regard, the Jordanian Personal Status Law stated, "It is permissible for a judge to marry the virgin who has completed fifteen years to an eligible suitor in case her father prevented her from marrying him without a valid reason." And Allah knows best.