Abusive mother - to take action or to ignore?
Assalaamualaikum fellow brothers and sisters. There has been something bothering me for quite some time now, and I have been searching the internet for suggestions and solutions to my problem but to no avail. Just some background information, my mother isn't the typical mother you would expect one to be. I have to admit she has gone through tough times with her divorce (which took place more than a decade ago but she seems unable to get over with her constant reminiscing of the bad deeds my father has committed to her, may Allah help her) but I personally don't see this as an excuse for her abusive behavior. Contrary to what other would expect, since she manages to mask this image of her from her relatives and acquaintances, she is a pretty abusive parent. If I am not mistaken, in Islam, forgive me if I'm wrong, but parents are allowed to beat their children when they are of a certain age to "discipline" them, but I presume the beating shall not be consistent and to the extent that it can be considered as abuse. I understand where a parent would be coming from by, for example, patting the hand of her child for being mischievous for the sake of disciplining them, but I do not get how my mum's constant abuse of me and my siblings (1 brother, 1 sister) can be considered "discipline" as she claims. We have been beaten since the young age of 6 as far as I can remember, possibly even younger than that if I could remember better, for the most unreasonable reasons. Even till now, though not often as before, she does abuse us and since I don't have a father to control her abusive behavior and my brother is still very young, she feels this power and authority over us, a feeling that we must all bow down to her (which I understand since she is our mother) but also that we do not have the right to defend ourselves, which I do not agree with. I am still in school, graduating soon, and none of us is old enough to do anything about it but admit she is right all the time and kiss her foot when she demands for us to, when she claims that we were being "rude" although we were just shielding ourselves with our arms from her beating. Most of her abusive acts either start from or end up being related to my father, which is another proof that she is just venting her dissatisfaction and anger at my father on us, which is very unfair. Another thing to note is that I do feel she is especially cold towards me compared to my siblings, and would just roll her eyes at me even when I have done nothing wrong, on top of other more obvious reasons such as the fact that she has said "I hate you" multiple times to my face, criticised my appearance and falsely accusing me of being greedy for money and having a fake personality, which really hurts me because these are very untrue. These would also be considered verbal abuse according to law, but I have yet to find anything on the Islamic law's opinion on this. I assume it is because most mothers wouldn't be like this, as Islam has painted a perfect picture for mothers and their kindness towards their children and may Allah bless all mothers in this world, but lets face the fact that this is sadly not always the case. I always get remarks like "she's still your mother, she gave birth to you and nothing can compare to the pain of birth" but, really? Constant abuse for 17 years of my life and that is still okay because she's my mother? I pray 5 times a day, get good grades and am independent as well as responsible of my own actions, giving my mother as little burden as I can, all the nights of me crying from all that I have to deal with, let alone my other problems, and she is justified to do this to me just because she's my mother? Is that really fair?
That was pretty long, but still, it wasn't what inspired me to write this post. My family has a maid who helps us with the chores. I admit that she's quite slow in learning and working, but I get it because she's new to the country and has to leave her family at a young age to go earn a living on another land far from home, and that alone is hard to cope with. But my mother, as she has done to several previous maids as well, is abusive towards her. She would beat the maid countless of times, disregarding the maid's injuries inflicted by her abuse. She calls the maid names too and accuses her of the craziest things. She abuses the maid every single day and all I can do is watch. I can't possibly report her to the police, can I? She'll definitely go to prison for her abuse of the maid and how can I do such a thing to my mother? I have tried advising her but all she does is get angry at me, and things just get worse from there. My siblings have also done so but she claims that she's right (she never admits that she's wrong) and she'd just continue with the abuse. According to Islam, what should be the right way to handle this matter? Let me tell you in advance, talking will not help. It never has. She is beyond the age to listen to what others have to say, let alone taking in our suggestions. She prays 5 times a day, reads the qur'an regularly, fasts quite often too, but I know her behavior isn't right. Good behaviour constitutes a good muslim, and although she may be considered a "good muslim" by theory, I fear for her good deeds being rejected by Allah for her behaviour, though I admit I am in no position to judge.
So in summary:
1. Is it true that I cannot say or do anything when abused by my mother just because she's...my mother?
2. What do I do about her abuse towards the maid? I really cant take it anymore, the poor maid has to suffer from the abuse my siblings and I had to go through frequently too. The only way to make it stop is by reporting it to the police, but there are consequences to this. What should I do?
I thank everyone who read this till the end and offers an opinion in advance. May Allah bless us and we hopefully meet in Jannah one day. Ameen.
Re: Abusive mother - to take action or to ignore?
I'm sorry for your mother's maltreatment towards you and the rest of your family. Islam advises us to be dutiful, respectful, and kind towards our parents no matter the circumstances.
I don't think there is anything you can really do in regards to your mother's physical treatment towards you, however, you could try protecting your siblings and the maid from her abuse. She should not be abusing any of you. If you can kindly remind her while she's in a good mood that what she's doing is wrong and build a better relationship, it may make her realize her mistakes. I think your mom is going through a lot psychologically and does not know how to show her affection or how to deal with it. She may also be afraid of not having control because your father isn't in the picture so she is a bit overbearing and harsher towards you to prevent you all from doing wrong. You also may be harboring resentment and it blocks you from showing your affection towards her. All of this creates a stressful and negative environment. Your mother is being quite oppressive towards the maid though because she is not her child. If you are all old enough to do your own chores or even defend her, I think the maid should be let go since she is not being treated well.
Al-Hârith b. Qays – Allah have mercy on him – said:
[Ibn Al-Mubârak in Al-Zuhd wa Al-Rqâ’iq Vol.1 p126]
❥When intending to do something good, do not delay it until tomorrow.
❥When involved in something to do with the hereafter, keep yourself involved as long as you can.
❥When involved in some worldly matter, put your mind to it (so as to get it done).
❥And if you are praying and Shaytân whispers, ‘You are showing off,’ then make your prayer even longer.
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