Question: My father criticizes me for growing my beard and shortening my thawb, despite the fact that he prays in the masjid five times a day and recites more than two juz of the Quran a day. If we are in a sitting with a Shaikh who is speaking, then he keeps silent for the speaker, astonished. If we are at home, I see him from the devils of mankind. In Allah refuge is sought. From what he says in general is: that Iman is in the heart; however, I do not love this apparent manifestation, such as the long beard and short thawb. If I argue with him with wisdom and evidence he says: “Keep silent and do not philosophize”. The situation has reached to the extent that he said: If you remain in this condition, then I do not want to see in my house?
Answer: “Your statement: “He is from the devils of mankind” is a mistake from you. It is not for you to describe him with this description. [Your] father, despite what action he does, is [still] your father. It is obligatory upon you to treat him well, to be obedient to him, even if he is a disbeliever. It is obligatory upon you to treat him well and spend on him. Allah, the Exalted said regarding two disbelieving parents:
وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلا تُطِعْهُمَا
But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not [31:15]
And then He said:
وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا
But behave with them in the world kindly [31:15]
So it is obligatory upon you to treat your father well and speak kindly to him. For he is a cause for your existence [i.e. he helped give birth to you and raise you]. However, do not obey him in disobedience if he orders you with shaving the beard. Do not obey him. If he orders you to lower your garment underneath the ankle, then do not obey him. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق
There is no obedience tot he creation in the disobedience of the Creator [Saheeh Jami no. 7520]
If he argues with you, then clarify the truth to him and be lenient. Leave off unnecessary argument. It is also possible for you to make arrangements with some callers to Allah so that they may advise him and clarify the truth to him. If you are afraid for you religion and a need calls for it, then leave. Leave from the house and live in a place where there is no harm to your religion. Or if you are afraid that he will trial you regarding your religion or harm you, then leave and visit him on breaks and treat him well. Call him on the phone, supplicate for him, and speak kindly to him. Do not obey him in disobedience.
We ask Allah to grant us and him guidance. From his right upon you, is to that you supplicate for his guidance in his absence during the times in which supplication is answered. Just [like] the mother of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him). Before she accepted Islam, she used to curse the Prophet (ﷺ). This was difficult for Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) and was a great hardship until he went to the Prophet (ﷺ) crying and requesting that he make supplication for her. So he (ﷺ) supplicated for her. Then he came back after that and found she was taking a shower. She accepted Islam and he became happy due to that. He cried out of happiness [Muslim no. 2491]. So perhaps if you supplicate for your father in his absence in the times of acceptance, and speak to him kindly, and treat him well, and address him with the best speech, and advise him with leniency and kindness, and guide him to booklets and tapes, and invite one of the callers to Allah to advise him or debate with him to clarify the truth to him, perhaps Allah will guide him. We ask Allah to grant us and him guidance and firmness”.
[Sharh Kitab al-Imaan of Abu Ubaid no. 11]
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan