Advice on Family Problems related to Atheism
Fatwa No: 461323

Question

Assalamulaykum. I'm 19, the eldest child in my family, & I live in America. My family & I are facing a difficult calamity right now. My brother, 14, has apostated from Islam, claiming that he has been an atheist since he was 10. For a long time, I repeatedly advised my father to check what my brother was doing on his electronics because it was starting to become blatantly obvious that my brother was talking to strangers online on social chat forums & gaming sites. My father unfortunately never accepted my advice, & a few months back I discovered that my brother has long been online dating several girls his age, many of them atheists, which is why I suspect he apostated and became an atheist. He has confessed that he hates our family & that he hates our religion of Islam. I reminded him of the severe punishment of Allah, & his response to me was that he isn't afraid of a hellfire that doesn't exist. My mother, sisters, and I do the best we can to try and soften my brother's heart - we've taken him to the Imam at our local masjid & have cut off all access to technology for my brother at home (unfortunately at school he still has access to it - something we cannot prevent - and still talks with the girl). My brother has confessed he loves music, being friends with girls, plucking his brows, and doesnt see anything wrong with homosexuality. Yesterday, he went into my parent's room and stole his passport from where my mother keeps them. If we had not caught him, I fear he would have run away. The situation is even more difficult because of my strained relationahip with my father. My father believes in women traveling without a mahram, watching television with music & uncovered women, & other impermissable things, despite me trying to advise him that these are contrary to right conduct. I feel as if our house is one of sin, but my father believes me to be delusional & says that I should stay out of this entire situation. My question is simply what can I do for my family?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, we thank for your zeal on your religion and for being keen on the guidance of your family so that they would follow the Straight Path, so may Allah reward you greatly.

We advise you to supplicate for them for guidance as much as possible because everything is easy for Allah. Indeed, Allah ordered us to supplicate Him and He promised to answer our supplication.

Allah Says (what means): {And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you." Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.} [Quran 40:60]

If the case is as you mentioned in the question, that your brother became an atheist, then there is no doubt that he is in a great danger unless Allah guides him and enables him to repent.

This may be the bitter product of staying in those countries where the Muslim is surrounded by misconceptions and desires. In addition to some parents being lenient about the education of their children and not guiding them to the truth, or teaching them that, and giving full freedom for the children to watch whatever they want in the Internet and other means of communication.

You have done well by advising him, and we recommend that you continue to do so in a gentle manner.

Also, you should speak to your father in a gentle manner about these matters; being gentle always leads to good results, Allah willing.

It should be mentioned that we do not object to the father in the like manner that we object to other people; so you must beware of saying or doing something to him that would lead to severing ties with him.

Al-Aadaab ash-Shar’iyyah authored by Ibn al-Muflih (from the Hanbali School of jurisprudence), reads: “Chapter on enjoining parents to do good and forbidding them from doing evil: And he said in the narration of Hanbal, ‘If he sees his father doing something that he dislikes, he teaches him without violence or abuse, and he should not speak to him in a harsh way, otherwise he should leave him, because a parent is not like other people.” [End of quote]

For more benefit and guidelines in this regard, please refer to Fataawa 87672, 124517, 89122, 16844 and 53349.

Finally, we draw your attention that if you can migrate to a Muslim country, then you should do so, as this may help your brother and bring him back to the truth.

Allah knows best.

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