I am a revert sister and my mother is a non-Muslim, she is an open enemy to ʾIslām and actively calls me to disobedience and disbelief. Alhamdulillāh I do not live in her house and I am married. However, whenever I visit her, she tries to make me drink alcohol and encourages me to divorce my husband. Can I avoid her and boycott her, or will I be sinful for doing so due to the great importance that ʾIslām puts on the obedience to the parents even though they are not Muslim?
Again may Allāh (عز وجل) make your affair easy and make the affair of the Muslims easy in every place. And alhamdulillāh for this again, Allāh (عز وجل) (سبحانه وتعالى) has told us brothers and sisters what to do in the Qurʾān and alhamdulillāh, we have examples in the lives of the companions in how to deal with these types of situations. For example, in the Qurʾān Allāh (عز وجل) tells us:
﴾وَإِن جاهَداكَ عَلىٰ أَن تُشرِكَ بي ما لَيسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلمٌ فَلا تُطِعهُما ﴿
If your parents (your father and your mother) try and compel you to associate partners with me that which you have no knowledge concerning, do not obey them in this.
[Sūrah Luqmān 31:15]
Do not obey them, committing shirk is not allowed. Do not obey them if it involves disobedience to Allāh, but Allāh said,
﴾وَصاحِبهُما فِي الدُّنيا مَعروفًا ﴿
But associate with them in this world with respect with good manners
[Sūrah Luqmān 31:15]
You have a beautiful example brothers and sisters in the Ḥadīth in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim because this question in the West comes up a lot. When I translated the book, ‘The Rights of The Parents’ into English which is a very beneficial book, at the end of it I added an appendix and I gave stories, because obviously the book is being translated for Muslims who have grown up in Western lands, it is translated into English. Many of those Muslims may have parents who are non- Muslims.
So a pertinent question is what? How do we deal with our parents who are non-Muslims? Like for example the question that is being asked today, and I mentioned the story in there of Abū Hurayrah (رضى الله عنه) that we find in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. A beautiful story that Abū Hurayrah recounted and mentioned, that he used to invite his mother to ‘Islām and at that time she was a mushrikah, she was a polytheist. He said, and I invited her on one occasion (فَأَسْمَعَتْنِي فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَا أَكْرَهُ) and she said something about the messenger of Allāh ﷺ that I detested, I did not like. So Abū Hurayrah (رضى الله عنه) said he started to cry. He went to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ and he was crying. So the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ asked him why he was crying and he explained that he invited his mother to ‘Islām and she refused and on this particular day I invited her and she said something about you that I disliked, he did not mention exactly what it was, he concealed it. He said but I disliked it. So Abū Hurayrah ṣubḥānAllāh asked the Prophet ﷺ, he said: (فَادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَهْدِيَ أُمَّ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ). The Messenger of Allāh supplicated to Allāh that Allāh guides the mother of Abū Hurayrah. So the Prophet ﷺ said, (اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ أُمَّ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ) “Oh Allāh, guide the mother of Abū Hurayrah.” So Abū Hurayrah (رضى الله عنه) said, (فَخَرَجْتُ) “So I left and I was happy.” He was pleased that the Prophet ﷺ supplicated for his mother.
Now look, his mother had upset him when she said something about the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. He said that he returned to his mother and when his mother heard him approaching she told him, “stay in your place oh Abū Hurayrah do not come in.” Abū Hurayrah said he could hear the flow of water. The mother bathed, she put on her clothing and she said to Abū Hurayrah when she came in his presence, (and this is a summary of the Ḥadīth), she said: “I testify that none has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allāh and I testify that Muḥammad is the messenger of Allāh.”
So look ṣubḥānAllāh, even though Abū Hurayrah’s mother said something about the Prophet ﷺ that he did not like, Abū Hurayrah still maintained ties with his mother to invite her to ‘Islām. Yes we do not agree with that, we do not accept that, however still keep an open relationship, do not obey them in evil and obviously try and dictate your surroundings. If you find that it is uncomfortable going to certain places because of the environment, then alhamdulillāh you have your home, there are other places wa Lillāh ilḥamd and other opportunities and surroundings that you can choose and select, but do not cut off your parents. Be patient alhamdulillāh in accompanying them in that which is lawful. May Allāh (عز وجل) make it easy for the questioner and make it easy for the Muslims.