The problem many reverts are facing with their family and especially parents is typically expected. Islam enjoins its followers to show all types of good treatment, respect, and honor to the parents. Allah Almighty says: “Your Lord has decreed, that you shall worship none save Him, and (that you shall show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with you, say not ‘Fie’ unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.” (Al-Isra’: 23)

However, this does not mean blind obedience even in acts that involve disobedience to Allah. A Muslim gives top priority to obeying Almighty Allah, his Creator who granted him life, health, all faculties and even created his parents. At the same time a Muslim is under obligation to treat his parents kindly and nicely. Allah Almighty says: “But if they strive with you to make you ascribe unto Me as partner that of which you have no knowledge, then you shall not obey them. But consort with them in this world kindly, and follow the path of him who repents unto Me. Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (Luqman: 15)

Asma’, the daughter of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them all, had a non-Muslim mother who lived in Makkah, whereas Asma’ had migrated with her father and the rest of the Muslims to Madinah. After the Treaty of Hudaybiya, peace was established and they could visit each other. So her mother, came to Madinah to visit Asmaa’. She wanted some gifts and donations from Asma’. Asma’ was not sure what to do because she knew that her mother hated Islam and was a polytheist. So she came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), informed him of the situation, and asked him if she still owed her mother any dutifulness. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, answered her making it clear that her mother’s being non-Muslim did not deprive her of the right to dutifulness she had on her daughter. The Prophet said: “Yes, do an act of kindness to her.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud)

In this regard Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, advices:

1- The revert should address his/her non-Muslim parents in the best of terms and treat them in the best manner.

2-S/he should not think at all that there is any burden or sin on them if the parents get angry with him/her for being a Muslim. Remember that when a person pleases Allah even though it makes people angry, Allah will be pleased with him and will make the people pleased with him.

3-Keep on praying for the parents so that Allah guides them to the truth, and call them to Islam with wisdom and fair exhortation. Maybe Allah will guide them.

Here, we’d like to cite in this regard the example of Abu Hurayrah and how he treated his non-Muslim mother:

While Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, embraced Islam, his mother continued to be an unbeliever for quite a long time. He continuously tried to convince her to adopt Islam, but to no avail. Nevertheless, he continued respecting and obeying her. Once when he was trying to admonish her, she became insolent and uttered some insulting remarks about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. This weighed much on Abu Hurayrah to the extent that he went to the Prophet and complained saying, “O Messenger of Allah! I have always been trying to make my mother accept Islam but she always refuses to accept it. But today when I asked her to believe in Almighty Allah, she became very much annoyed and started insulting and rebuking you, the thing I could not stand and tears came to my eyes. O Messenger of Allah! Pray to Allah that He may open the heart of my mother to Islam.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, immediately raised his hands and prayed, “O Almighty Allah, guide the mother of Abu Hurayrah.” This relieved Abu Hurayrah a bit. Upon reaching home he found the door was bolted from the inside but he heard the sound of flowing water, which assured him that his mother was taking a bath. Hearing his footsteps, she hastily finished the bath. Then she opened the door. She said, “O my son Abu Hurayrah, Allah has answered your prayer. Be witness that I recite the Shahadah.”

Abu Hurayrah started crying out of sheer joy and went back to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, with the tiding that Almighty Allah had accepted his prayer and that his mother had embraced Islam. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was also pleased to hear that. He praised Allah and gave Abu Hurayrah some advice. Then, on his request, he prayed, “O Allah, put the love of Abu Hurayrah and his mother in the hearts of all true Muslims and put the love of all true Muslims in the hearts of both of them.”

In conclusion, Islam teaches that a good Muslim respects his/her parents even if they are non-Muslims. However, Islam demands us to give priority to our commitment to our religion and its teachings. If one’s non-Muslim parents attempts to mislead him/her or demand him/her to do something against Islam he/she must not obey them. Nevertheless, still one is required to treat his/her parents kindly, nicely and respectfully. Also, if they come to say bad things about Islam, you should not join their discussions and sarcastic talks. But you should keep on praying Allah to show them the straight path and show them the true image of Islam through your practical model, inshaa’ Allah.