Fatwa ID: 05298
Answered by: Alimah Mahdiyah Siddique
Salaam. I’m wondering about the rights of a parent or step-parent who is abusive. There was a previous reply about a stepmother’s rights being equal to a mother’s. The woman I know has been extremely abusive over many years. What rights would stepchildren have? And if those are not fulfilled?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In response to your question;
Stepchildren have the same rights as that of a fellow Muslim (Islamic Law does not bind the stepmother with any obligations towards her stepchildren), however taking into consideration the concept of Ihsan ‘Spiritual excellence’ and due to the relationship aspect added here, they are deserving of far more kindness and affection thus ought to be treated as one would their own child.
This can also be derived from the Quranic verse; ‘…Do not worship except Allah, and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good (words) and establish prayer and give zakah…’ (Surah Al-Baqarah: Verse 83)
Furthermore, in a narration by Shadad ibn Aws, he is quoted to have memorized two things from the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam), one being; “Indeed, Allah has prescribed excellence in everything…” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 5055, p1027, Al-Kutub Al-Sitta: Darussalam)
Finally, Islam condemns any form of abuse, against which there are clear warnings, in the case of the stepmother being abusive then an attempt should be made to sort out differences with her in the presence of the father. Due to her not being obliged to take in and treat the stepchild as her own if she decided not to be actively involved with the stepchild, there will be no religious consequences upon her however she should do so in a good manner without inflicting any harm or abuse.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Alimah Mahdiyah Siddique
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham