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Backstory:

Until fairly recently, my family used to be a very good one; an example to society of what a good functioning muslim family looks like. Me and my sister were doing extremely well in school and my father had a good job. However, a couple of years ago my father passed away and since then all hell has broken loose. My sister has become even worse than European women, indulging in every sin and even going as far as hitting (!) my mother regularly. The problem is, when I decide to take action against my sister (in place of my father, since now I am the only man in the family), my mother gets extremely mad and she has even kicked me out of the house because of this. It seems as if my mother, in her disability to cope with the situation, is acting out all of her emotions on me. This is slowly ruining my life; I've lost my sleep, my mother and sister but hate me, I sometimes literally have to sleep outside with nothing but Allah to protect me, and it's gotten to the point that I just see no possible solution in sight. It's also affecting my behaviour; because of the insomnia and depression my grades are going down and I'm becoming very intolerant and antisocial. The only solution I see is just going to a foreign country to go to university there (for physics) and leave everything here behind.

Questions:

  • In a fatherless family, what is the role of the (oldest) brother according to Islam (In my case I'm the only brother)? Should I replace my father?

  • What would your advice be to my situation (in accordance with Islam)? It seems I'm really trapped perpetually.

p.s. - I am Sunni

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Your sister hitting your mother is a domestic violence so next time she does it, call the cops. Islam does not prevent you from protecting yourself or others. Get some help from other elders in your family if they are willing to help. –  Asdfg Apr 3 '13 at 21:32
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1 Answer 1

Your sister will be judged for her sins. Out of your love for your sister, you may want to advice her to refrain from these actions. But in the end, if she chooses to deviate from the path pointed out by Allah, and you have tried to educate her, then she alone is responsible.

Regarding violence, you should protect you family against violence, that means interfering such occasions (which I believe you do). But do not incur violence in the mean time (don't hit your sister back e.g.), for Allah loveth not the aggressors.

وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
Sahih International
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.
2:190

As to whether you can do anything forceful to your sister (e.g drive her out), I'm not sure. I postulate it is the house owner's decision.

I cannot provide you with reference on the elder son's role after father's death, but I will try my best to give you some suggestions as in your second question.

  • Do not lose hope. Losing hope is a sin.

    قَالُوا بَشَّرْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ الْقَانِطِينَ
    Sahih International
    They said, "We have given you good tidings in truth, so do not be of the despairing."
    15:55

    قَالَ وَمَن يَقْنَطُ مِن رَّحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ
    Sahih International
    He said, "And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?"
    15:56

  • Be pious and patient.

    وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ
    Sahih International
    And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]
    2:45

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
    Sahih International
    O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.
    2:153

  • I want to correct you that you are not trapped perpetually. Please try to understand from heart that life is a test, and Allah tests you no more than what you can bare.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَيَبْلُوَنَّكُمُ اللَّهُ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الصَّيْدِ تَنَالُهُ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَرِمَاحُكُمْ لِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَن يَخَافُهُ بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
    Sahih International
    O you who have believed, Allah will surely test you through something of the game that your hands and spears [can] reach, that Allah may make evident those who fear Him unseen. And whoever transgresses after that - for him is a painful punishment.
    5:94

  • Placing more emphasis on the current life more than the hereafter is a common source of stress/sorrow/misdeeds. That being said, do care for the people you love, protect your mother and devote to your family as much as you can.

  • Do not deviate from the righteous path. Maintain your prayer at perfect timings, and prayer for guidance of your sister and well-being of your mother.

And Allah knows the best.

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