Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am fifteen. I have a younger sister aged ten. My sister is very disrespectful to me, and more importantly, very disrespectful and rude to my parents. How should I go about dealing with her? I am finding it very difficult to remain patient with her.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for wishing to mend family ties. This is a tremendously important aspect of our religion.

Family ties

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Allah created all the creatures and when He finished the task of His creation, Ar-Rahm (ties of relationship) said: ‘(O Allah) at this place I seek refuge with You against severing my ties.’ Allah said: ‘That I treat with kindness those who treat you with kindness and sever ties with those who sever ties with you.’ It said: ‘I am satisfied.’ Allah said: ‘Then this is yours”. Then Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Recite this Ayah if you like: ‘Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight”. (47:22,23). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Remember this hadith when you begin to feel impatient with your sister. As upset as you may be with her, strive to uphold good character, and make sincere dua for her.

Sister

Do you know why your sister may be acting in this way? The youngest sibling often feels neglected, intentionally or unintentionally. Reflect on what you may have done to contribute to this trial. She is old enough to discern when her company is unwanted.

As difficult as she might be right now, put yourself in her shoes to help you understand why she is behaving this way. Think of her as being the best test of your good character. Sometimes, the ones who are hardest to love are in greatest need of it. She may even teach you something about yourself.

Advice

It sounds like giving her direct advice is not working. Try a different strategy. Ensure that you and your parents are enforcing consistent boundaries. In addition to that, all three of you must do your best to set a good example to her.

Love language

What is your sister’s love language? Please refer to this website to check. Ensure that her ‘love tank’ is being filled by you and your parents, in a way that resonates best with her. It could be receiving gifts, spending quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, or physical touch.

Education

I strongly encourage you and your parents to complete this online course Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children. This course will equip all of you with the tools you need to nurture your sister, inshaAllah.

Hope and Patience

“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” [Qur’an, 8:46]

Have hope in Allah’s ability to change hearts, even that of your sister’s. Nothing is impossible for Allah. InshaAllah in the near future, your sister will be loving and respectful to your parents and you, and perhaps even a good friend to you.

Please refer to the following links:

Fostering Love and Sympathy Between Siblings – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Photo: Johanan Ottensooser

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)