Can a mother order her son to abandon seeking Islamic knowledge? By Shaikh Ibn Bāz

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It is compulsory upon the son to be dutiful and kind to his mother and to be good to her in speech and action―and to live with her in a good manner. However, he does not obey her if she commands him to abandon seeking knowledge. Rather, it is obligatory upon him to learn what is necessary for him to know regarding his religion, then to act upon that, then to call to it and to be patient with what he receives of harm in that path. And there is no criticism upon him if he refuses to obey his mother when she commands him to stop seeking knowledge of the religion of Islam.

What if the father commands his son to abandon seeking knowledge and to work in a business?

It is obligatory upon the son to gather between both of these good things―he should seek knowledge and help his father in his business. If the father insists in compelling his son to abandon seeking Shariah knowledge and to just busy himself with business and trade etc, then he is not to obey him in that―and by disobeying him, he has not been undutiful.

See, Al-Jāmi’ fī Fiqhil-‘Allāmah Ibn Bāz (p. 1167), slightly adapted.

The point here is that children need to balance between their duty and obedience to their parents and their desire and obligation to seek Shariah knowledge. If the parents desire from their children to abandon seeking knowledge altogether, then they cannot be obeyed in that, because seeking knowledge in Islam (and especially of the fundamentals such as the ‘aqeedah, the prayer, etc) is an obligation upon every Muslim. So, the children should, in the best way, explain that to their parents, and inform them that they cannot abandon seeking knowledge of Allah’s religion at the request of parents. However, children must not neglect the duties to their parents (and family) in their desire to seek knowledge such that their parents are suffering, or their families are going hungry because the son chooses not to work and earn a living and spend all his time reading or in the Masjid. The balanced approach is to work, earn wages, feed the family, look after the parents, and to seek Shariah knowledge. This is why Shaikh Ibn Bāz (rahimahullah) stated that one should gather between the two good matters, i.e. seek knowledge and serve your parents without abandoning either.

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