What is the ruling of a person attending a class or usrah if his parents did not give their permission or restrict him from going?
Waalaikumussalam wrm. wbt.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
There Is No Obedience in the Matters of Transgression
We have previously discussed the ruling of a child hurting the feelings of his parents in the article Irsyad al-Fatwa Series 367: The Rights of Parents Interfering in Their Child’s Marriage. The conclusion is it is haram and a great sin if a person hurts the feelings of his parents. However, not all the instructions of one’s parents are wajib to be fulfilled especially if the matter leads to sin and transgression of which if the child refuses, then he is not considered as disobedience or hurting the feelings of his parents as per the custom of the place.
Learning religious knowledge and attending halaqah is a necessity for a Muslim. We have explained this in several of our writings such as Irsyad al-Hadith Series 109: The Advantages of Learning; Irsyad al-Hadith Series 191: Knowledge Comes to Those Who Learn. A person cannot be restricted or denied his rights to learn, especially religious knowledge, except when the restriction is for the purpose of sadd al-dzari’ah (closing the door towards harm) as stated in the fatwa of scholars regarding the prohibition against the ignorant from owning astrology, sorcery and philosophy books, in fact, it is wajib to be destroyed.
Refer al-Majmu` Syarh al-Muhadzzab (9/253) by Imam al-Nawawi; Fatawa Ibn Solah (1/210)
Included in this prohibition is any program held with an aim to spread teachings that contradict the beliefs held by Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah. Refer Tashih al-Mafahim #5: The Obligation to Hold onto the Belief of Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah; Fatwa on the Prohibition of Practising Teachings That Contradict the Belief of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah.
Thus, children learning the authentic teaching of religious knowledge without their parents’ permission cannot be considered as disobedience and it is permissible for the children to use their wisdom to circumvent the situation as to not hurt their parent’s feelings. This can be seen in a hadith narrated by Suhaib RA, where the Prophet PBUH narrated the famous story of Ashab al-Ukhdud regarding a young believer who cleverly answered his mother who asked him to learn from a magician but the young man learned tawhid from a believing monk. The monk said:
إِذَا خَشِيتَ السَّاحِرَ، فَقُلْ: حَبَسَنِي أَهْلِي، وَإِذَا خَشِيتَ أَهْلَكَ فَقُلْ: حَبَسَنِي السَّاحِرُ
“When you feel afraid of the magician, say: Members of my family had detained me. And when you feel afraid of your family you should say: The magician had detained me.”
Sahih Muslim (3005)
The Right to Receive an Education
At the same time, we should differentiate the rights of an adult aged 18 and above and children. This is in accordance with Article 12 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia which states:
(3) No person shall be required to receive instruction in or to take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.
(4) For the purposes of Clause (3) the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.
Refer Irsyad al-Fatwa Series 267: Is the Conversion of Children to Islam Accepted and Valid?
Article 12 grant the authority for parents to decide the religious education of their children until they reach the age of an adult. When a person reaches 18 years old, he has reached puberty according to the consensus of scholars and is able to manage his own affairs such as marriage and life.
This is in line with a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
كُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ
“Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Zoroastrianism,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1358)
From Sabrah bin Ma’bad al-Juhani, the Prophet PBUH said:
مُرُوا الصَّبِيَّ بِالصَّلاَةِ إِذَا بَلَغَ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ وَإِذَا بَلَغَ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ فَاضْرِبُوهُ عَلَيْهَا
“Command a boy to pray when he reaches the age of seven years. When he becomes ten years old, beat him for prayer.”
Sunan Abu Daud (494)
Scholars analogically deduced this responsibility with the obligation of fasting. Refer Irsyad al-Fatwa Ramadhan Edition 163: When Should Parents Start to Train Their Children to Fast?
Thus, it is the responsibility of the parents to educate their children until they are adults. When the children are adults, it is now their own responsibility to educate themselves appropriately with the necessity of their time, place, and lives’ needs.
According to the above facts and discussion, we are inclined to the opinion which states that attending religious classes without the permission of one’s parents is permissible on the following conditions:
- The religious class and usrah are based on authentic knowledge and do not contradict the belief of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, such as teachings that promote terrorism, takfir, teachings that have been gazetted as deviant, or any teachings that contradict syarak rulings and the laws of the country.
- Do not intentionally hurt the feelings of one’s parents. Hence, it is wise for the child who is an adult to use wisdom when explaining to his parents and it is permissible to use his wit so that he would be able to learn authentic knowledge if it is known to hurt the feelings of his parents.
Customarily, there are no parents who would not let their children learn correct religious knowledge. However, there are efforts to spread beliefs and ideologies that contradict the belief of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, threatening peace, harmony, and concord of society, building an obsession towards certain groups, and other negative effects. Thus, when parents restrict their child from attending usrah or religious groups fearing the security of their children’s belief and safety especially for those below the age of 18 years old, then their instructions should be obeyed. However, this cannot be made as an excuse to hinder the rights of the child to receive his complete education for it is the responsibility of the parents.
Hopefully, this explanation will give an understanding to the questioner. We pray to Allah SWT to be granted the true understanding in His religion. Amin.