How can I help a family member to be rightly guided?
Question: Could you please explain to me the reasons for a young person’s becoming corrupt and failed in life? My sister and I are close in age. I am thirty years old and she is twenty-eight years old, but in regards to faith, there is a great difference between us, even though our father and mother (may Allah have mercy on them) were very faithful. Please, tell me how to save my sister from what harms our reputation and family honor!
The answer by Abdul Azeem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani: Deviation from the right path begins when man feels that he is in not in need of anyone besides himself and when there he has no wise advisor. A young man or a young woman begin to establish relationships that may slowly lead him/her to serious problems because one’s conduct develops via the relationships surrounding him, then his feeling of independence and his desire to be different from others grow, and he begins to prove his personality through resistance and mutiny. Here, parents and relatives should know that regret would be useless!
From the first moment that a youth feels that he is not in need of anyone else, there must be an advisor there to guide him to the right way. But, after he is snatched away from his kind nurturing family by bad persons, reforming him will be very difficult, except in special cases, and will require great efforts.
Social studies confirm that the disregard of parents, whether willingly or unwillingly, towards this fact is the basis of motivating children to go towards corruption. The methods used by parents or guardians in dealing with children (i.e., whether they grant children full freedom, treat them dictatorially, or treat them moderately) have the main role in forming the future conducts of children. Unfortunately, parents are negligent of their children in the initial stages of their lives, and then the children face problems when they grow up because they were trained to walk towards corruption and deviation. It is not right to give children full freedom or treat them dictatorially. To be safe from educational obstacles, one should treat his children moderately. This is what we ask those who are responsible for the future of children to do.
Moderation, which is the Islamic method in dealing with everything, means caring for both the material and moral needs together. Providing clothes, food, shelter, and a superior education do not mean achieving moderation as some believers think, but it is also necessary to add moral education, religious teachings, and good manners.
O dear sister who is worried about the honor of her family, the case of your sister, who has become different from the rest of the members of the family, is a result of a previous negligence of those who were in charge of the family when your sister began associating with bad girls and watching films and reading books and magazines that led girls away from veil, abstinence, and faith.
All this is in regards to before the problem occurs, but after it happens, I advise you to do the following:
1. Bring her good cassettes, films, and books and ask some good friends to try guiding her!
2. Do not distress yourself at all because some relatives of the Prophet (S) and of the infallible imams (a.s.) have followed the Satan, but Allah has said to His kind Messenger, (Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases).
3. Do not cut your relation with her, because this would make her deviate even more!
4. Let her see in you the example of the Islamic morals! You should show her your love for her and help her in her affairs so that she may come closer to you and be influenced by your faith and morals!
 Holy Qur’an, 28:56.