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Last Updated: 2015/01/18
Summary of question
My mother is an educated woman who is providing her children with their needs. My father is not providing us with anything for the past 15 years yet he is telling me not to go to work without his permission. Is it right according Islamic law?
My mother is an educated woman who is providing her children with their needs. My father is not providing us with anything for the past 15 years; we cannot ask him for anything because he starts picking feud and says that he has nothing to give. I am a girl and I have two brothers with me. All of us are studying at the BA level. My father is pessimist and skeptic. He never behaves well. He says that I as his daughter cannot leave home for work without his permission. If we leave home without his permission, he finds an excuse to hurt us. Since I know my father well, I try to respect him and I leave home only twice a week for recreation. I am 25 years old. I want you to guide me how to behave with my father. What are my rights? Can I go to work without my father\'s permission? Can I work to support my mother?
Concise answer
It is obligatory on a child to consider two things in respect of his parents:
First, he should be kind towards them by paying for their needs and necessities to the extent of their status. This should be done as and when it is necessary or when he is asked to do so. To refrain from providing them with the needs and necessities is tantamount to violating their trust, breaking their trust and crushing their hope.
Second, he should behave with them in a polite and respectful manner. He should not hurt them with his words and actions even though they may have treated him badly. It has been mentioned in a revayat (tradition) that "if they beat you,  do not be aggressive to them; instead say: غفرالله لکما  'May Allah forgive you.'.[1]
When it comes to hurting the parents, they may get hurt in two ways:
1. The parents get hurt due to their feeling of sympathy and parenthood sentiments for their child. Therefore, it is haram for a child to do an action that would hurt them, even thought they may not have forbidden him from doing so.
2. They may get hurt because of their own bad habits such as when they are not wishful and benevolent to their child in matters related to the child's interest in this world and in the hereafter. (For example, the parents' selfish behavior does not allow them to think of their child's best interest). In this case, their getting hurt has no effect and it is not necessary for the child to surrender himself to his parents. It is therefore clear that obeying parents' orders that concern the parents themselves is not obligatory by itself.  God knows best!
It is permissible for a child to discuss with his parents or debate about matters to make them understand his point but he must be calm and polite while speaking to them. So he must not gaze at them; he must not raise his voice and must not use words that would offend them.[2]
The above question has been forwarded to the offices of the grand religious authorities and the answers which they have given are as follows:[3]
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life):
Father's permission is not required for such matters but you should try, God willing, to get their consent somehow.
Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant him long life):
We appreciate your mindfulness and attention about respecting your parents' rights as well as observing Shari'ah laws. Given the supposition made in your message, if your father does not consent to you working out of home, you must obey him and your father is also under the obligation, as per the Islamic law, to provide you with your needs and necessities as far as he can. Keep respecting your parents and avoid hurting them. God willing, your problems will be solved with trust in Allah and by consigning your matters to Him.

[1] Kulayni, Muhammad bin Yaqub Kulayni, Al-Kafi, researched and edited by Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Akhundi, Muhammad, vol.2, p.158, Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H.
[2] Answer by the office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husseini Sistani (may Allah grant him long life) to a question forwarded by IslamQuest website. 
[3] Question sent by IslamQuest website to the offices of grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi and Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant them long life).
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