Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I’m currently pregnant with my first baby, and a situation has arisen where my mother-in-law’s OCD has become worse. She is on medication, and we have tried to get her into Islamic therapy. However, this is quite expensive.
It’s come to the point that my husband, who has two brothers, lives with me and takes care of his mother part-time. She is very able-bodied and lives with her husband and youngest son. My husband has now decided that once the baby is born that we will move in with his parents, or she will permanently live with us.
I am unwilling to let this happen as I know it will strain our marriage and my mental health. My husband says it’s obligatory as her son. Any advice?
May Allah reward you for being so patient with your husband’s busy schedule and for being agreeable until now. I pray that she gets better.
Your husband is acting on this Quranic verse: “Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor.” [Quran, 17:23]
However, the obligation of taking care of your mother does not fall on your husband first; it falls on her husband. Is he unable to care for her? What are the other sons doing? I’m not sure what your husband does for her, but whatever he does can be shared between the children and the husband.
I imagine she would be very uncomfortable being taken out of her home anyway. I don’t feel that your mother-in-law should be separated from her husband.
You have a right to separate quarters, and sharing a home with your mother-in-law would not fulfill your rights. Living with someone sick means that she would need someone to come and take care of her, or at least her other sons should be helping out. In reality, neither option is easy. One option is to try it for six months and see how it goes so you can say that you gave it a fair chance.
This situation must be approached with tact and wisdom. The family should discuss it and decide what is best for her. Speak to her doctor, consider using a medication, and try different living options until you settle on what is best.
Use an open mind with your husband and appreciate that he is setting an excellent example for your child in sha Allah. Don’t attack him for wanting to be good to his mother but try to make him understand that two families may be destroyed instead of just one if you all live together.
Pray istikhara on the matter, consult others, consult experts, give charity, and ask Allah with all sincerity to guide you and help her best.
Please see these links as well:
Living With Someone Who Has OCD. Guidelines for Family Members
A Reader on OCD and Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.