Can Parents Dictate When a Married Couple Should Have Children?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I have been married for three years now and live with my in-laws. Do they have the right to dictate when we should have children or instruct us on our future? I find it quite stressful, as I became pregnant in the first year of our marriage, and they were vehemently opposed and angered, expressing concerns that their son’s future was compromised. Unfortunately, I miscarried due to the stress surrounding the situation. I am seeking guidance on this matter.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

In Islam, the decision regarding when to have children and how to plan is primarily a matter for the married couple to decide. While respecting and honoring parents is essential in Islam, it does not mean that they have the right to dictate the intimate and personal decisions of their married children. They may, however, advise their children based on their knowledge and experience, but the advice would not be binding, and Allah knows best.

Advice From Good Will 

If the in-laws are expressing concerns out of genuine care, having a respectful and open conversation with them would be beneficial. Clarifying your intentions, seeking their advice, and educating them about the Islamic perspective on family matters may help bridge the communication gap.

However, suppose their opposition is causing undue stress and harm, or if you believe their advice is not based on goodwill. In that case, it may be necessary to seek guidance from a knowledgeable Islamic scholar or a local imam who can provide specific advice tailored to your situation and cultural context. Remember to prioritise maintaining family ties but also uphold your rights as a married couple to make decisions that align with Islamic principles and mutual agreement.

Parents Rights

Remember that your parents have rights over you, so always be kind to them, even if their actions appear irrational. If they command you with anything that goes against Sacred Law, like instructing you to stay away from your lawful spouse, obedience to them is unbefitting, but kindness is still required. Allah says: “We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; but if they strive (to force) you to join with Me anything of which you do not know, obey them not.” [Quran, 29:8]

Advice to Parents

Our advice for your parents is not to interfere in your marriage but to offer advice with wisdom and care. Parents do not have the right to dictate when you should or should not have children, and it is not permissible for them to cut ties with you if you go against them in that. It is unlawful for a believer to forsake his fellow believer unless there is a justified reason in Sacred Law.

Family Ties

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “It is not permissible for a Muslim to forsake his brother for more than three days.” [Bukhari]

The sin is more serious if the forsaking for no reason involves a son, mother, brother, or other close relatives because, in that case, it is combining two sins: forsaking a Muslim and severing the ties of kinship.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The upholder of kinship ties is not the one who is kind to them if they are kind to him, rather the upholder of kinship ties is the one who, if his relatives cut him off, he upholds the ties of kinship with them.” [Bukhari]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan (Allah have mercy on him), where he taught.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Shaykh Muhammad Awwama, Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Hitu, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has been the Director of the Discover Islam Centre, and for six years, he has been the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has fifteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic podcast, education, and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy Prophetic living and fitness.