How Can I Help My Wife Who Has To Deal With My Unjust Parents?
Question: If I fear my parents are being unjust towards my wife, unnecessarily harsh, pressuring her in her decisions regarding religion and modesty (they want her to take off the hijab and have a baby), and causing her anxiety, what is my responsibility as her husband in this situation? They are often harsh with me as well, but I fear for my wife’s mental health. How can I support her while maintaining good ties with my parents?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your concern about your wife’s mental health and for maintaining good ties with your parents. It truly is a difficult balance, but it will get easier, in sha Allah.
If your parents are being unjust towards your wife, you really must defend her and stand up for her. You don’t need to get angry or yell, as that would be sinful, but you can politely tell your parents that what they are doing is not right. Parents will respect you for it and although they may not like it at first, they will soon understand that being kind to her makes you happy, and that should be their priority.
You must also provide separate living quarters for her if you haven’t already. Living with in-laws is usually a burden for the wife and a couple cannot bond well unless they are alone. If you are already living apart, keep the visits short and sweet, until your parents correct their behavior. You may even visit your parents alone sometimes. Please see this link:
Shift the blame
Also, make sure that your parents know that you are the one making the decisions. Tell them that you will not let her take off the hijab (this will make them blame you, not her) and that you have decided that you don’t want children yet. Tell them that it’s all in your hands and that bothering her is useless. Shift all the blame to yourself, and don’t worry, because they love you unconditionally, not her. And don’t worry, with time, they will ease off, by the grace of Allah.
Turn to Allah
And, as with any problem, ask Allah to help you. Pray the Prayer of Need, and give regularly in charity. Forge a strong relationship with your Lord, such that you turn to Him with any problem first, and then turn to your strategies. You will find that when you make Allah first, He will make you first, from His generosity. May Allah give you the best of this world and the next and bless your family.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, 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 recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.