How Do I Deal With a Mother-in-Law Who Complains About Me Visiting My Parents?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I had an argument with my mother-in-law.

She told me I should visit my parents every other weekend & I told her that it’s not enough for me. She said that girls don’t visit their parents often after marriage. I wanted to avoid arguing with her so I said that this decision is between me and my husband and that she should talk to him about this. She continued saying we all live together and she told me not to go to my parents’ house. She told my husband that I was disrespectful, but I didn’t raise my voice, nor was I rude. I just disagreed with her.

Was I in the wrong for that in front of Allah?

My husband spoke to her and we decided I can see my parents every week. She’s upset and told everyone about the conflict.

Is she right?

Answer

Thank you for your question. It seems to me that your mother-in-law is wrong about this, but you must be wise and have lots of respect and tact when dealing with her.

Visiting Parents

It is perfectly permissible, and is certainly a good deed, to see your parents weekly. As long as you have your husband’s permission, and you are not neglecting his needs, it is praiseworthy for you to see your parents and be good to them. I fail to see why anyone opposes this, except out of old-fashioned cultural nonsense. The reality is that you won’t have as much time to visit them as your family grows, so you should take advantage now.

Tact

The key here is that you must tactfully deal with someone who doesn’t like it. As a rule, silence is a great tool. If you see a conversation going in the wrong direction, you can just stay quiet and refuse to engage her at all. Stick to your visiting routine, but don’t say too much about it. If she brings it up with you, just mention that you are going out to see them and ask her if she would like you to bring anything back for her from the grocery store or a coffee, or something else that she likes. If she keeps going on about it, ask her to discuss it with your husband. Your husband should also tell his mom to discuss with him only and keep you out of it.

Namima

As for her telling everyone about it, talebearing (namima) is haram. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Do you know what slander is?“ They answered, “Allah and His messenger know best.“ He said, “It is to mention of your brother that which he would dislike.“ Someone asked, “What if he is as I say?“ And he replied, “If he is as you say, you have slandered him, and if not, you have calumniated him.“ [Muslim]

See more details here:
Slander, Backbiting and Talebearing

What to Do and Not to Do

Don’t investigate whom she has told and not told, or what she said, but ignore all of it. Have high character throughout this whole thing, people will discern the truth about you for themselves. Don’t listen to slander yourself, and certainly don’t slander her in front of others for that will badly affect you and your marriage, and your hereafter. Ask Allah to defend you and ask him for patience. I also urge you to make a plan with your husband to move out, if that is something that is possible and desired.

Please see these links as well:
My Wife Says It’s Unislamic for My Parents to Keep Secrets Between Us. What Do I Do?
How To Manage Problems With In-Laws – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
How to Handle Mean In-Laws?

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 aqidah, 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.