How Do You Deal with a Toxic Mother-in-Law as a Newlywed with a Newborn?
Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Last year, I married and relocated to California from New York. I’m struggling so much with this that I don’t want to continue this marriage, and I can’t easily end it.
I adore my husband, but he prioritizes his family, particularly his mother, over me. We discussed it, but nothing changed until I had a baby. And the most irritating thing is that my mother-in-law comes to us late at night and stays with us, waking up the baby; as a result, the baby is unable to sleep properly at night. And my husband is perfectly content with this attitude.
I’m sick of this marriage and have asked for my death in my Duas. I recently made Dua against her after becoming enraged after another of her late-night visits. Is it sinful for me to do this? Will Allah punish me for making the wrong Dua? My mother-in-law is such a diplomat that she smiles around me while secretly blackmailing him. I can’t take it any longer. I’m now wondering why Muslim girls marry, why Muslim men are so terrible to their wives, and why mothers are so bad at raising their sons to be bad husbands.
I empathize with your difficult situation. I know that having a baby, especially during the first year, is the hardest phase of one’s life; it affects your body, your mind, your husband, your home, and your in-laws.
I promise you this. It will get easier, in sha Allah. The sleepless nights, the husband who doesn’t understand, the difficult mother-in-law, and the messy home, will eventually get much better, with Allah’s grace.
I want you to hold on to this marriage with everything you have. You can’t leave him because of this hardship. You have to be a soldier and get through this. Remember that you love this man, remember that your child must grow up with his father, and remember that you can’t break the relationship between him and his mother. You just have to make it work.
It’s common nowadays to run away from an uncomfortable situation and to escape from pain, but this modern method doesn’t work. Leaving this marriage can ruin your life. It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.” [Ibn Majah]
You Need to Start Mending Your Life
You need to start mending your life in the following order:
Mend your relationship with Allah, then your marriage, and then your relationship with your mother-in-law.
1) Mend your relationship with Allah. Be certain that you cover correctly when you go outside, pray five times a day on time, pay your zakat, make up any prayers or fasts that you have missed, read the Quran daily, eat only of the halal. Learn your personally obligatory knowledge. Most importantly, repent to Allah for any shortcomings toward Him, Most High. Pray tahajjud regularly (before fajr) and ask Allah to help you, after you have thanked him for his many favors. Ask for his forgiveness every day, as our Prophet did, may Allah bless him and give him peace.
2) Renew your relationship with your husband. Tell him that you love him and that you will move mountains to make him happy. It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what type of wife is best? He said, ‘The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, and she obeys him if he instructs her to do something, and she does not do anything with regard to herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’” [Ahmad]
Heed this carefully: You have to be as smart as your mother-in-law. Be all smiles around him, smell nice, look beautiful. Be active in bed. Don’t complain about anything for at least a year. Stop giving your opinions and follow his lead. I guarantee you that his respect for you will increase. If you get upset about anything, hug him and tell him that you are sad but you feel lucky to have him to love and support you and that’s all that matters. Bring out your delicate femininity, obey him and your world will change. Always show him that he is more important than the baby.
3) If your mother-in-law wakes him up from her late visits, smile and tell her that it’s no problem. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t. Gently take him from her arms to his bed and tell her that you couldn’t come back out because you were soothing him to sleep. Kindly recommend that she come over earlier to spend more time with the baby and have dinner, too. Always welcome her and it will get easier. Be happy, kind and welcoming around her, your husband will notice.
I ask that you be positive and not pray for death. You are stronger than you think. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “None of you should wish for death because of some harm that has befallen him (…).” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Also, try not to make dua against anyone. This is a sign of weakness and right now you need to be strong. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say, ‘if only I had done such and such’, rather say ‘Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala (Allah has decreed and whatever he wills, He does).’ For (saying) ‘If’ opens (the door) to the deeds of Satan.” [Ibn Majah]
It is possible that Allah answer your negative dua, so it is not befitting that you pray against someone and regret it later. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Do not pray against yourselves, do not pray against your children, and do not pray against your wealth, lest that coincide with a time when Allah is asked and He answer your prayers.” [Muslim]
I felt this dua might help you, please memorize it if you can and recite in the early hours. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, used to supplicate Allah: “My Lord, help me and do not give help against me; grant me victory, and do not grant victory over me; plan on my behalf and do not plan against me; guide me, and made my right guidance easy for me; grant me victory over those who act wrongfully towards me; O Allah, make me grateful to Thee, mindful of Thee, full of fear towards Thee, devoted to Thy obedience, humble before Thee, or penitent. My Lord, accept my repentance, wash away my sin, answer my supplication, clearly establish my evidence, guide my heart, make true my tongue and draw out malice in my breast.”
Please see the related links:
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
My In-Laws Place Me Under a Lot of Pressure. What Do I Do?
My Mother Makes Supplications Against Me. Will Her Duas Be Accepted?
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
May Allah give you all the best in both worlds.
[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.