Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I live with my in-laws and a brother-in-law. My husband and I used to live in a separate portion but my mother-in-law reclaimed it saying that she has a right to do what she wants in her son’s home. My in-laws own property from which they get rent and pension which they spend on themselves.
My husband is the only breadwinner because my in-laws don’t like my brother-in-law to work despite my husband’s insistence. What if parents have their own place to live, their own source of income, but still they Islamically suppress one son to support them and force his wife to live in a joint family system where she cannot observe hijab properly or get privacy to enjoy her husband’s intimacy properly? They backbite me, degrade me, and don’t like it when my husband and I spend on ourselves. We both have started hating ourselves. It seems that Islam has given all rights to parents only.
If we mention living separately, they get upset. They treat me like a stranger and only treat my husband well. I have spoken to my husband but he is religiously suppressed by his parents. Is it mandatory to financially support one’s parents even if they’re not needy or is it just projected in their mind that parents are supposed to live on their son’s income?
Is it mandatory to live in a joint family if the mother forces it? And if the wife has a lot of pressure on her emotionally and physically where she’s deprived of her rights?
I empathize with your pain. Living with oppressive in-laws can make life miserable and I pray that you can get out of this situation quickly.
You must know that Islamically, parents don’t have a right to live on their son’s income if they are financially independent. They have a right to be treated well and one should try to keep a good relationship with them without giving up one’s rights.
They also don’t have a right to force their son and his wife to live with them. They certainly have no right to be unkind or rude to their daughter-in-law. Please see this link for full details on the rights of a wife. See these links.
You must educate yourselves Islamically to know that you are living a life of misery that Allah doesn’t force upon you. You must realize that you are not exercising your rights and it’s time that you do. Please speak to your husband and let him research the topic at SeekersGuidance. He can take a course on the rights and obligations of marriage and even the rights and obligations towards parents. He can also access several answers written by scholars on the subject of dealing with parents and in-laws.
Check this link:
Marriage in Islam: A Reader
Be Kind To Parents
Be kind to them, explain to them that you want to move out, and don’t allow yourselves to be emotionally blackmailed. You absolutely cannot raise children in this environment. A wife and mother should be honored and treated well, only then can she pass on a positive and righteous upbringing for her children. Your husband should tell his parents that HE wants to move out and you should say that you have no say and that you are simply following him.
Spend Time with Husband
In the meantime, do take time to adorn yourself, spend on yourself, spend time with your husband whenever you want, and assert yourself. Let your in-laws know that there are certain things in your routine that you will not stop doing no matter who is unhappy. Be strong, do it for Allah, for your husband, your sanity, and your deen.
Turn To Allah
Turn to Allah and ask him to send you a way to move out soon and take steps to prepare yourself and your husband to leave. If you don’t, your marriage might fall apart or worse, you might go crazy. Your relationship with your in-laws will improve after you move out, maybe not right away, but with time and with the grace of Allah, they will learn to respect you and honor their grandchildren’s mother.
May Allah give you the best in your marriage and family and give you every good and success.
[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.