Can I Maintain Family Ties Despite My Parents Wishes?

Should We Ignore Our Abusive Sister In-Law?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

We have tried our best to make my brother’s wife welcome and at home in our home. She comes with my brother every week to greet my mom. Lately she has been very rude openly and tells lies to my brother about us. Most of the time he sides with the wife. We have decided to ignore her. What should we do?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam.

Dealing with in-laws can often be a challenge, and unfortunately, one has to deal with the reality that not everyone will get on as a close-knit family. All one can do is ensure good character is maintained throughout while avoiding confrontation and harm.

It would be best to not ‘ignore’ your sister in-law, but rather set boundaries to how you interact. If she is making claims about you, then obviously you do not have to endure that behavior. If her claims are untrue, simply ask your brother to not mention anything to you about them.

You mention that you have decided to ignore your sister in-law for your mother’s sake. How is the relationship between your mother and your brother’s wife? It seems she is making an effort to see your mother even without your brother. Would it upset your mother if she does not visit with the grandchildren?

If your sister in-law visits with your brother, or on her own, then try your best to keep your interactions cordial. You are not obliged to do more than just the bear minimum of saying salams and asking how each other are.

If she is rude openly, then try to be patient, and stay silent. If this continues, then you have a right to tell your brother and his wife that you do not want her to visit until she stops behaving in such a way. However, please do this with tact, as well as discussing it with your mother.

Make du’a for your family, that Allah turns the hearts of any wrong-doing and accusations, and that the family is bought together.

You may also find the following answers useful:

Can I Break Relations With Abusive In-Laws?

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Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.