Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
My in-laws spoil my daughter, criticise me on how I treat her, and I fear that they will be a negative influence on her as they are less practising that my husband and me. What should I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
The topic of in-laws is often a very sensitive one. I encourage you and your husband to be on the same page when it comes to dealing with his parents. Find a way to communicate both of your concerns calmly and respectfully.
All families have their in-built set of communication defaults, even if they are problematic. Accept that you cannot change their style of communication, but you can work with it, instead of against it.
Is there a culturally-sensitive marriage counsellor in your locality? This would be an excellent way for you to learn how to learn to be assertive with your in-laws, while remaining respectful. Even if your husband doesn’t want to go to counselling, I encourage you to go on your own so that you can learn better stress management strategies, alongside conflict resolution methods.
I strongly encourage you to read the book “Daughter-In-Law Rules” by Sally Shields.
‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Kinship is derived from Allah. If anyone maintains ties of kinship Allah maintains ties with him. If anyone cuts them off, Allah cuts him off.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]
There is tremendous reward in keeping ties with family, especially close members such as your husband’s parents. I encourage you and your husband to commit to visiting his parents, as well as yours, on a regular basis. Set the intention to bring happiness to your in-laws, and ideally, stay in their home for a short time. Whatever discomfort you feel as you stay under their roof is only temporary. If this is still too difficult, then book accommodation close to their home, and visit them. They will be unhappy that you are not staying with them, but at least you have made the effort to visit.
I encourage you and your husband to do this life-changing course – The Rights of Parents. I pray that this course will inspire him to keep in touch with his parents.
The best way of securing your daughter’s safety in this world and the next is sincere dua, alongside you and your husband taking the best means possible to secure her success in deen and dunya. Every day, read this dua from Surah Al-Furqan, Verse 75:
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
Outwardly, although it may look like a bad idea to expose her to non-practising family members, remember that all guidance comes from Allah. Grandparents love their grandchildren, and it is in their nature to indulge them. Set limits as best you can, but trust that you only visit them occasionally, and it is unlikely that your in-laws would go out of their way to harm your daughter.
Unfortunately, it is impossible for you to protect your daughter from all negative influences. What you can do is strive to instill Prophetic traits in her, so that she will learn how to respond in ways that please Allah. I encourage you and your husband to do this free course: Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children
Narrated Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them).” [Bukhari]
The difficulty you face with your in-laws is an incredible way to refine and improve your own character. By doing so, you are also teaching your daughter how to honour the elderly, and how to be patient with challenging family members.
When you feel like your pleas are falling deaf on creation, please know that the Creator never tires of hearing your voice. I encourage you to stand up and perform the Prayer of Need and ask for whatever will bring your heart relief. Channel your anxieties into heartfelt dua.
Please look after yourself. Lean on your loved ones, practice self-compassion, and reflect on the trials of Prophet Yusuf (upon him be blessings and peace). He too was sorely tested by his family, and his story teaches us the importance of exercising beautiful patience.
I pray that Allah grants you a way out of your tribulation, and adorns you and your loved ones with the Prophetic qualities of patience, contentment, and mercy.
Raising Children with Deen and Dunya
Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, SeekersGuidance Instructor
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.