Living With Disrespectful and Overbearing In-Laws
Answered by Dr. Bano Mutuja
Question: As Salam Aliekum,
My husband and I have been living with my in-laws home since we got married a few years ago. My relationship with my husband is still good, alhumdulillah. But there is tension with my in-laws because my mother-in-law wants to be involved in everything. But if I or my husband disagree with her in any way she creates a huge scene where she screams, yells and throws things. Many times my father-in-law and husband have to restrain her because she goes out of control. She says very mean and hurtful things to my husband and me. My husband and father-in-law say that she does not mean them and that I should not take these things seriously. I have been very kind, and patient through all of this. I say sorry when it’s not my fault and I do as she says. We have no way of predicting what will set her off or what we can do to prevent it.
I want to move out because I do not feel comfortable, safe or happy in their house. My in-laws did agree that we can move out, but I don’t know if that will happen.
Please make dua for me and help me.
Answer: Wa’laikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakathu Dear Sister,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
It is truly a blessing that your relationship with your husband remains strong Alhumdullilah.
Legal Duties vs. the Way of Excellence
From the outset it is important to understand the distinction between legality and the ways of excellence. Though you, as the daughter in law, do not have any Islamically prescribed duties towards your in laws other than being good to them, your continued good character will inshaAllah, entail immense reward.
Maintaining Good Character
Your approach to your mother in law thus far, of patience, good character and ascent where possible is the approach we are guided toward. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) would increase in excellent character the more he was subjected to bad character. This beautiful trait turned many hearts towards him and is undoubtedly one of the best examples for us to follow. Your continued patience and good character will also, inshaAllah, increase the love and appreciation your husband has for you.
Consider Separate Accommodation
Given that your in laws have agreed to you moving out in principle, this is something you should pursue. Often, in situations such as this, a little distance can make the world of difference. Any such move should happen whilst maintaining the best of character with your in laws.
It is your right to have separate accommodation provided for you by your husband (for full details of this please see: A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate from Her In-Laws). However, undoubtedly the most easy of marriages are those where both spouses look to the rights of the other, rather than their own.
May the All Loving grant you infinite ease and strength in the difficulties you face, and put love between you and your loved ones.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani