Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I live in a joint family system. My husband and I are Sunni, but my mother-in-law is Ahmedi.
The problem is even though I maintain a respectful relationship with my mother-in-law, I sometimes find it hard to ignore the clash between our beliefs. My husband has strictly told me not to argue with her.
How should I maintain my ties with her?
Please refer to this amazing resource: Contented In-Laws. This website contains many gems about how to live harmoniously with your in-laws.
Your responsibility as a daughter-in-law is to treat your mother-in-law with respect and kindness. You don’t have to agree with her religious beliefs, nor does she have to agree with yours. It’s best to avoid talking about controversial topics, especially as your husband has made it clear that you are not to argue with his mother. A wise woman knows how to balance between pleasing her husband, her mother-in-law, while looking after her own needs. This takes time, practice, and a lot of mistakes will inevitably happen.
If your mother-in-law asks you to do something impermissible or makruh, then you need to use your wisdom and tact to politely decline. Please don’t make the mistake of giving into everything she asks of you, because then you will grow resentful. Instead, learn how to be assertive. Choose your battle wisely. Learn to give and take. Whenever you are in doubt, speak to your husband and ask for his insight.
“Verily! You (O Muhammad upon him be blessings and peace) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” [Qur’an, 28:56]
None of us know our station with Allah. The wheel of life is always turning, and we all need to pray for Allah to keep us guided. Make dua for Allah to guide her. Remember that all guidance is from Allah, so make continual shukr that Allah bestowed belief upon your heart.
Please take it upon yourself to have a good opinion of your mother-in-law. Whatever is in your heart will manifest in your limbs and on your tongue, so make a conscious, daily effort let go of negative thoughts about her.
Abu Ad-Dardh narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.” [Tirmidhi]
Do your best to demonstrate good character with her, and be of service to her for the sake of pleasing Allah.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. 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.