Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
1) My husband works at his father’s restaurant, which sells alcohol. Is that permissible?
2) I live with my in laws. My husband does give his father money to roughly cover our costs and to contribute to the household but this is not an exact and clear amount. Is it haram for me to eat of the food here and benefit from the comforts of living in this home?
3) My father-in-law also often buys me gifts such as Eid clothes. Is it haram for me to accept?
4) My husband has a substantial amount of debt. Is it permissible for us to go on holiday despite this? We do not have much privacy because we live with his family.
5) Should I leave my husband because of religious incompatibility?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay. May Allah reward you for your patience.
Please refer to this answer – Does Working at a Place Where Alcohol Is Sold Make One’s Income Impermissible?
“If the work that he does is permissible, his income would be permissible, regardless of whether or not alcohol is served on the premises.”
If the work your husband does at his father’s restaurant is permissible, then his income would be permissible. As a general rule, you are not responsible for anyone else’s actions aside from your own.
Please accept the gifts from your in-laws. It would hurt their feelings if you were not to do so.
You can assume that the permissible portion of your in-law’s income is what is used to feed and clothe you. Please make dua for Allah to guide them, and ensure that you at least are upholding prayer and other obligatory and supererogatory acts of worship.
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
I encourage you to do everything in your power to save your marriage and to consider divorce a last resort. I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance and watch what Allah makes easier for you – staying in your marriage, or leaving.
Learning how to communicate effectively with your husband is a skill. It sounds like the way you are speaking to him is contributing to him feeling flooded, and then he shuts down.
Please learn how to soften your start-up.
It may feel like your life would be easier without the interference of your husband and his family. However, the dunya is a place of tribulation, and there is no guarantee that your second marriage will be any easier. The lessons you fail to learn in your first marriage may be repeated in your second marriage.
Because of this, I encourage you to sit with your feelings of unhappiness and discontent, and reflect on what you can do to make it better. You cannot control your husband and your in-laws but you can do much to control yourself.
I encourage you to practice mindfulness. Speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor. Ground yourself through somatic exercises.
You have the right to your own quarters A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws.
However, because your husband has a lot of debt, it makes more sense for both of you to continue living with his family. If you were to move out, then a substantial amount of his income would go to covering rent.
Living with in-laws is difficult, and taking regular breaks to recharge is important. Because of your financial constraints, I recommend that you do take regular breaks, but keep them affordable. Opt for local retreats instead of international ones, for example.
Dear sister, you are an adult. You make choices and live with the consequences. Take some time to reflect on what kind of life you would like to lead.
I encourage you to reflect on why you chose to marry your husband. What positive qualities does he have? Does he treat you well? What kind of father will he be? If you change your communication style, will he be open to your influence?
If you exhaust all options and see that your marriage is not salvageable, then please ask for a divorce with a clear conscience. I pray that Allah guides you to what is most pleasing to Him.
[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 in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.