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What Do I Do About My Provocative Sister-In-Law, Whom I Live With?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My sister-in-law behaves in deliberately provocative ways in front of my husband. She does not cover herself in front of him. On one occasion, she tried to feed her infant child in the presence of my husband – she didn’t cover herself up. On another occasion, my brother-in-law arranged a birthday party for her, she cut the cake and fed a piece to my husband.

I am so disturbed by her behaviour. I keep crying and asking Allah to help me out of this. What can I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.


Your sister-in-law’s behaviour is unacceptable. Please communicate this to her, calmly and firmly. You must set boundaries with her, and so does your husband. Work together.


Please perform The Prayer Of Need and beg Allah to lift this tribulation from you. Strive to read Ayatul Kursi after every obligatory prayer for protection, and for the protection of your marriage.


Please do not take out your frustration on your husband. Like you correctly described – her behaviour is not his fault. Remind yourself that you and your husband are on the same team. I pray that overcoming this trial together will bring you closer.

I am sorry that your husband does not see your point of view. Try to communicate more effectively with him by softening your start-up e.g. Weekend Homework Assignment: Softening Start-Up.

Effective communication in a marriage is a learned skill. Please read these:

Manage Conflict: The Six Skills
Manage Conflict: Repair and De–Escalate
Managing Conflict: Solvable vs. Perpetual Problems


Until this situation improves, what can you do to look after yourself? Do you have friends and family you can lean on? What hobbies do you have?

Living Arrangements

Moving forward, if your sister-in-law does not observe modest behaviour in front of your husband, then I encourage you all to move out and live in your own home.

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about moving out from your husband’s family home, and watch what Allah unfolds for you.

Your sister-in-law is actively striving to sabotage your marriage. The sanctity of your marriage comes first. You must do everything your power to protect your marriage, even if there is huge pressure for you to remain in your husband’s family’s home. Please know that you have the right to your own private quarters: A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate From Her In-Laws.

I pray that Allah grants you and your husband strength to overcome this tribulation together.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered


[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.