Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My wife forbids me from speaking to my family because they are Shi’a. She calls them kuffar. I have not spoken to my mother in many years. I am in minimal contact with my father. I give in to my wife because when we argue, she ends up crying for hours and it damages her health. What do I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for your question.
Dear questioner, I am shocked that you have not spoken to your mother in a number of years. It is impermissible for your wife, or anyone else, to order you to break family ties.
Your family is Muslim, and you are still bound to them by blood, love, and loyalty. Please refer to the Amman Message and share it with your wife.
Abu Huraira reported that a person said “Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment?” He said: “Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).” [Sahih Muslim]
I encourage you to apologise to your mother, send gifts to her, visit her, and stay in regular contact with her. For as long as she is alive, she is a door through which Allah’s Mercy can manifest for you. Your mother is literally the portal through which you entered this world.
Instead of breaking her heart through your absence in her life, be of service to her in her old age. Keep her company, help her run errands, and bring happiness to her heart. Your mother is irreplaceable.
Muslim families around the world have sons and daughters who do not practice the deen. If their practising family members cut ties with them, then how would they witness the mercy of Islam? If you fear that mixing with your brothers will lead you astray, then it is better for you to minimise contact. However, it is impermissible for you to totally cut ties with them.
Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Sahih Bukhari]
It sounds like your wife is emotionally blackmailing you in order to get her way. This is a very unhealthy situation.
I urge both of you to sit down with a culturally-sensitive counsellor or psychologist. Use this safe and confidential space to air out your concerns, and hers. Why is she so fearful and hateful towards your family? What is she afraid of? Why does she disregard your valid concerns?
Please break the cycle of emotional abuse in your marriage. This is especially important if you have children, because they learn from what they see at home. Because you have been oppressed for so long, you may find it difficult to envisage your relationship ever getting better. Please trust that anything is possible through Allah’s help.
Your wife is behaving like an unruly toddler, who throws tantrums to get her way. The difference here is that she is a grown woman, and she needs to learn how to better manage her frustrations. Each time you give in to her, you are reinforcing that all she needs to do is throw a fit, and you will give in. The real world does not work like that. You are enabling her unhealthy behaviour. Please give her the space and time to learn how to behave like a rational adult. Your wife needs to learn appropriate boundaries, and you need to be firm and kind. A counsellor can help you both with that.
I encourage you and your wife to complete these courses on SeekersHub: Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents and Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.
I urge you to perform the Prayer of Guidance about what to do about your marriage.
A successful Islamic marriage is one based on sincere concern for one’s spouse, for the sake of pleasing Allah. I am saddened to read that your marriage has led to great rifts in your family. A successful Islamic marriage beautifies your character, your wife’s, and brings families together.
I pray that Allah heals your marriage, mends the broken ties in your family, and grants your wife the wisdom and compassion so foundational to our deen.
[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.