Do I Have Sufficient Accommodation in my In-Laws’ Home?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My mother-in-law seems to be never happy with me. I try my best to contribute to the house and ensure she’s well and happy. However, she still criticizes me by pointing out things I failed to do. I’m a human being. I try so hard to do good for her, but sometimes I forget, and she makes me feel bad about it. She never appreciates me. Her way of speaking to me is rude. She walks into my room without knocking and questions me about why I’m lying down when I have free time.
My husband doesn’t want to move out, and he says that our bedroom/bathroom in the basement is enough for accommodation. But I share the kitchen/living room with my in-laws. So is my husband fulfilling my right to a separate accommodation?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration and understand that you are human and deserve respect, kindness, appreciation, and privacy.

Living Quarters

According to this link, you have not been provided with the minimum accommodation separate from your in-laws:

A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate From Her In-Laws

Tips

My advice to you is to invest in a good lock for your bedroom. You have every right to lock the door when you are in there, and you should. Your mother-in-law is treating you like her own child, and that is not right. However, respond with dignity, grace, and patience.

Move Out

Speak to your husband about a plan to move out in a year or two. Most likely, that will be necessary anyway when you have children, and they start to grow and need space. I wouldn’t worry about it being this way forever. In addition to this, make sure that you always side with your husband and bond with him when you can. When he comes to know that you treat your mother-in-law respectfully and politely for his sake, he will appreciate you more. Only a strong marriage, supplication, and patience will get you through this.

Please see these links as well:

Having to Live With My In-Laws Is Difficult. What Do I Do?
Living with My Mother-In-Law Is Challenging. What Do I Do?
In-Laws Leaving Me No Privacy: What is the Proper Response?

Please remember this important hadith: It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what type of wife is best? He said, ‘The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, and she obeys him if he instructs her to do something, and she does not do anything with regard to herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’” [Musnad Ahmad]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.