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Is It Permissible to Live Separately From In-Laws?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My mother in law is a single mother and my husband is the only son. She is being rude with me, she bosses around me and my husband. Any decision we take should be under her permission. I am not happy with this atmosphere.

Is it permissible to live separately from in-laws?

Answer: Islamic law obliges one to be courteous, kind, and respectful to one’s in-laws as much as is possible. It does not however, oblige a person to live with their in-laws, but rather, the law states that a wife has the right to have her own fully separate living quarters or home.

Dealing with In-laws

Living with one’s mother in-law or other in-laws can be very challenging, especially if the mother in law is of a domineering nature. While respect is always due, you do not have to accept being bossed around, mistreated, or manipulated. When abuse occurs, living separately may be the only solution, which is permissible, and in some cases may be necessary.

[‘Umdat al Salik]

You cannot see it as separating your husband from his mother, as everyone’s lives are involved, and if one is becoming sick and depressed, then life cannot continue in that way.

Moving out

Although it is permissible to move out, the way you do so is important. Despite your mother in-law’s nature and behaviour, she is at the end of the day your husbands mother.

If you move out, then,

– Get your husband to choose the right time to speak to her about it and choose the right time to move out.

– Ensure that you try to keep some sort of contact with her after moving out, if this is possible without her offending you. Have your husband visit her regularly and check up on her, paying particular attention to any genuine needs she has.

– If you move out, take some time to work on your own mental and emotional wellbeing.

– Pray for your mother in-law and try to forgive her shortcomings.

You may also find the following answers useful:

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

Mother in Law Archives

I pray that Allah makes your situation easy and you find a peaceful resolution to benefits all.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.