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How to Deal With Jealousy When a Cousin of My Wife Is Living With Us?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My wife’s male cousin recently immigrated to our country. She asked if he could live with us.

I feel very jealous of my wife with him in the house. I have spoken with her about it, but I think her love and protectiveness for him is blinding her.

Which desire is the most righteous in my situation, protecting my wife or generosity to her family?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Thank you for your question. I pray this finds you in the best of Iman.

The answer to your question, which is the most righteous; protecting your wife or being generous to her family, is relatively simple. The most righteous act is that which is most pleasing to Allah as dictated by the law and the sunna of having excellent conduct.

Male cousins and jealousy

Trying to please others while going against the shariah is always going to be the wrong way about doing things. As you mention, cousins are not mehrams to one another, despite any emotional bond one has with their cousin.

This does not mean that one does not maintain family ties with cousins or must stop caring for or supporting them, but the rulings relating to non-mehrams such as the impermissibility of seclusion, unnecessary intermixing, observing the hijab, and any physical contact, even if familial, must all be observed. Whatever Allah has put in place in regards legal boundaries is ultimately for everyone’s benefit.

As a husband it is natural to feel a healthy amount of jealousy over your wife. Given the situation you have described, your current living situation is not an appropriate set-up. While it may not be easy, there is no alternative but to take a stance and tell the cousin to find accommodation elsewhere. While your wife and her cousin may not be happy with this, ultimately, the decision is yours and this option prevents sin occurring for all involved, and may well save your marriage from a lot of stress.

However, do the above with tact and gentleness. Your wife obviously feels like there is nothing wrong with the situation, so be gentle with her whilst still staying firm on your decision. Explain to her that the current living conditions are not permitted in the religion and for good reason. If tact and gentleness doesn’t work, then you will have to just stick to your principle and tell them it’s your final say on the matter. If you are accused of being untrusting or ungenerous then unfortunately you’ll have to just take that on the chin for the time being.

If the cousin is struggling financially or needs time to find suitable accommodation, then seek practical solutions for the meantime. These may include that your cousin does not stay in the house whenever you are out of the house, lending him money to get himself set-up independently, or him going back to live with other relatives. Also, explain to your wife that just because the cousin is moving out, he can visit occasionally when you are home, especially when his wife arrives in the country.

Du’a

Turn to Allah to bring a peaceful resolution to your situation. The following du’a will be useful to you. Recite it after each prayer.

اللهم لا سهلَ إلا ما جعلتَه سهلاً وأنتَ تجعلُ الحزنَ إذا شئتَ سهلاً
O Allah there is nothing that is easy except that You made it easy, and
You can make this difficulty easy if You so wish to
[Ibn Hibban]

You may also find the following answers useful too, and may want to share with your wife:

The Protective Jealousy (Ghayra) of Spouses
Keeping in Contact With My Non-Muslim Male Cousin

May Allah grant you a peaceful resolution to your difficulties.

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.

Having to Live With My In-Laws Is Difficult. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I live with my husband and family. They are only kind to me when my husband is home. I am pregnant, and this stress is affecting my emotional health. My husband tells me to keep quiet and have patience.

What do I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.

Priority

Your obligation is to protect your own health, and the health of your unborn child.

Please read this article, and share it with your husband: A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws.

I see two options.

1) Move out.

2) Find ways to assert yourself and learn better ways to cope with your living situation.

Reality

If moving out is not an option you and your husband can explore right now, then you must find ways to cope better with your current living situation.

Please refer to The Contented In-Laws website. This is an incredible resource for you to read, reflect upon, and implement.

Please pay special attention to:

Rule #6 – Get Your Priorities in Order
Rule #29 – Don’t Put Up With Injustice
Rule #45 – They will never be happy with you
Rule #48 – Don’t tell him that he isn”t supportive

Dua

Please perform The Prayer of Need in the last third of night as often as you can. Beg Allah to give you the strength, patience and courage to rise to this test.

Please read Ayat al-Kursi after every obligaotry prayer for protection. Try to stay in wudu as much as you can, also for strength and protection. Read and listen to Qur’an daily, and make dua for your baby, your husband, his family, and yours.

Counselling

When in-laws treat you badly, it is often because they think it’s fine to do so, and part of you allows it to happen. Empower yourself. Speak your truth. You matter to Allah.

Please see a culturally-sensitive counselor and talk to her about what you are facing. If you cannot find one, then look for a life coach online. Please learn how to stand up for yourself. This does not mean being rude, but it does mean speaking your truth firmly and respectfully.

Birth order

It sounds like you and your husband are the youngest in your family. Unfortunately, it is common for the elder siblings in a family to bully the younger ones.

One of the ways of coping is accepting that change is not likely to come from them. Change needs to come from you and your husband. It will be difficult at first, for you and your husband to speak up, but it will get better with practice, insha Allah.

Husband

If speaking directly to your husband about this only aggravates him, then drop the topic for now. Lead by example. Treat your husband and his family with good character. This does not mean being a doormat, but it does mean speaking your truth firmly and calmly.

Self-care

Do you whatever you need to do to keep you and your baby healthy and well. Do you have close friends you can visit? What helps you feel better? What hobbies do you have?

Backbiting

Please remember to guard your tongue when you do spend time with close friends.

You are permitted to divulge details of your difficulties to your counselor, as she is bound by laws of confidentiality and will not repeat what you say. Please read this for more information: Discussing Intimate Details in Therapy Sessions.

I pray that Allah grants you ease in all of your affairs, grants you a tranquil home, and blesses you with an easy pregnancy and birth. May your child be among the foremost of the righteous.

Please see:

Living With Disrespectful and Overbearing In-Laws
Do I Have the Right to Demand From My Husband to Not Live With My In-Laws?

Wassalam,

[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.

Can I Break Relations With Abusive In-Laws?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

A few months ago, my sister-in-law started trouble with me through my father-in-law. She started to bring up “problems” I was unaware of. I was being accused of disrespecting her in her own home. I am very dumbfounded about this. My sister-in-law never spoke to me about any issues that she made have had with me. This situation caused a huge argument between me and my husband.

Since that incident, I have not visited her. Is this wrong for me to do this?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which pleases him. Please forgive me for the delay.

Oppression

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.” [Bukhari]

It sounds like your sister-in-law is very unhappy, and is acting out in ways to seek attention and validation. May Allah make this easier on you, your family, and may He grant her lasting shifa.

Islam calls you to respond with good character, regardless of the other party. Look at this as an opportunity for growth.

Husband

I am sorry to hear that your husband did not stand up for you. This is hurtful, and an added stress for you. Good men such as your husband are often caught in the middle of family difficulties, and do not know how to respond.

You are wise to not bring up the topic of his sister, head-on. Deal with this issue using a lot of tact and wisdom. Be the better person, especially given the fact that your sister-in-law has a history of causing trouble. Your husband is probably also frustrated by his sister, but is immediately put on the defensive whenever you tell him you are upset with her. Let it go, and focus on nourishing your marriage. Let your actions speak for you.

Family ties

Breaking family ties is impermissible. Keeping a distance with problematic family members is permissible. Accept that you cannot change her behaviour, but you can respond with maturity and compassion.

At a very minimum, I encourage you to give her salams at family gatherings, and a gift on significant dates such as Eid.

The difficulty with avoiding difficult relatives is this: the longer you avoid them, the harder it will be to deal with them. Continuous, small exposure to them, in the long-run, makes it easier for all of you.

For the sake of pleasing Allah through keeping family ties, please make it a goal for yourself to visit her at least once every few months. A short visit suffices. Over time, I pray that her behaviour will have less and less impact on you. You have no control over what she does, but you do have the choice to respond with good character. Nothing you do is lost with Allah.

Please listen to this excellent podcast on mending family ties: Ties that Bind: Reconnect with relatives who have become distant (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes..

Dua

Tests of family are indeed difficult. Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah to lift this tribulation from you, and to help you respond in a way that pleases Him.

Have a good opinion of Allah. Know that He has placed her in your life for a reason. Perhaps she will help you refine your good character. Perhaps Allah will accept your duas for her. Allah knows best.

Please see:

Wassalam,
[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 through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

My Mother-In-Law Keeps Asking Me If I Am Pregnant. What Can I Do?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum.

I have lot of problems in my life. My mother died of cancer on my wedding’s day and my sister is suffering from tuberculosis. Alhamdulillah I have a good Husband and we live with his family but I can’t live here because I’m not getting pregnant. My mother-in-law is always asking me if I am pregnant or not. How can I become pregnant?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate

Dear Sister, thank you for sending in your question. May Allah grant you ease and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

Problems in life

It certainly seems that you and your family are going through a great deal of heartache and struggles at the moment, may Allah make things easy for you all. During such times in life, the most important thing is to hold fast to our faith and turn to Allah. Allah sends us trials in life to test our faith. It is our patience and turning to Him during these times that either brings us closer to Him or further away. This is explained to us when God tells us, “It is He who created death and life to test you as to which of you are best in deed, and He is the Almighty, the Forgiving.” [67:2]. And we find consolation that, “Verily, with every difficulty there is relief. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” [94:35-36].

Similarly, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) informed us that “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” [al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah].

Life on earth is full of tragedy and turmoil. Allah Most High tells us this when He says, “Verily We have created man into toil and struggle.” [90:4]. This is the very nature of life on earth; a mixture of pleasure and pain, sweetness and bitterness. This is compared to the next life, which is either absolute and eternal pleasure, or total and perpetual suffering. Therefore, the key is to endure the hardships that come our way and increase in our faith and good deeds, and ensure that we remain grateful to Allah.

One may say, “but I thought religion was supposed to bring happiness to one’s life? Where is the happiness and peace?” The answer is that religion does bring happiness, peace and contentment, but it’s place is in the heart. When complete faith grows in the heart and one truly submits to the Will of God, happiness and peace will be the core state of that person, regardless of all the turmoil outside, which will inevitably continue in this life. Why? Because trials and test are a means to purify ourselves and an expiation from sin. By going through toil and trials throughout life, the hope is that we meet our Lord without any sin, thereby winning his Pleasure and eternal felicity. This is why the Prophet said, “Trials will continue for the believing man and the believing woman, in person, property and children, until they meet Allah free from sin.” [al-Tirmidhi]

Du’a during hardship and distress

There are a number of du’a you can recite during times of anxiety, stress, hardship and sorrow:

اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أَرْجُو فَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَا أَنْتَ

O Allah, it is Your mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye, and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshiped except You.

حسبي اللہ ونعم الوکيل

Allah is my Sufficiency and how perfect a Benefactor [is He]

لا إلَهَ إلاَّ اللَّهُ الْعَظـيمُ الْحَلِـيمْ، لا إلَهَ إلاَّ اللَّهُ رَبُّ العَـرْشِ العَظِيـمِ، لا إلَهَ إلاَّ اللَّهُ رَبُّ السَّمَـوّاتِ ورّبُّ الأَرْضِ ورَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَـريم

There is none worthy of worship but Allah the Mighty, the Forbearing. There is none worthy of worship but Allah, Lord of the Magnificent Throne. There is none worthy of worship but Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth, and Lord of the Noble Throne.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ الْهَمِّ وَالْحُزْنِ وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ

O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men.

During times of hardship, one should also ensure that one is not sinning, and is fulfilling Allah’s rights and other people’s rights.

Salat Hajah (The prayer of Need)

One can pray this for all of one’s needs. Please see the link below on how to perform this prayer: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?

Pregnancy

There are many du’a and surahs you can read to help you become pregnant. I have listed at below a number of previous answers on SeekersHub which contain many of these du’a and recommendations, as well as general advice. Please do read through these.

Have patience and gratitude, do not tire of asking Allah, and do not despair. There are many people who have suffered much physically and emotionally, and were told by doctors that they would not be able to conceive, only to get pregnant when they least expected (and raise beautiful healthy children).

Such are the reminders that Allah is really in control of everything. Remember the words of the Angels when they descended on Sayiddna Ibrahim and his wife, “And certainly did Our messengers come to Abraham with good tidings; they said, ‘Peace.’ He said, ‘Peace,’ and did not delay in bringing [them] a roasted calf. But when he saw their hands not reaching for it, he distrusted them and felt from them apprehension. They said, ‘Fear not. We have been sent to the people of Lot. And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed: But we gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob.’ She said: ‘Alas for me! Shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!’ They said: ‘Dost thou wonder at Allah’s decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, O ye people of the house! for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory!’” [11:69-73]

However, we should also remember that both having, or not being able to have children, is also a test from Allah. At the end of the day, despite our efforts and desires, Allah Most High is the Creator of all things, and whatever he has Willed will be, or not be. It is for us to be patient, firm and faithful, no matter what our situation.

We should also note that many cultures unfortunately only look to the wife when it comes to infertility. It is very important for both the husband and wife to seek medical care, as there are various factors on both sides which could cause the infertility. Family and in-laws should also be understanding and not put undue pressure on the couple, especially the wife.

I recommend the following links, in which you will find supplications and suras to read for becoming pregnant:

Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz’s advice on duas to read during pregnancy and labour
Invocations To Bear Children
Dealing With Infertility
Supplications for Having Children and For Dealing With Pain
A Reader on Pregnancy
Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

I sincerely pray that Allah Most High grants you with many pious children, and that they are a source of goodness and happiness for you in this world and the next.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007 I travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where I spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with my main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, I moved to Amman, Jordan, where I continue advanced study in a range of sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, I am a qualified Homeopath, and run a private clinic in Amman.

My Father-In-Law Demands That We Move Into His Home. Are We Sinning by Refusing?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My father-in-law wants us to move in with him, his wife, and his daughter. My husband and I don’t want to, mostly because my father-in-law is very bossy and will try to make decisions for us and our children. Now he is not on speaking terms with us, including our children, and he blames me for not letting his son go back to him.

Would it be sensible, under such circumstances, to move in with them?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah make a way out for you from your tribulation.

Privacy

Subhan Allah, it looks like there are many layers to this difficult situation. I pray that Allah makes things easier for all of you, and grants you tawfiq in resolving this issue.

In short, no, you are not sinning by living apart from your father-in-law. Please refer to this excellent resource—A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate From Her In-Laws. Even under the best of circumstances, you still have the right to separate quarters. Despite this, it is common for families to give up this right, in order to keep their elderly parents company. May Allah reward them for embodying the Prophetic virtue of goodness to parents.

However, in your case, it sounds like the environment in your father-in-law’s home is toxic, and it would be sinful for you to expose your children to such harm.

Your father-in-law, as difficult as he may be, must still be treated with respect and kindness. Being disrespectful and unkind to him would cause you and your husband to fall into sin. You are not responsible for his actions, but you are responsible for how you respond to his actions.

Good character

Narrated Abu Umamah (may Allah be pleased with him), The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right, a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking, and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Treat this situation as a real-life application of inculcating and manifesting Prophetic character. Our Beloved Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) shows us countless examples in his life where he returned harshness with gentleness. I am not asking you to be a doormat, because your dignity is sacred, but I am urging you to be the better person.

Ties of kinship

Abdullah bin Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Merely maintaining the ties of kinship is not adequate. But connecting the ties of kinship is when his ties to the womb are severed and he connects it.” [Tirmidhi]

I encourage you, your husband, and your children to send gifts to your father-in-law. Ask your children to write him letters enquiring about his health, and so on. Your husband needs to call his father regularly and make that effort to visit him weekly even if your father-in-law refuses to pick up the phone or open the door.

Please make dua for Allah to heal him, and for Allah to mend your family ties. Remember to perform The Prayer of Need as often as you are able to.

As troubled as you are by your father-in-law, try to imagine what it would be like to actually be him. Being consumed by anger and bitterness is exhausting. AlhamduliLlah that you have the gift of insight into your behavior. People like him do not, and they spend their entire lives blaming everyone else. This is a psychological illness, as well as a disease of the heart.

Support

It sounds like your father-in-law is deeply unhappy and perhaps even depressed. Unfortunately, the person who is in most need of counseling is the least likely to get help.

Please consider seeing a culturally-sensitive counselor to help you, your husband and your children cope. It is easy to fall into ‘should’ thinking (e.g. my father-in-law should be more reasonable etc), but doing so will only make all of you feel worse. A counselor can help you reach a point of acceptance about what you cannot change, and help you empower yourself to change what you can change.

Please nourish yourselves spiritually during this testing time. Increase in your acts of worship and remember that there is always wisdom in Allah’s Decree, even if we cannot see it.

Please see:
How Do We Maintain Family Ties With Bloodthirsty Relatives?
A Reader on Family Ties
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

I Have Decided to Leave My Husband but I Am Pregnant. Can I Have an Abortion?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am severely depressed because I live with an abusive mother-in-law. I have decided to leave my husband but I am pregnant. Can I have an abortion?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

I pray this finds you well.

Mother-in-law

Your mother-in-law sounds extremely toxic. You have rights to private living quarters, especially as she is causing you so much harm. I encourage you and your husband to read this article: A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws.

Marriage

Does your husband know that you are considering divorcing him, and terminating your pregnancy? Would you be willing to stay married to him if you both moved out and set firm boundaries with your mother-in-law?

You say that you love him, and he is a good man who struggles to set boundaries with his mother. This is a very common issue, and there are solutions. Please don’t give up hope. Often, the birth of a baby softens hearts, even those of mothers-in-law. Perhaps the news of an impending grandchild will soften her heart.

In your scenario, especially as your mother-in-law verbally abuses over the phone, it is permissible for you to 1) block her number 2) not answer her calls 3) not visit her. This applies until you reach a point of mental stability again. Your husband is obligated to visit her and keep ties with her. Your priority is that of your health and your baby’s.

At the very minimum, please go away for a while – just you, your husband, and your baby. Please take a break from this constant barrage of emotional abuse. You sound so worn out, and desperate for a way out. Please have an open and honest conversation with your husband about needing his love and support in order to get through this.

Professional help

Dear sister, I urge you to speak to a compassionate doctor and a culturally-sensitive counsellor. Tell your doctor that you are pregnant, and ask for suitable anti-depressants. Please book a session with a counsellor and explain how you are at your wit’s end, and willing to terminate your pregnancy.

Please come to a state of better mental clarity before deciding to 1) divorce your husband 2) terminate your pregnancy.

Both choices will have life-long consequences on your spiritual, mental and emotional health. It sounds like you are under tremendous stress, and it is only natural to want to escape.

Even better, please ask your husband to come to counselling with you. Please work out a solution together.

Divorce

Please ensure that you have performed the Prayer of Guidance 7 times before coming to a final decision on ending your marriage.

If you are still set on getting a divorce from your husband, then either ask for khula’ and return your mahr to him, or ask him to make one pronouncement of talaq.

This way, there is still the possibility of both of you remarrying later on, if Allah wills. You mother-in-law might pass away, or she might make her repentance and leave you in peace.

Abortion

There is a difference of opinion on this very sensitive issue.

Imam Ibn Hajar’s position is that abortion is always unlawful. Imam Ramly said it is unlawful after 120 days but permissible before that. Shaykh Muhammmed Bashir Al-Hadded pointed out that both parents must consent to the abortion as the child is part of both of them.

Consequences

I am concerned that if you go ahead with an abortion, you may come to regret it. Please find a way to take the edge of your depression before you make this final call. I am so, so sorry that you have suffered so much and reached this point of despair. Please keep making dua for ease, perform the Prayer of Need, and remember that Allah is the Turner of Hearts. He created life and death, and can soften your mother-in-law’s heart.

I hope that this will bring some comfort to you – many women have reported a significant improvement in their relationship with with their mother-in-law after giving birth.

Please keep in touch and keep us updated. May Allah soothe your heart, ease your tribulation, and grant you a way out.

Please see:

In-Laws Leaving Me No Privacy: What is the Proper Response?
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[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 through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

My In-Laws Spoil My Child and Are a Negative Influence. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

My in-laws spoil my daughter, criticise me on how I treat her, and I fear that they will be a negative influence on her as they are less practising that my husband and me. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

In-Laws

The topic of in-laws is often a very sensitive one. I encourage you and your husband to be on the same page when it comes to dealing with his parents. Find a way to communicate both of your concerns calmly and respectfully.

All families have their in-built set of communication defaults, even if they are problematic. Accept that you cannot change their style of communication, but you can work with it, instead of against it.

Is there a culturally-sensitive marriage counsellor in your locality? This would be an excellent way for you to learn how to learn to be assertive with your in-laws, while remaining respectful. Even if your husband doesn’t want to go to counselling, I encourage you to go on your own so that you can learn better stress management strategies, alongside conflict resolution methods.

I strongly encourage you to read the book “Daughter-In-Law Rules” by Sally Shields.

Keeping ties

‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Kinship is derived from Allah. If anyone maintains ties of kinship Allah maintains ties with him. If anyone cuts them off, Allah cuts him off.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

There is tremendous reward in keeping ties with family, especially close members such as your husband’s parents. I encourage you and your husband to commit to visiting his parents, as well as yours, on a regular basis. Set the intention to bring happiness to your in-laws, and ideally, stay in their home for a short time. Whatever discomfort you feel as you stay under their roof is only temporary. If this is still too difficult, then book accommodation close to their home, and visit them. They will be unhappy that you are not staying with them, but at least you have made the effort to visit.

I encourage you and your husband to do this life-changing course – The Rights of Parents. I pray that this course will inspire him to keep in touch with his parents.

Daughter

The best way of securing your daughter’s safety in this world and the next is sincere dua, alongside you and your husband taking the best means possible to secure her success in deen and dunya. Every day, read this dua from Surah Al-Furqan, Verse 75:

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Outwardly, although it may look like a bad idea to expose her to non-practising family members, remember that all guidance comes from Allah. Grandparents love their grandchildren, and it is in their nature to indulge them. Set limits as best you can, but trust that you only visit them occasionally, and it is unlikely that your in-laws would go out of their way to harm your daughter.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for you to protect your daughter from all negative influences. What you can do is strive to instill Prophetic traits in her, so that she will learn how to respond in ways that please Allah. I encourage you and your husband to do this free course: Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children

Good character

Narrated Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them).” [Bukhari]

The difficulty you face with your in-laws is an incredible way to refine and improve your own character. By doing so, you are also teaching your daughter how to honour the elderly, and how to be patient with challenging family members.

Dua

When you feel like your pleas are falling deaf on creation, please know that the Creator never tires of hearing your voice. I encourage you to stand up and perform the Prayer of Need and ask for whatever will bring your heart relief. Channel your anxieties into heartfelt dua.

Support

Please look after yourself. Lean on your loved ones, practice self-compassion, and reflect on the trials of Prophet Yusuf (upon him be blessings and peace). He too was sorely tested by his family, and his story teaches us the importance of exercising beautiful patience.

I pray that Allah grants you a way out of your tribulation, and adorns you and your loved ones with the Prophetic qualities of patience, contentment, and mercy.

Please see:

Contented In-Laws
Raising Children with Deen and Dunya
Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, SeekersGuidance Instructor
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[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 through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

Photo: Elisa Azzali

Can In-Laws Force a Daughter-In-Law to Have a Child?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: In Islam, can in-laws pressure or force a daughter-in-law to have a child?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for clarifying this sensitive issue.

Force

No, in-laws cannot force a daughter-in-law to have a child. The issue of starting a family is a private matter between husband and wife.

However, it is only natural for aging in-laws to strongly desire grandchildren. As always, the key is balance.

Boundaries

It was narrated from Aishah that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said:
“Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness in all things.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

My advice is to be gentle, and firm. When the topic of having children is forcefully raised, repeat the same thing. Come to a decision with your husband about what your response will be. You must both be on the same page. A possible response is, “May Allah reward you for your concern. Please make dua for us.”

Empathy

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “The believer who mixes with people and bears their annoyance with patience will have a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people and does not put up with their annoyance.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Try to exercise empathy. Gently ask your in-laws what their concerns are. Some in-laws have valid concerns about infertility if other family members have struggled with this issue. Others are afraid they will pass away before they have a grandchild. It’s easier for them to mask their vulnerability with an angry order to hurry up and have children. Try your best to reassure them. InshaAllah, you will be rewarded for having patience with them.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani