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Husband in Conflict with In-Laws

Ustadh Farid Dingle gives advice on how to heal relations between a husband and his in-laws, improve communication, and how the Fatiha is an excellent dua.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been married for 7 yrs. Masha Allah everything has been fine but suddenly my husband’s behavior towards my family changed. He thinks all my family members are selfish. An incident occurred a year ago, but the fault lies on both sides. Now he has broken all the relationship with my family. Please help me and suggest some dua for mending our relationship.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

Communication is the key. Have your husband explain very clearly and openly why he is cutting ties. Try to have him sit down with one of your family members and explain what he disapproves of. Maybe there is some valid reason?

At the end of the day, if you can still see your family, as long as he doesn’t say anything bad about them and is not disrespectful to them, he doesn’t have to visit them or be close to them.

Also try to see if this has anything to do with your own relationship. Is he saying this to get back at something you did? Try to get him to open up.

The Fatiha is an excellent dua. We say it at least 17 times a day, but we don’t really mean it. Focus on meaning what you say.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


My Pregnant Wife Is Going Back to India – Does She Have to Stay with My Widowed Mother?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My wife has gone back to India as she is pregnant (5 months) with our first child.

Does she have to stay in our house (with my mom) or in her parents house?

My mom lives alone (with relatives nearby) and is not expecting her to serve her (cook, clean etc.) Can you advise?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Living Arrangements

In most cases, it would be far more comfortable for a new mother to rest in her parents’ home, and not her mother-in-law’s. Pregnancy and postpartum are emotional times, and in most cases, living with one’s mother-in-law could add on a layer of unnecessary stress.

Have you spoken to your wife about this? What does she want? Please work together as a team to come up with a workable solution.

Mother-In-Law

Even though your mother does not expect your wife to cook or clean for her, that does not guarantee a comfortable household for your wife or your mother. Communication is often difficult between different generations and different personalities.

Please refer to: A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws

However, if your wife is able to balance being polite, respectful, and assert boundaries with your mother, then it is possible for them to live harmoniously, especially after the birth of your child.

It is important for your wife to accept that she will most likely fall short of your mother’s expectations. Your wife can still choose to treat your mother with kindness, in spite of that, and be amply rewarded for her patience. Those Pesky Unappreciative Eastern MILs.

Where do you fit in this scenario? Will you be going back to India soon? It may be easier for your wife to live with your mother if you are there too.

Solutions

1) Please continue to read the dua for ease.
2) Perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and ask Allah for an answer.
3) Perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward, and watch what unfolds.
4) Contented In-Laws is an excellent resource for your wife, should she decide to stay with your mother.
5) Your wife can trial staying with your mother for a period of time.
6) Your wife can divide up her week – perhaps she can stay for a few days at your mother’s home, and the rest of the week at her parents’ home.
7) Keep lines of communication open with your wife and mother so you know how they are feeling about their living arrangement.

I pray that Allah make things easier for all of you.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

[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.

How Should I Behave With the In-Laws of My Children?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Are there any guidelines to how we should behave with the in-laws of our children or siblings?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

A “cousin” is defined as follows: “a relative descended from one’s grandparent or more remote ancestor by two or more steps and in a different line” (Webster’s Dictionary). Hence, if your childrens’ in-laws are second or third cousins, then they share a common ancestor with you. This means they would be considered your kin (أَرْحَام, arhaam). See the explanation below regarding maintaining kinship bonds (صلة الرَّحِم).

In addition, remember that just because they are your kin, does not necessarily mean that they are unmarriageable kin (محارم, mahrams). Hence, the rules of hijab should be carefully observed when meeting in-laws.

`Uqba b. `Amir reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “Beware of entering upon and meeting women (in seclusion).” A person from the Ansar said: “Allah’s Messenger, what about the brother in-law?” He (ﷺ) replied: “The brother in-law is like death” (recorded by Bukhari and Muslim).

In this hadith the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has strongly cautioned against mixed gender interactions with in-laws. Often times people consider in-laws to be “like family” and they are less careful about observing rules of hijab with them. However, in this hadith we are reminded that in-laws who are not unmarriageable kin (محارم, mahrams) must be dealt with according to the rules of hijab. In fact, because they are treated “like family,” there is more opportunity for fitnah (i.e. impermissible relations) to occur with them than with complete strangers. Hence, we should be even more careful in gender relations with in-laws than we are with total strangers.

Maintaining kinship bonds

The word used for “kin” in Arabic is رَحِم (rahim) and its plural is أَرْحَام (arhaam). The same word in Arabic is used for the womb—that part of the female body where the fetus develops and from which we all have come. Notably, from the same root we get the words for mercy (رَحْمَة) and two of Allah’s Divine Names, الرحمن (Al-Rahman) and الرحيم (Al-Raheem). One of the wisdoms in this is that kinship bonds established by the womb are one of the greatest causes of mercy on this earth, e.g. the love of parents for their children and vice versa.

Maintaining kinship bonds is an obligation upon every Muslim, and this is established by the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus (‘ijma) of Islamic scholars throughout the ages. Allah Most High says in the Qur’an: “But kindred by blood have prior rights against each other in the Book of Allah. Verily Allah is well-acquainted with all things” (Qur’an 8:75). The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have said:
“The womb is connected to the ‘Arsh (a magnificent creation of Allah that is above the seven heavens). The womb says: ‘Whoever connects my bonds will be connected by Allah, and whoever cuts off my bonds will be cut off by Allah.’” (agreed upon by Bukhari and Muslim).

The linguistic origin of the word رَحِم (rahim) helps shed light upon the obligation of keeping up kinship bonds in Islam. One’s kin (arhaam in Arabic) with whom it is obligatory to maintain bonds include all of one’s blood relations who are Muslim. This includes ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.); descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.); siblings (including half siblings); aunts, uncles, and cousins (both paternal and maternal); and descendants of all of the above. The following groups of people are not considered kin for the purposes of this ruling (even though they may be owed rights due to other rulings): in-laws (i.e. the family of one’s spouse), stepparents and stepchildren, non-Muslim relatives (however, regarding parents, the obligation remains even if they are non-Muslims), relations through suckling (الرضاع), neighbors, etc.

Maintaining bonds with one’s kin includes keeping in touch with them (whether by phone, email, or other modern communication means), being kind and gentle with them, helping them as needed, never refusing their requests, and visiting them and giving them gifts when one is able. If one’s kin are already doing these things, one’s reciprocating the behavior is not technically considered “maintaining kinship bonds” (صلة الرحم) in Islam. Rather, it is just reciprocation. “Maintaining kinship bonds” (صلة الرحم) in Islam means to behave this way towards one’s kin when they themselves are not. Also note that maintaining of kinship bonds should be prioritized based on the closeness of the relation, starting with parents, then close blood relations, then more distant blood relations, and so on. Achieving excellence (إحسان) in this would be to carry out all of the behaviors above towards all of one’s kin and do so with sincerity and consistency. This is a lofty goal, and the degrees of righteousness in Islam are endless.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Umer Mian

Can Zakat Money Be Used for Parents and In-Laws to Cover Medical Costs?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Can zakat money be used for parents and in-laws to cover medical costs?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

No, zakat cannot be given to your parents, but it can be given to your in-laws. Moreover, you cannot simply cover medical costs with zakat funds because there needs to be a transfer of ownership of the wealth.

[‘Ala’ al-Din ‘Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya]

Please see the following related resources: Zakat: How to Calculate & Whom to Give and: Is Your Zakat Due? – A Reader and Resources on Giving Zakat

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Can My Spouse Give Her Zakat to My Parents?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

My spouse wants to give zakat to my parents who are poor. Can she?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, your spouse may give her zakat to your parents. The prohibition relates to giving zakat to your own parents, yet not to the parents of your spouse.

This is because, in the former case, there remains some semblance of returning benefit, and the basis in zakat is that there is a transfer of ownership without any form of benefit accruing to the giver.

Nonetheless, you can still aid them with your non-zakat charity, and in fact, this would be greater in reward than giving to others.

[‘Ayni, Minhat al-Suluk fi Sharh Tuhfat al-Muluk]

Please also see: Is Your Zakat Due? – A Reader and Resources on Giving Zakat

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

My Wife Broke Ties With My Parents. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My wife, children and I lived with my parents at the start of our marriage. My wife and mother faced many small problems that have escalated, and I was unable to solve these issues. Eventually we all had a very bad misunderstanding that led her to cut ties with my parents. What do I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

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

Difficulty

Dear questioner, you are in a very difficult situation.

Living with in-laws requires a tremendous amount of patience, forgiveness, and a constant renewal of intention. If handled poorly, this living arrangement can literally break a marriage apart. Allah knows His creation, hence the wisdom behind A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws. However, the dunya is imperfect, and families find themselves in this living arrangement.

It sounds like over their time under the same roof, both your wife and your mother have accumulated frustration and resentment. It sounds like your wife lacks the skill of emotional regulation. You are right; what she did was sinful and disrespectful. She made a mistake, and I pray that Allah grants her the insight to make her repentance and ask your parents for forgiveness.

Practical steps

1) Prayer of Need

Please wake up in the last third of the night, even if it’s 10 minutes before the entry of Fajr, and perform the Prayer of Need, as regularly as you can. Pour out your sorrow and frustration to Allah. Trust that He is the Turner of Hearts, and He alone can lift this trial. If He wills, He can make your wife care deeply for your mother. Miracles can and do happen, every day, because of sincere duas.

2) Maintain a daily litany of duas.

Wird Al-Latif is an example, and/or you can look at these Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long. Insha Allah, nourishing your spiritual heart will give you the strength to be present with your family, even with all its difficulty.

3) Prophetic family

Lead by example. Like Anse Tamara Gray has described, the Prophetic family is always kind. You have every right to be saddened by what your wife did, but you have the choice to respond with compassion and forgiveness. Nourish your marriage with sincere and regular acts of love.

4) Communication

Please work on improving your communication with your wife. It may be necessary for both of you to see a culturally-sensitive marriage counsellor. Both of you have contributed to your strife, but it may be easier for her to hear that from an objective professional. Your wife needs to learn how to better regulate her emotions, and you need to learn how to better communicate your unhappiness with her. At some point, you need to express how important it is for her to mend ties with your parents, even if she may react poorly at first. These articles may help:

Soften Your Startup
Repair Attempts
15 Ways to Calm a Fight

5) Mend ties

Call your parents regularly, especially your mother, and send them gifts. Do this with the intention of honoring your parents, and sowing seeds of forgiveness in their heart. I understand that you are living overseas, but please make an effort to visit your parents at least 1-2 times a year. Spend quality time with them, and prepare your wife to do the same.

6) Reflect

Sit down with your family and reflect on the stories of troubled families in the Qur’an. Allah revealed these archetypal stories to help us navigate our trials. Speak about how patiently and how beautifully Prophet Yusuf, upon him be blessings and peace, responded to his trial. His own brothers tried to kill him, yet he had a heart big enough to forgive them.

I pray that Allah mends the broken ties in your family, places deep love for each other in your hearts, and reunites all of you in Jannah.

Please see:

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

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, 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.

Is It Obligatory for a Woman to Look After Her In-Laws?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

Is it obligatory for a woman to look after her father-in-law and mother-in-law in the absence of her husband?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

In-Laws

It is the husband’s obligation to look after his parents. Whatever a wife does to look after her in-laws is a form of sadaqah. It is obligatory for her to treat her in-laws with respect and kindness, but being of daily, regular, service to them is not obligatory.

A wife is obligated to look after her own parents, in the best way she can, even after she gets married and leaves her family home.

Implementation

The application of rulings in the real world requires a lot of wisdom, tact, and patience.

If a husband is overseas often for work, then the path of excellence is for him to come to a mutually satisfying living arrangement for his parents, wife and children. This would require honest discussion, when everyone is calm. When family members focus on attaining Allah’s pleasure, then being of service to others comes easily.

Unfortunately, this does not always pan out very well. Often, feelings are hurt and different family members feel unjustly treated. It would be useful for family members to attend culturally-sensitive counselling of some sort. If this is not possible, then perhaps an elder or local scholar can mediate discussions.

Balance

It would be difficult for a wife to live with her in-laws while her husband is away. Although she will be tremendously rewarded for sacrificing her rights to separate quarters, she must be honest with herself.

If she feels resentful and unhappy about her living situation, then she risks harming her marriage, which will then impact on her children. Her priority is her own health and her ability to care for her children. If moving out is not an option, then she will need plenty of support. Consider seeing a culturally-sensitive counsellor, hiring help with the chores, having weekly coffee breaks with friends, and so on.

This is an excellent resource to continually refer to: Contented In-Laws.

Anse Tamara Gray gives an excellent general rule to apply with in-laws: Be the in-law you want to have. For example, ask yourself how would you like your daughter-in-law to treat you, if your son were absent?

Education

I encourage you to complete this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage and Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.

May Allah bring about ease in all of your difficulties.

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.

My Wife Says It’s Unislamic for My Parents to Keep Secrets Between Us. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My wife says it’s unislamic for my parents to speak to me privately and keep secrets between her and me. My parents says its unislamic that the wife wants to know about family matters which they are uncomfortable sharing with her. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Balance

Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) as saying:
If anyone removes his brother’s anxiety of this world, Allah will remove for him one of the anxieties of the Day of Resurrection; if anyone makes easy for an impoverished man, Allah will make easy for him in this world and on the day of resurrection; if anyone conceals a Muslim’s secrets, Allah will conceal his secrets in this world and on the Day of Resurrection; Allah will remain in the aid of a servant so long as the servant remains in the aid of his brother.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Dear questioner, please know that you are pleasing Allah by being of service to your parents. Consoling them and showing them kindness in their old age is incredibly important. I pray that Allah rewards you abundantly for having such sincere concern for them. May Allah bless you and your wife with righteous children who will also do the same for you in your old age.

Your parents are right; family matters which are private do not need to be divulged to your wife.

Evidence

Please refer to The Reliance of The Traveller, Chapter R36 and R3.0 I have included an excerpt:

Chapter R36.0: REVEALING A SECRET
R36.1
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When a man says something, then glances left or right, his words are a confidence to be kept.” (Ibid., 507)

R36.2
(Nahlawi:) Telling a secret means to inform others of a remark, action, or state which one learns of from someone who wants it to remain hidden, whether it be good or bad. This is hurting him, and hurting others is unlawful.
Whenever people meet, it is obligatory to keep secret any act that occurs, any words spoke, or any state attributable to someone, when these concern something one would normally wish to remain confidential, while not being unlawful.

Chapter R3.0: TALEBEARING (NAMIMA)

R3.1

(Nawawi:) Having summarily mentioned that talebearing (namima) is unlawful, with the evidence for this and a description of its nature, we now want to add a fuller explanation of it. Imam Abu Hamid Ghazali says, “Talebearing is a term that is usually applied only to someone who conveys to a person what another has said about him, such as by saying, ‘So-and-so says such and such about you, ‘ In fact, talebearing is not limited to that, but rather consists of revealing anything whose disclosure is resented, whether resented by the person who originally said it, the person to whom it is disclosed, or by a third party. It makes no difference whether the disclosure is in word, writing, a sign, nodding, or other; whether it concerns word or deed; or whether it concerns something bad or otherwise. The reality of talebearing lies in divulging a secret, in revealing something confidential whose disclosure is resented. A person should not speak of anything he notices about people besides that which benefits a Muslim to relate or prevents disobedience.

Marriage

It sounds like your wife is feeling insecure, and is threatened by your closeness to your parents. Take her out for a romantic dinner and reassure her of your love for her. What is her love language? What can you do to fill her love tank?

Please reflect on this quote by Dr John Gottman: “Behind every complaint is a deep personal longing.” This article explains it further: Sometimes My Wife Complains…

Do your best to listen and understand her point of view. Perhaps in her family, keeping secrets led to great heartache. She may have some emotional baggage that requires unpacking, if your marriage is to thrive. Be patient with her as you journey through this together. You may need a culturally-sensitive marriage counsellor to mediate your discussions.

Education

At a minimum, I encourage you and your wife to complete this course: The Sunna of Speech: Prohibitions of the Tongue.

To help improve the state of your marriage, please enrol in Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

To help you and your wife understand the rank of parents in Islam, please enrol in Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.

Relationship

It sounds like your wife and your parents have a tense and unhappy relationship. I encourage you to nudge them along the path of having sincere concern for each other. Go out for pleasant outings. Share meals together. Find things in common, and work on that.

Prayer

Most importantly, please strive to wake up at least 10-15 minutes before Fajr and perform the Prayer of Need. This is a precious time of the night. Allah is the Turner of Hearts, and through His help, anything is possible.

Please see:

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

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.

My In-Laws Are Insulted When I Do Not Eat Their Store-Bought Meat. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My husband and I are very particular about the food that we eat. We buy farm-slaughtered meat, but do not force my husband’s family to do the same.

When visiting them, I pack my own food so that my kids and I have something to eat. We do eat everything else they prepare. My in-laws find this very insulting.

It’s gotten so bad now that when we see any of my in-laws, I am ignored. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you a way out of this difficult trial.

Dua

“Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allah will grant after hardship, ease.”
[Qu’ran, 65:7]

Before anything else, I urge you to perform the Prayer of Need. Pour out your heartache to Allah Most High, and trust that He is the Turner of hearts. Beg Him to grant you the wisdom to respond well to this trial.

Ask yourself what you can learn from this situation. What shortcomings do you have in your character? Can you learn to be more patient? More understanding? More diplomatic? More forgiving?

Above all, what attachments do you need to let go of? It is only natural to want to be liked and accepted by your in-laws. But what is more important for each of us is to gain the pleasure of Allah.

Scrupulousness

MashaAllah, I commend you for having such scrupulousness in your deen. I pray that Allah rewards you for the effort you and your husband are exerting.

I can see why your in-laws feel feel hurt and insulted when you and your children don’t eat the food they prepare. Preparing food is a very primal act of showing love, and rejecting their food can feel like a rejection of them. Your reasons are sound, but human beings are creations of emotion, not pure logic.

The key here is striking a balance. It is disrespectful to ignore your in-laws, nor is it prudent to try to justify what you are doing. As you have described, neither approach is working.

I suggest that you sidestep the contentious issue of farm-slaughtered meat for now. Avoid controversial topics. Let your actions speak for you. Be of service to them. Show good character. Be firm on what you believe in, but do so with wisdom and tact.

Please have a thorough read of this incredible resource: Contented In-Laws.

Relationships

Families are made up of so many different types of characters. When there is a bond of love and mutual respect, then many things are overlooked. When there is no bond of love and mutual respect, then many things are criticized.

All relationships take work. It sounds like your relationship with your in-laws is a very tense one, and is in need of mending.

What do you and your in-laws have in common? Can you Invite them for lunch at your home? Can you offer to run errands for them? Think of this as a relationship which needs a lot of nourishing.

When you do these acts of kindness and service for them, please don’t expect anything in return. It would be a blessing if they acknowledge what you did, but consider that a bonus, rather than a necessity. At first, you may feel very uncomfortable, and so will they, but please persist, for the sake of Allah. I pray that over time, things will get easier.

Look to Allah for your reward, and know that nothing is lost with Him. Try to view this trial as as a means of improving your character. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for you to not be attached to the outcome. Wanting your in-law’s approval will continue to increase your disappointment and heartache.

Husband

It is difficult to be caught in the middle. Many husbands, especially soft-spoken ones, struggle to resolve conflict with their families.

Remember not to blame your husband for his family’s behaviour. Focus on your husband’s positive qualities, and the beautiful children you are raising on the deen. Your energy is better spent there. Please remember to nourish your marriage, and your own self-care.

Your husband is better off being kind to his family and being of service to them, instead of raising controversial topics which upset them. Let him build happier memories with them. I pray that in time, you will have the opportunity to do so as well. Never underestimate the power of dua, and the healing power of time.

Counselling

If you and your husband still struggle with his family, then I strongly encourage you to both to see a culturally-sensitive counsellor, therapist, or psychologist. A trained, objective and compassionate counsellor can help you both learn better communication and coping skills. At the very minimum, I pray that a good counsellor will help you and your husband reach a point of acceptance.

Please see:

[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.

I Am Stuck Between My Mother and My Wife. What Does Islam Say?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am the only son, and am stuck between my mother and my wife. I have been trying to solve this issue over the last few years by using proofs from the Qur’an and Hadith, but it hasn’t worked. My wife has left to live in her own home with my 2 year old daughter, and she is not coming back. 

What do I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

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

Balance

This is a delicate situation, and I am sorry that things have escalated to this point.

Islam calls to balance in all things, especially when it comes to the rights of others. May Allah reward you for trying your best.

Counselling

I strongly recommend that you and your wife sit down for marital counselling. You have a toddler—she needs both her parents to be emotionally available for her. Children can sense when something is wrong, especially with their parents. Your daughter needs to feel safe, and because of that, healing your marriage is a top priority. In reality, you have three women to think about, and not two.

I recommend that you apologize to your mother, and explain that you need stay with your wife. Focus on healing your marriage, and while you do so, continue to spend time with your mother. She will be very unhappy that you are no longer living with her, so bear her complaints with patience and good character. If possible, spend at least every weekend in your mother’s home.

Privacy

Your wife has rights to separate living quarters. Please read that carefully, and reflect on why your wife no longer wants to live with your mother. Hear her out. Living with in-laws can be stressful, even for the best of marriages.

Mother

I strongly encourage that you enroll in The Rights of Parents course and The Successful Islamic Marriage when registration reopens. Please prioritize this. It is obligatory upon you to know what Allah expects from you in both your relationship with your parents, as well as your wife.

Many elderly parents expect their adult children and grandchildren to live with them. With mutual respect, a lot of compromise, and a focus on good character, this living arrangement can be a source of great blessing and mutual benefit. However, this doesn’t always happen.

Do whatever you can to be of service to your mother. Spend time with her, help her with errands, go to family functions with her, and so on. Is your mother a widow? If your father has passed away, then it is even more important for you to be there for her. Even so, you must balance her needs with that of your wife’s.  This truly is a difficult scenario, and I pray that Allah makes it easier for you, and reward you for trying your best.

Dua

Remember that Allah is the Turner of Hearts. Please stand up in the last third of the night, perform The Prayer of Need, and beg Allah to ease this great tribulation. I pray that Allah grants you a way out of this and blesses you with the gift of wisdom.

Please see:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Contented In-Laws

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

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.