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My Husband Does Not Allow Me to Support My Non-Muslim Mother. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

When my sick, elderly Christian mother needs help in financial emergencies, my husband refuses to help.He keeps telling me that she is not his responsibility despite all the sacrifices I have done for his family.

She is still my mother, and I want to show her the beauty of Islam. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Counsel

Dear sister, it sounds like you are in dire need of marital counselling. I suggest that you and your husband speak to a culturally sensitive counsellor.

Is there a trustworthy local scholar you and your husband can speak to? Is there a
compassionate and wise community elder you can consult? Please do not suffer in silence.

Prayer of Need

He said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you do not know. [Qur’an, 12:86]

Please wake up 10-15 minutes before the entry of fajr, and perform the Prayer of Need. Beg Allah to lift this tribulation from you. When speaking to creation brings about nothing but pain and argumentation, remember to speak directly to the Creator.

Reflect on the heartbreak of Nabi Yaqoub (upon him be blessings and peace), and how he complained only to Allah. Have trust that Allah knows exactly how much you pain you are in. He is listening, and it is only a matter of time before he answers your dua.

Marriage

I encourage you and your husband to enrol and complete this course: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. Even if he is not keen on doing this course, I urge you to complete it. Learn the spirit and the law of marriage, so you can be familiar with it, and so that you can teach your children

Finances

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

Dear sister, the Shari’ah is there to protect you. There is wisdom behind why your husband is meant to be the breadwinner for your family. Whatever money you earn is yours to keep.

From what you have described, your husband does not care about your mother, and confronting him about it will only make matters worse. Work with this reality. It’s time for you to change this dynamic.

Explain to your husband that you will need to reduce your financial contribution to your household, and you hope that he can increase his contribution. Every month, put aside this small amount for your mother. I pray that Allah places tremendous barakah in your sadaqah towards your mother.

Mother

You are obligated to look after your mother, and it is obligatory for you to maintain family ties with her. I can only imagine how much joy she feels when she sees you and your children.

Your request to see your mother once a week is perfectly reasonable. Even if your husband is not ‘in the mood’ to drop you and your children off to see her, he is bound by the Shari’ah to do so. This is especially important because your mother is not Muslim, and one of the best means of da’wah is good character.

How many kilometres away is your mother’s home? In the Shafi’i school of thought, as long as it is less than 81 km away from where you live, then you do not need a mahram to travel with you. It is permissible for you to catch a taxi there with your children.

Another alternative is arranging for a friend to drive you there and back. Could you arrange that with one of the sisters you know and trust?

I strongly encourage you to learn how to drive and get your license. This way, you will not be so reliant on your husband. As your children get older, it will be more and more useful for you to be able to drive and stay connected with them. Be an example of empowerment and strength for your daughters, especially.

Sacrifice

I am so sorry that your husband is being difficult. I pray that Allah rewards you for giving up your rights for the sake of pleasing Him. Even if your husband is treating you unjustly and is unappreciative of all you have done for him, trust that that nothing is lost with Allah.

Take this as a reminder that even when creation lets us down, our Creator does not. This is indeed a very painful reality, because the dunya is not our lasting home.

Prayer of Guidance

For as long as you remain married to your husband, you are bound by your marriage contract. Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up til seven times about this matter in your marriage. Look at what Allah unfolds for you before you make any final decisions.

If your husband continues to resist any attempts for you to help your mother, then that is a sign for you that your marriage is something you may need to end. If your husband softens his stance, then this a sign for you to keep working on your marriage.

Please do everything in your power to save your marriage. However, please be honest with yourself. It sounds like your husband is extremely controlling, and has taken advantage of your kindness.

Communication

Learning how to communicate more effectively with your husband takes time and practice. I recommend “The Relationship Cure” by John M. Gottman and Joan DeClaire. This will teach you better ways to communicate with your husband, while staying calm.

Self-care

Please see a culturally-sensitive counsellor to help you get through this. It is important for you to recognise what you can and cannot change. Do things that bring you joy e.g. read Qur’an, read books, drink herbal tea, exercise, visit friends etc.

You cannot change your husband’s behaviour, but you can change your own. Balance patience with wisdom. Know when to assert yourself, and how.

I pray that Allah guides your mother to Islam, soften your husband’s heart, and makes your marriage a safe haven for you, your husband, and your children. Please keep in touch.

Please see:

My Husband Mistreats Me and He Doesn’t Pray
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

[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.

Worried About Sister’s Bad Influence on my Child

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalamualaikum.
My sister is currently living with me. She has adopted a lot of the Christian ways. She claims she is Muslim but she doesn’t practice it. I’m worried my forthcoming child will adopt her ways. Would it be best if I tell her to move out or should I keep her in an Islamic household to try to change her views?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
InshaAllah you are in the best of health. This is a difficult situation and I pray that Allah eases your hardship. Tests of family are often very difficult to bear, but seek comfort in Allah’s promise of ease.
“So, verily, with every difficulty there is relief. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” [Quran, 94:5-6]
Rights of Family
Despite your sister’s problematic behaviour, she still has rights over you.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, said, ‘I am the Merciful (ar-Rahman). I have created ties of kinship and derive a name for it from My Name. If anyone maintains ties of kinship, I maintain connection with him, and I shall cut off anyone who cuts them off.'” [Bukhari]
Be kind and patient with her because this pleases Allah. Connect your actions to this lofty intention, especially when she behaves in ways which upset you.
Setting Boundaries
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “A believer does not allow himself to be stung twice from one (and the same) hole.” [Bukhari]
For as long as your sister is living under your house, she is subject to your rules. Be firm, and be kind. Let her know that you love her and want the best for her, but because she is living within a Muslim household, there are standards of behaviour that need to be upheld. Among them is respecting your wishes to raise your child as a Muslim, and part of that is observing correct Islamic manners around your sister’s future niece/nephew.
It is likely that you are the last link to her and Islam. If you were to ask her to leave your home, where would she go? Who is she likely to befriend, and then live with? It is highly unlikely that she will seek out the companionship of good Muslims. By leaving your home, she will probably be even more involved with the very non-Muslims you disapprove of.
Conviction
Take this opportunity to strengthen your own belief in Allah and Islam by connecting with traditional Islamic classes. Show your sister that your certainty in Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is not shaken by her wavering faith. Through your interactions with her, show your sister the reality of what it means to be Muslim – submitting to Allah with grace and good character.
Hope
Have high hopes in the mercy of Allah. Keep making dua for your sister, and don’t lose hope in her. Allah is the Turner of hearts.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said three days before his death, “None of you should die without having a good opinion of Allah, the Mighty and Exalted.” [Muslim]
Birth
Perhaps the birth of your child may be a catalyst for your sister to return to practising Islam. Being an aunt myself, I can testify to the deep love an aunt has for her niece or nephew. Having a small child to look out for often encourages aunties or uncles to become better people.
Raise your child to love Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and don’t be afraid that the influence of his/her aunty will be sufficient to draw him/her away from the straight path. Hedaya (guidance) is a gift from Allah, and once firmly rooted in hearts, will not go away. Rather, have high hopes that your child may be a means of good for your sister.
Think of the many Muslim children out there who have non-Muslim relatives because their mother, father, or both, converted to Islam. Rather than cut off ties with non-Muslim family, it’s far more important to keep ties with them. These ties of love and kinship are what draw non-Muslims, or non-practising Muslims, towards embracing Islam. Never underestimate the power of compassion.
“By the Late Afternoon, truly man is in loss. Except for those who believe and do right actions and encourage each other to the truth and encourage each other to steadfastness.” [Quran, 103:1-4]
May Allah mend the ties in your family, increase the love between you, and grant you pious children who remind others of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Please see: Parents And Maintaining Ties Of Kinship
wassalam,
Raidah
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani