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Cutting Ties to In-laws

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked if it is permissible to cut ties to in-laws who are abusive in order to ward off harm to oneself and one’s children.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am in need of advice. As a daughter in law, I have cut ties with my husband’s brother and his family. (My husband still maintains contact.) The incidences were such that I no longer feel my children are safe in their presence, as it resulted in my children paying for the consequences of his action. He has committed many other negative deeds, which I have forgiven. Please note this brother in law is well-known for his hot temperament so reasoning with him is out of the question. I have therefore chosen to distance myself as a means to protect my mental well-being, to protect my children (both under five), and to avoid further problems.

I understand my children will be obligated to maintain kinship once they reach a balig age. My question is, given their young age – is it a necessity now?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

If the anticipated harm is only physical, you should all keep ties with your mother and father in-law by telephone. If the harm is more emotional and physical, then just keep your distance as long as you know the harm exists. You can still send letters and gifts on Eid, for example.

As for your brother-in-law, you don’t need to have anything to do with him anyway because he is not your mahram. You should just have the children send kind messages now and then – again, providing that does not also result in harm.

Have your husband keep ties, as to do otherwise will only worsen things. As a general rule, it is good to keep the son/daughter in the range of fire, and the daughter-in-law out of it, as long as that also doesn’t result in harm.

Their are a lot of toxic relationships in many families, and the principle of avoiding harm is given precedence over achieving benefit. That is to say that the words of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Let there be no harm and no reciprocating harm.” (Malik) is given precedence over his words, “He who cuts family ties will not enter Paradise.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

You should however consult some other members of the family and people with life experience to ascertain the best way to remove the harm once and for all, or how to navigate the whole issue in the best way.

Make a lot of dua for them, even if they have wronged you and your children.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

My Family Doesn’t Get Along With My Spouse’s Family

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: My husband and I got married with our parents’ approval.

At our wedding there was a bitter exchange of words between our parents on trivial matters like wedding venue, clothes, food, etc. Three years later our parents still refuse to meet.

It started with the bitterness on the wedding, however things went out of hand when deaths happened in our families and our parents didn’t visit after the deaths.  This increased the bitterness.

We recently had a child and his parents traveled to see us and we met them every other day. I’m on good terms with his parents. However, neither parents exchanged congratulations or even met despite a grandchild coming in our marriage.

Some days, me and my husband feel really low and I wonder if this marriage will last. He has to deal with  our parents not meeting and my mom and dad who have now distanced themselves from him. I, however, have to carry the burden of my parents disliking him, my husband disliking them and the parents not meeting. Due to all this, I have not even enjoyed my own pregnancy and motherhood.

Now my parents live in the same country and insist on meeting us and our child. My husband wants to cut down the meetings drastically because he feels very hurt.

I feel all this has started to affect our married life. We are always fighting, arguing, tired of carrying these emotional burdens.

I need advice on how to find my happiness again. I want to love my husband without feeling angry at him for hating my parents and I want to love my parents without them hating my husband. I feel stuck in the middle, and don’t want my child growing up in this bitterness.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question. I pray this message finds you well.

Given the high improbability that all concerned parties will agree to family counseling, you and your husband should focus on what you can control: your relationship and your behavior.

This is the sort of situation where you simply decide to LET IT GO. Just drop all of it for the sake of God. Holding on to this kind of bitterness, keeping score (who visited whom, ignored whom, criticized whom), and tallying up the affronts consumes a colossal amount of emotional energy and drains your spirits. Why be weighed down by this kind of negativity?

Focus on your baby and your marriage. Pray together. Make dhikr together. Keep the atmosphere in the home as tranquil and spiritually elevating as possible.

Organize family gatherings and remain cheerful and positive. Overlook people’s rudeness. Eventually, they will figure out that they can’t get to you and will, hopefully, desist from this foolishness.

Above all, ask Allah to reconcile hearts.

May Allah make things easy,

Zaynab Ansari

Living With Disrespectful and Overbearing In-Laws

Answered by Dr. Bano Mutuja

Question: As Salam Aliekum,

My husband and I have been living with my in-laws home since we got married a few years ago. My relationship with my husband is still good, alhumdulillah. But there is tension with my in-laws because my mother-in-law wants to be involved in everything.  But if I or my husband disagree with her in any way she creates a huge scene where she screams, yells and throws things. Many times my father-in-law and husband have to restrain her because she goes out of control. She says very mean and hurtful things to my husband and me. My husband and father-in-law say that she does not mean them and that I should not take these things seriously. I have been very kind, and patient through all of this. I say sorry when it’s not my fault and I do as she says. We have no way of predicting what will set her off or what we can do to prevent it.

I want to move out because I do not feel comfortable, safe or happy in their house. My in-laws did agree that we can move out, but I don’t know if that will happen.

Please make dua for me and help me.

Answer: Wa’laikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakathu Dear Sister,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

It is truly a blessing that your relationship with your husband remains strong Alhumdullilah.

Legal Duties vs. the Way of Excellence

From the outset it is important to understand the distinction between legality and the ways of excellence. Though you, as the daughter in law, do not have any Islamically prescribed duties towards your in laws other than being good to them, your continued good character will inshaAllah, entail immense reward.

Maintaining Good Character

Your approach to your mother in law thus far, of patience, good character and ascent where possible is the approach we are guided toward. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) would increase in excellent character the more he was subjected to bad character. This beautiful trait turned many hearts towards him and is undoubtedly one of the best examples for us to follow. Your continued patience and good character will also, inshaAllah, increase the love and appreciation your husband has for you.

Consider Separate Accommodation

Given that your in laws have agreed to you moving out in principle, this is something you should pursue. Often, in situations such as this, a little distance can make the world of difference. Any such move should happen whilst maintaining the best of character with your in laws.

It is your right to have separate accommodation provided for you by your husband (for full details of this please see: A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate from Her In-Laws). However, undoubtedly the most easy of marriages are those where both spouses look to the rights of the other, rather than their own.

May the All Loving grant you infinite ease and strength in the difficulties you face, and put love between you and your loved ones.

Ma’salam

Bano

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani