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I married a few years ago by choice to someone my mom dad approved of. My husband's parents were good friends with mine but they mutually distanced themselves from each other. After many years, my husband approached me as I was friends with his friend and we decided that we would like to get married so we both approached our parents and with their blessings we were married. Since then the families have been taking small issues and not meeting each other, even on deaths one side doesn't go visit the other and then the other side reciprocates and does the same. Over time our individual parents starting disrespecting each of us too, my mom in law would never acknowledge or compliment me. With time my relationship has improved with my in laws and I get equal respect if not heartfelt love from them. With my mother and my husband the situation has just gotten worse. My mother is not on good terms with a lot of people in the community as she often gets rude and cuts off ties. She doesn't meet her own family (parents/relatives) either. Since I got married she has given me a lot of stress complaining to me about my husband's dressing sense that he dresses too simply, his parents don't spend enough on us, etc. She recently met with my husband's relatives and spoke of a lot of things that didn't need to be talked about -general gossip about his family etc, when we confronted her she shut the phone on my husband's face. Since then she's been very cold and distanced with us, we are on a group chat and she has now started overtly pouring love towards my sister's husband to make my husband feel bad. I am very disturbed by all this to the extent that I am unable to fulfill my own duties towards my child because of my mother's constant rudeness and intolerance of my husband and his family. I look up to my husband who has patiently ignored this all and continues to wish my mother on her birthday and other times with my mother not even replying. I want to know what steps I can take to stop this altogether. My mother constantly laughs at other people, makes fun of people's babies and their physical characteristics and thinks her style of living is above my in laws. I feel sad in my heart to have a mother who I can't look up to. I have told her on many occasions to not do these things especially cause she constantly speaks of Allah and goes for Umrahs but I see her talking so harshly with my own father and now with my husband. I wish my father could stop her but she emotionally disables him to do anything. I can't and don't want to break ties with my mother but want to know what my Islam teaches me when my own mother becomes like this with my respected husband.

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Her son-in-law

Her attitude towards her son-in-law

The attitude of the truly-guided Muslim woman towards her sons-in-law is no different than her attitude towards her daughters-in-law. She treats her daughter-in-law as if she were one of her own daughters, and similarly she treats her son-in-law as if he were one of her own sons. Just as she wants her own son to be one of the best of people, so she also wants her son-in-law to be one of the best of people too.

She knows how to make a good choice in selecting a son-in-law

So she makes a good choice when selecting a son-in-law, accepting none but one who is religious, well-mannered and has a good reputation, as the Prophet (PBUH) encouraged Muslims to do in the hadith:

"If there comes to you one with whose religious commitment and character you are pleased, then marry your daughter to him; if you do not do so, it will be a cause of fitnah and widespread mischief on earth."3

In seeking a spouse for her daughter, she is not attracted only by a smart appearance, high status or plentiful wealth, because she knows that by marrying her daughter to this man she is going to gain a son, to whom she will entrust her daughter's honour, life and happiness, none of which may be protected or properly taken care of except by a man who is well-mannered, religious, noble, chivalrous and moral.

She respects and honours him

Not surprisingly, her son-in-law is on the receiving end of her honour, respect and appreciation. At every opportunity she makes him feel that he has become a member of the family by marrying her daughter, so she wishes him and her daughter happiness and success in their life together. She lets him know that he is the one to whom she has entrusted the precious honour of her daughter, and in whom she places her hopes for the achievement of her daughter's fondest wishes. She makes him feel that she is a second mother to him, so she does not withhold any advice, or spare any effort to do whatever will bring happiness to him, his wife and his children.

She helps her daughter to be a good wife to her husband

The wise Muslim woman never ceases to offer advice to her daughter in ways that will be of benefit to her in running her household and taking care of her husband and children. She always points out to her daughter anything that will please her husband and make him happy, and encourages her to undertake the duties of a wife and mother in the best way possible. If she notices any shortcoming, negligence or carelessness on the part of her daughter, she hastens to correct and advise her, and helps her to make up for the shortcoming, so that there will be no reason for her son-in-law to look down on her daughter. She does not neglect to mention her son-in-law's good characteristics from time to time, so that her daughter will become more fond of him, and more content with what Allah (SWT) has given her. In this way, a mother becomes the greatest help to her daughter in consolidating her marriage and making it happy.

She is fair, and is never biased in favour of her daughter

The Muslim mother-in-law is always fair in her opinions and judgements if any misunderstanding arises between her daughter and son-in-law, or if she notices any failure on her daughter's part to be a good wife or to perform her domestic duties or to take care of her husband's legitimate desires. She does not stand by her daughter, rather she speaks words of fairness and truth, as commanded by Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an:

( . . . Whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned . . .) (Qur'an 6:152) ( . . . And when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice . . .) (Qur'an 4:58)

If she notices that her daughter tends to take a lot of money from her husband or spends extravagantly, and that her words of advice to her daughter are not heeded, then she speaks out, explaining to her daughter the error of her ways and pointing out how she has transgressed the limits laid down by Islam with regard to spending, as has been outlined in the Qur'anic description of the honoured, truly-guided servants of Allah (SWT): ( Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just [balance] between those [extremes].) (Qur'an 25:67)

If what she notices on her daughter's part is excessive power and a tendency to undermine her husband's honour and qawwamah, she hastens to explain to her daughter in the clearest terms that men are qawwamun over women, as the Qur'an says: ( Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means . . .) (Qur'an 4:34)

and that men have been given this role of protecting and maintaining women for two essential reasons which women should never forget: the precedence given to men, and the wealth that they spend on women: ( . . . but men have a degree [of advantage] over them.) (Qur'an 2:228)

The mother-in-law who is adhering to Islam and who is wise and fair does not differentiate between her son and her son-in-law. Just as she wants her son to fulfil his role as qawwam over his wife and to conduct his marriage wisely, seriously and in a manly fashion, so she wants the same thing for her son-in-law too, even if that means that her daughter has to face some strictness, because justice demands that of every woman who believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day. Just as the Muslim mother-in-law will criticize her daughter-in-law if necessary for any extravagance that she may notice, out of compassion towards her son, she will also criticize her own daughter if she oversteps the limits, in order to be fair and just, and in obedience to the words of the Qur'an:

( . . . Whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned . . .) (Qur'an 6:152)

She deals with problems wisely

A son-in-law may be of a certain mentality with which his wife and mother-in-law do not feel at ease, which may result in mutual dislike and arguments. In such cases, the duty of the mother-in-law who understands the teachings of Islam is to approach her son-in-law in a sensitive manner, taking into account his particular mentality and nature, to deal with him wisely, and never to despair of reaching her goal with a measure of patience and persistence.

She is always very careful never to exaggerate her son-in-law's negative points to her daughter; rather, so long as those negative aspects do not affect his religion or moral character and do not warrant the end of the marriage, she tries to make them look as small as possible, whilst striving to deal with them by legitimate means and wise methods.

Thus the mother-in-law who is truly guided by Islam becomes a blessing and a source of goodness for her daughter and her husband, offering solid support to their marriage and proving by her fairness and piety that she is indeed a second mother to the husband, not the traditional enemy of the couple, as she is often described in backward, jahili societies where comedians tell funny stories of that everlasting enmity which in fact is the result of the Muslims' failure to properly apply the laws and values of their religion.

We may well imagine the great happiness felt by both families - her son's family and her daughter's family - towards this wise, sensitive, pious mother-in-law, when she is sincere and loved by both her son-in-law and her daughter-in-law, and this love is reflected in the happiness oboth families.

By virtue of her taqwa, fairness and good to her son- and daughter-in-law, she increases the happiness of her daughter and son, and contributes to the comfort and tranquillity of their families.

How beautiful are the deeds of the intelligent, believing mother-in-law, and how great is the need of her sons' and daughters' families for her!


(Bukhari and Muslim), See Sharh al-Sunnah, 9/8, Kitab al-nikah, bab ikhtiyar dhat al-din. Sahih Muslim, 2/37, Kitab al-iman, bab bayan an al-din al-nasihah. A hasan hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, 2/274, Abwab al-nikah, 3; Ibn Majah, 1/633, Kitab al-nikah, bab al-akfa'.

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Asked: Apr 24 at 09:54

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Last updated: Apr 24 at 12:07

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