Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question:Aslaamu’alaikum,
I have been happily married to my husband for 2 years now but the fact that we live next to my in-laws makes things really difficult. My brothers in law enter my house whenever they want leaving me no privacy and my mother in law is extremly cold towards me. I really don’t want to raise children living like this.
Please advise me on this situation…
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that this finds you well. May Allah grant you ease in this difficult situation.
Being on the same page
Your husband and yourself need to be on the same page on: 1) Your joint decision to stay or leave 2) How to treat your mother-in-law 3) What to do when issues arise.
Consider moving out
Explain to your husband, calmly and factually, about the difficulties you are having in your current living situation. It is praiseworthy of him to want to to care for his mother in her old age, but it is also important for him to consider your feelings. There is a reason why in Islamic law, married couples are encouraged to have their own private quarters.
Remember to broach this topic from the angle of compassion, and not accusation and judgement.
Whatever sacrifices you make for his sake and for his mother’s will not be wasted in the eyes of Allah. At the same time, do be realistic with yourself and your ability to cope. Do not merely endure this in silence and grow in grief and resentment.
Delaying children
It is actually wiser for you to delay having children with your current living condition. Pregnancy, childbirth and raising a child are all tremendous life changes, and it would be easier for you to cope if you have a stronger foundation.
Ask Allah for ease and have trust that He is looking after you.
Continue being kind
May Allah reward you for your gestures of kindness towards your mother-in-law, especially because she is not reciprocating. Continue these acts of gift-giving and kindness for Allah’s sake. Nothing is lost with Him. Many cultural norms are deeply unfair towards daughter-in-laws, so seek comfort in knowing that Allah answers the dua of the oppressed.
The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said to Mua’ad Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him), “Beware of the supplication of the unjustly treated, because there is no shelter or veil between it (the supplication of the one who is suffering injustice) and Allah (SWT)” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Self-care
Please remember to look after yourself during this stressful time. Connect with your family and friends, seek counselling, eat well and exercise. Consider reading “The Happiness Trap” by Dr Russ Harris as a way to cope with what you cannot change, until Allah moves you out.
Duas in the last third of the night
Increase in dua, dhikr and prayer during the last third of the night. Draw closer to Allah in this time, and remember that He knows your deepest fears and hopes, and only He has the power to remove this trial from you. What is this dunya, after all, other than a temporary abode of tribulation?
Through being patient with your current hardship, I pray that you will attain the highest ranks in Jannah, your true home.
“And those who have believed and done righteous deeds – We will surely assign to them of Paradise [elevated] chambers beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers.” [Quran, 29:58]
Please see:
Wife’s right to housing separate from her in-laws
Dealing with an ill-tempered mother-in-law
Living with disrespectful and overbearing in-laws
Problem with in-laws: maintaining distance and advice on mending ties
wassalam,
Raidah
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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