Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja
Question: As’Salamu Alaykum,
I don’t get along with my stepmother. She treats her own children better than my own siblings. I do everything I can to make her happy. Most the time she is nice but sometimes she can make my life a misery. When she doesn’t get her way she curses at me and my father. She also tells people outside the family about our family issues. I worry about how she will treat my father and my other siblings if I get married and move out of the house. Please can you give me advice on how to deal with her.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I hope you are doing well inshaAllah. May Allah grant your family ease in this difficult situation. There are several points that I would like to share with you. I pray that Allah puts benefit in them for you.
1. Allah commands us to, “repel [the evil deed] with one which is better.” [Quran 41:34]. Based on the Qur’anic teachings and the prophetic guidance, you should not respond to your stepmother’s bad deeds with similar bad deeds. Rather, you should model the behavior of a righteous Muslim, who upholds his manners and honorable behavior in a way that is suitable to each situation he is in.
2. Being respectful towards your stepmother does not mean that you allow her to continue hurting you. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reminded us that a believer “does not get stung from the same hole twice.” This practical advice teaches us to be aware of our circumstances and the causes of our troubles. If you know that having close interactions with your stepmother will inevitably lead to problems, then you are justified in keeping your distance, without being rude.
3. You should recognize what is within your boundaries to change and what is not. If you are able to talk to your father and reach some solutions this would be good. However, it would be out of your boundaries to directly cause trouble with your stepmother because this would put more of a strain on your father and his relationship with his wife. Your father is ultimately the one in a position to resolve the situation.
4. Be patient and make du`a. Remember the harm that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, patiently bore and despite it how he prayed for guidance for his people.
And Allah knows best.