How do I deal with a difficult mother in law?


What does Islam say about a situation where husband and wife are willing for something, but the mother-in-law disagrees.

My husband use to be in other city. He comes on weekends.

If he wants to take me for shopping or lunch/dinner outside, my mother-in law is never happy. I do not visit my parents regularly, but if I ask my husband, he is always willing, but my mother-law says no need of such visits. How can I ignore my parents just for my mother-in-law? Please suggest me what should I do?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Sister in Islam,

We acknowledge and understand your predicament and misery. In principle, it is incorrect for the mother in law to unnecessarily interfere between the husband and wife. She should understand the privacy and free-time her son and daughter-in-law may want to enjoy.

Nevertheless, surely you will be rewarded on your steadfastness and endurance on patience.[1] There are various methods you could adopt to address your difficulty:

•        Request your husband to speak to his mother to clarify the matter on behalf of you;

•        Alternatively, express your sentiments to an elderly reputable person who may enjoy some influence over your mother-in-law and thus explain to her kindly;

•        Contact a local reliable female scholar who you could confide in to overcome your difficulty;

•        Read books of the pious predecessors and listen to the speeches of our great Ulema which may also help you overcome you’re the state you find yourself in;

•        Keep a very friendly and positive attitude towards her and hopefully this will soften her heart towards you;

•        It may be that your mother in law feels deserted and abandoned. Take her with you occasionally for shopping etc.  

•        Bring her some occasional gifts

•        The haven to your distress is in Dua (supplicating to Allah) and Zikr (remembrance of Allah). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Dua is a weapon of the believer, and the pillar of faith and the light of the heavens and the earth[2].

And Allah Ta`ala says:

Remember, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.

Sister in Islam, while you consider ways to address your difficulty, be tolerant and forgiving. Allah Ta`ala says:

وليعفوا وليصفحوا ألا تحبون أن يغفر الله لكم والله غفور رحيم

Translation: Let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is All-Forgiving All-Merciful[3].

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) states:

صل من قطعك وأعط من حرمك واعف عمن ظلمك

Translation: Join ties with one who cuts you off, give to one who deprives you and forgive one who oppresses you[4].

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best


Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: من ترك الكذب وهو باطل بني له في ربض الجنة ومن ترك المراء وهو محق بني له في وسطها ومن حسن خلقه بني له في أعلاها

[Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 1993]

[2] قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: الدّعاء سلاح المؤمن وعماد الدّين ونور السماوات والأرض

[At-Targib wa at-Tarhib, 2: 390]

[3] [Al-Qur`an, 24: 22]

[4] [Musnad al-Imam Ahmad, 18032]

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