Wife not obliged to serve in-laws
Fatwa No: 332200

  • Fatwa Date:19-9-2016 - Thul-Hijjah 17, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. My mother and father are fighting almost daily on the topic that my mother has to do the work of my grandparents since we all live together. My mother feels that she is not free to make her own choices and urges my father to live separately. My father tells her to be patient because he cannot leave my grandparents alone since they are old, and there is nobody else (one of his brothers is dead, and the other does not live with my grandparents) to take care of them. My grandparents also interfere with my parents' life as they think that my mother is not treating them well or that she is trying to take my father away from them. My father's sisters come to our house some days, and my mother then complains that she has to do even more work (although they do help her sometimes). This problem has eventually led to two divorces between my father and mother, and I do not want this to happen because I love them. Can you please find a solution to this problem through and authentic hadith or the story of any of the Companions, the pious predecessors, the two generations following them, or some of the people who were close to Allaah? Please answer as soon as possible. May Allaah reward you. Wassalaam.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

Firstly, we would like to commend your keenness on doing what is good. You should know that your mother is not obliged to serve your grandparents; however, she earns great rewards for doing so as underlined in fatwa 84909. You should advise her to be patient and remind her of the great reward that Allaah shall grant her for doing so, because serving them pleases her husband and helps her show kindness to two old Muslim people as well as exert efforts to benefit Muslims.

Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him married a previously married woman to help him take care of his seven sisters and serve them. She did do so although she was not obliged to do it out of her obedience to her husband as a form of good companionship. Faatimah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her used to grind grains with the grindstone herself. Asmaa'  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her used to fetch fodder for her husband's, Az-Zubayr, horse from a distant place. Many scholars underlined that the woman is not obliged to carry out such chores; however, the women of the righteous predecessors willingly carried out such chores, hoping for the reward of Allaah.

You can also advise your father to relieve your mother of some of these duties; he should hire someone to help her with the household chores and serving his parents if he can afford it. He can also help her himself or have you help her carry out those chores. Indeed, all difficult matters are made easy by means of good and compassionate words and kindness. We ask Allaah to reconcile between them and bring their hearts together.

Allaah knows best.

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