Wife not obliged to live with mother-in-law
Fatwa No: 337483


My mother-in-law lives with us. She lives downstairs and we live upstairs in the same house. Her door is always open and we can see her anytime we wish. Her apartment is bigger than us. Our apartment is very small. If you come out of the bedroom or the bathroom, you are in living room. Recently, she has been sick with a cough, and she says that it gets worse at night. We have been married for less than three years. Our toddler daughter has a small room. At night, my mother-in-law wants to come and sleep on the couch in my apartment. Again, if you are on the couch, you see and hear everything in the bedrooms and bathroom because the place is very small. I do not feel comfortable with that. As soon as I put my daughter to sleep and I am ready to relax for a couple of hours before going to bed, she comes upstairs. I am forced to go to my room because I do not feel comfortable staying in my night clothes with her. If I decide to stay up, the only couch we have is occupied by her and my husband. In addition, I and my husband can not have any time together to be intimate or just relax and talk. I told my husband that he should go instead and spend the night with his mom downstairs and give me my space, but he refuses. I never told him to be mean to his mom. I know she is the mother and that making her happy, especially at an old age, is a must, but I also feel that I have no privacy and no comfort in my own house. My brother-in-law and his wife also live in the house, and they do not do anything to keep her company. I think it is unfair. When I tried to discuss this issue with my husband, he made me feel that I am bad. Again, I am extremely nice to my mom-in-law and treat her well. I just want my husband to understand that, Islamically, a wife should have privacy, and a mother and a child need quiet time to sleep and be comfortable after the tiredness of the whole day. I will not be upset if he goes downstairs. I just need some space for myself.


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

Firstly, we would like to thank you for your good treatment of your mother-in-law and for helping your husband be dutiful towards his mother. This is what every wise, believing woman should do; so may Allah reward you generously.

It is your right as a wife to be in an independent residence where you do not feel any inconvenience by the presence of your husband's family, including his mother, please refer to fatwa 156921. Just as your husband is obliged to fulfill his mother's rights of dutifulness and care, he is also obliged to fulfill your rights. Justice entails giving each his due rights. He does not have the right to oblige you to accept his mother's presence with you in the same house. To fulfil both duties, he can take care of his mother in her own house and let you live in your apartment and enjoy your marital life without inconvenience. It should be noted that if the mother needed to be cared for, then all her children are enjoined to take care of her, and not one of them apart from the others.

Our advice to you is to talk kindly and wisely with your husband about this matter. You may seek the mediation of some wise people if needed. Be careful lest the devil interferes between you to ruin your marriage, for he is the true enemy, as Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze.} [Quran 35:6] He eagerly seeks to sow seeds of discord, hatred, and enmity among those bonded with love.

Allah knows best.

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