Living with abusive mother-in-law
Fatwa No: 340528

  • Fatwa Date:9-1-2017 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 11, 1438
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Assalaamu alaykum. I have been married for seven years, and I live in a joint family. From the beginning of my marriage, I have been mentally abused by my mother-in-law. Recently, we bought a flat of our own, and I wanted to live separately with my husband and my only child. He agreed before, but now he refuses to live separately by saying that they will be hurt a lot. He also says that he will separate after their death. Our relationship is getting worse due to my mother-in-law's interference in everything. I am just broken now. I had a dream of my own little house, and now I will not be able to live in peace. What should I do now? Sometimes, I feel like I should get divorced, since he lied to me and shattered my dream.


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. 

Problems between the wife and her mother-in-law are quite common. If the mother-in-law is the one wronging the wife, then the reaction should be patience and dealing with the matter wisely on part of the husband and the wife together so that they can appease her in order to avoid her evil and ward off her harm.

The scholars stated that the wife has the right to live in a separate accommodation where she finds no inconvenience in living with her in-laws or others; please refer to fatwa 84608. It is a good thing that the husband is keen on being dutiful towards his parents; however, this must not be done at the expense of his wife. He must give each his due right to achieve justice.

We advise you to turn to Allah for help and to remember Him frequently (with Thikr [expressions of remembrance of Allah]) so as to attain peace of mind and tranquility. Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.} [Quran 13:28] Try to take advantage of suitable times to discuss this matter with your husband. If you need to ask someone whom he respects to talk to him about it, then there is no harm in that.

As for divorce, the wife has the right to ask for a divorce if she is subjected to manifest harm from her husband; however, it is no secret that divorce is not always the solution. A wife may hasten to get divorced and regret it later on. So do not hasten to divorce, and Allah, The Exalted, may grant you a way out of your problem and relieve you of your hardship. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 275116.

Allah knows best.

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