How do I deal with a jealous family member?
I have a sister in law who for some reason is jealous of me and occasionally says bad things about me in family gatherings. I do not like confrontations and rudeness so how do I deal with her as she is difficult to avoid in family functions?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Firstly we would like to commend you on desiring the Shari῾ah’s guidance on this issue.
You claim your sister in law is jealous of you? Maybe you are jumping to conclusions based on a few misinterpretations? It is vital we think positive and not draw presumptions without concrete evidence. Thinking negative only affects you as you alone bear the weight of the issue. In life never jump immediately to the negative impulses which flow through us.
Nevertheless, if you genuinely feel that her jealousy and ill towards you is a reality, then you may practice on what you think to be most appropriate from the following:
Consider speaking to a family member or a friend who is in contact with the both of you and is a well wisher. This person can mediate and speak to the opposite party to reconcile between you two.
You may attempt to ‘melt’ her jealousy altogether by showing her love and appreciation from yourself. Praise her on whatever good you see from her. Praise her directly and indirectly. When she is around then praise her to your family and speak good of her. It is human nature to become inclined to those who praise us. Your praising her will incline her towards you and then you will be safeguarded from her evil.
Another way to dissolve her jealousy is by sending her a gift. Gifts induce mutual love. So a simple gift may bridge the gap between you.
You can start speaking to her on general issues and let her get comfortable with you. Once she is comfortable with you, it might stop her from attacking you.
Do not let her actions bother you too much. Never be concerned with what people think about you either. One day people like you and the next day they dislike you. Peoples’ attitudes and behaviours are ever changing like the weather. Be concerned with what Allah the Almighty thinks of you. Be engaged with positive and productive activities daily. Be so engrossed in useful endeavours that you neither have the time or concern of what is going on outside of your busy schedule.
In family functions you should walk in with a smile and exit with a smile. Do not get occupied in the gossip. If a gathering in a function has the elements of unlawful speech such as backbiting and slandering, kindly tell the people it is better to refrain from such gossip. Work on the women in such gatherings on a one to one basis. Try and encourage them in a polite manner to refrain from evil talk.
All the while, you should make constant du῾ā to Allah Ta῾ālā for yourself and your sister in law.
Most importantly, the Shari῾āh has provided us with supplications to invoke Allah so that we can secure His protection from jealousy and malice.
One should not miss reciting surah al-ikhlās, surah al-falaq and surah an-nās (Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad, Falaq, and Naas) every morning and every night, three times. One should ideally say them once after every prayer.
Likewise āyah al-Kursī should be recited every morning and night, and ideally after every prayer.
May Allah Ta῾ālā instill mutual love within your family and especially between yourself and your sister in law. Amīn.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Faraz Ibn Adam al-Mahmudi