Can I refuse to live in the same house as my abusive mother-in-law?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

I have been married for 10 yrs and live in Canada. My in laws specially mother in law has always created problems in our marriage. She lies a lot, she lies out of habit even about very minor daily things. She tried multiple times to create misunderstanding between me and my husband. You can get an idea about her by knowing that my brother in law got divorced within a year of his first marriage because he used to live with my mother in law and is about to divorce her second wife even before rukhsati. Now my husband is insisting that he invites his parents over to visit and live with us in Canada. We visited Pakistan last month and their attitude were really bad with me. Every other day there were fights right in front of kids with really foul language.

Now if they come here the same is going to happen and I dont want to trouble my kids anymore. As my 9 yr old son already asked me (after watching the fight) that why do they hate you so much. My 6 yr old daughter has a psychiatric issue that gets worsen when she is under stress or when we get angry on her and it happened when we were in Pakistan that her condition got really worse after those fights. I dont want my in laws to come here firstly because she will try again to make us fight. Secondly because of my kids. Thirdly, when she came here last time she took contact numbers of our friends hereand contacted them later to tell lies about us.

I am not stopping my husband from sending them money or calling them regularly or visiting them in Pakistan but I simply cant allow them to come to Canada and create more problems in our marital life. My husbnad has said that he will bring them to Canada whether he has to leave me for that. Whenever my husband is with them he totally changes and insults me badly infront of them. He even asked me to go to my parents house just to please my in laws.

So I cant take this risk otherwise my marital life will be ruined. I am bearing everything because of my kids. If there was some other woman in my place, she would have left after all of this insulting attitude. Am I sinful in not allowing them to come to Canada? I just want to save my marriage from more trouble and want to save my children’s innocence.


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

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

We sympathize with you on the present circumstances that you are facing. Indeed it is a great challenge that you have been tested with. Allow us to put things in perspective.

Allah Ta’ala in his infinite wisdom and mercy has created human beings. What he desires from us is that we live a life in conformity to His commands. When we live a life in conformity to the commands and wishes of Allah Ta’āla then this does not benefit Allah Ta’ala in the least, rather the one who solely benefits is you and I. Allah Ta’ala has given us such a beautiful Deen that not only do we make our hereafter by means of it, but at the same time our own comfort and ease lies in this very same Deen. When a person understands that his/her purpose in this world is something so much more greater than to merely live and pass the normal stages of life but rather to attain the pleasure of His creator, then the realities of this life are quite clear in front of him. 

We advise you to obey the commands of Allah Ta’ala since this should be given the highest priority in any Muslims’ life. Many times a test or hardship that we face in life is a work of our own hands. When we are not obedient to Allah Ta’ala then he tests us with different types of trials in order that we turn back to him and obey his commands.

As a wife your duty is to serve your husband. You should be very particular of this. Many Ahadith emphasize the importance of this duty. Definitely in the pleasure of your husband lies the pleasure of Allah and in the anger of your husband lies the anger of Allah. You should do your utmost in trying to keep your husband happy. If you see that something is a barrier in fulfilling your duties to your husband then you should examine this factor. If you feel that by you living in a separate home from your mother-in-law would better help you in doing this, then this is a legitimate request. It is your right as a wife to demand your husband to arrange separate living accommodations for you. Even if your mother-in-law comes to Canada, she will not be allowed to enter your living quarters without your consent.[1]

If your mother in law is not happy with this decision then your husband should try to explain the reason behind this decision. If your mother in law is still not happy about this and hurls abuse at you and your husband, then you and your husband whilst maintaining her respect should remain silent. You should always try to adopt this policy with your mother in law. If she is abusive then try to avoid her presence as much as possible. Where circumstances do not permit then show some tolerance and remain silent. 

We make Du’aa that Allah Ta’ala guides you and makes all your affairs easy.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Abdullah ibn Mohammed Aijaz

Student Darul Iftaa
Baltimore, USA 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] شرح مختصر الطحاوي للجصاص (4/ 358)

ولها السكنى والنفقة على الزوج

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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