My husband’s father lives in another country & we are residing here in US. My husband is in the process of bringing his parents here so that they can stay with us. The only problem is that his dad fails to understand anything & feels that my husband is deliberately delaying the whole process of bringing him here and feels that we only want his wife (my mother-in-law) for the purpose of helping around the house. My husband & I are VERY hurt at these comments, and have assured him that our only purpose dis to reunite the family. We dont want them for their help around the house, but we want to take care of them. He just fails to understand. My father-in-law’s behavior with my mother-in-law is very rude, & at his age, when he should be acting more like a father, and a grandfather (which he is), he acts very immaturely, refuses to believe anything we have to say, does not keep his confidence in Allah SWT, acts rudely with my mominlaw and my husband’s younger siblings. These problems have caused my husband to feel very hurt at his father’s behavior, and feels very depressed. We understand that parents at an older age tend to act a little different but I am sure that older people do not lose their confidence in Allah SWT, as my fatherinlaw seems to have. Please offer us guidance. We feel it would be better to leave them in their home country, as my parents-in-laws? constant fights and arguments may cause our children to feel upset. Your assistance will be appreciated.
Jazakallah for requesting assistance from the institute. Almighty Allah puts us through many trials in different ways to draw us closer to Him. Insha’allah through His guidance your family will find a way to solve the present difficulty, ameen.
Firstly, has your father in law personally asked to come settle with you and the family? How long have you and your family been separated from your in laws, and have your parents in law visited you in the USA previously?
I ask these questions because if your father in law is an elderly person it can be very difficult for him to leave his familiar surroundings, friends and family. He could be experiencing uncertainty as to whether he will fit into the routine over there or not. If he is not going to be able to work or occupy himself in a creative or fulfilling activity, he could be experiencing anxiety about that too. It is found that when a person has been independent and working all their life, the thought of becoming dependent on their children can be anxiety provoking. The elderly persons don’t often recognize this problem and it manifests itself in quarrelsome and negative behavior.
If he has previously visited you, he may be well aware of the adaptations he will have to make in the west and this could be presenting a threat to him. Moving home is a stressful situation for most of us and for the elderly it is even more difficult, especially when they have to move across the sea for good.
His negative behavior towards his spouse and the family are all signals that he needs to discuss this great move he has to make with somebody who will understand his difficulties. Although he accuses your husband of delaying his reunion with your family, he seems to be ambiguous about coming there. He probably is afraid of what he hears about the treatment of Muslims in your country too.
This must be a difficult time for your husband and yourself but our elderly sometimes have great difficulty in articulating their needs in an appropriate way. May I suggest that some family member or friend goes to discuss with him about what he expects to do in USA, what he thinks life there will be like, whether he will be able to find a hobby or occupation there to suit his needs etc. It may be advisable to have your mother in law discuss her needs too (at the same time) so that he can have clarity as to why she wants to join your family
Give him a chance to air his views without judging him and perhaps that will give your family a better idea of what his needs are and if he really wants to go to USA. Have any of you asked your mother in law if she really wants to come live with you? It is commendable that your husband wants to look after his parents but I am sure you have heard about “culture shock.” It tends to hit the elderly more hard than it does the younger generation.
You mention your father in law’s loss of confidence in Allah. This could be part of his uncertainty and anxiety about the future. Perhaps a visit to the family doctor may help your father in law to talk about his difficulties and if it is found that his anxiety is affecting him negatively, medication could be of to help him, insha’allah.
May Allah make it easy for him and your mother in law in their old age, ameen.
Do continue to encourage your husband and his siblings to show kindness to their parents and ask them to reassure their parents that their welfare is of concern to all of them. Do also encourage them in a soothing way to increase their nafl salaah, zikr and recitation of the Qur’aan. You mention that your husband feels depressed about this situation. Old age is stage in life some of us are meant to undergo, and he should not really blame himself for his father’s reaction to emigration. Continue to turn to Allah for guidance and assist the elderly in the best possible way you can.
Please feel free to write again.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai