I am a new Muslim. How do I deal with my insulting in-laws?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by AskOurImam.com

I am a convert to Islam and my husband`s family does not like me because I did not get dowry from my parents because they were against me converting and then marrying. Also they think I am not beautiful.

They try to put me down. They poison my husband`s mind against me. My mother-in-law literally competes with me for his attention and tries to behave like his wife. She wants him to dine with her everyday even if he is tired. She does not let us spend time together neither does she like him buying things for me or going out with me. My husband concedes to it all for keeping peace in the house. My in-laws don’t let me talk to or meet my parents even if they are in hospital. I live in a separate house but even then she remote-controls everything. She dismisses my cooking and says that her son will not like it or eat it.

I have never answered her back no matter how rude she has been with me. Same for my sister-in-law.

I have become negative and bitter about them and my husband does not like it. They still indirectly keep taunting me for being a Hindu.

They keep asking me questions about Kufr. I don’t know how to handle this because my husband does not take a strong stand me and when I complain to him about them he asks me not to give him tensions as I already knew before marriage that they don’t like me. I don’t know how to keep calm and not give my husband tensions but I don’t want to give them anymore liberties to what they want with me. I am tired of this everyday politics and plotting. Please guide me.

 

Answer:

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

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

At the outset, we glorify Allah, the One who guides, to have enable you to tread to the path of success and salvation. We would like to commend and congratulate you on adopting the religion of Fitrah (pure nature). May Allah accept your commitment, keep you steadfast and give us all death upon true Iman (faith) and righteous actions. Ameen.

We would like to clarify that Islam neither imposes a dowry on the parents to confer to her daughter on marriage nor the daughter is obliged to receive this dowry and dispose it before her in-laws or even husband. It is also incorrect for your in-laws to prevent you from maintaining contact with your parents particularly when they are not well. Islam requires us to be dutiful to our parents though they may be non-Muslims[1]. Allah says:

وصاحبهما في الدنيا معروفا

Translation: And you should still treat them [non-Muslim parents] kindly in this world[2].

Islam also renounces discrimination, unjust treatment, insinuation of any innuendos to any reverts based on their history, since they are now completely pure and beloved to Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Islam eradicates previous sins[3]

Sister in Islam, we acknowledge and understand your frustration and misery. We admire your patience and resolution to restrain from negatively responding to your mother-in-law. Surely you will be rewarded on your steadfastness and endurance on patience. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Translation: Whoever does not argue when he is in the wrong will have a home built for him on the edge of Paradise. Whoever avoids it when he in the right will have a home built for him in the middle [best portion] of Paradise. And whoever improves his own character, a home will be built for him in the highest part of Paradise.[4]

This is a test from Allah and a means of your previous since being forgiven and a means to elevate your status. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asserted:

No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn[5].

Your mother-in-law may have hurt your feelings; however, it is important that you do not sever ties with your mother-in-law. Allah has ensured the believers forgiveness of sins and a lofty status in paradise on bearing patience during times of such calamities. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

تعرض أعمال الناس في كل جمعة مرتين يوم الإثنين ويوم الخميس. فيغفر لكل عبد مؤمن إلا عبدا بينه وبين أخيه شحناء. فيقال: اتركوا أو اركوا، هذين حتى يفيئا

Translation: The actions of people are submitted twice each weak, on Monday and Thursday. Every believing servant is forgiven except for the person who has enmity between him and his brother. It is said: Leave these two [and do not wipe out their sins] until they reconcile with each other[6].

You should maintain ties to the best of your ability according to your health. There are various methods you could adopt:

  • Request your husband to speak to his mother to clarify the matter on behalf of you;
  • Alternatively, express your sentiments to an elderly reputable person who may enjoy some influence over your mother-in-law and thus explain to her kindly;
  • Contact a local reliable female scholar who you could confide in to overcome your difficulty;
  • Read books of the pious predecessors and listen to the speeches of our great Ulema which may also help you overcome you’re the state you find yourself in;
  • Maintain relationship with your mother-in-law via the phone though this may only be occasional and brief;
  • Send occasional cards and gifts
  • Pray to Allah for ease in your affair, entertain full believe in Allah that He will respond to your call and adopt resilience. Allah is the One who opens the distressed hearts and infuses love and mercy between antagonists. Allah Ta`ala says:

و من يتق الله يجعل له مخرجا . و يرزقه من حيث لا يحتسب ، ومن يتوكّل على الله فهو حسبه ، إنّ الله بالغ أمره ، قد جعل الله لكل شيئ قدرا.

Translation: Whoever [adopts piety and] fears Allah, He (Allah) will make a way out for him, and provide him with sustenance from where he did not expect; and whoever places his trust in Allah, then Allah is sufficient for him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His command; verily Allah has set a proper measure for all things[7].

  • The haven to your distress is in Dua (supplicating to Allah) and Zikr (remembrance of Allah). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Dua is a weapon of the believer, and the pillar of faith and the light of the heavens and the earth[8].

And Allah Ta`ala says:

Remember, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.

Sister in Islam, do not allow your haunting past override your possible bright future. Pray Allah guides your mother-in-law, cleans your hearts from past animosity and instils the love for each other in your hearts. Your efforts in trying to maintain ties should be simply for the pleasure of Allah and entertaining hope of reward from Allah. Allah Ta`ala says:

وليعفوا وليصفحوا ألا تحبون أن يغفر الله لكم والله غفور رحيم

Translation: Let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is All-Forgiving All-Merciful[9].

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) states:

صل من قطعك وأعط من حرمك واعف عمن ظلمك

Translation: Join ties with one who cuts you off, give to one who deprives you and forgive one who oppresses you[10].

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also states:

إن المتحابين بجلال الله في ظل الله وظل عرشه يوم لا ظل إلا ظله

Translation: Those who love each other simply for the sake of Allah will be under the shade of Allah and the shade of His throne the day there will be no shade but His shade[11].

You may refer to an amazing analysis capsulated by a colleague on the challenges and trials reverts could possibly encounter and the effective way to respond to such difficult times:

http://www.askimam.org/public/question_detail/27256

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Hanif Yusuf Patel

Student Darul Iftaa
UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net

 

References
[1] وقضى ربك ألا تعبدوا إلا إياه وبالوالدين إحسانا إما يبلغن عندك الكبر أحدهما أو كلاهما فلا تقل لهما أف ولا تنهرهما وقل لهما قولا كريما واخفض لهما جناح الذل من الرحمة وقل رب ارحمهما كما ربياني صغيرا

[Al-Qur`an, 17: 23-4]

[2] [Al-Qur`an, 31: 15]

[3] قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: … أن الإسلام يهدم ما كان قبله

[Sahih Muslim, 223]

[4] قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: من ترك الكذب وهو باطل بني له في ربض الجنة ومن ترك المراء وهو محق بني له في وسطها ومن حسن خلقه بني له في أعلاها

[Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 1993]

[5] [Sahih al-Bukhari, 5323]

[6] [Saheeh Muslim, 5484; Al-Muwatta Imam Malik, 1703]

[7] [Al-Qur`an, 65: 2-3]

[8] قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: الدّعاء سلاح المؤمن وعماد الدّين ونور السماوات والأرض

[At-Targib wa at-Tarhib, 2: 390]

[9] [Al-Qur`an, 24: 22]

[10] [Musnad al-Imam Ahmad, 18032]

[11] [Musnad al-Imam Ahmad, 23940]

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