Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am a 40-year-old woman. My mother spent on my education as I lost my father when I was 8 years old. Now she insists that because of that, she wants to live with me in my marital home but my husband is not comfortable with it. I had a very strained relationship with her as she had remarried and saw me and my siblings as a hurdle in her marriage. She says she couldn’t buy property as she had to pay for our school so we owe her.
Thank you for your question.
It is not obligatory for you to have your mother in your home, especially if it is against your husband’s wishes. Rather your obligation is that she be taken care of, financially, if she needs it.
Please see your financial obligations toward your mother here:
Fiqh of Financially Supporting one’s Parents and Relatives
In addition to this, your obedience is to your husband, before your mother, and having a happy and balanced marriage is the best way to help your mother, as you both can help her as a team. Neglecting your husband’s rights would just make him resentful and create a toxic environment in your home.
Goodness to parents
As you can see from the above link, it is not a religious obligation to have her in your home, but rather that you have her needs taken care of, if she needs it, shared equally among the siblings, whether they are rich or poor. You do not owe her because of your education and her emotionally blackmailing you is wrong. Islam gives to each person their due right, and asks children to take of their parents with goodness, and kindness, but never to the point of being abused or harmed.
Please see these links:
How Can I Take Care Of My Parents?
Being a Daughter, a Woman, and Living This Life
At this point, you will need to use wisdom and tact in dealing with your mother. Never be too direct, rude, or condescending, and don’t hurt her feelings, but let her understand how you feel from your indirect words and show her other options. Ask Allah to help you interact with her in the best way and to help you value your relationship with her despite the negativity. Turn to Him by fulfilling your duties to Him, and He, by His grace, will help you through everything, for nothing is hard that you seek through your Lord.
Please see these links:
How Can I Deal With My Difficult Mother in a Respectful Way?
My Mother Is Making Me Lose My Mind
And remember this important piece of prophetic guidance when dealing with your mother: “Allah is gentle, likes gentleness, and gives for gentleness what he does not give for harshness.“ [Abu Dawud]
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.