Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
We live in a joint family, and my sister-in-law has been with us for 10+ years. She is beautiful and attractive, but I never thought of her in a sexual way. Last week, I had a sexual dream about her for three days. Whenever I see her, it reminds me of my dreams, and I see her differently. I will never try to do anything with her, of course.
Please tell me if this is normal. It’s hard to avoid her as we live in the same house and I see her all day. Is it normal or not, and how do I get rid of the feelings?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your sincere desire to rectify this problem and for restraining yourself, and may He make it easy for you to avoid temptation.
Lower Your Gaze
Lowering your gaze is the secret to staving off your desire for your sister-in-law. Allah has commanded in the Quran, “Say to the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That is purer for them, and Allah is aware of what they do. And say to the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” [Quran, 24:30-31]
The next best thing you can do is to stay away from her and keep yourself busy doing beneficial things to minimize contact. Eat at different times, go out to run errands or to see friends, and seek knowledge. Minimize conversation with her, and don’t sit for long hours in the evening, chatting about nothing with her and the family. Go to bed early and get up early, there are great blessings in that schedule, and it is from the sunna. Focus on your work or studies, and spend more time in the mosque for your five prayers. Of course, prepare yourself for your own marriage by planning a livelihood and seeking personally obligatory knowledge, and more.
Anytime your mind goes to the gutter, pull your thoughts out of it, and make dhikr. Bless the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) anytime your mind goes astray; eventually, it will become an excellent habit. The devil will stop reminding you of her because every time you do, you remember God. In addition to this, make wudu before you sleep, as this is more conducive to pure thoughts and sound sleep and part of the sunna.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whenever you go to bed, perform wudu as you do for the prayer, then (before sleeping) recite: ‘O Allah! I have submitted myself to You, turned myself to You, committed my affairs to You and sought Your refuge for protection out of desire for You and fear of You (expecting Your reward and fearing Your punishment). There is no refuge and no place of safety from You but with You. I believe in the Book You have revealed and in the Prophet, You have sent.’” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) added: “If anyone recites these words and dies during the night, he will die on the true Deen, and if he remains alive till the morning, he will obtain good. And make this supplication your last words (before sleeping).” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Always keep in mind the reward of restraining yourself, and let this be your primary motivation:
Allah Most High says in the Quran, “And as for those who were in awe of standing before their Lord and restrained themselves from ˹evil˺ desires, Paradise will certainly be ˹their˺ home.” [Quran, 79:40-41]
I pray that your reward for resisting temptation toward your sister-in-law is that you are granted a pious and pleasing wife. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Indeed, you will not leave anything for the sake of Allah, except that Allah will replace it with something better.” [Ahmad]
Please see these links as well:
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.