Please advise if a women’s duty is only to please her husband and listen to whatever he says. I am married for two years. My husband works in UAE and my 5-month old son live in India. He asks me to stay with my in-laws (his mother and brother). I do not wish to stay with my brother in law, as he is at home all the time and I do not get my privacy. It is also difficult to adjust with his mother. Hence I told my husband that I will stay with his family only when he is here in vacations i.e., for a month and later I will stay with my parents. But he does not agree. My parents too are not ready to send me there in his absence. Please help me what should i do and also advise if I am being disobedient to him by not listening to him.
Secondly, during my stay with my in-laws, I faced some minor but hurtful issues, that caused me emotional distress and I informed my husband about this. But he does not believe me. His behavior upset me greatly. The sum of the total is that I do not want to stay with in-laws in his absence. Please advise what should I do? Thanks!
Islamic Voice replies:
No Compulsion to Stay with In-laws
You are facing a problem which thousands of sisters face in homes in South Asian countries as people generally and Muslims particularly, do not understand the issues clearly.
You are well within your right to ask your husband to provide accommodation separate from your in-laws. In absence of it, it is quite reasonable for him to allow you to live with your parents and spend the vacation with your husband when he is home. It is totally inappropriate for him to insist that you live with his mother and his brother when he (i.e., husband) is absent. Your insistence on living with your mother is therefore quite a legitimate demand.
Islamic family is basically a nuclear family where husband, wife and biological children live together. You are supposed to co-operate with your husband (in all such things that are legitimate). But it is not right for him to insist that your serve his parents. If you go through rights and duties towards relatives in Islam you would find that Islam nowhere makes it obligatory for women to be obedient to their parents-in law.
Similarly, a brother-in law is ghair-mehram. He could be a visitor or guest at your home in presence of your husband but not otherwise. It is rather bizarre that your husband insists that you stay with him and your mother-in law. He himself is more in need of understanding of sanctity of relationships and boundaries that Islam sets for family and non-family members.
In the present circumstances you should politely assert your right to live separately from your in-laws and tell your husband that he is not right in his approach.
Emotional rupture with mother-in law is quite understandable. Temperaments of two people do not gel with each other and frictions occur when such people are forced to live together. The best way to get out of this situation is to live separately. You must ask your husband to take you and the child to live with him in Dubai or allow to live with your mother while in India. There is no use getting into verbal duel with anyone which only aggravates family harmony and leads to cussedness. The principal thing to remember is that you are under no obligation to live with and obey your in-laws. It is husband’s duty to provide his wife separate accommodation if she is not willing to live her in-laws.