|A mother in law lives both with her son and daughter in law, in the son’s house. She has been living with them for a few years since she has been living abroad for most of her life. However, she is not very happy because she feels she is being oppressed by her daughter in law and the son is very much aware of this. However, both son and daughter in law feel that they are not doing anything wrong and believe they need to raise their voice or have ago at her when the old mother stirs trouble within the family. or the son and the daughter in law will raise their voice when the mother in law chooses to take a job that becomes a burden on her. ie daily chores that the old mother chooses to do out of her own will.
However, they now have ago at her for petty reasons. I have already tried to explain to the daughter in law that, what she is doing is wrong, however she believes what she is doing not wrong, that she is doing this to control her the mother in law so that she would not cause any more trouble within the family. The important part of the question is, does a daughter in law have exactly the same responsibility on her mother in law as she would have on her own mother. eg must she comply with surah Al-israh, 17:23-24 and also Luqman, 31:14 with the mother in law.
If yes, are their any further hadiths or surahs to support this? Further, are there any literature or audio cassettes available to support this, especially with regards to the daughter in law.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah states in the Quran: “Your Lord has decreed to you that: You shall worship none but Him, and you shall be kind to your parents; if one or both of them live to their old age in your lifetime, you shall not say to them any word of contempt nor repel them and you shall address them in kind words.” (Surah Al Isra: 23)
In another ayah Allah states: “We have enjoined man concerning his parents – his mother carries him in her womb while suffering weakness upon weakness and then weans him for two years – That’s why We commanded him: “Give thanks to Me and to your parents, and keep in mind that, to Me is your final goal.” (Surah Luqman: 14)
Although the mother in law does not fall under the verses mentioned above, however it will be the duty of the daughter/son to make sure that the rights of the mother/father are not neglected. If the cause of displeasure can be stopped then one should do so as the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart and that is the least of faith.” (Muslim, 16)
It is the character of a Muslim that he/she treats and interacts with the elders in a respectable, kind and loving manner. It is narrated by Aisha (radi allahu anhu) that Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness which He does not confer upon severity and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness). (Sahih Muslim, 1186)
In another hadith Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) states, “Those who do not show mercy to our young ones and do not respect our elders are not from amongst us.” (Abu Dawood, 2324)
From the above hadith it is clear that the prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) does not regard one who is disobedient to elders to be amongst the (true) Muslims. Therefore great care should be taken when dealing with in laws and the daughter/son should treat their in-laws with love and respect. If they do then Allah will reward them for their kindness, respect and for treating them as their own parents.
Only Allah knows best
Darul Ifta, Birmingham