Fatwa ID: 04731
Answered by: Mufti Muhammad Afzal Hussain
I and my husband recently separated from his parents. My husband is the only son. We spent most of our married life abroad but a few years ago circumstances brought us back to the UK where we lived with my husband’s mum and dad for a few years. I was finding it very difficult living with the in-laws due to lack of privacy and many other reasons like not being able to give the children quality time because house chores were never-ending, we had little or no control over who was coming to the house and not even being able to discuss private matters with my husband as I was always worried that my mother in law would hear us.
We told my in-laws to stay in the house we were all living in even though my husband had bought that house we felt it was more of a home to them as they lived there much longer than us. We both wanted them to stay in the family home and we would buy something separate. They refused and said the house was too big and they didn’t want to stay there. We tried to convince them but they didn’t agree so my husband bought them a house close by to ours where they moved to.
My in-laws were not happy about us separating my mother in law was crying saying she never imagined her only son to separate from her. It was a very difficult time for all of us, but I knew my patience was running low and I simply could not continue living together like me and my husband are trying to practice our deen according to Quran and sunnah, but there were so many things we were unable to because of living together, for example, the free mixing was a big issue for me which didn’t seem to bother my in-laws, I do not want my children growing up thinking it is acceptable to sit amongst non-Marhams and have laughs and jokes. Secondly, we did not want a TV in the house but this was impossible to get rid of when living together as we were already being called extreme because of the changes we had made so when we separated we got rid of the TV. Since we have separated my in-law’s social circle have all had their piece to say like how can their only son do this to them and this is a new Islam that this new generation is following, bearing in mind my in-laws are not elderly and alhamdulillah are very able so they don’t require assistance physically with things at all. We have both remained very patient with all the backlash that has come our way.
My mother in law constantly has digs at us in passing conversations and she has had a fair few emotional break downs as well where we have tried to console her and explain that living in separate houses doesn’t mean we still can’t be there for each other. We see them every day and most weekends we try to spend with them too so they don’t feel lonely. My husband paid for their new house and takes care of all the bills etc but regardless of how much we try to do they are still not happy with us. My mother in law has said on many occasions that she feels she has been wronged and what has she done to deserve this. I just don’t understand what else we can do to make them happy? Our relationship has improved so much since we have separated and we feel content with how we are raising our children with deen in them rather than culture even with the parents our respect and understanding has increased so much whereas when we were living together there was tension at times and we hardly even spent time together everyone was just doing their own thing but it seems that was more preferable to them because to the outside world we were still living under the same roof. Please advise me am I sinful for making my husband separate from his parents considering how his mum had reacted to the situation?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Allah the Exalted said: “Now (among the best of the deeds which) We have enjoined upon man is goodness towards his parents.” [Surah Al – Ahqaf, 46:15]
“And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and do good to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) “ugh” nor chide them, but (always) speak to them reverent speech.” [Surah Al – Isra’, 17:23]
Islam ranks obedience to parents second only to God. A Muslim recognizes that a child has rights over his parents that he must fulfill. Furthermore, there are some manners and etiquette that must be followed between the two. These are to be found in the parent choosing a good name for his child, to sacrifice an Aqiqah for his child, circumcising the child, having mercy and gentleness with the child, providing for the child, bringing him up in a proper way, being concerned with his culture and social upbringing, teaching him to fulfill the obligatory recommended aspects as well as other manners. This continues until the child is married off, at which time he will give him to stay under his guardianship or to move off on his own. [See: Minhaj al-Muslim, page: 77]
Therefore, a married man is allowed to move off and live his own for the betterment of his family. Allah said in the Quran: “And live with them honorably.” [4:19] “O you believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against fire.” [66:6] The Prophet said: “I advise you to treat women well, for they are like captives under your control.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Shah Wali Allah ad-Dehlawi said: “Men support the women and have responsibility for them in matters of livelihood, and women are helpful in the home, raise the children, and are obedient. These are binding practices and matters agreed on by all people, and an original nature according to which God created people, and neither the Arabs nor the non-Arabs disagree about this.” [Hujjat Allah al-Baligah, Translated by Marcia Hermansen, page: 124] Shah Wali Allah also said: “The responsibilities of the husband in dealing kindly with his wife and protecting the wife from dishonor and vices.” [Hujjat Allah al-Baligah (English), page: 126]
Thus, you wouldn’t be sinful for your part in moving out with your husband from your in-law’s house.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Muhammad Afzal Hussain
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham