بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I thought it was common sense that the rules of respect required of us for our parents apply to any elderly Mahram relative and the in-laws too. Unfortunately, common sense is not too common when you hear stories. It seems like a trend that it is ‘okay’ for the husband to disrespect the wife’s family, especially parents. It is brushed off and ignored but when the wife does it, she’s beaten up bad. I’m not concerned about how society treats each gender. As Muslims we don’t allow the norms of society ride our Nafs. Let’s not even take into consideration how terribly hurtful it is for the wife and how this act of her husband kills the love and respect she has for him. The issue is what is correct in the Islamic law. In Islam, both wife and husband are accountable and just because you get it easy in this life doesn’t mean that you won’t be accountable in Akhirah. The thing universal regarding parents (or in-laws) is that even if they ignore your wrong behavior, the hurt in their soft heart remains. They may forgive but we must try to make them forget by replacing the hurt with goodness. We say words which may not translate as misconduct to us but the thing with parents/in-laws is that they are super-sensitive. In our insensitivity we take advantage of the love they have for us. That is why Allah SWT dedicated special mention of honoring the parents and lowering your wing of mercy/humility in front of them as long as they don’t push you to Shirk. Even if you think that they don’t ‘deserve’ your humility, you must obey Allah SWT. Although if you think that way, you must be ashamed of yourself and fear the day when you will be in their position. May Allah SWT forgive our shortcomings and prevent us from being hypocrites! Ameen.
Brothers, Allah SWT has asked you to live honorably with your wives (Surat An-Nisaa, ayah 19) and so understand what that ayah means before you get married or at least attempt to learn now if you’re already married. Whatever good you do is for yourself. You’re not doing your wife/her family or anyone a favor. You are only making your akhirah easier. So please do yourself a favor and educate yourself. Sisters mustn’t take advantage of this because they have their share of things to worry about. Everyone must do his/her part. You’ll be asked about what you did and not about what others did to you. And Allah SWT knows best.
For your reference:
Praise be to Allaah.
The husband should treat his wife’s relatives well, especially her mother, because that will lead to love and harmony, and a stable married life. If the husband honours his mother-in-law he is in fact honouring his wife and honouring the grandmother of his children. If he mistreats her then he is mistreating his wife and his children, and is failing to provide the kind treatment that Allaah has enjoined. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and live with them honourably”
“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allaah is All-Mighty, All-Wise”
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (3895) and Ibn Maajah (1977); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Think about how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was. He used to honour the friends of Khadeejah (may Allaah be pleased with her) even after she died. This supports what we have said, that honouring the relatives and friends of one’s wife is honouring her.
Muslim (2435) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I never felt jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (S) except Khadeejah, even though I never met her. She said: When the Messenger of Allaah (S) slaughtered a sheep, he said: “Send this to the friends of Khadeejah.” I annoyed him one day and by saying: Khadeejah? The Messenger of Allaah (S) said: “Her love is instilled in my heart.”
Muslim also narrated (2437) that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: Haalah bint Khuwaylid, the sister of Khadeejah, asked permission to enter upon the Messenger of Allaah (S), and he remembered how Khadeejah used to ask permission, and he felt happy when he heard that. He said: “O Allaah, Haalah bint Khuwaylid.”
As for insulting and raising one’s voice, this is the opposite of kind treatment, rather it is a kind of sin as it is not permissible for a Muslim to insult a fellow-Muslim.
Similarly, cutting off ties and ignoring others is forbidden in Islam. Al-Bukhaari (6077) and Muslim (2560) narrated from Abu Ayyoob al-Ansaari (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible for a Muslim to forsake his brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other when they meet. The better of them is the first to greet the other with salaam.”
This husband has to fear Allaah and treat his wife and her relatives well, so as to increase love and harmony and so that Allaah will bless his family, home and children for him.
And Allaah knows best.