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Protecting My Daughter From In-Laws’ Bad Influence


A (27_male_US)

Reply Date

Jan 10, 2018


As-salamu 'alaykum. I'm a young Muslim man who grew up in a very religious family. I always try to stay away from what is not allowed in Islam and be on the straight path. I got married some years ago to a Muslim woman wh alhamdulillah moved closer to how I was raised. For example, she didn’t pray previously, but now she does. The problem is that we don't have a clear image of the other's family before marriage due to the lack of time. My wife's family doesn't have the same principles to judge life by, which was Islam for my family. Now I can totally understand why my wife was not praying before. My problem is actually mixing my daughter with the different environment of my wife's family. I have a problem with the behavior of her brothers and especially of her sister. I don't know how to prevent her being an example for my daughter. I can't describe how awful her behavior is which makes me fear for my little daughter. She smokes in front of my little girl while I find smoking is haram and is a shame on men, let alone on women! Her smoking is just one element of her disturbing behavior; you can imagine she has much more. I just want some advice on how to deal with such a life where I can't isolate my wife from her family. Is there a right way to do that? I'm afraid that what I'm trying to build can be demolished by someone I didn’t have the chance to get to know before marriage. PLEASE ADVISE.



As-Salamu ‘Alaykum  dear brother,

There is a certain level of give and take in the interaction between two people. This is even more so with children, because they have come into the world through the mother and are being raised in a social environment that will have the strongest influence on them. Therefore how a child relates to you is much more related to you and the environment that you have helped to create.

A child, who is nurtured amidst faith and with that faith, mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual love, and mutual compassion, will naturally develop a sense of belonging as well as a sense of self. They will develop skills and abilities according to their inclination. With a sense of belonging comes taqlid, emulation, and in sha ‘Allah the child will have good role models to emulate.

However, to protect your child from your wife’s family, one might as well protect her from life, because as we know life is made up of all kinds of people through whom our deen (religion) stands tested. A person of a certain disposition does not mean that they remain that way.

…they became like a rock and even worse in hardness, For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth; others there are which when spilt asunder send forth water, and others which sink for fear of God. And God is not unmindful…”} (Al Baqarah 2: 74)

Prophet Nuh had similar challenges with his son, and he had to accept that his son would not follow the right path. This does not mean to say that by the behavior of your wife’s family your daughter will suffer the same fate. But the reality is that you cannot live your daughter’s life. The more you protect your daughter, the less capable she will be when it comes to school, her peers, work and marriage.

However, helping your daughter to make the right choices means loving her unconditionally, because no matter what she may experience later in life, she will have the memory of you and what you tried to teach her, therefore she will have the means to find her way back. However, if you love your wife conditionally, from what you have said, you stand to love your daughter conditionally as well. From this, your daughter will learn only one thing that her worth is according to your measure and the measure of others. Hence, one grows up in this manner learns not to be too honest with one’s feelings and learns to be manipulative in order to get what one wants.

Consider that you who have been fortunate to be raised in the arms of Islam and as an adult married a Muslimah who was not raised within Islam. Through you, she has begun to learn what she had missed from her childhood. Your daughter, being from both of you, may be the means by which your in-laws can learn what they have missed as a mercy from Allah (SWT), if He wills.

Do not be forlorn and allow yourself to believe that all that you have worked for will be out asunder. Instead, pray and make regular du`aa’ for them, and seek Allah’s (SWT) guidance that you can always be there for your daughter to answer her questions so that she is able to live the beauty of Islam through love.

For instance, you consider smoking to be haram. If it is haram, then in what way is it haram? If your daughter was not exposed to your sister-in-law’s smoking, she would not be exposed to the fact that it exists at an age whereby you can make an impression on her. She may even ask her aunt if she can play somewhere else, because her smoking can cause harm to her young lungs. Only Allah (SWT) knows if you are able to be His tool; but are you willing to be His tool?

A three-year old child is:

Learning about their physical capabilities

Affectionate, especially towards their parents

*Jealous (i.e. jealous of the mother if they are a girl, and jealous of the father if they are a boy but will begin role modeling according to gender

*Fearful of imaginary things, the dark, etc.

*Enjoying being a part of a group

*In need of social interaction with peers


So if your child is at the above stage of her development, she will not be paying too much attention to her aunt anyway. Mercy and compassion are essential components of building a Muslim society and it starts with how we raise our children who are the future. When we only expect obedience, we treat our children as extensions of ourselves to do our bidding and to be who we want them to be. By showing respect to our children and with that compassion of mercy, we develop emotional ties which all humans needs regardless of age.

See each situation as a lesson for all and try to discover the lesson that includes compassion and understanding. Discover when one should be tolerant and when one should not be tolerant, for as much as we should love for the sake of Allah (SWT), we are also asked to hate for the sake of Allah, too!

About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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