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My Wife’s Family Doesn’t Like My Job, Should I Cut Ties?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 17, 2017

Question

I am a convert to Islam and converted while in Afghanistan as a US service member. My wife's family knew I am in the military prior to US before being married and she is from a Muslim family. They have never expressed any bad feelings towards myself or my job but recently after being married nearly 2 years told my wife that every night they pray that all US soldiers get die, I am assuming they mean myself as well. This is affecting my wife emotionally. I always wanted good relations with a Muslim family but it seems impossible now with in-laws. My question is whether or not it is permissible to cut off ties with my wife's family? They are the only Muslim family that I have and she thinks they will get over it all but I am skeptical.

Counselor

Answer


Job, Family, Cut ties

In this counseling answer:

“As you are a revert to Islam and have knowledge of Islamic principles such as peaceful and loving relations, I encourage you brother to seek to continue to keep your family close to you. This may mean hearing painful things from time to time-but it is coming from a deep place of pain. You are their son in-law now. To seek to cut them off would be most contrary to Islam as it is forbidden to cut off family members. Additionally, by cutting them off it may validate their fears and reinforce their feelings of hate towards US military, as you have abandoned them.”


As salamu alaykum,

 

Thank you for writing to us. I am sorry to hear that your wife’s family is experiencing hateful feelings, dear brother, but as in most cases, hatred comes from a deep place of either fear, sadness or trauma from the target of hate.  With that said, as you are in Afghanistan as a US service member perhaps they have experienced harm, abuse or other devastating things by some US military and or it’s presence. Perhaps not them personally, but maybe their friends, community or country in general.

Brother, it is a complex situation in Afghanistan as you know, and and the people of Afghanistan are caught up in what seems to be a never ending the war with many causalities. The Guardian  states that  “the authors of such tales face a serious question: how come the Afghan people defeated the Soviet Empire only to end up being occupied by America? “   These sentiments along with many causalities from drones, bombs as well as other types of interventions which have disastrous effects, can affect the way Afghani people feel about US military presence.

As you stated your wife’s parents expressed hatred towards US military, how do they treat you, brother? When you asked your wife’s parent’s for their permission to marry their daughter, what was their response? Surely they saw the good of you brother and knew you would make a good husband for their daughter regardless of their feelings for the US military.

While it is hard not to personalize what they said about “praying for all US soldiers to die” please do understand that this statement is reflective of the deep pain and perhaps loss they feel and is not directed towards you but an expression of their grief.  If this were the case, they would not have permitted you to marry their daughter.  According to your question you did say that they have never expressed bad feelings towards you or your job, however, this does not nullify how they feel in general about what is happening in their country.

As you are married to their daughter, they must have seen much greatness in you to trust you with their daughter as her husband. This is an honor in Islam. I would kindly suggest dear brother that you not take their statement to a personal level and try to understand that as ugly as this situation is, Allah did bless you to become Muslim, to marry a pious Muslim wife as well as have a Muslim family.

They do not hate you brother, they hate what is going on which is harmful to them, their families and community, which is not under your control.  Yes, you are in the military, but you are also a Muslim now, meaning you have a deeper understanding of what is just and permissible for human kind as well as how to conduct yourself in every day life and work according to the foundations of Islam.  As Muslims, we are tested with various things in this life brother and this may be a test for you as well.

As you know, it is haram to wish death upon anyone. We are to follow the ways of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) life and learn about his life and how he handled different situations. With this said I highly encourage you to read the book “The Sealed Nectar”  which illustrates how the Prophet (PBUH) lived, his experiences, trials, successes as well as his way of handing adversity.

I would suggest that you continue to treat your in-laws with loving kindness brother, thus illustrating your ability to rise above their painful statements and continue to show love to them as a Muslim. You may wish to talk with them about their feelings to gain a deeper perspective as to why they would say that and seek to use this situation to bring everyone closer as a family.  This would also give you an opportunity to express your feelings regarding your love and dedication to their daughter, to them and to the Islamic tenets of peace and justice in society.

As you are a revert to Islam and have knowledge of Islamic principles such as peaceful and loving relations, I encourage you brother to seek to continue to keep your family close to you. This may mean hearing painful things from time to time-but it is coming from a deep place of pain. You are their son in-law now. To seek to cut them off would be most contrary to Islam as it is forbidden to cut off family members. Additionally, by cutting them off it may validate their fears and reinforce their feelings of hate towards US military, as you have abandoned them.

Please do assure your wife that you understand that they are in a place of pain and fear and that you as a human and as a Muslim understand how and why they may feel that way,  as well as their right to their feelings but that you do not take it personally.   Please insha’Allah, explain to your wife that by continuing to strive for good relations with her family that you are building solid bridges of trust, understanding as well as honor.  Most importantly, you are pleasing Allah.  Your goal dear brother is to take care of your new family in a loving manner and try to rise above their pain and not take it personally.

I do understand it is hard for you, of course, we feel pain and rejection when things like that are said, but understanding the content in which it is said and meant is vital.  By taking this approach, insha’Allah there will be many rewards.  Make duaa to Allah dear brother to grant ease in this situation and to guide you.

We wish you the best brother, you are in our prayers.

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

 

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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