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Taking Care of Mom After Marriage

28 October, 2017
Q As-Salamu Aleikom. Firstly, I would like to thank you for replying to my last question. Alhamdulillah, it has greatly helped me. I am a 24 year old girl. I live with my mother. My father passed away when I was 10. My elder sister is married, and I'm the only support for my mom now. She will be all alone after my marriage. Though there are a few relatives who might take care of her later, she doesn’t really like the idea of depending on relatives. The problem is that she wants me to marry a guy who will be willing to stay in our home so that the three of us can live together. But I really hate this idea, and I believe it's not possible to find such a guy who will be willing stay in my home rather than his. I get a lot of proposals from guys who stay abroad but she says no to all of them saying she wants me to marry someone who at least lives in the same city as us. Also, most people do not want to give their son's hand in marriage to me as they believe that my mom would be a burden to their son in the future. I am really worried about my marriage as all the girls of my age are already married. I'm afraid it’s getting too late. I would like to know what the Islamic ruling is regarding this. Are men allowed to stay at their wife's home after marriage? Do women in Islam have obligations for parents as men have?



Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam dear sister in Islam,

Thank you for your question. Please submit your last three questions to our Ask the Scholar section, because I do not know the rulings and their proofs on these questions. I have some ideas about the answers to your questions, but I prefer you contact our scholars who are qualified enough to give fatwas, in sha’ Allah. Also, kindly have a look at the additional links as well. But, as a counselor, here are my opinions on your case:

Our mothers have huge rights over us in terms of THEIR needs (material and emotional), i.e., food, clothing, shelter, and keeping company with them (more than others). However, many parents misconstrue their rights over their children to mean that they have the right to command their children’s lives, which is not true. Your parents are your “advising friends” once you grow up. Parents have the right to refuse an offer of marriage to their child, only based on sound religious argument(s), e.g., he does not pray, or he drinks, etc.

Does your elder sister live close to you and your mom? I assume she doesn’t live that far, as your mother expects you not to be far from her, therefore you could talk to your sister also regarding your marriage and taking care of your mom. This is her responsibility as well not just yours.

So, based on the above information, you can – and should – marry someone you want to marry, and also marry someone who lives near your mother so you can visit her frequently (to fulfill her right over you, to keep company with her more than others). But if you marry someone who does not live in your present neighborhood, can your mother move to where you live (not in your house, necessarily, but to your neighborhood maybe?)

Also, do not assume that your mother living with you is so bad. I knew of a case where a wife’s mother lived with her and it worked great; her mother cared for the children, freeing her daughter to go to work. Her mother also cooked, freeing her daughter in that way also—and she was a great cook. If your mother has the good sense to know the difference between her rights over you for HER needs as compared to commanding you to do what she wants you to do, her living with you could actually benefit both you and your potential spouse greatly.



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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.