Mom & My Husband Hate Each Other: Who to Obey?

27 April, 2017
Q As-Salamu Alaykum. I got married 6 months ago, but I am facing a lot of difficulties currently. Islam says to obey the parents and not to hurt them and also to be obedient to the husband. In my situation, what my husband commands me to do always contradicts my mother’s will. So, if I obey one of them, the other gets hurt. I love my mom so much and for many years I haven’t disobeyed her. Now, if I do something which my husband commands, she is hurt and weeps. I don’t want to see tears in her eyes because of me. But if I obey my mom, my husband gets upset. As a result, my mom and my husband hate each other. Kindly, advise me in this circumstance: whose words should I give more importance to? JazakAllah Khayran.



As-Salaam ’Alaikum sister,

May God (swt) bless you and your efforts. We need to clarify a couple of points:

  1. What does obeying our parents mean exactly in Islam?
  2. Who in your life have more rights as a married woman: your mother or your husband?
  3. Context and value of what each party is requesting of you must be considered in your decisions.

Point 1:

Qur’an does not say explicitly, “obey your parents”. Although the word in Arabic for actual obedience, ateea, is not found in any verses that mention one’s parents, it uses certain phrases that give that meaning and we are instructed as Muslims to understand the Quran both explicitly and implicitly. However, it does not mean that we need to obey them blindly.

According to my knowledge and research, all the verses in the Qur’an that talk about parents say in Arabic “bil walidayn husna” meaningwith your parents have husna” which comes from the word ihsan. Ihsan means beauty, excellence, and goodness. Husna can be understood in many ways. Is part of being kind and good with parents obeying and being dutiful? Sure, sometimes it is, but it is not the whole picture.

This makes a lot of sense actually because if our parents were non-Muslims or corrupt people who called us to wrong, it would not befit God to command us to obey our parents blindly no matter what they say or call to. However, the meaning of having ihsan and husna towards our parents despite their belief and character makes more sense. If your parents are bad or non-Muslims, you should still have goodness and respect towards them, but that is not the same as obedience. You can respectfully decline a request from your parents or show them kindness and care without obeying them.

“And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. To Me is your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” (Quran 29:8)

“There can be no obedience to a created being in disobedience to the Creator.” (Ahmed)

The above verse telsl us to be good, excellent and dutiful as long as we are not disobeying God and His messenger.

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.” (Quran 4:59)

Point 2:

My understanding is that when you get married, your husband and children become your primary family. This means that their needs become a priority over extended family. Of course, you are still expected to take care of your parents and be there for them, but they do take a back seat. I believe this is the case in order to help any new family build itself and become solid. If members of a new family were constantly using their resources for their extended family, your nuclear family would suffer. For example, your mother wants you to live with her, but your husband got a job in another state. You would have to follow your husband not your mother to ensure stability and success of your own nuclear family.

Point 3:

I have seen extended families, husbands, and wives competing with one another for loyalty and dutifulness. This is often a disease in the heart where family members argue and compete with pride and arrogance not for what is best but simply because they want to feel important and obeyed.

You need to be honest with yourself and ask if this is happening with your husband and mother. Why is it, as you claim, that everything your husband asks, your mother disapproves or it makes her cry? What exactly is going on? The context and details of your situation should help you assess.

Your family should work on communicating together and not competing with tasks or ideas. There should be greater harmony in your family through honest speculation and questioning the context and value of what both your husband and mother are asking of you. The points under the first section clearly indicate that you have to ask yourself what is more pleasing to God based on the values of Islam. This will help you navigate through the commands of your mother and husband and help you decide which one is more deserving of duty.

For example, if your husband asks you to do something “unIslamic” towards your mother, like ignoring her or treating her bad, you must then obey God and disobey your husband.  God will ask you alone about your treatment towards both your husband and your mother. Each case will require your sincere speculation.

In conclusion, both your parents and your husband deserve husna. Now that you are married, generally your husband’s needs and dutifulness comes before your parents. However, you must evaluate the context and spirit behind the commands. You cannot simply obey anyone blindly without understanding the consequences of your actions in the context of God and His Messenger’s teachings.



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About Karim Serageldin
Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: or