My Mother-in-Law is Traumatizing Me with Her Abuse: What Can I Do?

06 March, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I got married last year. My mother in-law has a lot of influence on my husband and he believes whatever she feeds him. She's been trying to degrade me from the first day of our marriage. She even went on our honeymoon with us. I tried a lot to respect her and make a happy family but she is having trouble accepting me as her son's wife. I wasn't allowed to sit or eat with my husband. I couldn't use fridge and washing machine as I didn't bring my own as they refused to pay the dowry. She also used to abuse me verbally and physically. She called me prostitute, pig faced and bitch faced. My husband went abroad. So, I came to my parent's home. Now he wants me to go to his home but I am afraid. He calls me disobedient. I want to know what Islam says about this. Am I disobedient for not listening to him? I used to sleep in washroom during the day as she didn't let me sleep and he doesn't believe me. Please, guide.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- As a wife, you have the right to live a safe and secured life free from abuse. Your mother-in-law is not allowed to abuse you in such a way.

2- Practically speaking, you should seek a separate house away from her; that would be better for you all.

3- Mind you that living apart from your mother-in-law does not mean to treat her inappropriately.

Answering your question, Dr. Muhammad Salama, PhD, Islamic Studies in English, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Sciences al-Madinah International University (Mediu), states:

A husband has to treat his wife well. Allah Almighty said, {And consort with them [only] in accordance with what is right [and honorable].} (An-Nisaa’ 4:19)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also exhorted men to “…treat women kindly…

He has also to protect her honor from insult and abuse.

So, if you are really afraid of your mother-in-law, then you have the right to leave the house. You do not have to bear such insults from his mother.

If your husband treats you well and the problem is only with his mother, then you need to approach him kindly and remind him of your rights as a Muslim wife.

Suggest finding another house away from his mother when he comes back and tell him that this is better for your family.

Tell your husband to speak to his mother kindly and tell her to stop such abuse and insult and to remind her of the punishment of Allah for those who are unjust in their dealings and treatment.

He needs to advise her to repent and apologize for you before she stands before Allah Almighty on the Day of Judgment and He then will pass His judgment against her.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.