Should I Stay with Sick Husband or Sick Mother?

18 March, 2018
Q My husband is sick at the same time of my mother’s illness; which of them am I supposed to stay with regardless of my husband having another spouse or not? What is the Shari`ah point of view on this?


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:

It is your duty to take care of your sick husband and, at the same time, your parents, especially when any of them is sick. Fulfilling this, you may ask your husband’s permission to look after your mother if there is no one else to do that, like a sister’s of yours.

Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:

There should not be any conflict between your duties towards your husband and your dutifulness towards your parents. Family affairs should be dealt with through mutual understanding, love, mercy, and respect.

So, it is your basic duty to take care of your sick husband. If your sick mother is in need of your help too, you may then seek your husband’s permission to visit and take care of her.

Your husband should understand your condition and allow you go and take care of your mother if he has other persons -such as sons or daughters- to look after him when you are absent.

If your mother has someone to take care of her—such as your father, brother, or sister—then you have to take care of your sick husband and you may visit your mother occasionally.

Almighty Allah knows best.

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