Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Abused By Husband’s Family


I feel like I want to go into detail, but I don't want someone from the family to be able to know who I am. I just need some sound Islamic advice as to my course of actions and if I'm doing the right thing.

Basically I've been suffering abuse at the hands of my husband's family since I arrived here 3 years ago. I am a revert to Islam, and we came to his home country in mutual decision.

The cultural differences are great, and my mother in law was quite mean to me because I do things a little differently than they do. She made this problem so great by telling my father in law such big falsities, that he told my husband to divorce me.  Of course he didn't do that. I also should mention that I came to know that she was practicing some minor form of black magic, which is common here.

My sister in law, who is the same age as me but not working, spends her time on internet chat and seeing her boyfriends and girlfriends outside in cafes, etc. She would slack off of household duties, and I had to pick them up. And if I was tired or delayed, I would be yelled at.

Ramadan came (my first ramadan), and I would face fights for going to pray taraweeh. I was supposed to instead stay home and clean so that my sister in law could go out and see friends. I was staying awake until fajr and waking up at 11. My sister in law was not waking for fajr, and sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Upon coming upstairs one day to see that I was watching tv (I had finished all the cleaning and was waiting for my mother in law to come home with what she went to bring), without saying a word to me she went to tell my father and mother in law that I won't help her and she has had to do everything alone.

This began an onslaught of rude behavior from them. They wouldn't allow me to help. And they made my husband and I to take iftar alone in the kitchen. At one point, we had no other recourse but to eat alone in our bedroom-yogurt and a peach. My brother in law called me a cow.

A couple weeks later when my husband had to return to work, I was kicked out. I went to the city with my husband and while he was at work, I sat in a cafe for 5 hours. I had nowhere to go. I called a woman and got a room from her, and got a part time job. My husband cut off most or all communication with his parents at this point.

A few months later I got pregnant, and we were trying to make peace with them already. They had seemed sorry for their actions, so I went to stay with them until I had the baby.  I appreciated that, but when he was born, it was like he wasn't mine. I would face a fight for wanting him to sleep with me, instead of with my mother in law (I was not able to breastfeed). When time came for us to move with my husband, they said to leave baby with them and I can come see them every 3 months. I must work instead.

We moved anyway, and my mother in law came to visit. To be nice, I told her to take baby with her so the other family can see him for  a while, and I would come the next week to bring him home. When I went, they didn't want me to take him. My husband wanted us to go home, but they said no, not yet, wait, not now, later, etc and proceeded to prevent my leaving. It became physically abusive- spitting in my face and striking me- even taking my baby out of my arms. I was able to leave the next morning, and my husband again stopped talking to them. My mother in law came and made a problem for us with the man we are renting from.

Time passed, and we've made slight peace. But each time she comes, she acts as though I am not cleaning the house or taking care of my husband.  I feel disrespected. She even arrives unannounced. For me, this is not nice. She takes my things in the house and rearranges everything where she wants them to be as if this is her home in the country. If she wants to do something in the house in a certain way and I tell her no we don't want it like this. she says if I don't let her do it she will leave. And this will make a problem between me and my husband.

She wanted to take the baby with her 3 times, and my husband told her no (because of what she did to me).  Finally we agreed, and she promised to return him in a certain amount of days. She did not. She says we can come to retrieve him at a later date.

I feel like I don't have control of anything. My house is not my house, my child is not my child. I have no rights. She can enter our home anytime she pleases, put me out of my place and control everything. She can take my child and not return him on our agreed date and if I say something, then I am the wrong person. She got my son an evil eye bracelet to prevent bad things from happening to him. This is shirk. Then she yelled at me for not letting him wear it.

My husband, who is usually supportive of me, had the audacity to tell me that I don't appreciate what she did for me when I was pregnant. I do appreciate it, but because she was nice to me one time, does it makes up for all of the other heartbreaking things she has done, or makes up for her constantly disrespecting me? There is so much more to the story than what I've written.

I feel like I no longer have my husband's support. I feel that she is controlling us, and me. If I say something about it, I am wrong. I feel so unhappy. If he is going to let her dictate every aspect of my life, then I don't want to stay with him anymore. I can't live my life this way.  He feels like I don't want my son to have a relationship with his grandparents, which isn't farther from the truth. I don't have a problem with them, I have a problem with being disrespected and controlled.

Please help. What should I do?


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7 Responses »

  1. What I am about to say is controversial; but it needs to be said. It is too late for your situation, but it might help a reader avoid problems and unhappiness.

    Marriage to overseas Muslims and moving abroad can be a very bad thing for female reverts to do, There are great cultural differences, often cultural traditions (e.g. "the joint family") masquerade as Islam. I have known far too many sisters who have returned to the US divorced, without their children.

    It can also be a very bad idea for women to marry overseas Muslims here in the US. Sometimes men marry for green cards, other times, in violation of US law, they take an additional wife from the old country, often one of their family's preference.

    An acquaintance of mine, a widow, had a very long and happy marriage with her Arab husband - they lived for some time in his home country, and his relatives did not make life easy for her. Apparently there were put downs, and lots of suggestions, not infrequently made in her presence, that he divorce her and marry a cousin. They returned to the US after some years - and imagine her surprise that the younger generation has heard laudatory stories about her!

  2. My dear sister,

    You are on your own with no family I am assuming and you have your baby- its time to turn your mama beast personality on. Your baby is your baby and your home is your home and its a private place- if she rearranges things, tell her no right away. IF she wants to take him away, tell her NO, if they are holding you back- call the police!

    In islam you need to give people warning before you visit.

    Don not let anyone take advantage of you. Your baby is your baby and no they dont have to take him without your permission. IF they miss treat you, then don't have to see him.

    Put your foot down on things that matter to you. such as respect and taking permission before coming over etc.

    Do not fight with them directly, let your husband speak on your behalf. If you have a message, send it through him.

    Your husband is probably going crazy because he is in between, so maybe give him a gentle message- reaafirm how hard this is for him but tell him you need his help. Tell him how you are feeling and that you just need respect.

    Also my dear sister, know that Allah is always there, you are not alone. Make lots of dua, especially the dua for distress and inshallah may you be rewarded for all your patience.

    And my dear, there is always a way out, if you are uncomfortable and are not getting any support- and you are being abused by him and his parents- you are allowed to leave him. Marriage is not a life sentence of torture, it shouldnt be!

    May Allah make things easy for you and he bless you in this life and the next.

  3. You should try to live seperate

  4. Assalam alaikum,

    It would help to know what country you are living in. From the sounds of it, I don't know that I would trust in calling the police on your mother-in-law--so use your judgement and be careful.

    I am not going to mince words here--you are in a bad situation and I really think you need to work towards getting out of their with your son. Your in-laws are not going to change. I have seen girls go through this exact situation and in fact, reading your words sent a chill over me. Your husband will never see through his family's actions. He has not demonstrated that he is protecting your privacy, let alone other matters.

    Rather than asking for your son or being hurt in front of them, stop all this. Be the mother to your son that you should be--he doesn't deserve to be away from his mother and be deprived of being breastfed. Reading that part was heart-wrenching sister! If you are in your in-laws presence, forget about what they think--become unaware of their words. They are exerting control over you and you are letting them. Stop asking to see your son...or argue about your son, simply take him.

    If you get a chance, speak to authorities (embassy) about your situation--do not continue in this not lose hope. I pray that you are safe, inn shaa Allah.

    May Allah ease your burdens, Ameen.

  5. salam my dear sister. I really feel bad for you and made a dua. Allah is witness of everything. You have two solutions. The first one is to take some distance from your family in law if your husband agrees. You can come back or stay in his country but move to another city and keep contact with his family from time to time. In that case she will not be able to come unannounced, which is defended in a hadith like another sister said. The other solution relies on your husband. You made a huge compromise for him by leaving everything, your family and friends for him alone. You trusted him. Now he has to understand the sacrifices you made out of love and that you deserve his support. He should have a real conversation with his mother and establish some boundaries. I will keep you in my prayers dear sister. salam

  6. Put your foot down about the baby. Until they learn your boundaries, and learn to treat you like a human being and their daughter in law, and NOT property, tell them to stay away.

    When you do reconcile, make sure you explain to them that these are the terms and conditions.

    How dare they hit you and take your baby out of your arms - they will turn your child against you eventually.

    Until they learn how to behave like people keep away.

  7. Salam everyone...
    I am so sorry to hear your story and i know what you are going through, i am also going through the same controlling and abusing inlaws. I totally agree with sister samira, no matter how bad they call you for saying no, just tell your mother in law that you can't let your child live away from you, this is not only bad for child for living away his mother and not getting a mother's affection but it is also totally wrong to keep a baby away from their parents. Just tell your husband that you are never gonna let your son live away from you. If the grand parents want to meet your son, ask your husband to take the baby with him and let your in laws meet your son. You have to set some boundries, i know it's very hard for a muslim woman to set rules and stand against abuse of their inlaws but it has to be done. Even i am struggling with pretty much the same issues but i try my best to not take the abuse by talking to my husband, as i am in no position to live saparate house and obviously i cant speak up againt my mother in law or father in law. It is very very hard trust me but as you are not living with your in laws anymore, its your home you set some rules, talk to your husband that your mother in law can't come to your home unanounced, just because of her behaviour, tell him that if they were so nice to you, there would have been no need to leave for both of you and live saparate from them. Just take it no longer, you have to stand up for yourself and your rights otherwise trust me, no one is ever gonna do it for you... I know because my mother in law is the carbon copy of your mother in law. My sister in law was used to do the same with me and she was not alone, she had her grown up kids with her also to play the role. Just pray to Allah and i will also pray to Allah Almighty to grant happiness and peace in my all married sisters life, including me, Ameen... Because i am still going through this abusive traumatizing experience.

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