Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My Husband Wants Me to Break Off With My Family

August 11, 2007

This question is answered by Wael Abdelgawad, Editor of Islamic Marriage Advice, and Muslim Matrimonial Service.


Dear Wael, As-Salamu Alaykum,

My husband does not like my side of the family. I had a disagreement with my brother and I was not talking to my brother for about two years. This situation made my husband very happy. Now with the help of my sisters, I am forgiving my brother for what he had said to me and I would like us to move on. When I told this to my husband, he got very upset at me.

He is not treating me nice anymore. He barely talks to me. Please help me. What should I do? I have been married for 16 years and have two children.

- Sister H.S. from United States


Dear Sister H.S., Wa Alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullah,

My Own Experience

Recently my wife's father came to visit. He's not Muslim and he'll never read this, so I think I can share this story safely 🙂

I found him drinking beer in the house, and I said to him very politely, "I'm sorry, we don't allow alcohol in the house."

He became very angry with me. He said that I was making him feel unwelcome, and that he doesn't trust me, and that I am abusing him. I tried to be very calm and speak to him nicely, telling him, "You are welcome here," etc. But the more I spoke to him calmly, the more angry he got. He began shouting, saying, "Your religion (Islam) is ridiculous, it has too many rules, it doesn't make any sense." Then he left.

A few days later he apologized. Still, we were very uncomfortable with him and my wife did not speak to him for a few months. Finally I said to her, "You should call your father."

She said, "I'm uncomfortable, I don't want to talk to him."

I told her, "If it was a friend or acquaintaince who spoke to me that way, I would cut him off and never speak to him again. But you can't do that with your family. You have to forgive them and move on."

Forgiving Your Family

Forgiving him doesn't meant that what he said is ok, or that it doesn't hurt my feelings. It does. But he is her father. He cared for her when she was small, he raised her, he worked to give her food and shelter. So you have to forgive his mistakes. That's the Islamic way.

Showing compassion to your family membes is doubly important because family members are more likely to offend you. Because they are family, they feel they have the right to criticize you, and they speak to you more honestly about their feelings. They have more invested in you emotionally and they take your actions more personally, so they are more prone to get upset when they feel you are making a bad life choice.

If we cut off our family members every time they offended us, it wouldn't take very long until we found ourselves completely isolated. Hopefully our families will forgive our mistakes in the same way, and be compassionate with us.

The Obligations of Silat-ur-Rahm

It is required in Islam to maintain ties with our families. In Islam this is called Silat-ur-Rahm and it is a fundamental principle of family relationships.

I want to refer you to an article published on

The Importance of Kinship in Islam by Khalid Baig

Please read it. As the article mentions, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship." [recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari]

And he (the Prophet) said:

"There is no sin more deserving of having punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of family." [recorded in At-Tirmidhi]

What About Abusive Family Members?

Must we maintain a relationship even with those relatives who do not treat us kindly? The article on quotes Shaikh Abdul Wakil Durubi in Reliance of the Traveller:

"Silatur-rahm has been defined as politeness, kind treatment, and concern for all one's relatives even if distantly related, corrupt, non-Muslim, or unappreciative."

Of course we must not aid anyone in performing corruption, nor should we subject ourselves to continuing physical or psychological abuse. If our relatives are corrupt, for example, then maintaining the silat-ur-rahm allows us to be a positive, reforming influence.

I am sure that Shaikh Durubi is not saying that we must maintain a close friendship with relatives who are corrupt or abusive. We simply must meet our Islamic familial obligations: to inquire after their well being, to be polite with them, to help them in times of need, to care for the orphans and look after the elderly. Aside from that, we are not required to have intimate dealings with them.

Address Your Husband's True Objections

In your case, I feel like I'm not getting the full story. You've been married sixteen years and your husband does not like any of your side of the family. This problem with your brother goes back only two years. Clearly your husband's objection to your side of the family is longstanding and deeply ingrained, and is not limited to this recent problem with your brother.

I'm not saying there's any justification for trying to cut you off from your family, or blackmailing you emotionally so that you cut them off yourself. But if you can figure out what your husband's true problem is with your family, perhaps the problem can be addressed. I'm not optimistic about it, but you never know.

At the very least, your husband needs to get over his objections and accept your relationship with your family. Maintaining a good relationship with all family members is a strict Islamic obligation. Your husband does not have the authority or the right to demand that you should ignore this obligation.

If any readers have some additional advice for this questioner, feel free to post your comments below.

"(O Allah), Guide us to the straight path; The path of those whom you have favored; Not those with whom you are angry; Nor those who go astray."

Best regards,

- Wael Hesham Abdelgawad, Administrator Islamic Marriage Advice
ZAWAJ.COM Muslim Matrimonials and More!

Leave a Response