Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Jealous mother in law makes my husband violent

abusive husband

I have known my husband for 4 years now and been married for 1. I waited 3 years for him to marry me as he kept telling me his mother is not accepting, as she married all her other children abroad. (she has 9 children and he is the last one, my father in law passed away 18 years ago).

After such a long wait, my parents got me to agree to marry someone else and my wedding was arranged, my husband knew of the wedding but did not act or try to stop me until the engagement night where he turned up drunk 🙁 and asked me to call off the wedding and marry him. I did not do it, he then went and made sure my wedding was called off by the groom's family by telling them that I was seeing him previously. This resulted in my parents and family feeling a lot of shame. My parents tried to rush a marriage for me, but I did not agree and asked them to marry me to my husband as I had waited a long time for him and maybe it's meant to be and I will regret not trying. The grudgingly agreed and got me married.

We were both very happy to finally be married, and everything seemed perfect until I realised his mother could not stand him caring about anyone else other than her. She treated me badly, made me feel bad for eating the food, she hid food from me, treated me like a slave and expected me to serve her day and night. She was very selfish and did not like it when I fell ill and would find more chores for me to do while I was unwell. I didn't argue, I didn't fight; I didn't want to cause any problems in the house.

I stopped eating and would on occasions ask my husband to bring me take away after midnight so she would not know that I had eaten. I lost a stone of weight in a short space of time. My health has deteriorated extremely.

She would tell my husband stories about me in such a clever way to make him angry at me, and as he saw his 5 sister in laws 'do wrong' towards his mother -as he only ever heard her side- he assumed I was doing wrong too without remembering the girl he had fallen in love with. The only times we would argue is if she started stirring something between us.

In February, she did this and he lost it with me and became physically violent. He hurt me, leaving me with bruises, and did not try to understand that she was stirring things. His brothers sat him down after that occasion and told him to never be violent towards me again and explained to their mum that she needs to stop interfering in our marriage.

She had an eye operation 8 months into the marriage, and we decided that my husband shall sleep in her room in case she needs anything at night until she recovers. She recovered within about a week, but she never told him to go back to his room. Instead, she would wake up each morning and tell me how she quietly moves as night when she goes to the toilet etc so she doesn't wake him. She even used to call my mobile from her room to ask me if he is home, and why he hasn't gone to bed yet knowing full well that he is home. She did not like him being with his wife just for that half an hour at night. He finally returned to our bedroom after 1 month! And that was only after I had to ask him if mum needs him at night and he realized she didn't; and another night I faked tears saying how scared I am alone in the room.

I know he is in a difficult situation, as he is the last son, and feels like it is his job now to look after his mother. But he also has a responsibility to look after his wife, right?

10 months into the marriage, she caused another big problem while I was visiting my parents. This resulted in him getting angry at me and telling me to never come back and me being stubborn, I took in his words. He then realised he needed his wife and came back and apologised to my parents before taking me home. During this time that I was at my parents I completely opened up to him and cried to him about how horrible she is to me- how I don't eat because of her, how I ain't allowed to use the washing machine, how she treats me badly. I felt like I could finally tell him and he understood and told me I need to be more open and not closing him out.

In the last two months, being able to be open made my life easier and happier, and I could deal with his mother being horrible towards me as I had my husband to cry complain to. It was enough to not have to hold my pain in.

Two weeks ago, 3 days before our one year anniversary, me and my mother in law had been arguing in the kitchen. Two weeks previous to that, I had been very unwell and was dealing with a very early miscarriage which had affected my body and made me weak. She did not care, she was angry at me instead that I was unable to cook when her daughter came over to stay. The day we argued, she said she was feeling weak and I had left her alone in the kitchen to eat as she expects me to sit there and serve her. I had started feeling faint and needed to lie down. My husband woke up to our argument and lost it with me without fully understanding what was going on.

He beat me, worse ever that he has done before, and walked out of the house. His mother watched as he beat me. After he left the house, she was on the phone complaining to someone how bad a daughter in law I am. I decided I could not take anymore and left.

Since then my husband has been in touch, begging me to help him find a solution. I told him I never want to see his mother again in my life as she has caused me so much pain, mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically. I can tell he is genuinely sorry and wants to sort things out but he still feels the need to be with his mother and wants to try one last time and if things are bad then he will get us a place of our own.

Is it wrong of me to want him to leave his mum for me?

Was I wrong for losing my patience with her selfishness after a year?

Do I let go of my husband, as he has physically hurt me over her?

what would Islam say about my duties in this situation?

I feel lost and scared. I don't really know who I am anymore.

For those of you who have reached down to the end of my long story, thank you for reading and please give me your opinions. I feel so alone.



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18 Responses »

  1. Salaams,

    Sister, I feel you are confusing two issues here. Your mother in laws behavior is NOT the cause of your husband's violence. In fact, they aren't connected at all.

    What your mother in law is doing is indeed wrong, I have no disagreement with you on that. She shouldn't have been treating you like a servant or trying to cause problems in your marriage. It was especially cruel of her to treat you the way she did when you had your miscarriage. I hate that you had to go through all of that.

    However, on this site alone you can see that there are plenty of other families where daughters in law have been treated the same way as you have by their mother in laws, or where sons have been too devoted to their mothers at the expense of their marriages. What is important for you to know is that despite this, the sons were not always violent toward their wives in the midst of the problems going on.

    Your husband's violence is his own problem. There is no excuse for it, and it should not be tolerated. To be honest with you, I saw that that there were issues with him being impulsive and hotheaded when he showed up to break up your first wedding. That's never a good sign.

    I don't feel that you are safe with your husband. Even if you move into another house separate from your mother in law, your husband has shown that he has a problem with self control and can endanger you. Now that he's done it twice, and it's gotten worse with the second time, it will be easier for him to do it again and again no matter what "the reason". It's pretty typical for violent men to "regret" what they've done, and say they will change after, but statistically the truth is that the cycle will continue, and it will likely get worse.

    You need to separate yourself from him immediately. Go home to your family, as they support you (they may even have seen this all along and that's why they were reluctant to marry you to him). Tell them what has happened and stay with them as long as you need to. You can make istikhara about this relationship to see what Allah wants you to do, but I can tell you from experience that in the majority of situations like this the man doesn't change and divorce is the best option.

    -Amy Editor

    • Aslaam

      "where sons have been too devoted to their mothers at the expense of their marriages" - correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it according to Islam that the husband is SUPPOSED to be more devoted to his mother than his wife?

      • Salaams,

        It is my understanding that if a husband is denying his wife's rights because of doing things above and beyond the obligations he owes his mother, that is out of balance and wrong Islamically. A wife's rights are never to be denied just so "extra favors" (not the Islamic duties owed to a mother) can be given to mom. That's what I have seen a lot of on this site, and that's what I meant.

        -Amy Editor

    • I completely agree with sister Amy here. It would be idealistic to tell you to return to your husband and that all along the problem was with her, however that is not true.

      By forgiving and returning, it only gives the impression that an apology and some begging would get you back. Imagine if you fall pregnant and have a child with this man, you may feel bound to him and the violence may escalate. Unless he seeks professional help and makes some drastic changes that really show he is reformed (like SERIOUS CHANGES HERE) then don't go back to him. Really sister, don't raise children around domestic violence- it is the worst. You may feel that if you divorce him no one will take you considering the situation and all the cultural stigma around you, but Allah (swt) has a plan for all of us so make dua for things to be better and insha Allah you can look back and be glad you have left such a situation.

      Also, you mentioned he was drunk when the incident happened with your previous fiance. That is terrible sister and even if you had not mentioned the violence part, the fact he drinks set off serious alarm bells and you should not be with such a man.

  2. Dear sister,

    My heart is literally breaking for you right now. I am so sorry for all that you have had to put up with for so long. This is why I never want to even risk getting married, I don't trust anyone.

    As for you though, I completely agree with sister Amy. Mother-in-laws have a very difficult time letting go of their sons especially, and usually don't even let them go really, which is why they create so much fuss and non-sense between themselves and their daughter-in-law. This seems to be your case. Don't worry though, we are all on your side and support you completely. You are not alone, I repeat, you are not alone.

    Moving on to your husband now. What he did is absolutely unacceptable. I am very proud of you for leaving, as you need to stand up for your rights. You did not lose your patience sister, you spoke up. Patience is NOT suffering in silence. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to stand up for our rights and take action, and that's exactly what you did. Masha Allah.

    I agree once again with Amy; you are not safe with your husband. I seriously doubt he's ever going to change his ways. He hit you not once, but twice. Do NOT go back to him. Apologizing is a great method to reel a person back into the abusive chain cycle. He will say he's sorry, take you back into his arms, and then sooner or later, he'll do it again. And then so on and so on. BREAK THE CYCLE SISTER.

    I'm having a difficult time understanding why you married him as he tried breaking up your wedding. He didn't seem like a very good person from the start. But, what's done, is done.

    Go back to your family, and explain what has happened. Insha Allah they will support you. However, if your family isn't the supportive kind, go to a friend or a person in a masjid and seek help.
    Separate yourself from your husband and mother-in-law, and give this time. Give yourself time to heal, and pray to Allah. Visit a doctor and talk to him/her about your health, and I HIGHLY recommend you visit a psychologist. Do not be embarrassed. Even Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) went to a counselor to get help about his marriage.

    Insha Allah sister, I know you're going to be okay. You are beautiful, and so strong. I will keep you in my prayers. Sister, we love you so much, and hope to hear from you soon.


    your sister, Hooria

  3. Sister , you are most definitely not wrong.
    She sounds absoloutly evil. DEAR GOD.
    Tell him that you and his mother can not stay in the same
    home and she needs to leave as soon as possible. and he
    can pay her and stuff elsewhere

  4. Aslam

    Sister, I'm being for real here - DO NOT...DO NOT!!!!!! Go back to him. No matter HOW much he BEGS, PLEADS, CRIES...don't do it. For the love of God he's banged you out twice - if it was once then it's bad enough but it could be that he reached an uncontrollable rage but if a man beats his woman TWICE then he will NOT change. Stay with your family and apply for a divorce. And make sure you go to a GOOD sharia court as I have even seen on TV that some sharia courts blame the woman for her husband's violence and they probably won't give you one.

    As to your question: "Is it wrong of me to want him to leave his mum for me?"

    From my knowledge, according to Islam, a man is supposed to choose his mother over his wife BUT he is to try and maintain a balance - explain to his mom where she is wrong and stand up for his wife at times. NOT constantly blaming his wife and picking his mother.

    From what you have said in your post - his mother is a liar and a manipulative person. I can GUARANTEE you that if you choose to give him one more chance, he will NOT get you your own accommodation, he will NOT listen to your side of the arguments and he WILL beat you again. I can guarantee you this.

    Don't go back to him sister, unless you enjoy getting battered and treated like a peasant then it's your choice.

    May Allah help you in this life.

    • Assalam alaikum Brother,

      Can you please make reference to Hadith or Quran about choosing one's mother over one's wife?

      It is reported that:

      Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a person came to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and asked: “Who among people is the most deserving of my fine treatment?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Your mother.” He then asked, “Who next?” The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Your mother.” He asked again: “Who next?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said again, “Your mother.” He again asked, “Then who?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Your father.” [Sahih Bukhari]

      but still we couldn't take this out of context and then say that a father is less important, Asthughfir Allah.

      I think you may be confusing duties to your mother as being legitimate reasons to mistreat someone else? If that is the case, I think that duties to a person's mother, father, spouse, children, etc do not mean that we have to mistreat anyone--it is about fulfilling one's duty and not overstepping the boundaries of another. Islam is a perfect religion - no wonder women have the right to separate accommodations after marriage - in Allah's Wisdom, which is beyond ours, He set up rules/regulations for our betterment.

      Besides, never is a particular relationship 100% correct. No mother is 100% correct, or father, or wife, or husband or any relationship at all 100% correct, so you have to exercise your judgement.

      In Al-Quran 4:135 states:

      O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.

      So, i think we have to be very careful - Allah wants us to avoid divorce as it is the most hated halal thing and also respect our parents too - so when in the dilemma of who to choose to side with when parents put us in a difficult position - the above Iyat I think helps us to understand the careful balance needed in our relationships and to not choose sides of people, but to choose Justice above all.

      • I don't have any hadith - the only reason why I say this is because I've read on the internet that a Muslim man is supposed to choose his mother over his wife and loads of men and I think I've read a few women say on this website that a man is to choose his mother over his wife.

        • If that is the case, I would probably not venture out and say it is a well-supported way of thinking.

          To me, choosing a mother over a wife makes no sense or for that matter, choosing a wife over a mother. The two relationships are completely different. It is comparing apples to oranges.

          If we just observe the Islamic rights of both while being tactful in dealing with a jeolous mother or wife, much of this situation would be at ease. But in some cultures, some men think their mother is an angel and couldn't ever possibly lie or be manipulative--again, we should focus on justice and respect personal boundaries.

        • Regarding treatment of the wife, the mother-in-law is not mentioned, but the hadith of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) says explicitly:

          "The best of you is the one who is best in the treatment of his wife, and I am the best the treatment of my family."

          Respect and kindness are required to achieve this end. It does not mention the mother-in-law because the Holy Prophet did not have one. However, if he did, I am sure he would have treated her the best, too. He was perceptive. He would have stayed as long as it was necessary and no more. It is the lack of balance in the son which causes the problem with the wife.

          Whenever my mother-in-law came to stay with us, she would complain about me to my husband every day, apparently. It is the son's job not to listen, the same way as it is his job not to listen to Shaitan. Does he always manage to avoid Shaitan? Maybe not. Out of the three month stay, I was guaranteed that my husband would start shouting at me once over something his mother instigated: an open door, "ruined" homeopathy, I threw away free plastic gloves, I stole her $2 shampoo (that was still in the bathroom)...

          My husband was the oldest and she knew how to "press his buttons." Guilt tripping women have driven husbands and children crazy, but they do it because it works!

          Another hadith: A believer must not harbor rancor against a believing woman. (any woman!)

          That applies to the mother, the sister and the wife! The rest of the hadith says: If he does not like one characteristic of his wife, he will like another quality that she has. (warning to the men: you never get it all in one package!) So the man is supposed to overlook the quality he does not like.

          The Quran says the man has been made a guardian over women. What kind of guardian beats the wife he is supposed to guard against anyone who wants to beat her?

          This kind of man cannot expect love in return because he broke the guiding principles which the Holy Prophet gave him (pbuh) to keep the relationship safe.

  5. Thank you all for taking your time to read my story? Problem? Dnt know what to call it.
    I think i posted on here to hear what i know. Being in the situation and taking a look from the outside gives two different perspectives. I love my husband and i guess he realises that my love is real and therefore has taken advantage of that and feels like he can treat me how he likes.
    I needed the responses i have heard from you all, i know that my head agrees with you all and i just needed confirmation that this is what is right, to remove myself from this situation. My heart on the other hand is more reluctant 🙁 but i know i need to be strong and realise i deserve better than to be treated like this.
    I will do istikhara inshallah aswell.
    Thank you again for your responses, i really really appreciate it.
    Sister Hooria, i am taking steps in helping myself. I visited a counsellor at my doctor today and broke down and opened up, the counsellor will refer me to appropriate help so i can fully grasp the situation and get rid of all the mixed up emotions that are making me go crazy. I know if i put myself to one side, i will jus repress it all and will never be able to get on with my life. Inshallah i can move forward in whatever way Allah has plans for me.
    Please pray for me and thank you again for your honest advice and opinions.

  6. Sister,

    Reading your post is like reading about one of my closest friends whom I have known for nearly 14 years. Your situation is absolutely identical to my friends in many aspects. I have witnessed her tears, sadness, frustration and anger. Years of torment and for what? Because my friends husband allowed his mother to abuse her verbally and disrespect her on a daily basis.

    It is one thing for a man to love and respect his is entirely another for him to allow his mother to use his wife as a door mat to wipe her feet on. My friends mother is so sick in the head that she even went into my friends bedroom when they had guests over...took a pair of her daughter in laws underwear and went out in front of all the guests and told them, "look what I found on the floor"! The woman has no shame at all.

    To say my friends marriage was hell would be an understatement. I say their marriage "was" hell because her husband passed away several months ago to terminal Cancer. For three years he fought like hell to survive but alas it was not meant to be. My friend took care of her husband to the very end and she says to me, "he was not a good husband or father but I would have never wished anything upon him."

    My friends husbands body was not in the ground but a day and his mother starting fighting with his wife. Sad really. My friend has grown from her experience of the last fourteen years and she is having no more. She has said, "enough is enough". She is now going to live her life in a manner that has been denied her for many years. She needs counseling to help her not only deal with the death of her husband but to help her heal from all the physical and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of both her husband and her mother in law.

    Is it wrong of me to want him to leave his mum for me?

    On the contrary, some scholars advise a husband and wife to live separately from their families if possible. It is a duty in Islam for one to look after their parents however your mother in law can have her own place and her son can make certain that her needs are met. If there are other family members, they too can contribute to her care. Since it is obvious that your mother in law is incapable of being in the same space as you without creating havoc, it is a solution that may save your marriage and can work to everyone's advantage.

    Was I wrong for losing my patience with her selfishness after a year?

    Absolutely not! Don't blame yourself, you are only human and you did what anyone would have done given your situation. Everyone has a breaking point and that was yours.

    Do I let go of my husband, as he has physically hurt me over her?

    No. You tell your husband to grow a pair and be a man. If he wants your marriage to work, he needs to get a place for the two of you. I guarantee you, if you go back into the same situation, it is only a matter of time before he beats you again. It isn't his mothers fault mind is his. He allows this situation to exist. He allows his mother to walk all over you and worse yet, he allows her to disrespect you time and time again. This is not her is his. She does it because he allows it.

    what would Islam say about my duties in this situation?

    Your duty is to be kind and caring and do your very best to be a good daughter in law. However, knowing someone exactly in your situation...sometimes no matter what you do, it isn't enough and never will be. Put your faith in Allah and pray unto him for guidance and patience.

    I feel lost and scared. I don't really know who I am anymore.

    I hear you loud and clear sister and I know your pain well. I saw through my friends eyes everyday the sadness, despair and utter frustration from living a life similar to yours. The fact is, you don't have to live this way...not now, not ever.

    Let your husband know that you love him and you want your marriage to work however in order to make your marriage work, you must have your own place. Let him know that he has touched you for the very last time. No man should abuse their wife ever. No woman should ever tolerate their husband beating is never okay. If he values you and your marriage, he can and will make it happen. If he cannot or will not, then you need to prepare yourself for what your next step will be. No one deserves to live this way and neither should you.


  7. sister
    just read your storey and i feel sad after reading this i know how hard it is because i was in a similar situation except i didnt have the violence from my partner i would say one thing dont put up with the violence beacause he will think its ok to do so and will repeat himself , also with the being a good daughter in law that will never happen because we are muslims but not good muslims this is lack of islam in our lifes if we was good muslims then we would know how to treat people and how bad it is to beat you wife ....yes mothers are important you should look after them and keep them happy but then why the heck do they marry to distory a womens life ,also they cant forget that this women who left her everything to be with them need to be careful how he should treat her a wife does anything for a husband and his family so the husband should thinktwice before lifting a finger...just like to say stand upfor youself because up untill u dont they going to think that they can carry on like this u need to sit your husband and mother in law down and talk to them sort this out keep your father present just in case ov any violence hope this helps you x tc

    • Can u tell me more about ur situation? And if you have overcome the situation? Are things good now?

      I spoke to a somalian girl at work who does not understand why it is left to the daughter in laws to look after mother in laws in many south asian families. She told me how in their culture, the daughters take in the parents and the sons visit them at their daughters. As in laws are very unlikely to cause problems for son in laws the way they do for daughter in laws. I found this interesting. It does make better sense. Opinions?

      • Yes, SBZ,
        I argued this many times to no avail as my in laws are Pakistani. My sister-in-law never looked after her mother. It amazed and confused me! If my mother-in-law said I did something, they would all say "Oh no!" But when my mother-in-law finally went to stay with my sister in law in her last year (19 years later...) and she said "That man stole my money!" The daughter would just laugh at her.

        So, that proves that the daughter puts a stop to foolish accusations, where the sons mix guilt and gets tired of complaints and start to believe (like any advertising) whatever they keep hearing. But my mother in law kept saying that she "could never go to her daughter's house because she was incurring an expense on her husband." The intention is not clean or clear. They have no guilt trip for their daughters. She is doing the work. The daughter owes the mother and she can do intimate things for her mother's health care that a daughter in law would feel is too intimate.

  8. Thank you for this helpful post, as I know of a friend who was just suffering a similar situation. SBZ your comment totally makes sense. It is much easier for all if the parents would stay with the daughter, and the son-in-law would have to be the one to visit them.

    Also, one must prioritise at times. A husband/wife is meant to be your closest life partner. If you have to choose between obeying the wishes of a parent or spouse, a spouse should come first. Parents must still be respected and cared for but a mother should never be placed above a wife. This has caused untold suffering, broken marriages and even deaths and suicides as one person commented above, that the wife is in a more vulnerable position because she wants the husbands love and to please him.

    A wife also should not place the wishes of her parents above her husband. However if a husband chooses to be abusive he can't blame it on his mother's behaviour. He also can't blame his lack of boundaries with his mother on her. He has chosen his own life.

    I almost ended up in such a situation myself and not being able to talk to anyone about it at first was like an emotional hell. Don't let pressure or guilt from others lead you to get trapped in such a situation.

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