Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I want to live separately with my future wife


Crowded house.

Salam brothers and sisters,

I am a 25 year old guy who will get married this year and I am a bit confused. I am the only child of my parents and they love me dearly (and vice versa). Although they brought me up in the West, unfortunately they have not really adapted well to this society and live in their own “bubble”. I love them dearly but at the same time I think very differently from them.

I will be getting married soon and my to be wife and I have both mutually decided that we would want to live separately but keep my parents near by so they can visit us whenever they like and we can go by on a regular basis. The culture I come from however considers this to be disrespectful, almost like a child is abandoning their parents. I however think that’s completely untrue. I love my parents and will take care of them. However I still want to have my privacy and create my own family too.

In addition, my father is a bit pushy and quite rigid in his “old way of thinking” and I worry that this may create clashes between my wife and my parents. My mother is not a very social woman, she’s very quite and reserved whereas my wife’s family including her are social people who have a big family.

My future wife on several occasions has informed me that she would like to live separately but definitely believes family should always be in the picture. All she asks is for her privacy and I personally see no problem with the expectation that she has. I have informed my parents that I would like to live separately but they are so attached to me (e.g, my mom has never went back to her home country in 10 years because she doesn’t want to stay away from me) that sometimes I feel it’s a bit abnormal. I’m a grown man and I need to “fly” out of my nest now. My father is very rigid in his views and it took me about 2 years to make him realize that I want to live separately (this was when I first talked to my parents about wanting to get married. My to be wife wasn’t in the picture then).

My question is, is it unjust for my future wife and I to want to have separate accommodation so we can maintain our privacy, enjoy our lives our way, but at the same time I will be in regular contact with my parents and make sure their needs are met too? I do not want to upset Allah swt but I do know that a wife has a right to ask for separate accommodation and she does not have to live in a joint family system if she doesn’t want to. I know this decision would hurt my parents but at the same time I feel it is my life and I do want to live it differently than they lived their lives.


So my family and I went to my future wife’s place for dinner the other day and my mother was very quite and reserved. I must point out though that she has been like this for as long as I can remember but it seems quite awkward in a social situation where my future in laws are there and my mother doesn’t speak to them at all. I’ve noticed on a few occasions, through the meetings we’ve had with my future in laws, my mother stays quite or only responds when spoken to. This has started to affect my in laws perception regarding my mother as they are thinking that maybe she is not happy with this proposal.

I do think she fears that she will loose me since I want to move out but she isn’t realizing that her behaviour is causing me to drift away from her. I really love my future wife and I want to keep everyone happy, but she is now scared and second doubts this proposal because she feels that my family is not mentally accepting her. I had a talk with my mother about this, but as usual, she only had a one sentence response and said, "What should I say... I don’t know what to talk about." I’ve also noticed that sometimes my future mother-in-law will ask her a question and she will ignore her and not even respond. My to be wife has also informed me about this and how they find this quite rude.

I really don’t know what to do with my parents. How do I change my mother from being so socially awkward? I love these 3 people (my parents and my to be wife) and I don’t want to lose any of them but I can’t help but feel anger towards my mother for being so rude to my in laws.


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17 Responses »

  1. Salaams,

    Every wife has the Islamically valid right, per shariah based on hadith and Quran, to her own home or quarters. The cultural custom of a woman moving into the husband's parents' house is not based in Islam at all. Ladies are always given the right to have their own place, and it is the husband who decides if he will stay with his parents and care for them (if needed) or live with his wife in the place provided for her privacy. So as you can see, even though it's a common western practice for newly married couples to be on their own away from the parents, it's also rooted in Islam.

    Your parents don't have any grounds to enforce their preferences from an Islamic standpoint. All the rights they have upon you can still be fulfilled with you living in your own home separate from them with your new wife. They are going to have to accept that. So brother, you need not have any guilt or worries that you're sinning by taking up residence with your wife in a home of your own. You are completely free and clear to do so, insha-Allah.

    As far as your mother's disposition goes, this is something you cannot change. It's part of who she is, and unless she wants to work on becoming more outgoing you will have to accept her as she is. The best thing you can do is open the lines of communication with everyone. Talk to your mother and let her know how others may be taking her way of interacting. Let her know the consequences that could affect you, your new wife, and she herself if she doesn't try to adjust it a little bit. Maybe because of her love for you and true concern for your well being, she will try to modify a little bit when she is with the in-laws.

    Also, I suggest you talk to your in-laws and future wife about your mother. Explain that she's a very shy and reserved person, but this doesn't mean she's unhappy or dislikes anyone. Ask them not to take offense at her ways, and possibly they may even be kind enough to try to help her feel more comfortable when you all are together at once. If your mother has been this way her entire life, there's little chance you're going to see a big difference, but insha'Allah with a little patience and understanding on everyone's part she and your in-laws can get to know one another for who they really are, and begin to feel more comfortable in each others' presence.

    -Amy Editor

  2. Brother Mirza

    I think Amy provided an excellent answer. I just want to add one thing.

    As a Muslim, I'm sure you know and value the role of a mother in Islam. You want to raise your children to have the same respect for your wife.

    I think you and your wife might plan a way to regularly treat your mother and father to special time with you at both your new home and their home. This should be something truly special and not the normal visit or meal together.

    I am not sure what your mother would like, but one thing that comes to mind, is that you and your wife might together anoint your mother's feet with sweet smelling oil, or some other very special and unexpected treat, one that becomes a regular occurrence when they visit your home. Think of something nice for your father, too, if possible. The first time your mother might feel a bit embarrassed, but if you explain this is your way of pleasing Allah by showing her your respect and admiration for her, it would be one way to help with this transition.

    You know your mother, so this might not be something she would appreciate. Find something you see as appropriate for her, something special that shows your love and respect, that you and your wife can do together. Make it a lifetime commitment to do it regularly. It will also be a good lesson and example for your children, and Allah will reward you for your respect and tenderness with your mother.

    AmericanMuslim Editor

    • @ American Muslim: "anoint your mother's feet with sweet smelling oil" seems like the Hindu tradition of touching elders feet, in a way of worshipping. Maybe they can bring a nice bouquet for the parents when they visit - wouldn't that be more appropriate?

      • Salaams,

        Washing and/or anointing the feet with oil is also a practice rooted in ancient Jewish customs as a show of respect (not worship). There are accounts in the Bible of Jesus PBUH doing this to his companions, as well as someone doing it to him. While we do not follow the Bible or validate any truth that may or may not be contained in it, many converts (such as myself) from a Christian background, who have done these type of practices (in a former life) with others who shared that faith, would have not even thought about it being related to Hinduism or the worship of someone else. It was strictly known as a display of love and devotion.

        But like brother AmericanMuslim was saying, this isn't the exact thing the man must do with his mother, it was just an example of a way to show her special value and esteem.

        -Amy Editor

      • Sister,

        I am unfamiliar with that Hindu custom.

        I think flowers would be nice. However, what I am suggesting is finding a creative and special way beyond the ordinary would leave no doubt in his parents minds how much he loves and respects them, particularly his mother. Flowers are wonderful, but I am going for something very personal that takes effort and love to complete, that others do not do, and that has the impact to show his mother that they both recognize the sacrifices she has made for him.

        AmericanMuslim Editor

  3. Brother,

    I believe your mothers behavior is a result of her upbringing. It's nothing you can change, it just is what it is. I see absolutely nothing wrong with you and your future wife having a place of your own with your parents close by. I think your mother is afraid of losing you and it scares her. In her eyes, you are still that little boy. Sit down with her and talk with her and tell her how much you love her and that you will always be there for her. Maybe she does not understand your need to have your own space. Just try your best to help her understand. It's cultural...nothing more, nothing less. Letting go is hard but she will adjust like all us moms do. God willing all will go forward and work out for the best Inshallah.


    • Brother i agree with sister Najah,

      There are times you just have to put your foot down, and tell your parents that you have to move out. There is no choice.

      Its good to love your parents, but when it comes to other life decisions you should make sure to make your spouse happy, people who put their parents over their wife/husband all the time, will drive their partners crazy. Your parents just need to let go, it will take time, but you are old enough.

      You need a balance, when to lean to your parents and when to lean towards your spouse. This is just the beginning, so hang in there as there will be plenty of per-marriage and marriage challenges to come. Just trust in Allah that he will take care of you and bring the good closer and the bad farther away and always make dua. You need not stress if you have Allah on your side.

      Hope that helps and the meetings with the inlaws goes well.


  4. Assalamywalekum hi brothers end sisters I have a question

    After my brothers marrIge he is dis obeying my mother like wat ever personal desitions he is taking
    (rest of the comment has been deleted)

    • Nun Ye Ein Meem,

      Please login and submit your post separately. In sha Allah, we will publish it in turn.

      Abu Abdul Bari Editor

  5. Most problems arise due to joint family system. Let see what is a right example in Islam. The Prophet (sallā Allāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) arranged separate house for his daughter Fatima (RadhiAllahu 'anha) after her marriage with Ali (RadhiAllahu'anhu) from the very first day of their marriage. Though, at the time of their marriage (622 or 623 CE) the mother of Ali (RadhiAllahu'anhu) named Fatimah bint Asad (555 - 626 CE) was alive, widow and old. If there was any good in living with in-laws then who else can be better example than Fatima (RadhiAllahu 'anha) to teach to Ummah how daughter-in-law lives with her mother-in-law. As per my research, history also indicates that no other brother of Ali (RadhiAllahu'anhu) was living with mother of Ali (RadhiAllahu'anhu) at the time of his marriage with Fatima (RadhiAllahu 'anha), so there was no issue of Mahram or Hijab. Respect your parents, fulfill their needs, visit them often if possible, but live separately, it is natural and Islamic.
    In Noble Quran Surah-24-Al-Nur verse 61, where Allah teaches etiquettes of living, the house of a person, the house of his father and house of his mother are mentioned separately. If joint living was desirable to Allah then houses of his mother and father are not need to be mentioned separately in Noble Quran. In general, the house of a father and house of a mother is same, then wasn’t it sufficient to just mention the house of father? No because, in some cases, e.g., one of the spouses is died or there is separation between them then either there is only one house or their houses will be separate. So Noble Quran does not leave any margin or space. Therefore, according to etiquettes, taught to us in Noble Quran, the house of a person should be separate from the house or houses of his mother and/or father after marriage.
    Translation Surah-24-Al-Nur verse 61: “ There is not upon the blind [any] constraint nor upon the lame constraint nor upon the ill constraint nor upon yourselves when you eat from your [own] houses or the houses of your fathers or the houses of your mothers or the houses of your brothers or the houses of your sisters or the houses of your father's brothers or the houses of your father's sisters or the houses of your mother's brothers or the houses of your mother's sisters or [from houses] whose keys you possess or [from the house] of your friend. There is no blame upon you whether you eat together or separately. But when you enter houses, give greetings of peace upon each other - a greeting from Allah, blessed and good. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses [of ordinance] that you may understand.”

    • Salam,

      I think you are looking for a law where there may be no law. There are joint systems that work well and there are non-joint family systems that work well. This verse: "Surah-24-Al-Nur verse 61" is listing where it's ok to eat from. It doesn't mean that your parents would have to live separately so that you could eat from their house, if such a thing was true, wouldn't the implication be that your parents would house you separately since birth? If you interpret this verse to mean they are required to live separately from you then as soon as you have kids you're going to have to place those kids in their own home.

      Please try to avoid making rules from where there are no rules. Otherwise you may start to be like the people mentioned here:
      It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.

  6. Joint family system or the extended family system that is deeply rooted in the Indian/Pakistani culture has more problems and negatives than positives. Being of south asian background, i have in my 26 years of life only heard of conflicts between parents in law (especially the mother) and the daughter in law. Lack of privacy and power struggle is a huge problem in this system and it always end up in conflicts and family fights. I hate this system and culture. A couple (especially the wife) has every right to have her own living. A man can very much look after his old parents even if he lives separately. Forcing people to live together under one roof is only problematic.

  7. Same issue here brother. I am a 28 years old man, and i am planning to get married soon. I love my parents dearly, but i don't want to live in my parents house after marriage. My unmarried brothers and my sister too live with my parents right now, so i feel it to be very problematic and uncomfortable. Even though my future wife made no such demand to have a separate house, but i have this feeling in me, i want to have my privacy. But i don't know to to tell my parents about this, because in our culture it would be considered as abandoning one's parents.

  8. A young married couple simply needs to be given their privacy. In joint family system you can not enjoy intimacy with your spouse outside your bedroom and then too you need to be careful about the possibility of someone walking outside your room. Worse yet, this only bedroom intimacy can only be enjoyed at night when everyone goes to sleep. I know several young couples in the 20's and early 30's who have the same complaint, and their intimate lives suffer a lot and they lead an unsatisfied/unfulfilling sexual life. I know several young married men that have this issue but they simply don't want to tell their parents that they want to move out, but the wives of these young men are the worse sufferers in this issue.

    Secondly, joint families are a lot prone to family fights and feuds. "Saas Bahoo" fight is the most common family issue in South Asia, and it invariable leaves everyone bitter. The house becomes like a war zone, there is no peace.

    Separate or nuclear family system is always a lot better.

  9. As far as i know joint family system is practiced only in countries like India Pakistan Bangladesh. In Arab world, every man has to have his separate house/apartment before he gets married. I can't even understand how people live in joint family after marriage, it's a massive privacy problem, the intimate life of the couple will suffer a lot in such system.

  10. Joint family system is not a good system to live in from my life experience. Always family fights can be seen in joint setting. Secondly copule suffers from privacy problems due to presence of parents and brothers sisters walking around ihe house. Couple is restricted only to their bedroom and must not make a noise. In short joint family system is phatateic.

    Living seperately is always good, i have seen familiies who live seperately have very less fights and they are more happy.

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