Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My mother in law says she will be angry with her son till the day of judgement if we don’t name after my late father inlaw

mother in law

Assalamu Alaykum,

My in laws live in a middle eastern country and follow middle eastern tradition.  i was born and brought up in australia and follow islam

i have now been married to my husband who i met overseas, for 4 years now. i lived with my in laws for a while then came back to australia when i was 4 months pregnant with my first baby as i was under alot of stress having no family around me there and being mistreated by my in laws, (according to them they were only trying to make things better) i dont want to go into detail about that as i am seeking help in something else.

i had my first baby (girl) and my mother in law was very angry because i didnt name her after her (her other 4 sons have named after her already and she wants me to name after her also), although i was half way across the world from her she still caused problems for my husband and i over the phone.

i am now pregnant with my second child and allahu a'lam its a boy, my mother in law is already saying if i dont name after my father in law who has been deceased for over 25 years, she will be angry (ghadbana) with her son till eternity. my husband loves me very much and is trying to work things out with me and i know he doesnt want to upset his mother and i wouldnt want that either, but i believe it is our child and our decision as to what we name the baby.

i dont want to name the baby or any other baby we have together after any family member whether it be from my family or his family dead or alive. my mother in law is already not happy with her son being married to me and highly dislikes me, we do not get along and have many times heard some cruels words being said about me in their community, i respect them for my husband's sake and dont reply to them as i dont want to upset my husband but i think enough is enough my husband and i should be able to name our child whatever we like, the only reason he wants to name after his father is so his mother doesnt become angry with him till eternity.

please help me figure this problem out, i dont want to lose my family and i dont want to name after any family members, i just want them to understand it is our children and we name them as we please. my husband suggested we name whatever we want but we tell them that the baby is named after my father in law and they can call him that, which i believe is also wrong.

- timtam

thankyou in advance.

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17 Responses »

  1. As salamu alaykum,

    I really believe you love deeply your husband, and that you have gone through a rough time with your in laws, and you still on that, your husband cannot break himself on two halves and I am sure he is having a hard time with these arguments, something so easy and personal as it is naming your baby it is becoming an open fight between the two women he loves more in this life. I have not an answer for you, because this is just between your husband and yourself, but if you alloud me a word, thanks to his mother, he is in this world, he is who he is, you have him at your side, now, he has been in his country and he had returned with you at your country for you to be better and I believe for that, that he will give his life for you and your children.

    Let him know all what you feel from the depths of your Heart, don´t let her make of this something personal between her and you with your husband in the middle, acknowledge his responsibility he has as son, husband and father of the baby and show him your respect for this, it is not easy, and try as much as you can to find the middle way without lying. You can do it, insha´Allah.

    It is hard to love someone with a hard Heart, but believe me she is teaching you all that you shouldn´t do to your own children and future husbands and wives, and thank you for sharing your experience, she is reminding me of that too, Alhamdulillah.

    Keep your Heart as soft as you can, that is a blessing for everyone around. Barak Allah feekum.

    All my unconditional Love and Respect,


  2. Asalaamualaykum Dear Sister,

    What a difficult situation when you feel that someone is trying to control and influence your relationship with your husband.

    I have an idea and that is this: The Islamic Naming system is such that we will always have our Grand-father's name in our name. Example: Lets say you name your baby Musa; his second name will be his father's first name and his third name will be his Grandfather's first name. So I would want to look for a name that is firstly meaningful and secondly that will compliment the second and third names. Perhaps you could emphasize on this with your mother in law.

    If your mother in law wants to call your son by a name of her choice, let her do so - if that keeps the peace. At the same time, as your husband has agreed, just name your son a name of your own choice. It is also Muslim culture to have something called a 'Kunya', similar to a nick name, so let your mother in law's choice be the 'Kunya'.

    Dear Sister, once your mother in law sees her grandchild, I am sure her heart will melt to whatever has been chosen. Although, I am sure you will find a peaceful solution, one that will increase the love between you, your husband and his mother.

    Best Wishes and may Allah bless you with a child that is a source of immense blessings for you,

    SisterZ Editor

    • Assalam O Alaikum Sister Z,
      Masha Allah you have given a very wise and balanced advice to sister. It's very important to keep both sides happy even when you know that one side is not right in a way. Considering sister timtam husband who has to listen to both sides; mother and wife. May Allah bless you with more wisdom, knowledge and insight so that, you keep on helping the Ummah. (Amin)
      Remember in prayers sister as I am going through very tough time at the moment:(-

      Your brother in Islam Mks1982:)-

  3. Salaam My Sister,

    I am sorry that this wonderful time of your life is being ruined by the tantrums of your mother-in-Law.

    She is bullying you both and threatening life-long consequences for failure to comply with her actions. This is tyrannical and not to be rewarded with compliance - when will it end? I would take a tough stance on this and simply accept that she will be angry and name your child whichever name you and your husband prefer.

    The way to manage it with your husband is to state the facts as you see them in a very peaceful and calm, comforting manner. Those facts are that your mother-in-law is bullying him emotionally, and that your child is not really under his mother's jurisdiction and therefore there should be no fear regarding the anger that she threatens, and there is no need for you to venerate and worship her, and reward her for what is essentially an outpouring of pride.

    You and your husband are not in any way responsible for her personal emotions and reactions to the decisions you make as a married couple and growing family. Therefore, her anger towards any decisions you make regarding the name of your child are completely of her own making. First , there is her desire (lust) to have your child named after her, and secondly there is her pride which is driving her desire, and thirdly there is her arrogance in demanding that you comply which is driving her anger.

    Your husband, who has grown up with his mother has most likely developed a habit of soothing her through compliance and is very aware of all of these things and just wishes that the headache she is giving you both would stop and is therefore tempted to give in to her pressure. His emotional connection with her (as his mother) will naturally impact his own feelings and take him into the emotionally reactive world instead of the real world. The way to overcome this is to reduce the emotional impact by simply labelling his mother's behavior as "making drama" and see al of this emotional junk for what it is: drama. You must pop that fantasy bubble in which the music plays slowly in the background as his mother begs for her way, and the camera zooms in on his sad face, and the wife cries silently in the background and come back to reality.

    The reality is as follows:

    Mother in law wants a certain baby name. Couple doesn't want that name. Mother in Law has a tantrum. Couple feel bad about that.

    Whatever comes next is up to you and your husband and I advise that you both cleanse yourself of the drama that is surrounding the situation, and simply make your decision and let her be angry because her anger is not your fault, nor is her temperament your responsibility - and don't let her convince you otherwise with any success. Speak to your husband in facts and educate him on what anger is, and who is responsible for it, explain to him about bullying and explain to him that he needs to get over this story that he must comply with every unreasonable demand his mother gives him.

    Your child, your choice.


    Editor, Islamic Answers

    • Leyla,

      Your advice is excellent as always. But something made me giggle, lol. Your description of the fantasy bubble and the drama was so funny. It reminded me of the annoying Indian/Pakistani dramas my mother is fixated too every evening and Sunset Beach, haha.

      SisterZ Editor

      • Sister Z, salaam!

        Smiles at you! My grandma watches these things all day and it definitely impacts her view of how things should be. It is the sad truth that all these movies we watch do unfortunately have an influence on how we experience things: slow music, lights, close ups and camera angles - dramatic scenes, flashbacks. We sensationalize and romanticize small issues and get as much coverage as we can out of them, because we have a need to be the hero in our own story / fantasy as this sister's mother in law is doing: she really has sensationalized and dramatized this baby name, to such an extent that she has actually pulled her son and daughter-in-law into the fiction and made them feel that they literally have a role to play, when all they are doing is the very normal act of living their lives peacefully.

        But the very liberating truth of life is that we are not the focal point of a big dramatic story. We are millions and millions of stories all intertwining momentarily with each other, all part of a big plan that we don't know a thing about so we have to pop that day time drama bubble and face facts, cut the music, turn off the camera, get rid of the director and the result of this will be peace and contentment - there is no happy or sad ending - there is just life, and the way we handle it :0)


        Editor, Islamic Answers

        • Hey Leyla,

          I agree with you completely, which is probably contradicting my initial advice.

          These tv dramas are so not real life and influence society's thought process in a negative manner. (But I still watch Neighbours and Eastenders when I can, lol).


          • Sister Z and Sister Leyla!
            Sorry I don't mean to stick my nose in your conversation but you sisters have touched upon an issue which has baffled me for years and still does sometimes. The issue is that is watching movies (comedy, history, thriller, action, romance), documentaries or plays haram even when they are watched alone as a source of entertainment and nothing else.

            Hope to hear from you sisters.

    • Leyla, but what about obedience to parents, in things that do not displease Allah? Didn't Ismail (as) obey Ibrahim's (as) command to "change his doorstep", and then to "keep his doorstep" (i.e. to divorce a bad wife, and keep a good wife)?

      This mother-in-law is not asking for something unreasonable or forbidden. Only for a name to honor her late husband. Why not go along and make her happy in this thing? It does not mean that all future demands must be acceded to as well.

      What are your thoughts on this?

      Wael Editor

      • Salaam Wael,

        I think it does mean that all future things must be acceded to as well - where do you draw the line? This is not a minor issue - this is a massive issue of naming your own son. Ibrahim (pbuh) was a Prophet, so there is a slight difference there. Yes, honour and obey your parents, however is it not the case that while naming their children, parents must ensure that the names they select signify servitude to Allah alone and to no false deity?

        I think to concede to the wishes of any human being is to go against that, I really do. The name is so important to our identity.

        I have looked into the importance of names here, and I think this is a decision that has to remain with the parents - outside of the interference of all other people:


        Editor, Islamic Answers

  4. You can name the baby according to your wishes, politely ask your mother in law that is she would like to honour her husband she could pray two rakats for him asking Allah for his forgiveness. This will never work if your husband does not say anything in the matter. I have to kindly disagree with Wael regarding obedience to parents, this is not disobedience to parents, the mother in law is simpy acting like a child wanting control of the family members and dynamics.

  5. I certainly would not want to be in the husband's shoes. I am sure it must be a quite a task having to keep mother and wife content, especially when one is being unreasonable at times. Anyhow, I received the following in an email today and thought of this Sister's post straightaway. Perhaps this hadith and explanation will help the Sister feel some peace:

    Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not argue when he is in the wrong will have a home built for him on the edge of Paradise. Whoever avoids it when he in the right will have a home built for him in the middle of Paradise. And whoever improves his own character, a home will be built for him in the highest part of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]

    Arguing with people is strongly discouraged in Islam. We are to state our point of view and then leave it at that. Nor are we to involve ourselves in matters that do not affect a person’s deen. Note that a person is to shun argument whether he is in the right or whether his stand is wrong. Both get houses built for them in Paradise. But since the person who knows that he is right finds it more difficult to leave the argument and let things be, he/she is promised a greater reward.

    Arguing with people rarely gets anyone to change their minds. It usually only produces defensiveness and creates ill feelings between people. The issue becomes a matter of one’s ego and makes it more difficult for a person to change their stance. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) loves to have Muslims live harmoniously with each other. Try this hadith out in practice, and you will see that your relations improve with people and that you have greater peace of mind.

    SisterZ Editor

  6. Asalaam u Alaikum

    I just discovered this web site and I am quite enjoying reading some of the advice the editors and different people are giving. My take on this is, life is too short and do we seriously want something like naming your kid be an reason for disharmonty in the family? If your are being fair, and your motherinlaw is not then InshaAllah, Allah will judge on that. We do not realize this that at the end we have to answer for every moment.

    I do not have kids, I am married. I expect that, InshaAllah when I have kids, I will face similar problems. So my mom wants to name my son Jamal, and my wife wants him to be named Kamal, and my inlaws, not wanting to feel left out want to add their name and wand Harun in there... What am I to do?
    I will name him Harun Jamal Kamal, with the option for him to change his name whenever he wants . Its only a name, what matters more is that he is my son and he needs to be bought up as a true decent Muslim.

    Last Paragraph was written mostly in jest, but I hope you see the point.



  7. I think you have to take this debate back to it's roots. As muslims our lives are dictated by obligation and less of desires. So upon you , you are obliged to name your child with a good name (ie good meaning). If your late father in law's (rahimullah) name is not a good one, then obviously you are unable to accept your mother inlaw's request. However, if the name is good, then you need to consider a few more other factors. One being keeping good the relation between kith and kin (despite how annoying they are), and two supporting your husband in fulfilling his duties towards his parent(s) .. ie lowering a wing of humility, speaking to them in a kind and gentle manner. Despite the fact that it feels like she's out to get you (which she might be), you intention must be for Allah swt alone. And with the right intention you may find that your circumstances may change entirely, she may suddenly have a change of heart.

    Of course, your child, being YOUR child, this becomes very hard to swallow. I suggest a compromise then, how about you use the name your mother in laws requests (provided it is good),and then give him/her a second name too. At home use the second name, and your inlaws are free to use the other name. That way, you husband is not stuck in the middle trying to please both of you. I truly feel for him, because it's his mother and his wife.....wouldn't that be a stressful position to be in? He should enjoy the birth of his child too? So it's upto you to break the cat-fights up (even though you may not see it that way) rise to the level and help your husband in dealing with his family. He'll love you more for it, Insha'Allah your Creator will too. After all, if you die in a state while your husband is pleased with you then Insha'Allah Jannah is yours 🙂 Be patient my dear sister. May Allah swt make your labor and pregnancy easy, may He make your children righteous and a comfort for you..Ameen

    • Dear Shireen,

      You have been giving some good advice on this website maashAllah. Keep up the good work inshaAllah.

      SisterZ Editor

  8. Oh Sister Z, that was a very helpful and useful post mashallah. I personally can't understand why Muslims

    attack and provoke other Muslims to the extent that they call them unknowledgeable or even attack their

    opinions. Normally, the person fights back and then it's a vicious circle, with nobody being the loser

    or the winner. You are absolutely right that that we can't change people's opinions, arguing doesn't help

    anything. It's a gift to be able to agree to disagree-from the beginning. Unfortunately, many people are

    aggressive out of jealousy and other motivations- but we have to learn to remain calm. Others shouldn't have

    power over us, our decisions or our temper.

    Thank you so much Sister, that was sooooooooooo helpful. Insha allah all Muslims will be able to get

    on with each other.

    Fi Aman Allah

  9. It really doesn't matter what the baby's name is so to keep peace with the family what is the big deal to go along with your Mother-in-law wishes? She is also being silly for asking you to do something you don't want to do but life is too short to argue or get upset with something so unimportant as a baby's name. Making her happy should make you feel good! Good Luck!

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