Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
I pray this message reaches you and all of your family in good health and spirits. May Allah Ta'ala bless and protect your marriage and your baby boy.
This situation is in immediate need of attention. I strongly urge you to seek the advice of a certified marriage and family counselor. I know that there might be cultural taboos against talking to people about your marriage. Nonetheless, this is a situation which requires the guidance of a professional counselor. There are a lot of issues to deal with, not least of which is your parents' abuse of you and your wife.
Allah Ta'ala says, "O you who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful " [Al-Hujurat, 49:12].
Reviling, insulting, slandering, backbiting, and cursing fellow Muslims are major sins. When these fellow Muslims are also family members, the harm that is done is unimaginable. Likewise, sowing discord between a husband and wife and trying to undermine their marriage is also an enormity. Please consult Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's list of enormities in the appendices to Reliance of the Traveller (tr. Shaykh Nuh Keller). According to the scholars, behavior such as you have described is very serious and completely goes against the grain of a Muslim's character.
While kindness to parents is an obligation, unconditional obedience is not. Many Muslim cultures place a great deal of emphasis on deference to parents regardless of the elders' behavior. In this case, you have to transcend cultural expectations of what a dutiful child must do. Your religious obligation is to be kind and respectful to your parents. However, you do not owe them unconditional obedience. And Islam certainly does not require us to tolerate abuse. Your parents' behavior certainly sounds abusive. You have to balance between the rights of your parents and the rights of your wife. Your wife is entitled to protection and dignity. Islam does not require her to cook and clean up after your parents or siblings. If your wife chooses to do this, her work is considered sadaqa, or charity. She also has the right to ask for compensation for doing housework.
In this situation, remaining silent is probably not feasible. You need to let your parents know that their behavior is un-Islamic, unacceptable, and will no longer be tolerated. I strongly urge you to get your wife her own house. She does not need to live with your parents. Although she may be expected to live with your family from a cultural point of view, from the Islamic perspective, she is entitled to her own lodgings, free from harassment or interference.
Furthermore, you need to try to disentangle the marriage and family issues from the business issues. Entering into business with family members, particularly when the relationship is already acrimonious, is not advisable. Please see the following related article: Be close, but transact as strangers .
You need to lay down some clear guidelines for how you plan to run the business and exactly what roles your father and brothers will play. Even if you have to seek legal advice, you need to make sure that each person understands his role. Furthermore, you are not obligated to support your parents entirely on your own. All of your brothers should contribute to your parents' maintenance. Again, it might be helpful to come to some sort of legal arrangement here.
Once again, I urge you to take these concerns to a certified marriage and family therapist. Your parents are entitled to your love and respect. However, your wife is entitled to safety and dignity. As her husband, you are her maintainer and protector. As Muslims, we stand up for justice, even if it means standing up to our own selves or our families. Allah Ta'ala says, "O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that you do" [An-Nisa, 4:135].
And the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, who was the epitome of grace and good manners, even with his enemies, said, "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, "O Messenger of Allah! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing others" (Bukhari).
By standing up to your parents, you are doing them a favor. As their son, you naturally want the best for them. Help them to see the great harm of their actions, but do so out of love for them. Ask Allah Ta'ala to open their hearts, heal their pain, and bring them to repent for their actions.
And Allah knows best.
MMVIII © Qibla.
All rights reserved
No part of this article may be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, please submit a request at our Helpdesk.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Knowledge is only through study." While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
Through joining an online class at Qibla, you can benefit from convenient, online courses that will give you access to reliable scholars and our popular curriculum learning tracks. Knowledge gained in these courses will both build your iman and assist you in putting into practice what you learn. Don't give yourself less than you deserve, register today.