Question:

There are problems and conflicts between my wife and my mother. Part of it has to do with the fact that my wife and I come from different cultural backgrounds. What should I do?

Answer:

All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad.

I am very happy to hear from you brother, and I pray to Allah that He
grants you wisdom and guidance in dealing with your situation.

You should know that conflict between one’s mother and one’s wife is a
very common problem, and in fact an ancient problem that goes back to
times even before Islam. It takes wisdom and patience in order to
deal with the complex issues that occur between them, and rectifying
between them is your duty as caretaker (Qayyim) of your family.

Let me address one issue at a time. As you know, your mother raised
you and wishes the best for you, but she may feel jealous at times at
the attention your wife recieves from you, and of course you used to
be with her all them time as her child, but now your mother may feel
that your wife has taken away all your attention from her, and after
all her hard work, your wife receives your caring, and this will
naturally cause some feelings of jealousy.

I only tell you this so you can try to understand why your mother may
be unknowingly harboring resentment towards your wife. May Allah
protect us from feelings of jealousy, but at the same time, these type
of feelings of resentment do happen. What you need to do is try to
offset this jealousy by praising your mother, calling her as much as
possible, and assuring your mother that you love her, perhaps buy her
flowers and presents, and show goodness and kindness to her.

Of course, your being patient with your mother is part of your good
treatment of her. However, as you know you do not have to listen to
her if she tries to cause harm between you and your wife, if she has
no valid reason for doing so. But your should still show your mother
kindness.

As for your wife, I believe those that you went to gave her good
advice. She should repel with that which is better. She should try
to be patient with your mom and respect her and show kindness to her, as if she were
her own mother. She should not respond back if your mother argues
with her, but rather just change the subject, and not dwell on it.
You may remind her of the great reward of being patient, for the
Prophet alayhi as salam said, “Whoever humbles himself for the sake of
Allah, Allah will raise him.”

As for your mom, my advice to her, is that just as she loves you, she
should try her best to love your wife as her own daughter. She should
not harm you by treating your wife harshly. She should try to
continue the goodly reward Allah will grant her for raising you by
helping you in your married life. She would not want to negate the
good she has done for her children by harming their marriages as they
grow older. Certainly Allah will grant her much reward and honor for
her hard work, if she does what is pleasing to Him.

You can also help your mother make good use of her time with learning
the classes of knowledge, and studying. One is never too old to
learn. They are many beneficial classes available online and she can
download them and listen. (Perhaps she can visit the site
www.ImamFaisal.com),

As for the rest of your family, I advise them with the words of the
Prophet in his final Khutbah: “There is no difference between and
Arab and a non-Arab, nor between black and white, except through
Taqwa.” Our Ummah must come together on the basis of our belief in
the Tawheed of Allah.

Remember, the words of the Prophet alayhi as salam to Abu Dharr when
he spoke unkindly about the race of Bilal’s mother: He said to him,
“You are a person who has Jahiliyya (ignorance) in you.”

All of us were created from Adam, and Adam is from dirt. Black,
white, Indian, Arab, it does not matter, all are equal in the sight of
Allah, and the only difference is through piety.

Mistreating your wife because she is of a different race is Dhulm. It
is not permissable in Islam, and one will be accountable for that on
the Day of Judgement if they do that.

Also remember the verse of Allah, “No bearer of burdens shall
bear the burden of another.” Whatever wrongs others have done
historically, that should not be used against one who has committed no
crime. Let them remember that your wife is their Muslim sister, who
has rights on them, and they should not harm her with their hand nor
behind her back with their tongues.

I make dua to Allah Most High to rectify your affairs, and grant you
and your family much love and kinship, and bring you together in His
Obedience.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalamualaikum wrt wb,

Imam Faisal