I would like to talk about another important subject. I would like to talk about the rights of the man and woman when they marry in regards of what they should expect from their in laws and what their duties be towards their own parents.
When a man and a woman are united in Nikah, not only does the union between the two of them occur, but in effect, two families also become united through this scared institution that has been sanctioned by Allah Ta’ala.
Needless to say, parents and daughters learn to make the adjustment whereby they can accept that their roles change somewhat when a daughter gets married. She leaves her parental home but they gain a son who becomes the new member of their family. They welcome him as a new addition to their family and they also recognize that he is their daughter’s life partner. Her father hands over his precious daughter into the love and care of his son in law but he never stops being her father who will always be concerned about her welfare, safety, comfort, health etc.
Her mother also separates from her daughter whom she reared, nurtured, loved and educated until her wedding day. She has passed on values which she hopes will benefit her daughter and her progeny to come. The mother also goes on being a concerned, caring and loving mother who hopes that her daughter will be happy in her new home.
Both parents hopefully go on guiding and nurturing their daughter as she slowly fits into her new home. They remain mentors, correcting and guiding if need be, from afar if need be or personally if necessary as her welfare is of paramount concern to them. However, they remain discreet and wait in the wings so to speak. When the young couple approaches them for assistance or guidance, they offer it. If the couple chooses to make their own decisions and learn to adjust on their own, the parents’ respect their choice and do not intervene.
Her parents however remain deserving of respect and kindness. She should keep her parents happy as long as they live. She should be concerned about their welfare, especially if they are old or infirm by assisting them with her husband’s blessings. She should continue to obey them in all permissible acts. She should also continue to be merciful towards them, make Dua for them and maintain ties with them.
The husband’s parents likewise welcome the bride as their new daughter and consider her happiness as their son’s and their happiness. They too allow her time to settle into the role of being a wife, mother and daughter in law. They also offer encouragement, assistance and mentor her if need be. Like her parents, they save their comments and criticism but they remain ever willing to lend a hand if she reaches out to them. They will respect her needs, her ways of doing things and not offer comments that may be hurtful of negative. She will in turn treat her in laws the way she treats her parents. That is, with respect, kindness, mercy and humility. Differences of opinion are likely to occur but she will respect them for they are Muslims and senior to her.
They will make Dua and trust that their son and daughter in law will be able to make the journey smoothly into parenthood and adulthood. They hope that since they had raised their son with the moral and Deeni values and instilled in him the importance of these values, he will now apply these values to the best of his ability with his wife and family. They will allow their son to make his own decisions in his home and not dictate their way of doing things even though they may perceive that their way is the best.
Likewise, the son in law will also treat his parents in law with dignity, kindness, humility and respect. This two-way, reciprocal approach by the husband and wife will strengthen the family unit and bring about a great deal of stability for the children, family and society as well. This modeling of moral values and cooperation by both sets of parents and the offspring (husband and wife) will benefit generations to come as kinship ties will be strengthened.
It is also a well-known fact that Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam was an excellent in-law and family member as well. Ayesha Radhiallahu Anha narrates:
I never envied any wife of Nabi Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam as much as I envied Khadija. She passed away before Nabi Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam married me. That is why I use to hear Nabi Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam mention her. Allah commanded Nabi Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam to congratulate her with a house made of cane (in Jannah). Whenever Nabi Sallallahu Alahi would slaughter a sheep he would send sufficient provision to her associates (her friends/his in-laws).
(Bukhari, Vol. 5, Pg. 38)
Nabi Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam also emphasized the maintaining of family ties:
Abu Huraira (radiyallahu anhu) reported that a person said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I try to have a close relationship, but they sever (this relation). I treat them well, but they treat me ill. I am sweet to them but they are harsh towards me.” Upon this Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “If it is so as you say, then it is as if you throw hot ashes (upon their faces) and there would always remain with you on behalf of Allah an Angel to support you who would keep you dominant over them so long as you adhere to this (path of righteousness).”
(Muslim, Vol. 4, Pg. 1982)
It is also reported on the authority of Anas Radiallahu Anhu that Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “He who desires abundance in his sustenance and his life prolonged should maintain good family ties.”
(Bukhari, 5986, book of etiquettes, chapter on increase in sustenance for he who maintains family ties)
Unfortunately in real when this doesn’t happen then problems occur. The husband and wife are pulled in all sorts of direction leaving to many marriages either completely breaking down or the barakah in the home is removed. We need to reflect on the above ahadith and live our married lives that will bring the pleasure of Allah Subhaana wa ta’ala.