The relationship between my mother and my wife is very bad, to the extent that my mother does not want to see my wife’s face, and she wants us to live on our own, but I am not ready to leave my mother because I am the oldest son in the family. At the same time I do not want to make her angry. Should I divorce my wife?.
Praise be to Allaah.
There is no doubt that the mother has the greatest rights of
all people over her son, and that honouring her is one of the most important
duties. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.
And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them
attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout
at them but address them in terms of honour”
Allah has enjoined kind treatment of others too, whom the
individual is enjoined to treat kindly, as Allah says (interpretation of the
meaning): “Worship Allaah and join none with Him
(in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masaakeen (the
poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger,
the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom
your right hands possess. Verily, Allaah does not like such as are proud and
boastful”[al-Nisa’ 4:36] and the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has enjoined giving everyone who
has rights their due [See: Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 1968]. Hence the
rights of the parents, especially the mother, take precedence over the
rights of all people.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with
him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) and said: Which of the people is most deserving of my
good companionship? He said: “Your mother.” He said: Then who? He said:
“Then your mother.” He said: Then who? He said: “Then your mother.” He said:
Then who? He said: “Then your father.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5971) and Muslim (2548).
But this does not mean that a person should not give other
people their rights; rather he has to give everyone who has rights his due,
as stated above, and he has to strike a balance between these rights and
fulfil his duties to the people around him as best he can and know how to
run his home and his affairs well.
These problems between the wife and the mother are a common
and ancient problem. The wise man who is guided is the one who looks at his
situation positively and reduces problems as much as he can and closes the
door to them. For this reason one of the rights that the wife has over her
husband is that he should provide her with separate accommodation.
It says in al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah (25/109):
Putting the parents and the wife together in one home is not
permissible (and the same applies to other relatives). Hence the wife has
the right to refuse to live with either of them, because it is her right to
have separate accommodation where she feels safe with regard to herself and
her property. No one has the right to force her to do that.
This is the view of the majority of Hanafi, Shaafa‘i and
The Maalikis are of the view that a distinction should be
made between the wife of noble birth and the wife of lowly birth, and they
say that it is not permissible to make the wife of noble birth and the
parents live together in the same house, but doing that is permissible with
a wife of lowly birth, unless making the wife of lowly birth and the parents
live together will cause her some harm. End quote.
Undoubtedly the picture that you have painted of the
relationship between your mother and your wife dictates that their living
together in one house is not possible and that separating them is
obligatory, especially since the mother is the one who has asked for that.
So you must hasten to do that and it is not wise to think of the other
solution, which is divorcing your wife. This is not a solution to the
problem, especially if you have any children from her. Moreover the problem
may arise again with any other wife whom you bring to live with your mother
in the same house.
So what you should do is hasten to do this as soon as you
can, which is looking for a separate house for you and your wife. If you
want to be close to your mother, so that you can be in constant touch with
her and take care of her, then try to find your new house as close as
possible to your mother's house, so that you can pop in to see her every
time you come or go. In this way you can treat your mother kindly, relieve
her of the burden of problems with your wife and keep in constant touch with
her, whilst at the same time doing what you are obliged to do for your wife
of treating her kindly and giving her accommodation that is suited for her.
See the answer to question number
We ask Allah to guide you and set your affairs straight.
And Allah knows best.