Conflict between Mother and Wife
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Siddiq Bukhary

I have a question regarding family matters. There is a continuous tussle between my mother and wife regarding the distribution of work in the house. My mother has burdened my wife with every single house chore. My family consists of more than 13 members, who must be catered for by my wife. She, because of me, follows my mother’s instructions. But of course one should no go beyond limits. Burdening someone with more than their capacity and responsibility is unjust. My mother belongs to a traditional class of women; she believes that all the work should be done by the Bahū (daughter in law). I want to know what Islam says in this regard. Does it really oblige a Muslim lady to take care of not only her husband but also her in laws?


Justice is the basic value and requirement of our religion, which should not be dispensed with under any circumstances. What you should do is to ascertain, with utmost care and honesty, who is at fault: you should see whether there is an exaggeration on the part of your wife. I mean since you stand at a crucial place in your family, you should not be too rash or emotional to decide the matter in question. It is often because of the fault at both ends that a situation becomes worse. After an objective analysis of the circumstances you can only be in a position to decide what you should do. In other words, you should see which of the two ladies needs to be advised about her inappropriate stance; it may be your mother and nothing precludes the possibility that it is your wife as well. Whoever is at fault, you should affectionately talk to her and help her see what consequences may arise if the situation prevails. Drastic decisions should essentially be avoided unless you have done everything you sincerely feel you should have in order to mend the adverse situation.

You have alluded to the traditional behavior of your mother regarding her daughter in law. Sadly, this behaviour seems to be inherent in our culture. Since it directly contradicts the norms of justice, it should be done away with. However, it requires a rational approach to deal with. One should wisely undo the knots, which are too cruelly tied and moreover revered. At the same time, we should not also let anyone take advantage of the situation under the pretext of ‘unjust traditional practices’.

For Questions on Islam, please use our