How to Deal With Toxic Mother-In-Law?

Islam emphasizes the importance of maintaining positive family relationships, even in the face of difficult circumstances. However, toxic mothers-in-law can create significant challenges for married couples and their families. This kind of relationship is emotionally draining and can cause turmoil in many aspects of life.

To navigate such circumstances, Islam provides guidance on how to deal with a toxic mother-in-law with a balanced and compassionate approach. Making Du’a (Supplication) is a foundational aspect of Islamic practice, emphasizing consistent prayers for guidance and resolution.

Patience (Sabr) and Kindness (Ihsan) are crucial Islamic virtues of endurance and benevolence when dealing with toxic mothers-in-law.

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We will discuss ways to deal with toxic mothers-in-law through spiritual, emotional, and interpersonal methods based on Islamic principles and values.

How to Deal With Toxic Mother-In-Law: 4 Strategies Rooted in Quran and Hadiths

Navigating challenges with a toxic mother-in-law requires wisdom and guidance, and here are four ways to foster harmony and resolution.

  • Making Du’a (Supplication)
  • Maintain patience and kindness (Sabr and Ihsan)
  • Engage in open communication
  • Seek mediation

1. Making Du’a (Supplication)

How to Deal With Toxic Mother-In-Law - Making Dua

One of the most effective ways of dealing with a toxic mother-in-law in an Islamic way is through making du’a (supplication) for her to Allah.

In Quran 2:186, the Almighty Allah states: “When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Way˺.”

Therefore, always turn to Allah and seek the Almighty’s help and guidance when dealing with difficult situations.

Our Prophet (SAW) also emphasized the significance of supplication. A hadith found in Sunan al-Tirmidhi 2139 reports that Salman narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Nothing turns back the Decree except supplication, and nothing increases the life-span except righteousness.”

Prophet Muhammad (S) himself used to supplicate Allah. In a Hadith found in Sunan Abi Dawud 1510, he (S) said:

“My Lord, help me and do not give help against me; grant me victory, and do not grant victory over me; plan on my behalf and do not plan against me; guide me, and made my right guidance easy for me; grant me victory over those who act wrongfully towards me; O Allah, make me grateful to Thee, mindful of Thee, full of fear towards Thee, devoted to Thy obedience, humble before Thee, or penitent. My Lord, accept my repentance, wash away my sin, answer my supplication, clearly establish my evidence, guide my heart, make true my tongue and draw out malice in my breast.” 

Following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and making sincere du’a to Allah can bring immense peace, healing, and resolution in challenging situations with a toxic mother-in-law.

2. Maintain Patience and Kindness (Sabr and Ihsan)

Maintain Patience and Kindness

Patience (Sabr) and kindness (Ihsan) are also important virtues in dealing with a difficult mother-in-law in an Islamic manner. Sabr encompasses endurance and steadfastness, while Ihsan goes beyond patience to emphasize excellence and benevolence in our actions toward others.

In Quran, Al-Anfal 8:46, Allah says: “Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not dispute with one another, or you would be discouraged and weakened. Persevere! Surely Allah is with those who persevere.”

This verse reminds us to remain patient and steadfast in the face of challenging situations.

Our Prophet (SAW) emphasized the virtues of gentleness and forbearance. An authentic hadith found in Riyad as-Salihin 637 mentions that the Prophet (SAW) stated:

“He who is deprived of forbearance and gentleness is, in fact, deprived of all good.”

This Hadith teaches us that we should always strive to maintain a gentle and patient attitude toward others, especially in difficult situations.

3. Engage in Open Communication

Engage in Open Communication

Open communication is an essential aspect of Islamic etiquette when dealing with a toxic mother-in-law. Islam emphasizes respectful and constructive communication, even in moments of disagreement.

When sharing concerns, it is necessary to approach the dialogue with respect, empathy, and a commitment to maintaining family ties.

In Surah Al-Hujurat (49:10), Allah says: “The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers. And be mindful of Allah so you may be shown mercy.”

This verse highlights the importance of making peace within families.

Choosing the right time and place for the conversation is vital in promoting open communication. It is not advisable to discuss sensitive matters during times of tension or in public places. Instead, it is advisable to choose a quiet, private setting.

Using calm and respectful language will assist in promoting understanding rather than defensiveness. The use of harsh or accusatory language must be avoided to prevent tensions from escalating. Active listening is equally necessary because it helps to validate each other’s perspectives.

In a Hadith found in Sahih al-Bukhari 6065, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days.”

This Hadith emphasizes the importance of maintaining communication with family members.

Expressing feelings and concerns explicitly and without fear of judgment helps, too. You should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts on perceived behaviors without fear of judgment.

Prioritizing areas of agreement and shared values matters. This promotes a foundation of understanding and emphasizes the importance of maintaining family bonds.

Blaming each other should be avoided; instead, talk about what causes distress. This approach helps to focus on the issues at hand without creating animosity.

If there are any misunderstandings, clear them up and propose constructive solutions. Finding constructive solutions to issues at hand requires finding common ground, which can lead to peaceful coexistence within the family.

4. Seek Mediation

Seek Mediation

If conflicts persist, Islam encourages seeking mediation to resolve disputes peacefully. This is a vital aspect of conflict resolution in Islam that involves selecting neutral third parties to mediate and guide the resolution process.

Throughout Surah An-Nisa (4:35), Allah (SWT) states: “If you anticipate a split between them, appoint a mediator from his family and another from hers. If they desire reconciliation, Allah will restore harmony between them. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

Islamic Scholar Omar Suleiman’s advice emphasizes the importance of resolving issues with a toxic mother-in-law through arbitration. This aligns with Islamic principles that advocate for peaceful resolution of conflicts through mediation.

Therefore, seeking mediation is an Islamic way to handle family disputes. It promotes unity, peace, and harmony and can help resolve conflicts most amicably.

Final Words

Seeking resolution through these Islamic strategies on how to deal with a toxic mother-in-law is not just a practical approach but a spiritual one. By integrating supplication (Du’a), patience (Sabr), open communication, and mediation, you can navigate challenging family dynamics with a sense of balance and compassion.

These strategies, rooted in Quranic teachings and Hadiths, emphasize the importance of maintaining positive relationships and fostering harmony within the family.

Through adherence to Islamic principles, you can strive for resolution, understanding, and the preservation of family bonds, seeking Allah’s guidance at every step of the journey.

Omar Abdullah

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