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Communal Living

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Question:

Assalaamu ‘alaikum

I need some advice about communal living. From an Islamic point of view, is it permissible to reside in the same home as ones father in law?

I am living with my husband and children in the same home as my in laws. I don’t have a relationship with my father in law. He has anger management issues and is always in a bad mood. I am uncomfortable to live in the same home as someone who refuses to talk, be pleasant or greet back. Also, is he is my ghair mahram? So from that view point is it allowed? Are there any hadith’s about this situation? 

Since the home belongs to my father in law, there are often family of theirs who come to live in the house. My brother in law spends the weekends and holidays living in the house as well. 

My husband is self-employed. We pay for all our food and essentials ourselves. My husband doesn’t find the need for us to be independent and rear our children in our own space and he expects me to live under these circumstances until he feels a need for us to move. I have explained that I don’t feel welcomed and about me feeling uncomfortable but it ends up in a fight. My husband spends most evenings with his parents which I don’t mind but I feel that he should award some time to his children and wife. Am I being unreasonable and selfish? 
I do love him and I will never break a home, no matter what, but some guidance will be greatly appreciated. In the end of the day, I sometimes feel helpless but I bottle my emotions and pray to Allah. It would be nice to be educated on this matter from an Islamic view point. 

Jazakallah khair 

Shukran for all the help.

Answer:

Bismihi Ta‘ala

Respected Sister

Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

1. Living together with one’s in-laws is permissible.

2. The father-in-law is a mahram, though a respectable distance must be maintained to avoid any possibility of fitnah. The father-in-law/daughter-in-law should not become very casual and very informal. However, greeting, enquiring about each other’s wellbeing, speaking about something necessary etc, is all permissible. As for your father-in-law’s bad moods and other negative habits, try to ignore it as if you did not notice. Do this for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala. Insha-Allah he will someday realize his mistake.

3. As for the brother-in-law and other male relatives of the husband, while it is permissible that they live in the house, purdah must be observed from them.

4. Your husband should certainly serve his parents and spend time with them. He should however also give you and his children a fair share of his time. However, do not get into any confrontation. Continue to deal with him with good akhlaaq. Insha-Allah he will realize his responsibilities.

5. While communal living, together with maintaining the limits of sharee‘ah, is fine, if you have your own space, it could be better in some way. However be patient and make du‘aa. Allah Ta‘ala will open the way for you.

Please click here for a du‘aa from the hadeeth which is very effective for creating love and unity. Read it abundantly.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless you all with happiness and understanding. 

Answered by: 

Uswatul Muslimah Panel of ‘Ulama