Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Every woman is a potential mother. Every mother who has a son eventually may become a mother-in-law.
A mother should exhibit pride in her children, in this case her sons. Yet, no mother is unique in having a son. Many women have sons.
One’s husband is not the only son of a woman. Many women have married sons and do not find any prestige in being overbearing in their son’s marriage.
If intrusive mothers-in-law develop confidence in conducting own life and marriage, they will find power is tested amidst equals and control exhibited over self.
A woman’s life is not equivalent to that of her daughter-in-law. Her daughter-in-law’s marriage cannot be the same as hers.
A lack of self-confidence and a quest for power and control over others, with a vengeance, are traits that run through the cells of a prying mother-in-law.
Add to that, the cooperation of the daughter-in-law and one discovers a dish of putrefying abusive relationship.
I have long wondered how I would tolerate from a mother-in-law what my mum does not inflict on her daughter-in-law.
This raises the question of the genuine reasons why women obediently endure such mistreatments.
Their mother mete the same to other people’s daughters or the women expect to replay their nightmare on their own daughters-in-law – vengeance, on an innocent woman.
Muslim women are known for being victims of “male” oppression. Nevertheless, the most powerful person in the life of every Muslim man is not a man, but a woman – his mother.
That is the extent of the powers of a woman which is conveniently hidden from the outside world, so that Muslim women can be the game players.
Rather than influence the behaviours of her son towards positive growth, the average Muslim woman wields powers not so much over her son, but over her daughter-in-law through her son.
A man mistreats his wife very often with the support of another woman – his mother.
The mother does not stop there. She takes over the daughter-in-law’s children: They are my son’s children, she says.
AlHamduliLlah for erudite Shaykhs such as Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen who rebuked such women for acting as their daughter-in-law’s co-wife.
Sincerely, mothers-in-law exceed their limit when their son’s wife cooperates with them and condones and justifies such excesses.
I am not one of the women who tolerate mother-in-law rivalry.
I relate my experiences with my mother-in-law.
First, she is not an ex in-law. Although her son is no longer related to me, she and her family remain my in-law and are in-law relations.
From the outset of my former marriage, I made clear she should keep out of my nuptial life. She, actually, expressed the same regarding her own marriage to my father-in-law.
That was a fair deal. She would not intrude into my marriage; I would not intrude into hers.
Our relationship was cordial. She assisted my marriage within her ability, and I joined her in her activities, when I could.
I encouraged her son to visit her when I could not accompany him. During such trips, including when I accompanied him, we would skip a meal beforehand so as to be able to fully partake of the meal she would offer us.
He had explained she would be hurt if we were – or he was – unable to have a meal at her home. I had no problem with that.
Once, her son conveyed her complaint that I had not assisted her with some work. At that point, I made clear my actions were not intentionally geared towards hurting her.
In order to avoid future wrong expectations and disappointments, I emphasised to her son I only participate in activities when I wish to do so.
That effectively closed that door.
At the height of my nuptial crisis, my mother-in-law played certain roles, which I shall refrain from narrating but which prompted me to take a counter-decision – to stop accepting her meals.
After each incident, she would come to my door and say Tasleem . I knew she had brought my meal.
Each time, I opened my door, accepted the dish and thanked her. I could not bring myself to reject her offer.
She might be considered ignorant of Islam, but she ranks far better than her son in conduct.
A woman who has a fairly reasonable mother-in-law is, thus, encouraged to choose to soften her stance, not so much to avoid the looming threat of hell, but to acknowledge the goodness in her mother-in-law.