The roles of husband and wife in Islamic marriages are laid out by the Holy Koran. Islamic faith makes it clear that a woman must always strive to obey her husband, first and foremost. This makes any service to her in-laws an extension of that obedience. By the Holy Koran, serving your in-laws is a virtue for which you are to be rewarded but not an obligation. However, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind when dealing with in-laws.
Primary Duties are Between Man and Wife
Islamic faith holds that a wife rightfully expects her husband to provide food and shelter to the best of his ability and in a loving and caring manner. Likewise, the Holy Koran outlines many obligations that a wife must fulfil for her husband, most importantly that she submit herself physically to him and strive for obedience. In-laws have no right to interfere with these duties, nor do they have a say in how you behave or dress.
Virtue and Service to In-Laws
At most, it is a wife's duty to support her husband as he honours his parents. She should never try to intentionally distance her husband from his parents. While an Islamic wife is not required to serve her in-laws, it is regarded as a blessing and virtue when she is good to them. A wife that does right by her in-laws must do so of her own will and should not be compelled by her husband or his parents. Additionally, when an Islamic wife is good to her in-laws, it is seen as a righteous act, which has rewards in the hereafter.
The Brother In-Law is Death
In the Holy Koran, it is stated that "The Brother In-Law is Death." The passage and tale forewarns of the possible temptation that may exist between a wife and her brother in-law. This wariness applies to brothers and their sons, uncles, cousins and other male family members barring mahrams (fathers, grandfathers, sons and grandsons). It is the duty of both the Muslim husband and wife to avoid any situation that places her alone with non-mahram in-laws.
When Extreme Care is Needed
According to Shari'ah, or Islamic law, it is the son's duty to care for his parents when they become old and weak or are otherwise unable to care for themselves. Eternal blessings and virtue are granted to the wife that assists her husband in this duty and he should be thankful for her help. However, it is deemed more proper for a son to hire caretakers for his parents in such situations if he doesn't care for his relatives directly.
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