Mother speaking ill of her daughter to others

Q: I have been living with my pensioner mother since I got married as I am the only child. We currently live in the same complex as my in laws and they are very accommodating of my mother and treat her kindly. I had a previous incident where my nanny left because my mother was talking ill about my husband, myself and my in laws. Bitter complaints and bringing me down. This isn't the first time. She has been complaining and bringing my husband down to many others. To the point where she makes herself seem like a victim and they actually despise me as she paints me out to be so nasty and cruel.

I have spoken to her on many occasions regarding this. She agrees not to do it and then a few months later I find out that she's talking about me, my husband or my in laws. She even complained to my mother in law about me continuously.

I have recently found out, once again that my helper (who also works for my in laws) wants to leave as my mother is talking about me, my husband and in laws behind our backs.

How do I defend my mother in a situation like this? My in laws know as the helper had to tell my mother in law to take her back full time as she works part time for me. I am at my wits end. I am so angry, hurt and frustrated. I cannot respect her. I want to know Islamically what is my duty regarding my mother and what rights do I have? I am so tired of her being manipulative and emotionally toxic. I am considering putting her into a retirement/old age home. It is as if she wants to intentionally ruin or cause drama in my marriage and between my in laws and I.

I need some advice as to how to handle this situation as my in laws are telling me to leave her and just continue as normal. I can't! I am so fedup of her causing unnecessary drama.

A: Before responding to your question, it is of paramount importance for you to understand the position that Allah Ta’ala has afforded the mother in Islam.

It is reported that on one occasion, a Sahaabi came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and asked, "Which person is most worthy of my kindness and service?" Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "Your mother." The Sahaabi repeated the question for the second and third time, and in both instances, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied, "Your mother." It was only when he repeated the same question for the fourth time that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Your father."

It seems that you are unhappy with your mother for the way she is conducting and the statements she has made, and hence you wish to leave her in an old age home. However, it is imperative for you to remember her kindness upon you throughout your life. Consider all the times when your mother had to undergo hardship and difficulty for your sake, commencing from the time of pregnancy, followed by childbirth, and then through all the years of infancy and teenagehood, not forgetting the many times when you had fallen ill during infancy etc. Throughout your life, she was there for you, giving preference to your comfort over hers, and all of this she did merely out of her sheer love for you without asking for any repayment.

Now, the only way you wish to repay her for her lifelong sacrifice for you is to get rid of her by putting her in an old age home.

You should understand that when they become old, they will at times become moody and speak of things which might be unsavoury. However, Allah Ta’ala informs us in the Quraan Majeed regarding their rights over us and commands us to overlook their shortcomings and weaknesses. Allah Ta'ala says:

وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا ﴿الإسراء: ٢٣﴾

Your Rabb has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor scold them, instead address them in a respectful manner.

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّـهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ﴿البقرة: ٨٣﴾

And remember when We took a covenant from the Bani Israa'eel that you worship none but Allah; and treat your parents with kindness.

Our advice to you is to treat your mother with love and respect and overlook her weaknesses and shortcomings. Speak to her politely and ignore the wrong statements which she may blurt out. Attribute all her shortcomings to her old age and always remember the goodness you received at her hands.

For further details regarding the rights of parents, refer to

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)