5. MOTHER IN LAW, A BLESSING
Are you a mother in law? Is your presence at home a relief or displeasure to your daughter in law? Can you love your daughter in law as you would love your daughter? What do you feel when your daughter in law and your son enjoy life? Do you feel happy or envious of them? Do you encourage or discourage when your son takes his wife on a journey to a distant place? Do you advise your son to fulfill her desires or just ignore them?
Are your approaches, opinions, behaviour etc. helpful in bringing them together or keeping them apart for creating love or hatred?
Were you ever angry with your daughter in law? Was it for a justifiable cause? Don't such faults happen in your life also? What would you do if your daughter in law commits mistakes? Do you find fault with her, and continuously criticise her? However, you must know that such responses would not be effective. As a result of such actions on your part, your daughter in law's love and respect towards you will decline. Only affectionate advice, kind approach and compassionate corrections would help you to bring about changes in your daughter in law. Blames, reproaches or criticism will not make anybody good. They will develop vengeance, and rebellious protests.
Do you behave like a dictator at home? Do you give your daughter in law the freedom that she deserves? Do you consult her in the matters of food you prepare and other household aspects? Do you follow the principles of mutual understanding and co-operation? You must know that mutual consultation is a highly essential principle that the believers should follow. Even prophet was ordered to follow it. He used to follow it strictly. He accepted the opinions of others gladly. He had given due importance to the opinion of his wives. He accepted their suggestions not only in the domestic matters but also in public affairs. When the followers found it difficult to perform Umra in continuation to Hudaibiya treaty, the prophet got shaved his head. It was a model performance by the prophet and was adopted according to the suggestion of his wife. This shows that as mother in law you have to consult all matters with your daughter in law and give importance to her suggestions also.
Do you help your daughter in law in doing the daily chore at home? Or do you entrust heavy duties to her and keep yourself away from the scene. Do you find fault with her, when she cooks food? Do you feel that all that she does is imperfect you must do if things go right. Both of you must follow the principles of co-operation in all matters.
Do you speak ill of your daughter in law in the presence of the guests and the neighbours? Do you receive her friends and kith and kin when they visit you? Do you speak belittling her parents and other relations?
Do you applaud the daughter in law when she does something appreciable? Do you motivate and encourage her? Do you actually share her pleasures and sorrows.
Did you have bad experiences from your mother in law? If so do you remember the worst experience you endured? Why don't you wish that your daughter in law should not have the same type of experience? Did you ever think that all that you suffered when you were under your mother in law should be passed on to your daughter in law? Cant you ensure that the ego clash between mother in law and daughter in law should not spoil your home atmosphere?
You may ask questions like these, and a few others to yourself. If you find satisfactory answers to them, you are really blessed, fortunate and a model to others. If not, you may make necessary changes in the questions.
Your presence should not be a disturbance and hard nut to crack to your daughter in law. On the other hand it should be a relief and blessing to her. You must not forget that your son's pleasures and peace of mind depends on his wife's state of mind and any difficulty that she suffers will adversely affect your son and her children.
If your son is an NRI (working in the Gulf) your approach to your daughter in law should be a little more loving and free. Almost all wives of those who work abroad are at home with their husband’s parents.
Most of the Indians who are employed abroad come home once in two years only for two months. For twenty two months they live a dejected lonely life. The agony and frustration they face are actually beyond words. They spend sleepless nights. Bearing the heavy burden of sorrow and restlessness, they become weak, mentally and physically. Gradually they become prey to several types of diseases. They are forced to take the responsibility of bringing up the children and managing the household. In this condition they are destined to face the cruel treatments at the hands of husband's sister and mother. Some of the mothers in law and sisters in law write letter to their sons or brothers in Gulf countries informing them of all unnecessary and sometimes false details of the life of their wives at home. Some of them talk to them over phone. These letters and information help only to create suspicion about their wives. Hence they write back to their wives, of course, magnifying the words of this mothers and sisters.
Mothers in law must see that their words or deeds should not be harmful to the daughters in law. They must adopt measures to alleviate their sorrows, and tension. They must try to bring them closer, not to separate them. They must be vigilant in implementing in these principles.
The mothers-in-law's behaviour and their approaches to their daughters in law determine their failure and success in life. Those mother's in law who behave well to the other members of society, adopt bad attitude towards their daughters in law. It is generally said that the clear measuring rod to judge a woman is studying how she treats her daughter in law. Good conduct is the key to success and the daughter in law is the criterion to measure it.
Prophet said: ‘Of course, there is nothing that weighs more than good conduct on the Last Day. Allah hates those who speak obscene words and reproach in foul language.’ (Thirmudi)
When the prophet was asked what makes people attain the Heaven, he said that it was "the fear of God and good conduct.” (Thirmudi)