Our problem concerns my husband’s mother. Her youngest son is living with her and he does not do anything for himself and does not work, even though he is in excellent health. He is forty years old and he controls his mother. She does whatever he dictates to her to do. My husband has been spending on them for 35 years. This son of hers incites her against everyone and dictates who she may be pleased with, according to his interests. My husband works abroad and I cannot visit her because he does not want me there. She threw me and my children out and she is foul-mouthed and does not fear Allaah. They visited me when my husband was here and she and her son attacked me and tried to hit me, and they managed to hurt me. My husband and my son who is a university student defended me. The outcome was that they hurt us, then she went out in the street where she started to scream. She went to the police, and she made a complaint against everyone and demanded that my daughters and I be detained in a place that was not befitting for us. Even the police officer told her that we are respectable. My husband and son were detained and he was supposed to sit exams. His studies have been delayed for a year because of this. After the trial, we paid her the required maintenance; before that my husband used to give her more, but my husband cannot visit her, and the reason for that is that she had her daughter’s husband and his son jailed when they visited her. The problem is that whoever visits her, her son locks the door and calls the police; even her own daughters have the same problem. When her oldest son visited her, he could not enter and her youngest son stopped him and took the money and gifts (that he had brought) and told him, “Your mother will pray to Allaah against you.”
I do not know what to do or say. I complain to Allaah of my worries. I would like to visit her and honour her, but they is no way I can do that because they fabricate lies against everyone who visits them. What should I do, knowing that I am a grandmother and I fear Allaah. What can I do and what is the shar’i ruling on this?.
The way your husband’s mother has behaved is strange. How can her son control her and make her act in this manner? But despite all that your husband has to honour his mother as much as he can, and Allaah does not burden any soul beyond its scope. If he can visit her when this son is not present, that is good. If he can keep in touch with her by phone, then let him do so, and explain to her what he feels, this is good as well. If he can get some people to intervene, women and others, who can influence his mother, then let him do so. And he should seek the help of Allaah and make a lot of du’aa’.
The fact that your husband defended himself in court and in front of the police is also good.
If he takes his brother who wronged him to court to stop him from doing more harm, that is permissible, but if he bears it with patience that is better for him.
Trying to get your husband’s mother away from this oppressive brother (as described in the question) is a good idea, so as to remove the means that your brother is using to try to control the whole family.
There is nothing wrong with you stopping visiting her for now, until things settle down, so that you will not be harmed again as happened before, especially since your husband’s mother is not one of your relatives with whom you are enjoined to uphold ties and honour them. If you do not visit her this is not regarded as disobedience or severing of family ties.
Yes, you will be rewarded for visiting her and treating her kindly, if you do that sincerely for the sake of Allaah, and this is part of treating your husband kindly, but it is not obligatory for you to do that, especially since she is badly behaved and has a bad attitude. And Allaah knows best.