What are the rights of the in-laws (the husband’s brothers and sisters) in Islam? Do the father- and mother-in-law have the right of obedience? Do they have the right to enter my room with or without permission? To what extent should I obey them with regard to my clothing, cooking, childcare, keeping house and going out of the house? Do they have the right to interfere in our marital life? Do they have any rights with regard to our work, where we live, education and the like? Do I have to ask their permission to visit my family? Do they have the right to know all the details about our life? Do I have to obey them and shake hands with my husband’s relatives? Do my husband and I have to attend weddings in which there are haraam things?.
Praise be to Allaah.
The wife does not have to obey anyone among her in-laws, whether that is her husband’s father, mother, brothers or sisters, in any matter, major or minor, unless they tell her to do something which is obligatory according to Islam, or forbid her to do something that is haraam. In such matters she has to obey, whether that comes from a relative or a stranger, an in-law or anyone else.
With regard to the husband, she must obey him in matters that are right and proper, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means…” [al-Nisa’ 4:34]
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, discussing some of the husband’s rights over his wife:
Allaah has given the husband rights and commanded the wife to obey him; He has forbidden her to disobey him because of the fact that he excels her and maintains her. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/493
It is not permissible for any of your in-laws to enter your room without your permission, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them; that is better for you, in order that you may remember” [al-Noor 24:27]
If any of them enters your room with your permission but he is not one of your mahrams – such as your husband’s brother – then there has to be one of your mahrams present, so that there will be no haraam khulwah between you (i.e., being alone together). You must also observe full shar’i hijab, and be certain that there is no risk of falling into fitnah (temptation).