Can a man ask his wife for help to take care of his mother?

The Details of the Question

Can a man ask his wife to help him take care of his mother, who is very weak, sick and bedridden? I am married and have two small children. My mother has been bedridden for the past two years since the start of Covid-19. In this pandemic crisis, I could not find a nurse for my mother and could not pay the fee, especially when there was a lockdown. I was also conscious of the danger of spreading the virus; so, I avoided summoning anyone home for help. I could only lift my mother, make her sit upright, and carry her to the toilet. I always had to call my wife for help to wash her; but during this process, I always tried to clean her bottom myself when it was necessary. In addition, I helped my wife with cooking, cleaning, laundry, childcare just to give my wife enough rest and always appreciated her kindness and provided basic needs. As soon as the curfew ended, I hired a nurse for my mother. Now my married sister and nurse take care of my mother. My mother-in-law criticizes me for what my wife did for my mother. Whenever I complain to my wife or try to explain anything, she reminds me of the “great favor” she did; it is my weak spot. It feels as if I have committed a sin.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Forcing a person to do a job or a deed is done with the threat of causing material and spiritual harm if he does not do it.

If your spouse or someone else – who is not responsible for your mother – gives voluntary service without such a threat, it is regarded as an Islamic behavior.

There are enough verses and hadiths to form a small book on the value of a Muslim’s helping another Muslim; such help is regarded as a deed of worship.

If a person does something for the sake of Allah and then rubs someone’s nose in it, it is not regarded as an Islamic behavior.

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