SunniPath: In Laws Feel Threatened By the New Wife

I have a sensitive problem. I have been married for many years now, and I have a recurring problem. Once in a while my husband’s sister starts flirting with him - and also subtle actions, e.g. she would mention every compliment she got from her brother to me, etc, making my feel very low, and as result I have suffered from a very low self esteem. During the initial stages of my marriage, she would do it more.

The latest occurrence has been when she has flirtingly engaged in a conversation which seemed very provocative, and when I tried to interrupt the conversation by talking to her, she ignored me twice and completely acted like she didn’t hear. I spoke to my husband who assures me that he always interprets these gestures as "sisterly" and never more.

What is the Islamic Ruling on flirting? I mean, how are siblings supposed to act with one another? Is it okay for women to parade themselves round their brothers, giggle flirtatiously with them? It is not such a regular occurrence anymore, but I just feel so cut up.

But then, what if it is just harmless sibling tomfoolery? I know she is also doing it in front of me to show that she is still "so close" to her brother... but it makes me cringe at the way she does it... surely there are other ways of having fun with your brother?

Please advise.
Was Salam o Alaikum.


In the name of Allah Most Merciful Most Compassionate

I pray you are well and in the best of health and iman.

Since you haven't given the details of how she is flirtatious, it's difficult to state if it's haram or not. With that said, it's permissible for siblings to joke and joke around; obviously your husband doesn't find his sister's behaviour inappropriate. And it isn't unusual for sisters to act a bit friendly with their brothers when they feel threaten by a new wife, even though it's not necessarily good behaviour.

I would recommend that you read "Changing Your Life and Everyone in It" by Michele Weiner-Davis, for suggestions about making a happy marriage and a happy life. Happiness is not a place, it's a process.

And Allah Most High knows best.


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