Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticised Li-Li constantly.
Days passed days, and weeks passed weeks. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish.
All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li's poor husband great distress.
Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law's bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it.
Li-Li went to see her father's good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. Mr. Huang thought for a while, and finally said, Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you. Li-Li said, "Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do."
Mr.Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs.
He told Li-Li, "You can't use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body.
Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen."
Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.
Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr.Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed.
Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn't had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.
The mother-in-law's attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.
Li-Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening.
One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again. She said, "Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law! She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her."
Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Li-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitimans to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her."
Treatment of Mothers-in-LawsBy Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi
Excerpt from: The Muslim Woman and her Husband.
Note: Although the article below is written in reference to the wife treating her mother-in-law.
The advices are also applicable to the husband in his treatment to his mother-in-law as well.
The Muslim woman who truly understands the teachings of her religion knows that the person who has the greatest right over a man is his mother, as one notes in many Ahaadeeth. So she helps him to honour and respect his mother, by also honouring and respecting her. In this way she will do herself and her husband a favour, as she will be helping him to do good deeds and fear Allah Ta'ala, as commanded by the Qur'an. At the same time, she will endear herself to her husband, who will appreciate her honour and respect towards his family in general, and towards his mother in particular. Nothing could please a decent, righteous and respectful man more than seeing strong ties of love and respect between his wife and his family, and nothing could be more hateful to a decent man than to see those ties destroyed by the forces of evil, hatred and conspiracy. The Muslim family which is guided by faith in Allah Ta'ala and follows the pure teachings of Islam is unlikely to fall into the trap of such jahili (ignorant) behaviour, which usually flourishes in communities today.
A Muslim wife may find herself being tested by her mother-in-law and other in-laws, if they are not of good character. If such is the case, she is obliged and would be meritorious to treat them in the best way possible, which requires a great deal of cleverness, courtesy, diplomacy and repelling evil with that which is better. Thus she will maintain a balance between her relationship with her in-laws and her relationship with her husband, and she will protect herself and her marriage from any adverse effects that may result from the lack of such a balance.
The Muslim woman should never think that she is the only one who is required to be a good and caring companion to her spouse, and that nothing similar is required of her husband or that there is nothing wrong with him mistreating her or failing to fulfill some of the responsibilities of marriage. Islam has regulated the marital relationship by giving each partner both rights and duties. The wife's duties of honouring and taking care of her husband are balanced by the rights that she has over him, which are that he should protect her honour and dignity from all kinds of mockery, humiliation, trials or oppression. These rights of the wife comprise the husband's duties towards her: he is obliged to honour them and fulfil them as completely as possible.
One of the Muslim husband's duties is to fulfill his role of qawwam (maintainer and protector) properly. This is a role that can only be properly fulfilled by a man who is a successful leader in his home and family, one who possesses likeable character and qualities. Such a man has a noble and worthy attitude, is tolerant, overlooks minor errors, is in control of his married life, and is generous without being extravagant. He respect s his wife's feelings and makes her feel that she shares the responsibility of running the household affairs, bringing up the children,and working with him to build a sound Muslim family, as Islam wants it to be.