The following question was asked of a marja`:
As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
The wife in the Revealed Law is not responsible for serving the parents of the husband but the husband is responsible for serving his parents. There is the case of the husband who works from morning until evening outside of the house due to the making his wage for the safeguarding of food for his wife and parents.
When he is not working, he is not able to give precedence to the door and drink of his own house and his sisters’ daughters’ husbands. They are not given any respite from going to the house of their parents, but rather the husband, wife and those aforementioned are obliged to go.
In this particular circumstance, do we say to the husband of the wife that she is not responsible for serving his parents or do we say to the wife that she is not responsible for serving the parents according to the Revealed Law but she is responsible according to social customer?
The marja,` Imam `Abdur-Rahman Ash-Shami, may Allah preserve him, answered with what follows:
The wife is not responsible – according to the Revealed Law and social customer – for serving the parents of her husband. But rather she chooses what is best that Allah has given her in that regard. If she chooses to serve the parents out of her own choice, then she realises a grand and immense reward and this also fills the heart of her husband with gladness and joy.
Taken from the website of the maraji`