The Rights of the Kin in Islam

The Rights of the Kin in Islam

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;

All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger

1. It is Obligatory to Uphold Ties of Kinship. 

It is an obligation upon every Muslim to uphold and keeping the bond of kinship which it is not as easy as it sounds. Families and friends give warmth and meaning to our lives. It keep us strong and fulfilled, make us feel loved and wanted, help us grow. At times we struggle to stay the course of an unpredictable and of unkind life. In Islam, Allah requires us to always maintain ar-rahim or good relationships with them. Allah the Almighty imposes on us to save not only ourselves and our family from the Punishment in which means that a good family can help us evade the Hell Fire of a miserable eternity.

Allah Says: “O Ye who Believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones?”   [Surah At-Tahrim, 66:6]

Severing the ties of kinship is a major sin, because Allah says: “Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight”   [Muhammad, 47:22]

Upholding the ties of kinship is obligatory to the extent that one is able to do it, beginning with the closest and then the next close kinship. There is a great deal of goodness in it and it serves many interests.

Muslim recorded in his Sahih that when a man asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), “O Messenger of Allah, whom should I honour?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then whom?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then whom?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then whom?” The fourth time he said: “Your father, then the next closest and the next closest.” [Muslim].

There are many ahadith on this issue. What you have to do is to uphold the ties of kinship to the extent that you are able to, by visiting them if possible, or by writing or phoning. It is also prescribed for you to uphold kinship ties financially too, if the relative is poor.

Allah says: “So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can” [Al-Taghabun, 64:16]; “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” [Al-Baqarah, 2:286]

And the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When I command you to do something, do as much of it as you can.”

But the intimacy, closeness, frequent interaction and mutual dependence of family and friends can lead to the opposite of the beautiful things. Warmth of love in a family can turn into situation of envious or even spilling of blood. The search for fulfilment can become thirst for humiliating others, and support in tough times can turn into hatred and rivalry even in good times. It happens when some members of a family do not possess the right values and attitude. Satan, that enemy of mankind, loves none of his snares more than sowing hatred within believing families and friends.

The excessive individualism of modern times as well as timeless ignorance and selfishness can replace the love of families and bonds of friendship with hatred and bad blood.

Unfortunately, some people quickly denounce and desert family members only because they forgot to invite them to the last get together. We can find family members who actually live door-to-door and refuse to even share the greeting amongst them when they met face to face. Each one claims that the other should initiate the first visit and “why should I be the one to go knock on their door? Plus, I got ill the other day and they did not even bother to stop by and see how I was doing!” Oh, does it hurt to hear these arguments.’ It makes us understand the words of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) that Satan runs through the blood stream of the son of Adam. The saddest thing is that their children were told to never speak to their relatives or even approach their door. It rips the hearts inside to even think about it.

2. Relatives are of two types: mahrams and non-mahrams.

Relatives are of two types: mahrams and non-mahrams. The guideline on mahram relatives is each two persons who, if one were male and the other female, it would not be permissible for them to get married, such as fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, grandfathers and grandmothers no matter how far the line of ascent reaches, children and grandchildren no matter how far the line of descent reaches, paternal uncles and aunts, and maternal uncles and aunts.

With regard to the children of paternal uncles and aunts and maternal uncles and aunts, they are not mahram relatives, because it is permissible to marry them. The Non-mahram relatives are all other relatives, such as the son of your paternal aunt, the daughter of your paternal aunt, the son of your maternal aunt, the daughter of your maternal aunt, and so on.

There is a difference of opinion among the fuqaha’ concerning upholding ties of kinship. 

First opinion: Some fuqaha’ are of the view that the relatives with whom ties of kinship must be upheld are the mahram relatives only. As for non-mahram relatives, it is mustahabb to uphold ties with them but it is not obligatory.

This is the view of the Hanafis and is the lesser-known view of the Malikis; it is also the view of Abul-Khattab among the Hanbalis. Their evidence is that if it is obligatory to uphold ties of kinship with all relatives, it would be obligatory to uphold ties of kinship with all of the children of Adam, and that is impossible, so it is essential to set guidelines on the relationship which makes it obligatory to uphold and honour ties of kinship and makes it forbidden to cut those ties, and that is the mahram relatives.They also quoted as evidence the words of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam):

“One should not be married to a woman and her paternal aunt, or a woman and her maternal aunt, at the same time.” 

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim (1408)]

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (rahimahullah) said: Al-Tabarāni added to the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhu) : “If you do that, you have severed your ties of kinship.” This was classified as sahih by Ibn Hibbān. Abu Dawud narrated in “Al-Marasil” a report from ‘Eesa Ibn Talhah that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) forbade being married to a woman and any of her relatives at the same time, for fear of severing ties of kinship. [Al-Dirāyah fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Hidayah (2/56)]

The way in which they understood this hadīth to prove their point was explained by some of the Maliki scholars (rahimahullah).

Al-Qurafi (rahimahullah)said: The eighth issue regarding the obligation of upholding ties of kinship: Shaikh al-Tartushi (rahimahullah) said: one of the scholars said: rather upholding ties of kinship is obligatory if the relatives are mahrams, which refers to each two persons who, if one were male and the other female, it would not be permissible for them to get married, such as fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, grandfathers and grandmothers no matter how far the line of ascent reaches, children and grandchildren no matter how far the line of descent reaches, paternal uncles and aunts, and maternal uncles and aunts. As for the children of these relatives, upholding ties of kinship between them is not obligatory, because it is permissible for them to get married.

The soundness of this view is indicated by the fact that it is haram to be married to two sisters, or to a woman and her paternal aunt or to a woman and her maternal aunt at the same time, because that leads to severing the ties of kinship, and avoiding something haram is obligatory, and honouring them and not harming them is obligatory. But is it permissible to be married to two female paternal cousins or two female maternal cousins at the same time, even if they are jealous of one another and sever ties with one another, and that is because upholding ties of kinship between them is not obligatory. [Al-Farouq (1/147)] 

The second opinion concerning this issue is that it is obligatory to uphold ties of kinship with all of them, with no distinction between mahrams and non-mahrams.

This is one view of the Hanafis and is the well known view of the Malikis. It was also stated by Imam Ahmad, (rahimahullah), and it is what may be understood from the general terms in which the Shafi’es discussed this issue, because none of them singled out the mahram relatives in this regard. [Al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah (3/83)]

[See also: Ghadha’ al-Albab by al-Safāreeni (1/354) and Bareeqah Mahmūdiyyah (4/153)]

There are other opinions concerning this matter. It says in Subul al-Salām (2/628): It should be noted that the scholars differed concerning the definition of the relatives with whom it is obligatory to uphold ties of kinship. It was said that it is relatives with whom marriage is harām, such that if one of them were male marriage to the other would be forbidden. Based on that, it does not include the children of paternal or maternal uncles and aunts. Those who hold this view quote as evidence the fact that it is haram to be married to a woman and her paternal aunt or maternal aunt at the same time, because that leads to severing of ties of kinship.

And it was said that it is those who are connected by inheritance which is indicated by the words of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), “then the next closest and the next closest.” [Narrated by Muslim]

And it was said that it refers to those who are related to one another regardless of whether they are connected by inheritance or not.

Moreover, upholding of ties of kinship, as Al-Qādi ‘Iyād (rahimahullah) said, is of varying degrees, some of which are higher than others. At the very least, it is not forsaking one another, and upholding ties by speaking, even if it only saying salām. That varies according to possibility and need. It may be obligatory or mustahabb. If a person upholds ties to some extent, even if it is not to the fullest extent, he cannot be called a breaker of ties of kinship, and if he fails to do what he is able to do and should do, then he cannot be called an upholder of ties of kinship.

Al-Qurtubi (rahimahullah) said: “The degrees of relationship which must be upheld are general and specific. The general relationship is that which is based on religion, which must be upheld by means of mutual love, sincerity, fairness and fulfilment of rights both obligatory and mustahabb. In addition to that, the specific relationship also involves spending on relatives, checking on them and overlooking their mistakes.”

This is a summary of what the scholars have said about this issue, but what has been narrated about the great reward for upholding ties of kinship and the severe punishment for severing them will be no secret to you. This means that you should be keen to uphold ties of kinship and beware of severing them, and be on the safe side with regard to your religious commitment, and avoid an area concerning which the scholars differed.

So hasten to uphold ties of kinship with the son of your paternal aunt, and treat him kindly as much as you can, for the reward of that will not be lost with Allah.

Allah’s Messenger, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:”The most virtuous behavior is to engage those who sever relations, to give to those who withhold from you, and to forgive those who wrong you” [At-Tabarāni].

The kindred (arham) are the blood relatives on mother’s and father’s sides. They are the ones meant in the verses in al-Qur’ān in which Allāh says: “But kindred by blood are nearer to one another (regarding inheritance) in the decree ordained by Allah” [Al-Anfal 8:57; Al-Ahzab 33:6]

3. The value of Ar-Rahim.

Severing relation has become a threatening epidemic that has found its way into many Muslim families. We have forgotten the tremendous value of Ar-Rahim. We become completely unmindful and oblivious of its significance, our selfishness and self-centeredness has gotten the best of us.

Before we go further, let us define the word rahim. The word in Arabic is extracted from rahim which literally refers to go the womb; the latter has been the abode of every human being before they came out to this world except for Adam (‘alayhissalam) and Hawa (Eve).

Islamic scholar Ar-Raghib Al-Asfahani (rahimahullah) said, “Ar-Rahim is the womb of the mother, and it stands for family ties knowing that it was the first source from which they were produced” In Islamic terminology, Ar-Rahim means family bonds and relations that we refer to in English as kinship relationships.

The Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) enlightens us on the noble position of rahim through a powerful allegory in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu).

The Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah created all the creation, and when He finished, ar-rahim (the womb) got up and pleaded to Allah, where-upon Allah said to it, “What is the matter?” It said: “At this place, I seek your refuge from those who sever me (cut off ties of kinship).” Allah said, “Yes, will you not be satisfied if I bestow My favours on him who keeps your ties, and withhold My favours from him who severs your ties;” Upon this, it said, “Yes, O my Lord!” Allah said, “Then that is for you”. [Al-Bukhari]

This hadith lays out the very foundation of kinship, emphasizing its importance as well as the ramifications of’ severing kinship ties.

Ar-Rahim is a noun that encompasses all the relatives from the father’s and the mother’s sides. Islamic scholar Al-Qurtubi (rahimahullah) said: Generally speaking, ar-rahim has a broad and a particular meaning. The broad one includes all the believers and that is ar-rahim of religion, then there is the one pertaining to all relatives of any person from the father’s and the mother’s sides which is the one concerning us in this issue. Know that each one of them has a number of due rights over you. Allah revealed this verse regarding ar-rahim, which many Muslims throughout the world recognize, since they hear it every Friday from their Imams as part of the introduction of the khutbah: “And fear Allah through Whom you ask one another; and the wombs.” [Surah An-Nisa, 4: 1]

Silah, which literally means connecting, is used often in conjunction with rahim, and so silatur-rahim means to join the ties of kinship by treating one’s relatives fairly and compassionately.

On top of the list of these relations come our parents, who have sacrificed much of their lives to make us strong and worthy human beings. Then come our brothers and sisters with whom we shared the same womb, and then our grandparents along with all the other family members including our uncles, aunts and cousins from both the paternal and maternal sides.

4. Our Kin’s Rights over Us

Every member of our family has rights over us. These rights differ from one person to another. For instance, the mother stands higher than the aunt and the grandfather is most definitely above the brother in law.

Some of the rights our next of kin has on us are: To maintain a good relationship with them by showing respect, love and sympathy. Be there for them when they need you. Go visit them at times of sickness and be a good support at times of tribulations. Share with them glorious moments. Let them in on all your good news. Buy them gifts and congratulate them on ‘Eid days. Help them financially during harsh times.

When Allah revealed the verse: “You will not attain piety until you spend from that which is beloved to you” [Surah Ali-‘Imran, 3: 93], Abu Talhah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “The most beloved to me of my wealth is Bayrahā’ (a garden), and I am giving it as a charity for Allah, I yearn for its reward from Allah. O Messenger of Allah spends it as you see fit according to what Allah has shown you.” The Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Bakhin! (An expression of amazement) That indeed is a profitable trade. I have heard what you said, and I recommend that you spend it on your kin.” Abu Talhah (radiyallāhu`anhu) responded, “O Messenger of Allah, I will do so.” And Abu Talhah (radiyallāhu`anhu) indeed gave it away to his relatives.

Spending on kinship has become a neglected responsibility, to the point that you can easily find people who will invite a friend to a classy restaurant and never spend a dime on their cousin. They offer valuable gifts and even money to their peers and co-workers while their parents are in dire situations. This brings to mind the event of Musteh who was Abu Bakar’s cousin and also among those who fell into the error of slandering his (Abu Bakar’s) daughter, the mother of the believers, ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) in the famous incident of ‘ifk (lie). This made Abu Bakar (radiyallāhu`anhu) so furious that he took an oath he would never again give charity to Musteh.

Following this incident Allah the Almighty sent down a number of verses attesting to the innocence of the mother of the believers, but among them was also this magnificent verse:

“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, and the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah An-Nur, 24:22]

Upon hearing this beautiful verse, the noble companion Abu Bakar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, “Yes we love!”(Meaning yes O Allah, we love that you forgive us) Then he resumed his spending on Musteh.

Let us all pause and look deep into this verse and reflect upon its limitless wisdom, and see how Allah the Lord of the worlds guided to Abu Bakar (radiyallāhu`anhu) charity to his kin, even when this person had falsely slandered his daughter!

5. When Your Kinfolk Are Non-Muslim

We should know that kindness to parents is a personal duty imposed by Allah on every son and daughter. To be a dutiful child is to ensure that one is closer to Allah the Almighty. It makes it easier to win Allah’s pleasure and be eventually admitted into Paradise. Parents must be obeyed unless they order us to commit a sin. This is based on the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) statement that: “No creature may be obeyed in what constitutes disobedience to the Creator.” All this assumes that the parents are Muslims. It may happen, however, that a Muslim child has non-Muslim parents. What should his attitude be toward them?

First and foremost, even if one’s kinsfolk are hostile to Islam, one should under no circumstance give up on them; continue to invite them to Islam with kindness, compassion and wisdom. We should pray to Allah constantly to guide them and open their hearts and lead them to the straight path.

Asma’ binti Abu Bakar (radiyallahu’anha) was the Prophet’s sister-in-law. She was the daughter of his closest companion and the sister of his wife ‘Aishah. Her mother, however, did not become a Muslim for quite a long time. Asma’ said: “My mother came to me during the time of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) hoping to get something from me. I asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) ‘whether I should be kind to her'”. He answered: “Yes,” [Al-Bukhari].

The way this hadith is phrased suggests that her mother had not yet become a Muslim when she came to her. Another version states clearly that the mother was hostile to Islam. Had she shown any inclination to become a Muslim, Asma’ (radiyallahu’anha) would not have needed to ask the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) permission to be kind to her. Many a Muslim at that time was extra kind to their parents and relatives who were not Muslims, hoping to win them over to Islam. The significance of this particular hadith is that even when a parent is determined not to become a Muslim, we still should treat him or her kindly.

Try all beautiful and wise ways to bring them into the fold of Islam. Bear in mind that this indeed is one of the most difficult tasks and one of the most honourable ones as well. Show them concern and be patient when dealing with them. Overlook the harsh words and pardon the ridicule.

Remember that never did the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) quit calling his uncle Abu Talib bin Abdul Mutallib to embrace Islam, even when his uncle was in his death bed. One of the most touching scenes in Quran is the dialogue that took place between Prophet Nuh (`alayhissalam) and his disbelieving son. Here is a Prophet of Allah trying eagerly to call his son to the path of light and safety. Despite the fact that his son was an adamant disbeliever, Nuh (‘alaihissalam) chose the kindest of words and used the most compassionate expressions to persuade his son.

Allah the Almighty says: “Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” [Surah al-Mumtahana, 60:8]

So long as they do not stand as a barrier between us and our religion, we are obligated to fulfil all the rights they have on us. We must not become someone’s excuse for not wanting to become Muslim.

6. Between Islam and the family: Which should I Choose?

This is a question everyone with non-Muslim relatives wishes to never encounter. It represents one of those times we call the moment of truth and the most difficult of tests.

Kindness to non-Muslim parents does not depend on what religion they follow. We are supposed to be kind to them. It is true that such kindness may help win them over to Islam. This is, however, not the only reason. The parent-child relationship transcends matters of personal inclinations, desires, habits, creeds and faith. It is well known that a parent tries hard to overcome his prejudice against something if he feels that his son or daughter likes it. Islam does not like to stir trouble in every family where the parents are not Muslims. It recognizes that the parent-child tie need not be broken on account of faith. It, therefore, instructs its followers to be kind to their non-Muslim parents.

Only when such parents try to persuade their Muslim child to turn away from Islam does Allah command us not to listen to them or obey them.

Allah SAYS:“We have enjoined upon man goodness toward his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his weaning is within two years. Be grateful toward Me and toward your parents, with Me all journeys end. Yet should they (your parents) endeavour to make you ascribe divinity, side by side with Me to something of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. But even then bear them company with kindness in the life of this world and follow the path of those who turn toward me.”[Surah Luqman, 31:14-15]

It is reported that these verses were revealed when the mother of Sa’ad Ibn Abu Waqqas (radiyallahu’anhu) who was a companion of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was so upset when she learned that he had embraced Islam. She tried to persuade him to recant. Realizing that he was determined to follow the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) she tried to increase the pressure on him. She knew that he was a most dutiful child and he loved her dearly. She thought that if she brought hardship on herself, he would feel sorry for her and might listen to her. She swore that she would not taste any food or drink until he had left the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam).

The judgment in his case was given by Allah in the above quoted verses. Sa’ad Ibn Abu Waqqas (radiyallāhu`anhu) did not listen to his mother and continued to be one of the best companions of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam)  He was later given the happy news by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam)that he was certain to be admitted into Paradise.

It is clear from his story and the verses revealed by Allah concerning it that when it comes to matters of faith, a non-Muslim parent may not be obeyed. That, however, does not mean to be unkind to such a parent as we mentioned before. We are still required to be kind to him or her, hoping always that they may recognize the truth of Islam.

There is absolutely no graver sin than shirik, (i.e. to associate partners with Allah) yet Allah the Almighty advised us to keep them company in this life and show them benevolence. This is the only time when we can say no to parents—but not walk out on them. Instead, we should be with them, support them in all kinds of ways when they need us, so long as they do not ask you to go against the teaching of Allah and his Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam)  This also goes for the rest of our non-Muslim kinfolk.

Remember what Yusuf (‘alayhissalam) said as Allah informs us in the verse: “Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to him, and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinun (righteous) to be lost.” [Surah Yusuf, 12:90]

We do good if we pray Allah to enlighten our non-Muslim parents and guide them to accept Islam. We cannot, however, pray Allah to forgive them. Allah forgives all sins with the exception of associating partners with him. All non-believers associate partners with Allah in one form or another. It is, therefore, futile to pray Him to forgive what he has told us He would not forgive. Moreover, it is an affront to Allah.

It may be hard for a Muslim person to be unable to pray for the forgiveness of his non-Muslim parents. Let us remember that the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) own parents were non-Muslims. He asked Allah’s permission to pray Him to forgive his mother. His request was declined. We know that Allah granted every prayer the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) made either for himself or his companions or, indeed, Muslims generally. The fact that Allah did not permit the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) to pray for the forgiveness of his own mother suggests that this is not a trifling matter at all. It is indeed much more beneficial to one’s non-Muslim parents who are alive that he prays Allah to guide them to Islam.

7. The Merits and Benefits of Keeping Good Family Relations.

7.1. The Way to Paradise

The Messenger(Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him be generous to his guest, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bond of kinship, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say that which is good or observe silence.” [Al-Bukhari]

Abu Ayub Al-Ansari (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated: “A man said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, inform me of a certain deed that if I do it, I shall enter Paradise.’ He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Worship Allah and do not associate anything with him, establish Solah, Zakah and maintain bonds of kinship'”.

7.2. Abundance and Longevity

It is narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu`anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever desires for Allah to multiply his provision and increase his age, he should maintain good relations with his kin”.

7.3. Beautiful Pleasures of life

Take advantage of every opportunity which presents itself to help them, visit them and be there for them, for the sake of Allah.

Think about that great moment when your little nephew or niece opened the door and shouted out, “It is my auntie….! It is my uncle ..,” then threw themselves, innocently, in your arms. What a great blessing!

8. The Curse of Allah upon Those Who Sever Blood Relations

Allah has severely warned those who cut off their blood relations and family ties. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) also condemned such people.  Allah the Almighty Says:”Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.” [Surah Muhammad, 47:22-23]

All Muslims should read these two verses over and over again, and let them sink in, because the verse right after that says: “Do they not then think deeply in the Quran? Or are their hearts locked up?”[Surah Muhammad, 47:24]

We seek refuge in Allah, the Lord of the worlds, from the concealing of our hearts and the subjugation of our weak selves.

Even the company of those who mistreat their families and are cut off from them is accursed. ‘Abdullah Ibn Abu ‘Awf (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that, “One time we were sitting with the Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) who said: `No one who cuts off his ties should sit with us.’ So a young man stood up from the crowd and went to visit his aunt, with whom he had some frictions, she then asked forgiveness for him, and he did the same for her, soon afterwards, he came back to our gathering circle, upon which the Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:“The Mercy will not descend on people among whom there is a person who severs kin ties.”

Severing one’s blood ties is far from a trivial choice: it is an evil that may hinder you from entering Paradise. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:”No one who severs his family ties will enter Paradise.” [At-Tirmidzi]

Part of the danger resulting from cutting off one’s relations can be sensed from the following hadith.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) related that a man came to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, my relatives are such that I cooperate with them, but they cut me off; I am kind to them but they ill-treat me; I forbear but they are rude to me.“The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) replied: “If you are as you say, you are then feeding them with hot ashes; and so long as you remain the way you are, Allah will always help you and he will protect you against their mischief.” [Muslim]

Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullah) said: “The hot ashes are a metaphor for the amount of pain and agony experienced by the one who eats them.” The hadith pertains also to the people who behave differently. They will maintain good times as long as their kindred do the same, but otherwise they sever them. Real cherishing of the blood relation is not observed in anticipation of reciprocation on the part of one’s kin; but the ties should be maintained for Allah’s sake only, even if this is done from one side only neglecting the behaviour of the other side in return.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “A person who reciprocates in doing good is not the one who joins his blood relations generously; but he is one who joins with his blood relations when they sever the kinship ties.” [Al-Bukhari]

This wonderful hadith puts all things in perspective for those who are so skilled at pointing fingers, trying to justify the haughtiness of their own selves by always blaming other people, thus justifying their cutting of ties. The Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) penly states that regardless of their behaviour you should visit them; regardless of their detachment, you should maintain your ties; regardless of their offensiveness, reward them with forbearance, and most importantly, never cease to include in your supplications that Allah grant them a change of heart; for all the hearts are between His fingers, He flips them as He wills.

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) set for all humanity the greatest example of forgiveness and mercy after he conquered Makkah. The Makkans had tortured, killed, and humiliated Muslims for so long, and killed some of the dearest relatives of the blessed Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) himself. But the Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) answered them by saying “I would say to you what Yusuf said to his brothers: No reproach on you this day; May Allah forgives you; He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy. Go free; you are all pardoned!” This incident never fails to bring tears to a Muslim’s eye. In fact, any human being would be moved by such nobility and mercy to tears. No wonder ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) when asked about the character of the Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said that his character was the Quran. Better yet Allah bears witness that his Messenger stands on the highest plane of character.

Allah Says: “And verily, you have an exalted standard of character.” [Surah Al-Qalam, 68:4]

9. Ways to Enhance Your Relations

Here are ways for us to fortify our ties and strengthen our bonds with our kinsmen:

7.1. Arrange frequent visits with those who live close by, on a weekly basis if they are in the same town or on a yearly basis at least if they reside overseas, depending on a person’s abilities. But always remember, the least you can do nowadays is to pick up a paper and a pen and write to them how much your heart yearns for them and that they are not at all forgotten. If not, pick up the phone and tell them how much you love them and cannot wait to visit with them. Little things can make a big difference.

7.2. In a family gathering, do not let the opportunity to clear up all misunderstandings, pass you by and show all of your relatives your love and concern.

7.3. When conversing with them, take interest in what they have to say, even if it is not your cup of tea. Listen to their concerns, and help them if you can, and at least give them hope and your prayers—for sincere prayers, reassurance and love are worth much more than anything else.

7.4. Have respect for all elderly people in your family, be all-ears when they are telling their stories and try to learn from their past experiences.

7.5. Bring joy to family gatherings by creating an atmosphere of fun, sharing jokes or even getting a bit playful at times—but always within the limits of decency and without hurting anyone’s feelings.

7.6. Be there for them, and offer to help in every way you can.

Many good deeds bear fruit that will not be seen until the Hereafter. But keeping good family relations is something that will benefit you immediately, by making this life a lot happier, lighter, pleasant and more rewarding. Most importantly, Allah will reward us generously for every smile, every hug, and every act of generosity, every phone call or letter, every word of encouragement, every suppression of anger, and every instance of forgiveness towards your family members. Who can afford to be deprived of such an immense reward? Do not allow yourself to be of those who sever what Allah has ordered to be joined.

He the Almighty Says: “Those who break Allah’s covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.”  [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:27]

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Via Islam Web]

Please See Also:

1.The Meaning of Silatul Rahim; 2.Guidelines on Ties of the Kinship;

3.The Obligation of Upholding the Ties of Kinship;

4.The Rights and Duties of Women in Islam.; 5. All Occurs By The Will And Decree Of Allāh;

6.Allah Obligates Kindness to Parents; 7.Acknowledging the Parents;

8.The Kindred of Kinship;

9. Not Permissible To Forsake A Muslim;

10. Ruling On Disputes and the Virtue of Reconciling;

11.Dealing With Relatives Who Backbite;12. Dealing with Hurtful Relatives;

13.Giving Zakah to Deserving Relatives;14.Is the Father’s Wife among the Relatives (Rahm);

15.Husband’s Duties towards His Wife’s Family ; 16.The Rights of the Husband and the Wife;

17.Upholding the Ties of Kinship for Females;18.A Woman’s Mahram;

19.The Seven under the Shade of Allāh

About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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