Relatives are those who are related to you through blood and close ties; such as the brother, the uncle, the aunt, or their children. Everyone who has a tie of relation with you has certain rights upon you in accordance with how closely they are related to you. Allah said regarding this: “And give to the relative his right.” (Qur’an, 17:26). Allah also said: “And worship Allah alone, and do not setup any partner to Him in worship, and be kind and good to the parents, and to the relatives.” (Qur’an, 4:36)
So it is obligatory upon everyone to treat his relatives in the best possible manner, and to support them in accordance with their needs, and what they seek of help and support. And this is what is enjoined by the Shariah, the ‘Aql (sound reasoning) and the Fitrah (natural disposition).
There are several textual evidences encouraging and urging Silat-ur-Rahim (joining the ties of kinship).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him keep the ties of kinship.” (Al-Bukhari, no. 6138)
Unfortunately, many people do not observe this right and transgress the bounds. Some of them do not seek to join ties with relatives or show kindness to them; neither through wealth, nor through good behavior, nor through the giving of occasional gifts and presents nor through rendering help to them in their times of need. Indeed, days and months may pass without even seeing or visiting them! Sometimes, rather than seeking to join ties of kinship, some people even intend to severe such ties, by trying to harm their relatives – either through words or action. Such people may keep close ties with those who are not relatives, yet cutoff ties with their relatives!
Others only maintain ties of relationship with those who maintain ties with them, and cutoff ties with those who cutoff from them. So they are not really maintaining ties of relationship; they are only acting tit-for-tat.
The true waasil (one who keeps ties of kinship) keeps ties of relation for the sake of Allah – regardless whether his relations keep ties with him or not.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The waasil is not the one who merely does so out of reciprocation. Rather, the waasil is the one who even when the relatives cutoff from him, still maintains ties with them.” So a man asked: “O Messenger of Allah. I have relatives with whom I maintain ties of kinship, yet they cutoff from me. I treat them kindly, yet they treat me in an evil manner. And I am forbearing and patient with them, yet they behave rudely and ignorantly towards me.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If the situation is as you say, then it is as if you are filling their mouths with sand. And Allah will continue to aid and support you as long as you continue doing what you are doing.” (Al-Bukhari, no. 5911)
If there were no other rewards for keeping ties of kinship, except that Allah keeps ties with the waasil in this world and the hereafter, and that He extends His Mercy due to it, and makes malters easier through it, and removes distress and anxieties by it, then that would be more than sufficient. However, along with this, Silat-ur-Rahim brings family and relatives close to one another, increases love and compassion between one another, and cultivates the habit of mutual help in times of ease and hardship. These are well-known things that are experienced on a daily basis. When ties of kinship are not maintained, then each one of the mentioned benefits turn into the opposites, and great harm comes to the society.
– By Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Bin Al-Uthaymeen