Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an: Worship Allah and do not associate anything with him and be good to the parents and to the near of kin (family)…[s4:v36]
In society today there is no excellent emphasis or presence of good family relations. On small and insignificant issues relations are broken and in some instances, there is not a single word said between relatives for years. The environment of peace and serenity is not present in many households, and people look for faults in each other. There are very few who are willing to humble themselves, to lower themselves for the sake of Allah. This is even after the blessed words of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith which repeatedly order us to keep good ties of kith and kin. These orders are in respect of family on the mother and father’s side, close and distant relatives, all are included. If a person is married, then they should be considerate of their in-laws as well as their extended family. The parents are the most deserving of attention and rights from the family members.
Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an: ‘Allah enjoins upon you Justice, the performance of good deeds, the assistance of relatives and those near to you. And Allah forbids for you immodesty, evil actions, and oppression. Allah admonishes you, that you may take heed.’ (Surah An-Nahl 16, v90)
The virtues of maintaining good family ties:
Sayyidina Abdullah bin Salam related: ‘When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) migrated to Madinah Munawarrah, the very first thing I heard from Him was: ‘O People, you should say Salam to each other abundantly, for the pleasure of Allah, feed the needy, keep good family ties and when the people are sleeping in their beds at night, rise and perform Salah (Tahhajud). If you do this, you will enter Paradise with ease.’ (Mishkaat Masabih p108)
Sayyidina Abu Hurairah related: ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘That person who wishes for his wealth to be vast (blessing), love between relations and his life to be long, he should keep good ties with his relations.’ (Jami Tirmidhi vol 2, p19/ Sahih Muslim #2557)
The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘Assisting the needy with your wealth has only one reward in terms of charity. If that same assistance is given to a needy member of one’s family, it has two rewards. The first is charity; the second is keeping good family ties.’(Mishkaat Masabih p171)
Mujahid stated: ‘When a person has a relative who is needy and he intentionally bypasses this person and gives to someone else, in the sight of Allah this charity will not be accepted.’
Hasan Basri stated: ‘If Allah has blessed a person with wealth and he has relatives who are needy, he should assist them with his wealth. If a person does not have these means, they should assist them physically or then constantly console them with kind words. Whatever you have in your possession, your relatives also have a right stipulated within this. You should not believe it to be a favor from yourself to deliver this wealth to them, as to discharge the right of an individual is justice on behalf of Allah. Within performing this action there is no favor attached.’ (Mariful
Quran vol6, p737)
The warnings on breaking and keeping bad family ties:
Sayyidina Abdur Rahman bin Auf related, The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘Allah says: I am Allah and I am the Merciful, that person who joins family ties, I will join him (envelop him in My mercy). That person who breaks family ties, I will break him (remove them from My special mercy)’ (Jami Tirmidhi vol 2, p13)
Experience shows us that family disputes arise from not fulfilling the orders of Shariah in relation to the rights of the family. Sayyidina bin Abi Aufa related: ‘I heard the Prophet state: ‘That nation wherein which there are those who break the ties of family, the Mercy of Allah does not descend on them.’ (Sunan Baihaqi/ Mishkaat p420). The scholars state that ‘mercy’ here is the special assistance of Allah and the sending of rain. (Mirqaat Shara Mishkaat vol 9, p202)
Sayyidina Jubair bin Mutim related: The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘The one who breaks family ties will not enter Paradise.’ (Sahih Bukhari, Mishkaat p419)
Sayyidina Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas related: The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘The one who is disobedient to their parents and the one who drinks alcohol will not enter Paradise.’ (Sunan Nasai/Mishkaat p420). The scholars relate the meaning of this Hadith that if the sins of this person are not re-compensated through punishment, the person will not enter Paradise (and Allah knows best). (Mirqaat Shara Mishkaat vol 9, p202)
Sayyidina Abu Bakra related: The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘The punishment for oppression and breaking of family ties is received in this world first (in ‘Jami’ Saghir’ the disobedience of parents is also mentioned), the hereafter holds a separate punishment altogether for this sin.’ (Jami Tirmidhi/ Mishkaat p420)
It is found in ‘Dure Manzoor’ the deeds of mankind are presented before Allah; none of the deeds of the one who severs the ties of kinship are accepted. Faqih Abu Layth Samarqandi related: ‘The severing of the ties of kinship is such a despicable sin that it also causes those that sit near the one who performs this deed to be devoid of the mercy of Allah. It is, therefore, necessary that every individual repent from this deed as quickly as possible and improve their family ties.’ (Tambihul Ghafily)
The joining of ties with those who break family ties:
Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Umar related: The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘The upholding of family ties is not achieved by equal treatment of relatives. The one who upholds the ties of relationship fully is he who when is treated harshly by relatives, upholds a virtuous character and good conduct with them.’ (Equal treatment means if relatives are kind then their kindness is reciprocated; if they are harsh and distant then the other is also harsh and distant.) (Sahih Bukhari #5991/ Mishkaat p419)
Sayyidina Abu Hurairah related: One companion questioned the Prophet (PBUH): ‘I have relatives to whom I am very good, however, they are very harsh towards me, I am very kind and soft to them in speech and they are very rude and insulting in their speech towards me.’ The Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘If what you are saying is true, then the person who is causing you misery is, in fact, causing harm to himself. Until you remain in this situation, there will always be assistance (an angel) from Allah with you.’ (Muslim vol 2, p315)
The above commentary highlights the virtues and importance of good family ties which shows that the teaching of Islam propagates a beautiful, pristine, and pure message. Such eloquent and wonderful wisdom cannot be found in other scripture. If Muslims were to act upon these teachings, our homes would become gardens of paradise and our lives would be full of ease and comfort. It is therefore necessary that good family ties are kept only for the pleasure of Allah. Saying this, we should bare in mind that in situations where relatives perform acts that are contrary to the
teachings/orders of Islam, they should totally be disregarded. There is no obedience to the creation in place of the Creator. If a relative is trying to lead a person down the wrong path, then he should try and reason with his relative. However if this relative insists on an evil action, then he should forsake him and not join for the sake of ‘maintaining family ties’. It is an amazing thing to note that when it comes to sinful actions people will happily join their relatives to keep face and totally disregard the fact that they are disobeying Allah.
To withhold rightful inheritance of family members due to personal differences or disputes:
It is a matter to be grateful for the blessing of Allah that He made His creation into families and stipulated between them the law of inheritance through his religion. It is due to this fact that any difference or grievance that one may have with a family member cannot be used as an excuse to cut out or lessen their rightful inheritance. It is an obligation upon us to distribute our inheritance to our heirs as rightfully laid out in Islam.
Sayyidina Anas related the Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘That person who prevents a rightful heir from his or her inheritance, Allah will prevent that person from inheriting Jannah.’ (Sunan Bayhaqi/Ibn Majah #2703 & 2713)
In Jami Tirmidhi Sayyidina Ibn Umar related the Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘That person who has taken someone else’s property is not one of us’. Sayyidina Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘Verily people will obey Allah for 60 years (their whole life) when their time of death comes, they will fail to stipulate the correct terms for their inheritance (will cut out or not fulfill the full amount to one or more inheritors). Then for them, the Hellfire will become compulsory.’ (Mishkaat Masaabih p265)
Sayyidina Saeed ibn Zayd related, the Prophet (PBUH) stated: ‘Whoever takes a hand span of land off somebody wrongfully, on the day of Judgement, (the weight of) 7 earths will be placed around their neck.’ (Mishkaat Masaabih p254) For what seems a very small benefit in this world, we forsake and destroy our hereafter and everything it contains. Where is the logic in such a transaction? May Allah allow us all to correct our affairs, repent from our wrongs, and guide us to follow that way which has been shown by his beloved the Prophet, the companions, and those that came after them.
by Mufti Muhammad Yusuf bin Yaqoob Danka