Articles

"Joining family relations" By (Imam) Zayd Mehtar

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Most Kind,

 

The world we find ourselves living in today is certainly a frightening (and at times, strange) one and I’m sure that over the past days and weeks, many of us (myself included) have had to constantly stop and remind ourselves that this is all real and actually happening. 

 

Despite the severity of what we as humanity are going through together, we find that along with the difficulties and hardships, Allah always gives us things we can be grateful for. He Almighty says in Surah Ash Sharh;

 

“So, surely with difficulty there is relief, most definitely, with difficulty comes ease.”

 

From amongst the many favours of Allah is without a doubt the blessing (ni’mah) of our families, and this pandemic has given us literally a once in a lifetime opportunity – time for our families, with nowhere else to go. We are ‘stuck’ at home.  

 

Now naturally, as human beings who live with each other in such close proximity for so long a time, we are bound to fall out and have annoyances and grievances with one another. For some, we may have fallen out with family members along time ago and simply haven’t been able to make up yet.

 

As always, we turn to the guidance of Allah and His messenger salallahu alaihi wasallam about our obligations to our family. This time is a perfect opportunity for us reconcile our differences and regain closeness to our families. Below, I have mentioned some of the noble words of our messenger salallahu alaihi wasallam as a reminder to all.  

 

157 - حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا فَارِسٌ بْنُ مَرْدَوَيْهِ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ بْنُ الْفَضْلِ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ بْنُ عُبَيْدٍ الطَّنَافِسِيُّ، عَنْ عَمْرٍو بْنِ عُثْمَانَ , عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ طَلْحَةَ , عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُ , قَالَ: عَرَضَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ بِالنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَأَخَذَ بِزِمَامِ نَاقَتِهِ أَوْ خِطَامَهَا، ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَخْبِرْنِي بِمَا يُقَرِّبُنِي مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَيُبَاعِدُنِي مِنَ النَّارِ، قَالَ: «أَنْ تَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَتُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ وَتَصِلُ الرَّحِمَ»

 

Abu Ayyub al Ansari radhiallahu narrated that a Bedouin approached Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam one day and taking hold of camel’s reins asked, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me what it is that will bring me close to Jannah and take me far away from the fire of Jahannam.” The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “That you worship Allah never joining partners with Him, that you establish Salah and give Zakah, and that you join family ties.” (Musnad Ahmad)

 

159 - وَرُوِيَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , أَنَّهُ قَالَ: «مَا مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ أَعْجَلُ ثَوَابًا مِنْ صِلَةِ الرَّحِمِ، وَمَا مِنْ ذَنْبٍ أَجْدَرُ أَنْ يُعَجِّلَ اللَّهُ لِصَاحِبِهِ الْعُقُوبَةَ فِي الدُّنْيَا، مَعَ مَا يُدَّخَرُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْبَغْيِ وَقَطِيعَةِ الرَّحِمِ» (تنبيه الغافلين للسمرقندى)

 

Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam said, “No good deed attracts reward quicker than joining family relations, and no sin brings calamity upon a person in this Dunya and destruction in the hereafter quicker than rebellion and breaking family relations.”

 

1979 - حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ بْنِ عِيسَى الثَّقَفِيِّ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ، مَوْلَى الْمُنْبَعِثِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: تَعَلَّمُوا مِنْ أَنْسَابِكُمْ مَا تَصِلُونَ بِهِ أَرْحَامَكُمْ، فَإِنَّ صِلَةَ الرَّحِمِ مَحَبَّةٌ فِي الأَهْلِ، مَثْرَاةٌ فِي الْمَالِ، مَنْسَأَةٌ فِي الأَثَرِ.

 

Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah salallahu alahi wasallam said, 

“Learn about your relatives that you will join your family ties with, because joining/maintaining family relationships creates love in the family, brings an increase in wealth and increases one’s lifespan.” (Tirmidhi)

 

This Hadeeth shows us the importance of keeping contact with our extended families as well, even those we cannot physically meet during the lockdown. We should try to call them and regularly check on them to maintain our relationships. The Ulama mention that this gives a person barakah in his/her wealth and gives barakah in our life too, allowing us to accomplish much more in our lives and be remembered once we are gone.

 

The Quran and Hadeeth are full of advice with regards to treating our families well and it is difficult to go into detail here. The narrations mentioned above are just a few that highlight its importance. 

 

Its also important to remember that sometimes our families can be tough to deal with. We don’t always get along and sometimes pain and hurt can be caused by our own family members. Despite this we must all try to overlook the shortcomings of our children, parents and siblings. 

 

The word ‘rahim’, meaning ‘family relations’ is a derivative of Allah’s attribute: Ar Rahman (The Most Merciful). When Allah created this relationship, He said;

 

وَيُقَالُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى لَمَّا خَلَقَ الرَّحِمَ قَالَ: أَنَا الرَّحْمَنُ وَأَنْتِ الرَّحِمُ، أَقْطَعُ مَنْ قَطَعَكِ، وَأَصِلُ مَنْ وَصَلَكِ.

 

“I am Rahman (the Most Merciful) and you are the ‘rahim’. I will break off those who break you and I will join with those who join you.”

 

Remember, ‘joining’ family ties isn’t only to repay kindness with kindness. Rather, it is to respond with kindness, generosity and forgiveness even when our family members are treating us with the opposite; the ‘silent treatment’, the ‘cold shoulder’ and harshness.

 

Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam said, 

1908 - حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا بَشِيرٌ أَبُو إِسْمَاعِيلَ، وَفِطْرُ بْنُ خَلِيفَةَ، عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: لَيْسَ الوَاصِلُ بِالمُكَافِئِ، وَلَكِنَّ الوَاصِلَ الَّذِي إِذَا انْقَطَعَتْ رَحِمُهُ وَصَلَهَا. هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ.

 

“The true ‘joiner’ of family ties is not the one who repays (good with good), rather, the true joiner of ties is the one who (makes an effort to) join the relationships when they are broken (with him).” (Tirmidhi)

 

قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا فَارِسٌ بْنُ مَرْدَوَيْهِ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ بْنُ الْفَضْلِ، حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ، حَدَّثَنَا الْحَجَّاجُ بْنُ أَرْطَأَةَ، عَنْ عَمْرٍو بْنِ شُعَيْبٍ , عَنْ أَبِيهِ , عَنْ جَدِّهِ , قَالَ: جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ: إِنَّ لِي أَرْحَامًا، أَصِلُ وَيَقْطَعُونِي، وَأَعْفُو وَيَظْلِمُونِي، وَأُحْسِنُ وَيُسِيئُونِي، أَفَأُكَافِئُهُمْ؟ قَالَ: «لَا إِذْنَ تَشْتَرِكُونَ جَمِيعًا، وَلَكِنْ خُذْ بِالْفَضْلِ وَصِلْهُمْ، فَإِنَّهُ لَنْ يَزَالَ مَعَكَ ظَهِيرٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا كُنْتَ عَلَى ذَلِكَ» (تنبيه الغافلين للسمرقندى)

 

A man once came to Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam. He said, “I have family members who I join ties with – but they break ties with me, I forgive them – but they oppress me, I do good to them but they repay me with evil. Should I behave the same way with them? Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam said, “No, because then you would all be the same. Instead hold fast to graciousness and join ties with them because as long as you do so you will receive support from Allah.”

 

Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam said, 

 

1932 - حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا الزُّهْرِيُّ (ح) وَحَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ اللَّيْثِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: لاَ يَحِلُّ لِمُسْلِمٍ أَنْ يَهْجُرَ أَخَاهُ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثٍ، يَلْتَقِيَانِ فَيَصُدُّ هَذَا وَيَصُدُّ هَذَا، وَخَيْرُهُمَا الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ بِالسَّلاَمِ.

 

“It is not permissible for a Muslim to abandon his brother for more than three days; When they meet one another, this one turns that way and this one turns the other way. The best of the two is the one who initiates the Salam (and thus tries to mend the relationship).” (Tirmidhi)

 

I will end with the words of Faqeeh abu Layth Samarqandi who says:

 

“These narrations show how grave a sin ‘breaking family relations’ is. It prevents Allah’s mercy from the one who does so and who he is around. It is necessary for the Muslim that he repents from breaking off family relationships and seeks forgiveness from Allah. Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam has made clear that joining family relationships bring the servant into the Mercy of Allah and distance him from the fire.”

 

Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam was once asked, “How many times should I forgive (the mistakes) of my servant?” He salallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “70 times a day”. (Tirmidhi)

 

70 times is mentioned to indicate an excessive amount, not to restrict it to 70 times. If this is the case for a servant, what would we say about our own flesh and blood? Rasulullah salallahu alaihi wasallam is showing us how to forgive and overlook from our own children too.

 

May Allah allow us all to understand the value of family. May He create an environment of peace and happiness throughout our homes and help us rebuild bridges that have been burnt in the past. This virus has shown us how quickly a person who was once healthy can fall ill and pass into the mercy of Allah. Let us realise this and fix relationships before it is too late.

 

(Imam) Zayd Mehtar

Masjid-e-Umer, Walthamstow

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