Many people ask this question: “how to maintain family ties when the family doesn’t even make an effort to keep ties with me? What to do about that?”
It seems that this issue has become more and more common lately.
The issue is, however, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) has already answered this question perfectly for us!
The Beloved said:
“The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him“. [Al-Bukhari].
So the issue of having difficulties with certain family members that make maintaining ties hard is not a reason or an excuse to break family ties. The reality of the matter is that breaking those ties have much more severe consequences on the individual and the Ummah at large than the momentary relief we get from avoiding uncomfortable relations.
This is a major issue that we need to pay attention to.
If each one of us started to break ties with certain family members, how are we supposed to have a united, strong Ummah? The division starts at home, it starts in the families and it starts in not being able to rise above conflicts and misunderstandings. It starts with favoring the ego over the greater goodness.
This is exactly what Iblis (Satan) wants to achieve.
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension); the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: “I did so and so.” And he says: “You have done nothing.” Then one amongst them comes and says: “I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife.” Then Satan goes near him and says: “You have done well.” He then embraces him.” [Sahih Muslim]
So one of Satan’s greatest goals is to inflict egos and instill disagreement between family members because this is what will lead to having weak, broken homes and accordingly, a weak Ummah unable to fulfill its purpose of creation.
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah….” (Qur’an 3: 110)
When we don’t enjoin what’s right because it’s difficult, and we indulge in what’s wrong because of excuses we have, then ultimately, this takes our pride and honor away as a nation.
Looking at the Qur’anic verses and noble Prophetic hadiths on this issue is quite eye-opening.
So without further ado, let us look at why it is urgent to start mending our family relations today.
1- Cutting ties risks the chance of entering Paradise altogether
Jubair bin Mut’am (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“The one who severs the ties of kinship will not enter Paradise.” [Agreed upon].
So maybe it could be helpful to pause and ask ourselves: is it worth it? Is whatever reason/excuse that led us to break the ties of kinship worth losing eternal Jannah?
Paradise is not a light matter; it needs effort and sacrifice. Allah says:
“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?” (Qur’an 3: 141)
So always bear in mind the price of Jannah.
2- Wasting a reward higher than fasting, prayer and almsgiving
AbudDarda’ narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said: “Shall I not inform you of something more excellent in degree than fasting, prayer and almsgiving (sadaqah)? The people replied: Yes, Prophet of Allah! He said: It is putting things right between people, spoiling them is the shaver (destructive).” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
This is the reward of mending relations between people, let alone family members.
3- Maintaining ties is a proof of true faith and belief
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good relation with kins” [Al Bukhari and Muslim]
So when we work on maintaining the relations, we are in fact practicing true faith in Allah, because we’re favoring Him over personal conflicts.
4- Maintaining ties expands your provision and extends your age
Not only is maintaining the relations beneficial spiritually, but there are actually physical, tangible rewards for it.
Anas reported the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying:
“Anyone who is pleased that his sustenance is expanded and his age extended should do kindness to his near relatives.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
So this actually leads to longer, healthier and more productive life, as well as, more sustenance and rizq from Allah.
5- Cutting ties could mean cutting relations with Allah Himself
‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said, “The bond of relationship is suspending from the Throne, and says: ‘He who keeps good relations with me, Allah will keep connection with him, but whosoever severs relations with me, Allah will sever connection with him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This in-and-of-itself is quite alarming and it should make us reconsider what we do and its consequences.
6- Charity on family members earns you double the reward
We all have the desire to compete in giving to charities, but we forget that giving charity to family members is actually more rewarding than other charities we may be doing.
It was narrated from Salman bin ‘Amir that the Prophet said:
“Giving charity to a poor person is charity, and (giving) to a relative is two things, charity and upholding the ties of kinship.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
7- Avoiding major sins and their consequences
It was narrated from Abu Bakrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“There is no sin more deserving that Allah hasten the punishment in this world, in addition to what is stored up for him in the Hereafter – than injustice and severing the ties of kinship.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
8- Persevering despite conflicts is the path of Prophets
Allah showed us in the Qur’an and in the example of the prophets the perfect path to follow. We see in Surat Yusuf how Prophet Joseph was unjustly treated by his own brothers! His own brothers conspired against him, wanted to kill him and ended up throwing him in a well and lied about his disappearance.
What he did is what’s really gracious and inspiring. He faced those trials with beautiful patience (I.e. complaining only to Allah, not to all friends and people on social media). He didn’t retaliate with action or words, He only complained to Allah. Eventually, Allah brought him his right back and elevated him above all his brothers and elevated his status in this world and the next.
And he then said after everything he went through and experienced:
“Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” [Qur’an 12: 90]
This is what we need to do: fear Allah of the sin of breaking ties, and be patient and perseverant in upholding to unity, peace and goodness.
It is in our benefit to rise above ego, anger, jealousy and all other reasons that break our ties because they are simply not worth it in the grand scheme of events and on the Day we meet Allah Almighty.
This is why after everything Prophet Yusuf went through, he forgave his brothers even though he had a great chance for revenge. But instead he said:
“No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” [Qur’an 12: 92]
This is our path; the path of the Prophets.
Let us work harder to not allow the feelings of animosity grow between us. It’s not in our benefit to allow Satan to inflict our egos, make us stubborn, resentful, and make us hold grudges against one another and prefer separation and division over unity.
Choose unity for the sake of Allah, and He will bring you your right back and open doors for you.
9- Having a Supporter from Allah by your side
This is the result of upholding to the right conduct despite challenges.
Abu Huraira reported that a person said to Allah’s Messenger, “I have relatives with whom I try to have close relationship, but they sever (this relation). I treat them well, but they treat me ill. I am sweet to them but they are harsh towards me.” Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) said: “If it is so as you say, then you in fact throw hot ashes (upon their faces) and there would always remain with you on behalf of Allah (an Angel to support you) who would keep you dominant over them so long as you adhere to this (path of righteousness).” [Sahih Muslim]
What is better than having an angel and a great supporter from Allah by your side aiding you?
So now what to do to fix those relations today?
1- Be creative in getting in touch with family members. Maybe buy a nice gift; it doesn’t have to be fancy, but something thoughtful and sentimental. Find something they like and share it with them. Maybe send them nice books or lectures you have seen, send them nice words of appreciation and encouragement. Help them with something they’re struggling with.
2- You can also give them a call or send a message in your work break. We have a lot of time daily to do that, and the reward of that will put peace and barakah in the rest of your day.
3- If you’re met with rudeness in anyway, then be silent and leave the desire for retaliation for the sake of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent.” [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]
4- Follow the example of Prophet Joseph and take the lead in forgiving and letting go.
“And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 24: 22)
5- Make dua for them, for yourself and for the Ummah. Our hearts soften when we make dua for one another, and the angels make dua for the one who makes dua for others in their absence.
So let’s fill our lives with duas, praying for peace and mercy for our relatives, transcending above egos/evil whispers and uniting for the sake of Allah and the barakah that this brings to our lives, health, children and our communities.