Date: 13th October 2017; 22nd or 23rd Muharram 1439;
Bismillahi Rahmanir Rahim
ISLAMIC AL-JUMUAA REMINDER AND LEGACY GROUP, (http://aljumaareminder.com/), the importance of upholding the ties of kinship:
MEANING OF UPHOLDING THE TIES OF KINSHIP
Praise be to Allah. The command to uphold the ties of kinship is one of the first commands that were revealed in Islam. It is indicated in a number of proven saheeh ahaadeeth, such as the following:
- The story of how ‘Umar ibn ‘Absah became Muslim. He asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): With what were you sent? He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “He has sent me to uphold the ties of kinship, to break the idols and to proclaim the Oneness of Allah, not associating anything with Him.” Narrated by Muslim (832).
- The story of Abu Sufyaan and Heraclius when he sent for him and said: What does he – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) – enjoin upon you? He said: He enjoins us to pray, give charity, be chaste and uphold family ties.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (7) and Muslim (1773).
Islam calls for the upholding of the ties of kinship because of the great effect that this has on achieving social cohesion and perpetuating cooperation and love among the Muslims. Upholding the ties of kinship is a duty because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of ) the wombs (kinship)…” (Qur’an 4:1)
“And give to the kindred his due and to the miskeen (poor)…” (Qur’an 17:26)
Allah has warned us against cutting the ties of kinship (interpretation of the meaning):
“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).” (Qur’an 13:25)
What punishment could be worse than the curse and the evil home that awaits those who sever the ties of kinship ? They deny themselves the reward for upholding the ties of kinship in the Hereafter, in addition to denying themselves much good in this world, which is a long life and ample provision.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever would like his rizq (provision) to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5986 and Muslim, 2557).
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Allah created the universe, and when He had finished, kinship (al-rahm) stood up and said, “This is the standing up of one who seeks Your protection from being cut off.” Allah said, “Yes, would it please you if I were to take care of those who take care of you and cut off those who cut you off?” It said, “Of course.” Allah said, “Then your prayer in granted.”’” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Recite, if you wish (interpretation of the meaning): ‘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.’ (Qur’an 47:22-23).” (Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 16/112).
Once we understand this, we need to ask: who is the one who upholds the ties of kinship? This was explained by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he said: “The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5645).
If the relationship is merely one of returning favours and giving like in return for like, and not taking the initiative, then this is not upholding the ties of kinship, it is only responding in kind. Some people follow the principle of giving a gift in return for a gift, and visiting in return for a visit, so if someone does not give them a gift, they do not give him a gift, and if he does not visit them, they do not visit him. This is not what is meant by upholding the ties of kinship at all, and this is not what is required by Islam. This is merely responding in kind, it is not the higher degree which Islam urges us to reach.
A man said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot dust in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” (Reported by Muslim with commentary by al-Nawawi, 16/115).
Who could bear to put up with hot dust? We seek refuge with Allah from cutting off the ties of kinship.
Upholding the ties of kinship is obligatory to the extent that one is able to do it, starting with the closest and then the next closest. There is a great deal of goodness in it and it serves many interests. Severing the ties of kinship is a major sin as seen in (Qur’an 47:22-23).
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
When a man asked him, “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.” Also narrated by Muslim.
In al-Saheeh it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever would like his provision to be increased and his lifespan to be extended, let him uphold the ties of kinship.”
There are many ahaadeeth on this topic. 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 (interpretation of the meaning):
“So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can” (Qur’an 64:16)
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” (Qur’an 2:286)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When I command you to do something, do as much of it as you can.” Saheeh – agreed upon.
Some relatives may cause the one who upholds ties with them to fall into sin, especially if he is unable to change the evil that they are doing. They may insist – for example – on listening to music and mixing and indulging in swearing, mocking and backbiting. Such people have an effect on their visitors and the one who seeks to uphold ties with them. The Muslim has to advise his relatives as much as he is able to. They are more entitled to this advice than others, but only if that will benefit them, whether he is certain of that or thinks it most likely. But if he sees that they are persisting in sin and especially major sins, and that is affecting his faith and religious commitment, then it is sufficient for him to uphold ties with them in the minimum fashion, so that he will not be severing the ties of kinship. So instead of visiting them, he can just call them on the phone, and if he visits them he does not have to stay for long, and so on.
But this should after trying his best to advise them and exhort them and bring them back to the right way, as well as turning to Allah in du’aa’, asking Him to guide them to the straight path. May Allah help us all to do that which pleases Him. And Allah knows best.
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