Is It Permissible for Me to Stop Talking to a Harmful Family Member?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat


I have a family member who hurt me so much. That person was affecting my life so much after so many years of mistreating me, lying about me, saying bad things about me, and more. I stopped talking to that person for the past six years.

Is this permissible for me?


I pray you are well.

It is permissible to keep your distance from such a person who has harmed you. Try to do it in a good way, and do not try to harm them back. All issues will be resolved on the Day of Judgement.

Not Talking to Other Muslims

In general, Islam promotes having good, strong relationships with people – especially family members. So much so, that we are not allowed to completely shun a person we are upset with for more than three days if we are in regular contact with them.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It is not permissible for a person to shun his brother for more than three nights such that they meet and each one turns away from the other. The better of the two is the one who initiates the greeting.“ [Bukhari]

This is because people do occasionally upset each other, and some time apart can be good in order to prevent the ill feelings from spilling over into actions. The encouragement to reconcile is to prevent these things from festering.

Knowing one can’t stay upset with another over a small matter prevents one from letting the pain get the better of them. Many a time people don’t make up with others because too much time has passed with them not talking to each other.

Extreme Cases

This is for situations where someone is hurt by something minor. The matter is different for more extreme cases or prolonged harm, as we are not expected to place ourselves in harmful situations when dealing with others.

In explaining this hadith, Imam Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani presents the words of Imam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr: “[The scholars] all agree that shunning someone for more than three days is not permissible – except in the case of someone with whom resuming communication will result in harm one’s religious practice, oneself, or one’s worldly interests. If that is the case it is permissible [to not talk to them]. Many a time avoiding someone in a beautiful way is superior to harmful intermingling.“ [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

Having said this, because he is a family member if you can ever get to a point where you can greet him in a cordial way do so. It might take time, and it might be a challenge, but it is something that will benefit you greatly.

You know your situation best, and you should not get close enough to get harmed again. May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.