Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I live abroad and I am unable to visit my parents regularly. I feel that they are being neglected by my other siblings who live in the same city. My sister-in-law has completely cut herself off from my parents. I have tried to speak to my brother about this, so she has cut me off as well. Am I under obligation to keep ties with her?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for this delay. May Allah make a way out for you during this difficult time.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “There is not a man who calls upon Allah with a supplication, except that he is answered. Either it shall be granted to him in the world, or reserved for him in the Hereafter, or, his sins shall be expiated for it according to the extent that he supplicated – as long as he does not supplicate for some sin, or for the severing of the ties of kinship, and he does not become hasty.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, and how would he be hasty?” He (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “He says: ‘I called upon my Lord, but He did not answer me.’” [Tirmidhi]
Please have hope in the power of dua. Although it looks like things are not changing, trust that Allah will answer your dua in the best way possible.
It must be upsetting for you to see that your siblings live so close to your parents, yet do not visit as often as you would. Have you had an honest conversation with them? Share your concerns with them as calmly as you can.
Remember that you are unable to control their actions. All you can do is express your concerns, suggest solutions, and leave the outcome to Allah. They, like everyone else, will answer to Allah, and you are not held responsible for their actions. Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to set things right in your family.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Merely maintaining the ties of kinship is not adequate. But connecting the ties of kinship is when his ties to the womb are severed and he connects it.” [Tirmidhi]
In normal circumstances, it is impermissible to sever family ties. This applies even to difficult family members. As hard as it must be for you right now, trust that Allah is the Turner of Hearts, and that nothing is impossible with His help. You do your part by reaching out to your sister-in-law in a way which you can handle. You do not need to sit down and chat with her. This may not happen for a while. But you can send gifts.
I pray that you see the fruits of your effort in this life. Rest assured that nothing is lost with Allah, and that inshaAllah, even if you don’t see a pleasing outcome in this life, you will in the next.
Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]
If you are afraid to call your sister-in-law, then post her gifts instead. Include a thoughtful note if you feel that will help. As you post her gifts, make your highest intention that of pleasing Allah. Ask Him to make this gift a means of mending ties with her.
“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [Qur’an, 8:46]
Above all, have patience. Think of the trial of Nabi Yusuf (upon him be peace) and how he suffered at the hands of his own brothers. He remained patient, as did his father, Nabi Yaqub (upon him be peace), and Allah rewarded them for it. Read Surah Yusuf as a means of reminding yourself, and as a way to lift the sadness from your heart.
Trials with family are indeed difficult to bear. I pray that Allah eases your sorrow, and draws you closer to Him through your tribulation.
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Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.