Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan
Question: My sister was having relations with a non-Muslim boy. When told to stop because it was not allowed, she decided to leave Islam, go away from home with this boy, and have a restraining order placed against the parents. We’ve now discovered that she has been communicating with other relatives who have been supporting her and helping her out, even getting her married to this boy (who is of very bad character and degrades Islam) without the permission fo the parents. Now, my parents want nothing to do with them. They say they have forgiven much but this is the last straw. They have told us not to have any contact them. What should I do? Is this breaking kinship ties?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.
May Allah give you strength in this trial and reward you abundantly.
Prioritizing Your Concerns
I think your primary concern should be maintaining a strong relationship with your sister. The most important thing in all of this is her returning to Islam. You should keep in touch with her and uphold good character. One particular trait that you should display to your sister is gentleness [rifq]. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] said, “Verily Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness in all matters” [Bukhari, Muslim], as well as “Gentleness is not found in something except that it adorns it, and is not removed from something except that it ruins it” [Muslim].
Be her friend, and let her see the beauty of our faith. This could be a long-term effort, but persevere and be patient. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] waited patiently for many disbelievers of Mecca before their entrance into Islam, all the while praying for them and displaying his superb character despite their animosity towards him and the religion. That is the prophetic sunna that we have been commanded to emulate. Your sister is the primary kinship bond that you should be concerned about.
With respect to your mother’s relatives, it seems like any attempt by you to maintain those ties will only lead to more familial tension and discord [fitna]. Two of the most important principles in Islamic law are “The lesser of two harms is to be chosen” and “Warding off harm takes precedence over acquiring benefit.” [Majalla al-Ahkam al-Adliyya; Articles 29, 30]
While normally you are required to maintain kinship ties with all your relatives, it would be better in your case to avoid contact with your mother’s relatives due to the expected harmful consequences entailed therein, namely, the spread of that tension to within your immediate family, between yourself and your parents. Leave that matter to them, and pray that Allah Most High heals their past wounds and reunites their hearts for His sake.
Patience and Trust
Allah Most High states in the Qur’an, “And be patient, and your patience is not except through Allah” [Nahl:127]. The trial you describe is a true test of patience, and the only way to actualize this virtue is through Allah alone, for He is the Provider of all virtues. Seek His aid in being patient and realize that, as our Prophet taught us, “No one has been given a better and more expansive gift than patience” [Bukhari, Muslim].
Place your complete trust in Him, and know that He is All-Wise and the Best of planners. “And trust in the Living, Who dies not” [Furqan:58]. As Imam Biqa’i explains in his masterful tafsir: “Trust” means “show Allah your utter incapacity and weakness, submit wholeheartedly to His decree, and rely on Him in all your affairs” [Nazm al-Durar].
We cannot handle our trials alone; we are weak and incapable. Our only recourse is to submit and consign our affairs over to Allah Most High. We take the means with full effort and diligence to fulfill our duties and persevere in our trials, yet our reliance all throughout is in Allah alone. As one of the early Imams states, “Whoever relies on Allah becomes free of need, while whoever does not rely on Him will be exhausted.”
And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz A. Khan
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani