Answered by Saira AbuBakr
Question: Recently I read an explanation here about whether to break up ties with relatives or family members in case they are sinful people and the answer was clearly advising no to do so but to keep distance. I would like to ask if this is the same case for a convert? I am a convert and my family members are non-believers. However, even though I always prefer avoiding conflicts and keeping peaceful relation, sometimes their manners, the “culture” or “value-system” they represent and their actions are harmful to my husband’s (who is a born Muslim) and my comfort and I am worried that it can harm our child’s Muslim identity. So are there differences in this matter between a born Muslim family and a converted Muslim who’s parents, sisters/brothers…etc. are not Muslims? Thank you very much. as-Salam alaikum
Answer: walaikum salaam wa RahmatuAllah. JazakiAllahu khairun for your question. May Allah give you the strength to raise spiritually healthy children despite any difficulty, however great it may seem. Know that Allah is Greater (than any tribulation).
Maintaining Ties with One’s Kin
One is required to maintain blood ties, irrespective of the religion of our relatives. The Sahabah (companions of the Messenger of Allah peace and prayers upon him) were all converts and some were subjected to torture by their relatives, including sometimes by their own parents. They bore this patiently. May Allah grant us the strength to do the same, when faced with similar situations.
You may reduce the amount of interaction with your relatives in order to protect your children. Substitute any time not spent with them with gifts (whatever is affordable), phone calls and of course dua (supplication) for them, ideally after every fard (obligatory) prayer.
Focusing on Children’s Islamic Identity
On the other hand, focus on strengthening the identity of your children by regularly taking them to spiritual gatherings, such as: dhikr sessions, classes, socializing with spiritually like minded-people. Don’t worry about them not understanding what they might hear in a class but ensure that they are able to sit for the duration of your attendance without disturbing others. If they are very young, assist them by giving them paper, color pencils, etc. so they may keep busy. The important thing is that the words/presence of the teacher, the spiritual songs (anasheed) and the like will enter their ears and their hearts, as children are like sponges.
In our local halaqahs (circles) I let mothers bring their children. They come with their “busy work”. One of the mothers once excitedly told me that her three-year-old daughter learned some of the etiquettes of dua by simply sitting in our classes and watching us. I too have noticed very blessed changes in some of the children who have attended regularly. If they develop a strong sense of identity, they will grow-up with the ability to interact with all types of people (whenever necessary).
How to View Challenges
View the struggle of challenging relatives as a sign that you need to respond with equal vigor in providing your children with a spiritual environment. If you are not familiar with what is in your local area, ask around. Be persistent. Start something in your home and invite like-minded sisters with children. Begin with a strong intention (for the sake of Allah) and start as soon as Allah sends you (even) one other sister. Avoid argumentation and be consistent in whatever you start. Start small and overlook minor shortcomings in others.
Consistency in One’s Own Spiritual Growth
Also, take the classes you need to take, even if it means taking it online. See what is available on SeekersGuidance. If you have not taken a fiqh (law) class, then do take one and combine it with a class on spirituality. If you email us with what classes you have taken so far, we can better guide you in what to take next.
I know a mother of twins who is very regular in her tahajjud (waking up in the night) ritual, as she once mentioned that when her twins were young, this is the only time she had to review the material from her Islamic classes, recite Qur’an without interruption etc. If the mother (ideally both parents) has/have a strong spiritual identity, the children will follow.
Above all, be consistent in your dua for your children, as a parent’s dua for his/her children is from the duas that Allah the Most High answers.
May He give you the strength to persist on the straight path and may He grant you and your children blessed company.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani