Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
My sister is currently living with me. She has adopted a lot of the Christian ways. She claims she is Muslim but she doesn’t practice it. I’m worried my forthcoming child will adopt her ways. Would it be best if I tell her to move out or should I keep her in an Islamic household to try to change her views?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
InshaAllah you are in the best of health. This is a difficult situation and I pray that Allah eases your hardship. Tests of family are often very difficult to bear, but seek comfort in Allah’s promise of ease.
“So, verily, with every difficulty there is relief. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” [Quran, 94:5-6]
Rights of Family
Despite your sister’s problematic behaviour, she still has rights over you.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, said, ‘I am the Merciful (ar-Rahman). I have created ties of kinship and derive a name for it from My Name. If anyone maintains ties of kinship, I maintain connection with him, and I shall cut off anyone who cuts them off.'” [Bukhari]
Be kind and patient with her because this pleases Allah. Connect your actions to this lofty intention, especially when she behaves in ways which upset you.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “A believer does not allow himself to be stung twice from one (and the same) hole.” [Bukhari]
For as long as your sister is living under your house, she is subject to your rules. Be firm, and be kind. Let her know that you love her and want the best for her, but because she is living within a Muslim household, there are standards of behaviour that need to be upheld. Among them is respecting your wishes to raise your child as a Muslim, and part of that is observing correct Islamic manners around your sister’s future niece/nephew.
It is likely that you are the last link to her and Islam. If you were to ask her to leave your home, where would she go? Who is she likely to befriend, and then live with? It is highly unlikely that she will seek out the companionship of good Muslims. By leaving your home, she will probably be even more involved with the very non-Muslims you disapprove of.
Take this opportunity to strengthen your own belief in Allah and Islam by connecting with traditional Islamic classes. Show your sister that your certainty in Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is not shaken by her wavering faith. Through your interactions with her, show your sister the reality of what it means to be Muslim – submitting to Allah with grace and good character.
Have high hopes in the mercy of Allah. Keep making dua for your sister, and don’t lose hope in her. Allah is the Turner of hearts.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said three days before his death, “None of you should die without having a good opinion of Allah, the Mighty and Exalted.” [Muslim]
Perhaps the birth of your child may be a catalyst for your sister to return to practising Islam. Being an aunt myself, I can testify to the deep love an aunt has for her niece or nephew. Having a small child to look out for often encourages aunties or uncles to become better people.
Raise your child to love Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and don’t be afraid that the influence of his/her aunty will be sufficient to draw him/her away from the straight path. Hedaya (guidance) is a gift from Allah, and once firmly rooted in hearts, will not go away. Rather, have high hopes that your child may be a means of good for your sister.
Think of the many Muslim children out there who have non-Muslim relatives because their mother, father, or both, converted to Islam. Rather than cut off ties with non-Muslim family, it’s far more important to keep ties with them. These ties of love and kinship are what draw non-Muslims, or non-practising Muslims, towards embracing Islam. Never underestimate the power of compassion.
“By the Late Afternoon, truly man is in loss. Except for those who believe and do right actions and encourage each other to the truth and encourage each other to steadfastness.” [Quran, 103:1-4]
May Allah mend the ties in your family, increase the love between you, and grant you pious children who remind others of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Please see: Parents And Maintaining Ties Of Kinship
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani