Question: My family and I are Muslims alhamdulillah. My younger sister got involved with a non-Muslim man and married him in the US courts. My parents accepted it, but I refused this and tried to convince her otherwise. I asked scholars for their advice on the situation in the beginning, but nothing has worked. It has been 10 years now, and I refuse to talk to her spouse and children, but I do check up on her. Am I doing the right thing?
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are going through so much pain and suffering regarding your sister. What is clear is that your sister has not listened to you and has moved on with her life. Now it is up to you to do the right thing.
Cutting Off Family
I am relieved to hear that you have not cut her off completely and that you are in touch with her. It would have been impermissible to cut her off in any case. Islam encourages maintaining ties of kinship even when that person lives in sin because does not encourage hating the individual but rather hating the action.
Dealing with Family Members Who Sin
The best answer you can read about keeping in touch with family members who are sinning is here:
Cutting Off Her Children
Please keep in mind that her children are innocent, and they have nothing to do with their parent’s choice. They are your sister’s children, and honestly, it disgusts me that you do not have a relationship with them. They did not ask to be brought into this world. You are a living Muslim member of their family, and they have basic rights over you.
It is never too late to start a relationship now, and it is well worth it. Do you not want them to have an Islamic perspective in their lives? Do you not you want them to come to you for Islamic advice or learn their deen? You are a powerless person because right now. In other words, you are no one to them, hence you have zero influence.
Cutting Off Her Husband
As for the husband, he is not your mahram anyway, so you only need to be cordial and respectfully distant from him. Your goal in life should not be to alienate him but to show him Islam and make him learn to love it so that he converts and their marriage will be halal. Is that not all you ever wanted? So why not contribute something to the solution? I believe your behavior has alienated him and turned him off from Islam, and I highly discourage it.
Please see these links as well:
May Allah facilitate this matter for you and rectify your relationship with your sister, and may she rectify her affairs as well. May Allah reward you all and send you every good.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.