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Should I Advise My Sister To Get Back With Her Boyfriend?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: Should I advise my Muslim sister to get back with her boyfriend for the sake of their daughter?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Dear questioner,

There is quite a lot in your question, so I will try to tackle it from a few different angles.

In summary, though, do get involved with your sister’s life, and be there for her wherever she is in her religious life, but make sure she knows that she can only continue her relationship with her ex-boyfriend in an Islamic marriage.

Mending together

Your sisters need you. And you need them. Mending, both emotionally and psychologically, takes time, but one of the greatest catalysts is family support.

The modern, almost designed breakup of the family unit is itself a cause of weakened emotional strength — a strength that we all rely on as an immunity to the ‘flings and arrows’ of the chaos of This World (Dunya). Sometimes circumstances force us to separate ourselves from our immediate kith and kin, but we always need to work to rebuild these ties for immediate benefit in This World, and our benefit in the next. So keep in contact with them, and help them through their religious confusion, because you too need them in your life.

Family ties are so important in Islam that Allah Most High equated it in the Quran with turning away from Islam:

‘And might it well be the case that, if you turned away, you will spread corruption on earth and violently sever your ties of relationship? [47:22]

It has also come in a Hadith Qudsi that the womb (the symbol of family ties) stood up before Allah and said, ‘Here I am seeking refuge from being cut off!’ At this Allah responded saying, ‘Yes, [I grant you that]. Will you be content if I keep closing whomsoever keeps you close, and cut off whomsoever cuts you off?’ To which she replied in the affirmative. [Bukhari and Muslim]

So in this vein, it would probably be a good idea to reach out to your brother too, even if he is in another country, and to parents too eventually. All of this is part of the healing process, and all of this is part of the completion of our faith.

The Letter of the Law

Before we proceed to the specifics of what to do in this scenario, we need to get our bearings on what the Sacred Law says about your sister’s relationship and her daughter.

You and I both know that an extramarital relationship between a man and woman is not halal, and that means that Allah hates it and will not make it bear fruits of happiness in the long run. For this reason, the Sacred Law does not recognize the legitimacy of fatherhood outside the fold of marriage: the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘The child is the bed’s [i.e. the mother’s], and the fornicator gets the stone.’ [Muslim] This hadith tells us that is not an issue of biological paternity, rather than only the mother is considered the mother in Allah’s eyes, and the biological father who was not married to the woman has no relationship to either one: he is not the child’s father. This is important to know and recognize, even if the law of the land states otherwise. It means that the daughter will never inherit from the biological father, and is not considered his mahram.

It is also worth noting that as we all know, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man. The only way that your sister and her former partner could get back together again would be by him becoming Muslim, and then the two getting married. This marriage would also make him the daughter’s mahram.

Trying your best

Now you are probably sitting there reading this and thinking to yourself that this is all well and good, but your sister does not look at things like this at this particular point in her life. Right now, she is trying to survive physically, financially, and emotionally as a single mother. From her current point of view, she is probably torn between love and hate, and toying with the idea of getting back with someone who has a vested interest in her and her (and his) daughter.

Given the situation, you really just have to try your best to realize the least amount of harm on all levels. What if she does go back to him and becomes Muslim? What if he doesn’t become Muslim? What if she doesn’t and just ends up a single mother? What if she just gets another boyfriend?

These are all possibilities that you have to factor in. So just be there for her in these decisions and turn her towards the most god-fearing choices she can actually make at this time in her life.

One of the scholars of the past said, ‘He who guides you to the This World has cheated you; he who guides you to doing acts of worship has tired you out, but he who guides to Allah Himself has given genuine advice.’ This is what she needs right now: a comprehensive will to turn to Allah that will translate into a genuine resolve to abide by His rules.

The golden principle is that Allah is running the show and that whenever we show genuine remorse and willingness to change, He opens solves things for us in unfathomable ways. This entails that we all decide to abide by the Sacred Law, leave the haram in our lives, and strive to perform what is incumbent upon us.

Allah Most High says, ‘Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light.’ [2: 257]

We ask Allah to takes us all out of the darkness and into His light. Amen.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Cutting Ties to In-laws

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked if it is permissible to cut ties to in-laws who are abusive in order to ward off harm to oneself and one’s children.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am in need of advice. As a daughter in law, I have cut ties with my husband’s brother and his family. (My husband still maintains contact.) The incidences were such that I no longer feel my children are safe in their presence, as it resulted in my children paying for the consequences of his action. He has committed many other negative deeds, which I have forgiven. Please note this brother in law is well-known for his hot temperament so reasoning with him is out of the question. I have therefore chosen to distance myself as a means to protect my mental well-being, to protect my children (both under five), and to avoid further problems.

I understand my children will be obligated to maintain kinship once they reach a balig age. My question is, given their young age – is it a necessity now?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

If the anticipated harm is only physical, you should all keep ties with your mother and father in-law by telephone. If the harm is more emotional and physical, then just keep your distance as long as you know the harm exists. You can still send letters and gifts on Eid, for example.

As for your brother-in-law, you don’t need to have anything to do with him anyway because he is not your mahram. You should just have the children send kind messages now and then – again, providing that does not also result in harm.

Have your husband keep ties, as to do otherwise will only worsen things. As a general rule, it is good to keep the son/daughter in the range of fire, and the daughter-in-law out of it, as long as that also doesn’t result in harm.

Their are a lot of toxic relationships in many families, and the principle of avoiding harm is given precedence over achieving benefit. That is to say that the words of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Let there be no harm and no reciprocating harm.” (Malik) is given precedence over his words, “He who cuts family ties will not enter Paradise.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

You should however consult some other members of the family and people with life experience to ascertain the best way to remove the harm once and for all, or how to navigate the whole issue in the best way.

Make a lot of dua for them, even if they have wronged you and your children.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Told by Parents to Cut Ties with Brother

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil gives a detailed answer on being asked by parents to cut ties with a brother.

I have an older brother who is very dear to me (raised me and my sister very well). He is a really great guy, but recently he has “fallen in love” with a horrible woman. She had her eye on him when he was in relations with her cousin, and since then she had flirted with him and made him fall in love with her.

She is older and also has two young children. She always goes out and she shows my brother off as if they are married. She has sworn at my parents many times and called my family bad names, but my brother really wants to marry her and she won’t let go.

This has been going on for four years and my parents are very hurt by his actions. They have done everything to get him to stop other than agree to let him marry her. I am very lost and don’t know what to do. It’s like choosing between my parents and brother. I resent his girlfriend as well, I really don’t like her. My parents gave them two chances, They ruined both, but they won’t stop asking to get married.

My father said to my brother that he can go get married but we will cut all ties with him. Should we be cutting ties with my brother? In Islam, we are supposed to do everything for our parents, but we are also told not to cut ties, so I’m very confused on what to do at this point.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Cutting off Ties

“If they strive to make you associate with Me anything about which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. Yet keep their company in this life according to what is right.” (Sura Luqman 31:15)

I am sorry to hear about your troubled family situation. It is very difficult when your own brother wants to marry someone who has treated your family so poorly.

Even so, cutting off ties with your brother is impermissible. You are permitted to keep a reasonable distance from him and his future wife e.g. visiting them monthly instead of weekly, for example.

Even if your parents forbid you from visiting him, please know that there is no obedience in disobeying Allah.

Looking to the Future

Please know that if your brother has children, then they are innocent from the sins of their mother, and are still your nephews and nieces. Especially while they are young, the only way you can cultivate a relationship with them is through keeping on civil terms with your future sister-in-law. You do not have to like her, but you do have to treat her with respect and kindness.

Cultivating Influence

Connection brings about influence. Cutting off ties will render your parents and you powerless. The more you distance yourself from your brother, the more he will stay connected to the woman he wants to marry, instead of you and your family. If your parents cut him off, how will they get to know their future grandchildren? Choosing short-term relief will cause long-term pain. Choosing short-term difficulty (working on accepting a difficult daughter-in-law) will bring about long-term happiness, inshaAlah.

Wisdom behind This

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (peace and blessings be upon her): Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Keys of the unseen knowledge are five, which nobody knows but Allah.Nnobody knows what will happen tomorrow; nobody knows what is in the womb; nobody knows what he will gain tomorrow; nobody knows at what place he will die; and nobody knows when it will rain.” (Bukhari)

Allah Most High knows what we do not know. This whole difficult situation is a means to exercise patience and good character.

Perhaps your brother just needs to learn the hard way by getting married to this woman. Perhaps Allah has destined this woman to be the mother of his children.

Perhaps marriage will soften her heart. Being a single mother of two children is no easy task. Perhaps the security of marriage will help to bring out her kindness, and perhaps she will ask forgiveness from your parents. The question is whether or not your parents can find in their hearts to forgive her. In the end, she is the wife your brother has chosen.

In case his marriage does not work out, then it is all the more important for you to stay in touch with your brother.

Goodness to Parents

Narrated Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him: A man asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him: “What deeds are the best?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “(1) To perform the (daily compulsory) prayers at their (early) stated fixed times, (2) to be good and dutiful to one’s own parents, (3) and to participate in Jihad in Allah’s Cause.” (Bukhari)

It is indeed your personal obligation to be respectful and kind to your parents. However, this does not include obeying them in that which displeases Allah. Explain this to them calmly, with the utmost deference.

See Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn and Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfil Them.

Beneath your parents’ anger are probably deep feelings of helplessness, disappointment, grief, and so on. They are both probably so heartbroken that after everything they have done to raise your brother, he has turned his back on them by wanting to marry a woman of bad character. This is a great test for them.

Good Character and Boundaries

It is a very big headache to feel stuck in between your parents and your brother and his future wife. So I encourage you to see it this way: the more they complain about each other to you, the less likely they are able to mend ties. They need to talk to each other, not about each other. This is, of course, easier said than done.

It is all the more important for you to show good character. This does not mean being a doormat, however. When you do attend your brother’s wedding and visit his family home, be kind and patient. If your future sister-in-law starts to badmouth your parents, then draw a polite and firm boundary, e.g. “Please do not speak about my parents like that.” Suggest that she raise her concerns directly with them, with a mediator.

Similarly, suggest that your parents find a wise elder/local scholar to mediate a discussion with your brother and his future wife.

Working with Reality

Four years of bad blood is a long time. Unless your brother’s future wife has an undiagnosed mental illness, I do not understand the motive behind her bad behavior towards your parents. Is she lashing out in response to feeling shamed?

She probably knows that she is not ideal wife material. It sounds like your parents would have preferred that your brother marry someone younger and a virgin, and perhaps someone of their choosing. Instead, he chose a culturally frowned upon older single mother. She didn’t “make him” fall in love with her – nobody has that kind of power. He freely gave his heart away and wants to marry her.

Growth Mindset

She is either a problem or an opportunity for growth – and she is not going away. I advise you and your parents to accept this reality, and to embrace her place in your brother’s life with open, forgiving hearts. At least she is Muslim. Reflect on that. She is openly sinful, but at least she is still Muslim. Imagine your brother wanted to marry a non-Muslim single mother.

I am not saying that what she is doing is right. I am merely stating this fact – she is not going away. So show her compassion and good character, in the hopes that she will soften, and perhaps one day ask your parents for forgiveness. I pray that your brother knows the responsibility he is carrying, by being a stepfather to two small children. Perhaps his kindness to them will help them be better in behavior than their mother.

However, for as long as he is angering your parents, then he is not in a good state with Allah. So I encourage your parents to find a way to forgive him for his foolishness, and his poor decision-making skills. He has many other virtues, from your description. It is better for your parents’ hearts, too, to let go of their understandable anger. May Allah elevate their ranks in Jannah for enduring so much. You all have a choice in how you respond to this tribulation. It has dragged on for far too long, so choose forgiveness, compassion, and mercy.

Reflection Exercise

Imagine the difference in these two scenarios:

Scenario A (what your parents are headed to): A wedding where your brother has none of his family with him, a heart full of rejection, anger and sadness, and a daughter-in-law who is even more sure that her in-laws do not want her, and stepchildren who will not know their stepfather’s family. Your sister-in-law is unlikely to want your brother’s unborn children to have a relationship with any of you. Rejection breeds more rejection.

Scenario B: A wedding with the blessing of your parents, and a joining of families. Your brother’s heart overflowing with love for all of you, your future sister-in-law softened by the acceptance of her in-laws, and her children knowing that they have a stepfather, new step-uncles and step aunties, and even step-grandparents. Your brother’s children will be happily embraced by your parents. Love brings about more love.

The choice is yours. I pray this has been helpful.

Please also see When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How? and Do I have to Obey my Parents if they Order me To Leave Sunnah Acts?

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Living with Non-Mahram Male Relatives

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasattackles the delicate question of a mother’s amana and a young woman living with non-mahram male cousins.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My mother whose health isn’t the best has given my close auntie (her sister) an amanathree — that if (Allah forbid) my mother passes away before I am married and have my husband looking after me, this auntie of mine should take care of me until I get married, Inshallah.

The problem is that if this does happen, this auntie of mine who is close like a mother to me, has three grown up and baligh sons (my cousins). If I were to live with my auntie and her family because of this promise between my mother and her, what should I do about those cousins of mine?

I know in Islam it is haram to mix with men who are not my mahram such as my cousins. Also if this were to happen my extended family members would gossip and create rumors from me living with these three men which I don’t want to be part of. Thus, I have three options:

    1. 1. I marry one of the two younger sons who are more suitable in terms of age and personality for me or

 

    1. 2. live with them without marrying any of my auntie’s sons or

 

    3. don’t live with them.

The problem is I can’t not live with them as I will be my auntie’s amana as it will be my mother’s final wish. Yet I can’t just live with them either because even though they are my cousins at the end of the day they are still men and I too still am a woman.

So if I were to have to live with my auntie’s family which I don’t want to live there in a manner that may result in haram taking place, I would rather marry one of her two younger sons, how should I bring the topic up with my auntie?

Should I mention the proposal directly to my auntie and uncle or should I send it in form of a letter or text message, as there isn’t really anyone else I can trust with the matter?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

This is a delicate situation, so you should mention it to your mother – if possible – first; otherwise speak to your aunty. Ask Allah for help, pray Salat al Haja and Salat al Istikhara before proceeding.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, warned about close interaction with members of the opposite gender when he said, “Beware of mixing with women.” One of the Ansar asked about the brother-in-law (hamu, which also can mean any male relative of the husband), and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, replied, “The brother in law is death!” (Bukhari)

Meaning that this individual is able to get into situations of seclusion with a lady without criticism in a way someone not part of the family could not do. This increases the chances of the Devil causing them to slip.

Should you move into this household you may be placed in a difficult situation. Your desire to avoid such a scenario is commendable and will be rewarded by Allah, Most High. Ask Him for a way out of this situation.

Marriage to one of the younger brothers may be a possible solution for you – yet living in a house with his two brothers would become the scenario warned about in the hadith. You a should speak to your mother and your aunt, and try to find a solution — even if it is marriage to one of your cousins – before anything should happen to your mother.

May Allah facilitate the solution most pleasing to Him for you.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Caring for Elders Suffering from Dementia

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked for advice on how best to treat an elder in one’s care, who suffers from dementia, within the bounds of Islam.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a question. Where and how can I draw the line between what my religion has taught me, and what the doctors say in regard to caring for my elder with dementia?

Religion teaches I should not say an “uff” to my elders. The physiotherapist says I have to force her to do her movements – if she cries, so be it. She says I have to be cruel to be kind.

The intention is clear for me – I want her betterment and I want her to be independent for as long as it is possible. Can you please help to explain to me how to deal with this situation from an Islamic perspective?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Not Offending Parents

You are indeed in a very difficult situation. May Allah make it easy for you. In short, do pretty much what the physiotherapist says to keep her mobile – but use the nicest language, the softest tone of voice, and as much compassion as you can muster.

Allah has commanded the believers to be excellent to their parents, “And your Lord decreed that you worship none but Him, and [that you treat] your parents with the very best of conduct. If one, or both, of them reach old age with you then do not even express any frustration to them [literally, do not say ‘Uff’], and do not scold them. Use the very best choice of words with them.” (Sura al Isra 17:23)

Scholars mention that it is impermissible to use harsh language with one’s parents. This is understood from the first part of the verse, but Allah then explicitly mentioned it to further emphasize the point (Sayis, Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam). Rather, the way of Muslims is to always try to be kind, merciful, and gentle with them — which is not always easy when they reach old age.

Practical Steps

Help her as much as you can with her mobility issues, but make sure you lovingly explain the importance and need for the movements, and that the physiotherapist requires a certain degree of movement. Make sure she understands the benefits of it, and the harms of neglecting it.

Support her through the pain with care and compassion, and realize the she has limits. Maybe pushing her to the degree you have been told to is not best for her. Try to strike a balance between what she wants and what she is capable of doing.

Also, you may want to look into alternative methods of restoring movement. Original Strength Restoration is a good resource on this topic.

May Allah make this test easy for you, and make this service a means for you to enter Paradise. Amin.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Keeping Family Ties Through Intergenerational Trauma – Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil reflects on why she travels with two small children, and how to break the cycle of  intergenerational trauma.

I started to write this while my two jetlagged daughters were finally fast asleep. My husband, young daughters and I have just returned from our annual visit to Sydney, Australia. There, I finally get to reconnect with my mother, my siblings, their spouses, my nieces and my nephew. We are exhausted, and yet, we plan to visit again next year, if Allah wills, and the year after that.

These experiences allow me to see this hadith in a new way:

Malik related to me from Sumayy, the mawla of Abu Bakr from Abu Salih from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Travelling is a portion of the torment. It denies you your sleep, food, and drink. When you have accomplished your purpose, you should hurry back to your family. [Muwatta Malik]

There are the challenges that come with being trapped in an aeroplane with small children. And there are the hardships when we land. And there are the readjustments when we come home. It’s not easy. And yet, we keep visiting our family in Sydney, year after year.

Why? I have my sentimental reasons. I miss the city I grew up in. I miss my family, my friends, tasty Arab and Turkish food. I miss the bush, and I miss the beach.

But my most important intention in our annual trip to Sydney is linked to blood. I want my daughters to know their grandmother, aunties, uncles and cousins. My daughters are unlikely to remember these early years of their life, but I pray that their hearts will always know how much they are loved. In a world so fragmented, I want my daughters to be deeply rooted in the foundations of our families.

We are all bound by blood, and blood is not always easy. My family and I have gone through deep valleys of pain. I am grateful that my trials brought me on a journey towards Allah. Now, I am at the most challenging and rewarding leg of my journey – motherhood.

Every day, I commit to breaking my family’s cycle of intergenerational trauma. I commit to intentional, peaceful parenting. I refuse to inflict my nafs on my children. On good days, I can stay calm and rise above the challenges that come with being the main caretaker for my children. On bad days, when I am running low on sleep and patience, I can see the temptation to lash back. And when I slip up, I always say sorry. I want my daughters to learn how important it is to take responsibility for their mistakes, to make amends, and repair their relationships. I hope to model that for them, I pray that Allah fills in the rest and forgives me for my shortcomings.

While my daughters sleep, I look up flights to Sydney for next year. Until then, I tell stories to my children about their grandfather, grandmother, aunties, uncles and cousins. They are too young to understand the meaning of divorce, estrangement, and inherited pain. But what they do understand is love.

May our children never hunger for our love. May we teach them how much Allah and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) love them. May we all be reunited with our loved ones in Jannahtul Firdaus.


Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.


Reconnecting With Family–Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Ustadha Raidah, now a mother of two, looks back at her Eid al-Adha, spent reconnecting with her estranged father.

Last Eid, my eldest daughter turned two. This year, she is three, and is now a proud big sister. My youngest daughter just turned 7 months. Alhamdulilah, this Eid, I am now a mother of two. I am elated. I am exhausted. I am grumpy. I am grateful.
I live with my mother-in-law, husband, and our two little girls in a green, leafy suburb in Malaysia. A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law, may Allah preserve her, reminded me to invite my father over for Eid. My initial response, as always, was mild panic. My parents divorced ten years ago after a tumultuous marriage. I didn’t want him to spend another Eid alone, but I still felt a little nervous.

Trying to Reconcile

So, I procrastinated for as long as I could, then casually asked him to spend Eid with us. And then he caught the overnight bus from Singapore to meet us in time. My eldest daughter was so excited to see her only grandfather, and my youngest gave him coy smiles from the safety of my arms. I am embarrassed I took so long to ask him, and I am so grateful for my mother-in-law’s commitment to family ties.
There was a time where I could not imagine ever reconciling with my father, but anything is possible through Allah’s Help. Falling pregnant changed everything. My husband’s father had passed away even before we got married, and so the only grandfather my unborn child would have would be my father. I wanted him to be part of my baby’s life. I decided then, with my husband’s encouragement, to give reconciliation another try. Our last attempt did not end well, but I knew we had to give it another shot.

Sharing the Joy

When I called him to share the good news, he was overjoyed. He posted me what must be the first edition of “Every Woman”, enthusiastically instructed me to consume green smoothies and walk like a duck towards the end of my pregnancy. It wasn’t all peachy, though. In my first trimester, I described to him how exhausted I felt. His WhatsApp responses were in excitable capital letters describing how my tiredness was nothing in comparison to the next two decades of child-rearing! I cried, told my husband what happened, took a break, and then resumed WhatsApp checks in with my father with only positive pregnancy updates.
Now that I am a mother, I understand how difficult it is to know that your child is hurting. Not all parents know how to self-regulate, keep calm, and validate your child’s pain – especially from the generation that came before the trend of self-care. I take the lesson from this – even though I cannot protect my daughters from pain, I can try to be there for them, as calmly and as compassionately as I can. My father did his best too, with what he knew. And so, one step forward, many steps back, rinse, repeat, and back again – this has been our dance of reconciliation since my first daughter was born over three years ago.

When he came yesterday to visit both my daughters, our Eid felt complete. My eldest daughter excitedly gave him a tour of our garden, showed him her books, and delighted him by eagerly eating durian while she sat next to him. He laughed as she licked the durian seed clean. My youngest daughter grinned at him from the playmat while she made tentative back-and-forth attempts at crawling towards him. “She is another extrovert! An alert baby,” he declared proudly.

Moving Forward

I was putting my youngest baby to sleep, and my husband sent me a photo of my eldest daughter praying behind my father. In this shot, she is wearing a mini prayer garment and looking up at him with the adoration only a grandchild can have for a grandfather. This is a balm for all of our weary hearts. It took me the birth of my daughter to find my way back to my father. Allahu Akbar.

Please make dua for my family, especially my father. Please pray that if it is khayr, that Allah reunites him with all of his estranged children, and their children, before the day he leaves this earth. And if that is not khayr, please pray that he will reunite with them in the Garden, where there is no more pain. May Allah grant us contentment with His Decree.

This Eid, may you also be blessed with beautiful reunions.


Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.


Resources for Seekers

Can I Maintain Family Ties Despite My Parents Wishes?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My uncle cheated my family. My mother forbids me to have relations with his family. I know that my uncle is wrong. What should I do?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah kahyr for writing in. May Allah reward you for trying to maintain your family relations, despite the past problems.

You do not need to obey your mother in severing ties with your uncle and cousins. However, given the past situation, you should be sensitive to your mother’s concerns, and ensure that further your family and you are not vulnerable to further harm from your uncle.

Obeying parents

Allah has commanded us to be kind and gentle with our parents and to treat them with goodness. This is what is incumbent on every child, in every situation.

However, if parents forbid one from doing something obligatory in the religion, or order one to do something prohibited in the religion, or prevent one from attaining some palpable benefit in regards their own worldly and religious life and which does not compromise the parent’s rights, then one does not have to obey their parents.

For further information, please refer to this answer:

When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?

Keeping ties of Kinship and Sensitivity

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the ties of kinship.’ [Bukhari].

It is commendable you want to keep the family relations despite the troubled past, and you should do so. Maintaining the ties of kinship means that a person does not purposefully cut their relatives off. It suffices that one calls/emails time to time to see how they are. Therefore, take it slowly and see how things go.

However, do this with wisdom, both in terms of protecting your mother and yourself from any possible misbehavior from your uncle in the future, and avoid upsetting your mother more than is necessary.

Please also refer to this answer:

Obeying One’s Parents and Maintaining Ties of Kinship

I wish you all the best.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Can I Break Relations With Abusive In-Laws?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

A few months ago, my sister-in-law started trouble with me through my father-in-law. She started to bring up “problems” I was unaware of. I was being accused of disrespecting her in her own home. I am very dumbfounded about this. My sister-in-law never spoke to me about any issues that she made have had with me. This situation caused a huge argument between me and my husband.

Since that incident, I have not visited her. Is this wrong for me to do this?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which pleases him. Please forgive me for the delay.

Oppression

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

It sounds like your sister-in-law is very unhappy, and is acting out in ways to seek attention and validation. May Allah make this easier on you, your family, and may He grant her lasting shifa.

Islam calls you to respond with good character, regardless of the other party. Look at this as an opportunity for growth.

Husband

I am sorry to hear that your husband did not stand up for you. This is hurtful, and an added stress for you. Good men such as your husband are often caught in the middle of family difficulties, and do not know how to respond.

You are wise to not bring up the topic of his sister, head-on. Deal with this issue using a lot of tact and wisdom. Be the better person, especially given the fact that your sister-in-law has a history of causing trouble. Your husband is probably also frustrated by his sister, but is immediately put on the defensive whenever you tell him you are upset with her. Let it go, and focus on nourishing your marriage. Let your actions speak for you.

Family ties

Breaking family ties is impermissible. Keeping a distance with problematic family members is permissible. Accept that you cannot change her behaviour, but you can respond with maturity and compassion.

At a very minimum, I encourage you to give her salams at family gatherings, and a gift on significant dates such as Eid.

The difficulty with avoiding difficult relatives is this: the longer you avoid them, the harder it will be to deal with them. Continuous, small exposure to them, in the long-run, makes it easier for all of you.

For the sake of pleasing Allah through keeping family ties, please make it a goal for yourself to visit her at least once every few months. A short visit suffices. Over time, I pray that her behaviour will have less and less impact on you. You have no control over what she does, but you do have the choice to respond with good character. Nothing you do is lost with Allah.

Please listen to this excellent podcast on mending family ties: Ties that Bind: Reconnect with relatives who have become distant (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes..

Dua

Tests of family are indeed difficult. Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah to lift this tribulation from you, and to help you respond in a way that pleases Him.

Have a good opinion of Allah. Know that He has placed her in your life for a reason. Perhaps she will help you refine your good character. Perhaps Allah will accept your duas for her. Allah knows best.

Please see:

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

How to Maintain Ties of Kinship Despite Hateful Siblings?

Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have been living abroad for several years now and visit my home country every 2 years. My elder sister hates me. My other sisters have taken her side and thus don’t reply to any of my letters or gifts. Now even my father doesn’t want me to come visit him as he is living with my elder sister. What can I do?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

as-Salamu ‘alaykum.

May Allah support you through each fragile step of this situation. May He comfort you through prayer, adhkar and relationships that nourish your spirit.

The circumstances you have described in detail reveal the extent of your personal strain by way of your immediate family. Perhaps you may find a soothing solace in recalling that few have ever suffered as painfully at the hands of their closest relations as the Beloved of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace. Unto the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and for humanity, the following verses were revealed,

{The good deed and the evil deed are not equal. Respond by that which is more virtuous; then behold, the one with whom there is enmity will become as close as an old and valued friend. But only those who are steadfast in patience, only those who are blessed with great righteousness, will attain such goodness. If the prompting of Satan should stir you, seek refuge with God: He is the All-Hearing and the All-Knowing.}
[41:34-36]

AlhamdulilLah, you appear to be choosing the higher, virtuous road to mending these relationships through gift giving and good will. In deference to our Divine teaching above, I would humbly encourage you to persevere in acts of kindness — even simple ones — amid your family’s callous treatment. As long as your intention is reconciliation and the maintenance of family ties, you are being blessed and rewarded for your patience and loyalty to honoring the commitments made inviolable by Allah Most High. That you are also attempting to express contrition for anything you may have done, even as you seek to learn the reasons for their actions towards you, only underscores your sincerity in this. If that is not apparent to your family, it is not lost on the Most Merciful.

Even as you may continue to make gracious overtures towards your family, it is essential you continue making your case to Allah. Those like yourself — in situations of vulnerability and oppression — have avenues towards the acceptance of prayer that should never be underestimated as our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, informed humanity, “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for between it and Allah, there is no barrier.” [Bukhari]

Finally, given these family dynamics, please be sure to never place yourself in situations where your physical safety is compromised. Your efforts to preserve your ties can happen from afar, and may need to until the situation changes into a relationship marked by mutual respect and healthy communication, insha Allah.

May Allah ease your difficulties, and reward you immeasurably for your forbearance.

wa-Salam ‘alaykum.

[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States) where he works to enhance campus life through spiritual and pastoral care; advocacy and coalition building; and deepening mutual understanding within and between communities.  His formative Islamic studies, past and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected via unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.  Most of Sharif’s training occurred in Amman, Jordan from 2008 – 2013, with a focus on creed, ritual law, spirituality, Quranic recitation and exegesis and through which he has received permission to transmit his Islamic learning.  Sharif has a B.A. in History from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and is now completing his graduate studies.  He completed the Classical Arabic program at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, where he was also the Director of Student Life.  He currently serves as the Vice President for Educational Chaplaincy with the U.S.-based Association of Muslim Chaplains.