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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.

How Can I Tell My Family From Abroad That I Do Not Support Their Backwards Thinking?

Answered by Ustadha Umm Umar

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have recently had close relatives from abroad. They are very cultural. They are not used to seeing girls getting an education and working. The only thing they think is important to a lady is for to get married and have kids. They ask and tell me: “Why do you go to school? Just get married, have kids”.However, these are not my priorities as of right now.

How can I tell them respectfully that I do not support their backwards thinking?

Answer: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

There is a great wisdom in each of us living our lives in a manner that only we can choose for ourselves. Others may speculate about what we should or should not be doing, but at the end of the day, it is really your own opinion that really matters.

I would encourage you to consider what feelings might be behind their advice, such as:

-them wanting what they see as best for you
-trying to help you in the best way they can think of
-actually caring about your life and wanting you to find happiness
-concern for your future
-that they love you

These ideas are in no way wrong, in fact the opposite. Now days people are often wrapped up in their own lives to sincerely care for others and their future. Their expression of concern is in fact very sweet masha Allah. I know it can be difficult to have other people attempt to delve into your personal life, especially when you do not wish to consult them. I would advise you to handle this by:

-thanking them for their concern
-attempting to change the subject (a good way is by asking them for advice in another area to distract them, or by asking about a historical event in your family)
-holding them in a good opinion

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was someone who had the best character with every single person he dealt with. He often dealt with desert bedouins, who did not have the finer elements of etiquette that the more local Arabs of Mecca had. Yet the Prophet (peace be upon him) interacted with them in the best of ways, and persevered and remained friendly, even when their conduct left much to be desired.

Likewise, we ourselves need to be patient with others, as an expression of love for our greatest teacher. Also to show that as believers, we are called to the best of etiquette, even when we are provoked, or others are behaving in ways that we find annoying.

May Allah Most High put us all on the path most pleasing to Him,and may we all be exemplars of the best of conduct in our homes and communities, ameen.

Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed)

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Defence Images

Ties that Bind: (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

Ties that Bind: Reconnect with relatives who have become distant (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

30 Days, 30 Deeds
Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Every night, our scholars in residence explore one simple deed that could have a far-reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Every day we’ll make the intention to put that teaching into practice. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or putting service to others at the top of our list of priorities, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎  gave us: the best of character.

Daily at 8:10 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live. 

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy, and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

Cover Photo by Talisa

 

How Do We Maintain Family Ties With Bloodthirsty Relatives?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have an extremely difficult relationship with my sister. Not only has she argued with me via phone and social media,but she also flirted with my husband.

I stopped talking to her. After that, she went around telling everyone that I called her an indecent woman.

What should we do with bloodthirsty family members?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah heal your sister and improve your relationship with her. Truly, nothing is difficult for Allah.

Boundaries

‘Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Merely maintaining the ties of kinship is not adequate. But connecting the ties of kinship is when ties to the womb are severed, and he connects it.” [Tirmidhi]

Your sister sounds very unhappy and very unwell. With individuals like her, you must draw strong boundaries, but always with tact and balance. It is impermissible for you to completely cut ties with her, so you must maintain a minimum of contact e.g. send her emails, text messages and/or gifts, visit her for Eid. Do it for Allah’s sake. Expect nothing in return from her. Trust that Allah is All-Seeing and All-Hearing, and knows how painful this is for you. Think of this as expiation for your sins.

The talebearing that she has done about you is a major sin. Work on forgiving her, because a grudge in your heart only harms you. Please perform The Prayer of Need and ask Allah to grant you patience to bear with this trial until He lifts it from you.

Support

I strongly recommend that you see a culturally-sensitive counsellor who can help you cope with her emotionally abusive behaviour. Please describe your situation to your counsellor, and learn how to stand up for yourself in a respectful and confident way. Your priority is to protect your health and the harmony of your household.

Allah does not wish for you to be target practice. Passively taking your sister’s destructive behaviour is harmful to your spiritual, emotional and physical health. You are a Muslimah, and your dignity is sacred. Telling her to treat you with basic courtesy is an excellent start. Follow it up with minimal interaction. Hold up your end of the relationship, and Allah will take care of the rest.

Please refer to the following links:

What is the Minimum Amount of Relationship I Have to Keep with a Relative I Hate?
My Sisters-In-Law Belittle Us and Their Parents. Do I Need to Maintain Ties With Them?
A Reader on Family Ties
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Martin Cathrae

How Should I Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour on Whatsapp?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Our family has a Whatsapp thread in which we all keep in touch with each other. There are male cousins on both sides, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws etc. How can one keep participating in conversations where male cousins often jab, provoke, flirt with the female cousins/sister-in-laws on the thread?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The Basic Ruling

In terms of having a Whatsapp group of this kind, the basic ruling is that it is not prohibited to have such a group in essence as it neither involves actual physical seclusion (khalwa) nor virtual seclusion that may lead to the impermissible.

Rather, the group you describe is composed of a number of family members, some of whom are of marriageable kin (non-mahram), such as cousins and in-laws, and others of unmarriageable kin (mahram), such as brothers, sisters, wives, husbands.

Your Circumstances

Yet, the manner of communication mentioned in the question is contrary to religious dictates. Flirtatious behavior is unacceptable. The same is the case with things like the “heart emoticons” (between other than siblings, spouses, etc.).

While our religion does not prevent people from being courteous and friendly with family members, it does prescribe guidelines regarding how gender interaction should occur, particularly when it relates to those of marriageable kin (non-mahram).

For more details on these guidelines, please see: A Reader On Gender Interaction

How to Respond

Regarding how you should respond, simply disengage when such conversations are taking place. If they do occur in the course of a conversation and you are unable to control it, simply pull back and do not be a part of it.

This does not necessarily mean that you have to leave the group entirely especially if it will cause problems between family members, but the least you should do is disengage when the conversations shifts in this direction.

It is also important here to take note of the principles governing promoting good and prohibiting that which is unacceptable. This would only be necessary if you feel that people will listen to you and your advice will not lead to a more negative consequences.

If you are reasonably sure that it will have a negative and harmful impact on others, then it is probably best to avoid advising these people.

You may, of course, try to discuss the issue in private with other family members who share the same concerns with you and then try your best to uphold a manner of conversation that is respectful, courteous, friendly, and within the limits of the religion.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Attend My Nephew’s First Birthday Party When There Is Alcohol Being Served?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My non-Muslim family often have events where alcohol is the main feature of parties and get togethers. Most recently my brother is having a first birthday party for his son with alcohol on tap.

What should I do? We are often put down for our beliefs and feel like outsiders.

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which pleases Allah, and heal the rifts within your family.

Non-Muslim family

This is delicate situation. A gathering in which alcohol is present is not a place for a believer. However, they remain your family, and it is important to keep family ties in a manner which pleases Allah.

I would suggest that you apologise and explain that you are not comfortable being at events where alcohol is served. Instead of attending your nephew’s first birthday party, offer to take them all out for a meal, or a picnic at a park. Provide an alternative setting for them to enjoy your company. Be steadfast on this, and ask Allah to grant them understanding.

Boundaries

Boundaries are important in facilitating harmonious family ties. Make it known to them, calmly and respectfully, that you do not expect them to agree with your religious beliefs, but you do expect them to treat your Muslim family with basic respect.

If you do not stand up to them respectfully, they will continue to think it is acceptable to put all of you down. Your dignity as a believer is sacred. Be an example for your children to follow. Being assertive takes practice, and if you need to, see a counsellor, life coach or psychologist to help you.

Good character

‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb reported from his grandfather that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Shall I tell you about who among you I love the most and the one who will be seated closest to me on the Day of Rising?” The people were silent, so he repeated that two or three times. Then the people said, “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “The one among you with the best character.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

As challenging as it can be with your non-Muslim family, try your best to have good character when you are with them. Treat them with kindness, be patient with their shortcomings and make dua for Allah to guide them. The wheel of life is constantly turning, and it is not difficult for Allah to guide your entire family, if He wills.

Be assertive when you need to be, and always follow it up with acts of love and kindness. InshaAllah, through your patience with your family, your heart is being constantly polished. May your interaction with your family grant you a heart which pleases Allah, on the Day you meet Him.

Please refer to the following links:

Is Christmas Haram? Being Muslim in a Non-Muslim Family
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Joey Gannon