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Marriage and Severed Ties of Kinship

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises on mending relations with estranged parents and marrying with their blessing.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My parents got divorced when I was 3 and I ended up with my father who raised me. I didn’t see my mother for almost 19 years, until I finally decided I wanted to see her. AlhamduliLlah I saw her and we got very close, but it created a lot of problems for me as well, as my mother and father were at times competing for my loyalty. It felt like I was being dragged from both sides.

My mother has a lot of emotional problems and gets angry very easily, and because I haven’t grown up with her she sometimes expects me to act in certain ways or do certain things that I’m not accustomed to and she gets angry at me for not doing them. This has caused me a lot of psychological problems and at times I would dread talking to my mom because I would be scared of witnessing a bad reaction from her despite trying my best not to say or do anything that might upset her.

My mother right now doesn’t talk to me. She severed ties with me about a year ago and is forbidding my sisters from talking to me as well. This happened because I was getting to know a girl for marriage and my mom insisted that I bring this girl to the country where my mother is living before we do anything, and I explained to my mother in the gentlest manner that I couldn’t do that because neither the girl nor her family would agree to that if we weren’t married. I informed my mother that I was planning on doing a recitation of Fatiha with my father’s side of the family and the girl’s family and my mother was furious that she wouldn’t be present for this, particularly after I explained that neither me or nor my mother would have the means to fly my mother out to the country where we were going to do this.

After this, my mother stopped talking to me, and my sisters too, not because my sisters want to but because my mother is not letting them. I’ve been texting my mother since then and I tried calling her as well but she stopped answering me. I message her frequently to ask about her, make dua for her, and apologize for upsetting her but she doesn’t answer me.

My mother lives in a different country and I don’t have the means to go there at the moment. Things didn’t work out between the girl and I for marriage, and now I’m looking for another suitable marriage partner. So my question is, would it be permissible for me to get married while my mother is not talking to me given my circumstances? I’m nearing 30 years old and it’s very difficult for me to please everyone in my family. Obviously because I grew up with my father, I’m closer to him than my mother and he’s more involved in my life than she was. I’m just thinking that I’m reaching a point in my life where I don’t want to keep delaying marriage, especially for reasons that are beyond my control and capacity to deal with.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Mother’s Anger

It sounds like beneath your mother’s anger are deep feelings of shame, guilt, sadness and so on. When you told her that you would read the Fatiha without her, she probably felt completely cast aside, disrespected, and unloved. Her decision to cut off ties with you remains sinful, but is understandable, given her emotional imbalanced nature.

Even though she did not raise you from the age of three, she is still your mother, and it is still obligatory for you to treat her with kindness and respect.

Because of this, I strongly discourage you from getting married without her knowledge and her blessing. She will be even angrier, and you will be giving your future wife the wrath of a deeply unhappy mother-in-law.

Give yourself a reasonable time limit. I am not saying to wait ten years, but you do need to try harder, and give your mother time to come around.

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about getting married. Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to soften your mother’s heart.

Exhaust Every Option

Please try harder to reconnect with your mother. Send her gifts, write her letters, and so on. Give in charity daily, even if it is little, with the intention of earning your mother’s forgiveness.

Ideally, please save up to fly in person to kiss her hand. When she sees you, it is only natural for her heart to soften, and for her to weep healing tears. It sounds like she has 19 years of regret and shame, manifesting in her anger towards you.

Please complete this course so you can better understand the rank of your mother, even though she is challenging: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfill Them.

Financial Priorities and Marriage

If you cannot afford to visit your mother, can you afford to support a wife?

Even though you are not close to your mother, she remains your mother, and must be treated with compassion and respect. She has already missed out on so much of your life, and it sounds like she is desperate to connect with you. She is trying to be part of your marital selection process, because she wants to be part of your life.

Gender Interaction

Please know that you need to still observe appropriate gender interaction while looking for a wife.

Do not get too emotionally attached. The woman you marry must be sensitive to your mother’s situation, too. Being kind and patient with your mother is this a pathway to Jannah for you and your future wife, when handled well.

Mother’s Rank

“We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. (We said to man,) “Be grateful to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return.” (Sura Luqman 31:14)

I pray that when you become a father some day, you will better understand the rank of your own mother.

Even your father raised you when your mother left at the age of three, consider this: your mother kept you safe in her womb, gave birth to you, nursed you, and looked after you for the first three years of your life. Nothing you can do can repay that debt to her.

Please see How Can I Deal With My Difficult Mother in a Respectful Way?

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


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

Can I See My Non Muslim Family Without the Permission of My Husband?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have entered Islam a few years ago, alhamdulillah, and have been married for 2 years. My husband doesn’t like my family because they aren’t Muslim despite the fact they are happy for me to practice my religion. My husband does not want me to see them often and I miss them. How often can I see them? And could I see them without my husband’s permission at all?

Answer: Assalam ‘aleykum,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease your heartache and grant you a swift opening.

Negotiation

‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The tie of kinship is suspended to the Throne and says: He who unites me Allah would unite him and he who severed me Allah would sever him.” [Bukhari]

First of all, it’s important for you to remember that you have the right to visit your family, especially your parents.

Please sit down with your husband and come up with a solution, in the spirit of love and mercy. Gently explain to him how much you miss your family, and how important it is for you to keep in touch with them. Approach it from an angle he can understand. Perhaps he would be more open if you explain that you wish for them to embrace Islam through you keeping ties and showing good character.

If this approach doesn’t work, is there a trustworthy scholar your husband and you can consult to help you with this situation?

It might help for both of you to do the Seekers Guidance course on marriage, to help you both understand the rights and responsibilities you have towards each other as husband and wife.

Seeing your family anyway

Although it’s your right to see your family, I would advise against you going behind your husband’s back. I’m concerned that if he were to find out, you would suffer from the fall out. Contact them via telephone, at the very minimum, so that you can at least reassure them that you’re OK.

Patience and Tahajjud

Remember that Allah is the Turner of hearts. No matter how hopeless you may feel right now, know that your duas are never wasted. This temporary tribulation may be means for you to increase in the sincerity of your duas. Wake up before Fajr and make heartfelt dua for Allah to soften your husband’s heart and reunite you with your family. Nothing is difficult for Allah Most High.

Please see:

Reader on maintaining family ties
Reader on patience and reliance on Allah

Wassalam.

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What is the Minimum Amount of Relationship I Have to Keep with a Relative I Hate?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I have a cousin who has always provoked negative feelings in me whenever I found myself around her. The breaking point for me was when she questioned me loudly and openly on a personal matter in a room full of people. My natural response is to cut off all ties with her. How much of a relationship must I maintain with her since she is my blood relative? I only want to do the minimum.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. I am very sorry to hear about the ill-treatment you have received over the years. What your cousin has and continues to do is unjust and unislamic. Cutting off ties with her, however, is not the way of our deen.
Maintaining family ties
‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The tie of kinship is suspended to the Throne and says: He who unites me Allah would unite him and he who severed me Allah would sever him.” [Bukhari]
No matter how bad your cousin makes you feel, she is still bound to you by blood. Your responsibility is to look after yourself, while maintaining the bare minimum of contact with her. I would suggest visiting during Ramadan and the two Eids, at the very least. Remember to behave cordially with her. You are responsible for your actions, not hers. Tie your compassion towards her with the highest intention of pleasing Allah, and inshaAllah this struggle will be means of elevating your rank in Jannah.
Assertiveness
The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “A believer does not allow himself to be stung twice from one (and the same) hole.” [Bukhari]
Islam does not call you to be a doormat. Your dignity as a believer is sacred. Knowing your cousin’s attitude towards you, please practise assertiveness training so you will be better able to stand your ground with her, if/when the need arises. See a counsellor, life coach, or therapist for support. Practise role-playing scenarios with trusted family and friends, so that when the time comes, you will be able to politely and firmly draw boundaries. She will probably be very shocked when you do stand up for yourself for the first time, and the thought of doing so may make you feel nervous. However, the solution to this problem is not avoidance. The solution is upholding family ties, while calling her out on any bad behaviour. Do so with tact and wisdom, of course, such as through speaking to her in private and being frank and non-accusatory e.g. “When you said x, I felt x. I would appreciate it if you would stop. Thank you.”
Perspective
Ustadh Usama Canon said, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Your cousin is most likely hurting in some way, and it is likely that she herself has been bullied. As hard as it might be right now, make dua for her well-being, forgiveness, and ask Allah to remove the hatred and resentment from your heart. Polish your heart with remembrance of Allah. Remove those negative traits, and ask Allah to transform your heart into fertile ground for goodness and compassion. Think of our Beloved Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace), who endured unimaginably unjust treatment – despite all of that, he remained compassionate.
I pray that Allah Most High softens her heart as well as yours, and heals your relationship with your cousin.
Please refer to the following links:
Can We Break Family Ties With Siblings Who Treat Us Badly?
Reader on maintaining family ties
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Worried About Sister’s Bad Influence on my Child

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalamualaikum.
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.
Setting Boundaries
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.
Conviction
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.
Hope
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]
Birth
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
wassalam,
Raidah
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Should I Maintain Ties With Family Who Openly Sin or Shun Them?

Answered by  Ustadh Tariq Abdul-Rasheed
Question: Assalamu alaikum,
I have read and heard in many places that one should love everyone, be merciful with everyone, have good opinion of everyone, and deal in a good way with everyone.
But on the other hand, I have also read in books to avoid bad company. In one book I read that one should stop talking to a person who does not perform salah after being told numerous times because such person is a shaytan. I also read that one cannot say Salam to a fasiq.
Sometimes we can have relatives who openly sin without any shame, including drinking and selling alcohol, not praying, disrespecting parents, etc.  They might even thrust earphones in their ears or start whistling if anyone were to mention religion.
Now I am very confused because I don’t know how to deal with these people.  Since they are close relatives, should I love them, pray for their well being, and call them despite their attempts to avoid me – or should I just shun them totally.
Please clarify my understanding in these matters. JazakaAllah khayr.
Answer: In the name of Allah of the Beneficent the Merciful
Wa laikum salaamu wa rahmatullahi wa barkaatuh,
May Allah (Most High) bless you and grant you increase in iman and good character. Your concern over this issue is a sign of your belief in Allah and compassion and care that He (Most High) has blessed you with. The Prophets and Messengers when through similar trials in maintaining relations and kinship bonds.
Prophetic Trials
“We know that you, [O Muhammad], are saddened by what they say. And indeed, they do not call you untruthful, but it is the verses of Allah that the wrongdoers reject.” [An’am:33]
Amongst the most difficult trials of the Prophets and Messengers (upon them be peace) is maintaining relationships and family ties in face of opposition and rejection from family, friends and nation. We see in the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that his own people rejected him after haven taken him as an advisor and arbitrator and attesting to his trustworthiness.
The Quraysh had outwardly rejected the message of Islam. However, in reality they believed-in and attested to the trustworthiness of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in their hearts. So Allah (Most High) revealed this verse and to console and ease the hurt of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and assure him that what they manifested outwardly was not their inward reality. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was avid to maintain his relationships as he was concerned about Allah’s (Most High) creation and wanted to warn them against eminent punishment if they continued in disbelief.
Understanding What is ‘Fisq’ and Who is a ‘Fasiq’
Fisq (sinning/transgressing) refers to any transgression of the laws and limits of the Shariah. It is a general term that entails transgressions and sins both great and small. The fasiq is the one who has adhered to and acknowledges the laws of the Shariah then transgresses all or some of laws. [Ragib Asfahani, Mufradat]
Fisq (sinning/transgressing) and fasiq (one who sins/transgresses) are also used in the Quran to mean the opposite of Iman because the disbeliever transgresses necessary and clear rational judgments which are easily concluded by people of a sound and rational nature. [Ragib Asfahani, Mufradat]
When the scholars of law use the term ‘fasiq’ they are generally referring to one who flagrantly and willingly disobeys the commands of the Shariah. Because of the open, constant and repetitive sinning of the fasiq he becomes well-known for his sinning.
Muslims generally use the term based on its usage by scholars of law. However we should be careful as its usage in the Quran may vary depending on context and we should not attempt to deduce rulings and apply them to our brothers and sisters based on our own readings of the Quran and Sunnah.
Distinguishing Between Actions and Individuals
One very important distinction to make is that the ruling of Allah (Most High) from halal, haram, mandub etc relates to peoples actions and not to individuals themselves. So, if a Muslim commits a wrongdoing then we should hate the wrong action but not the individual.
This is an important principle as the non-Muslim can become Muslim and the sinful person can become amongst Allah’s (Most High) beloved and close ones. The door of repentance is always open and it is the case that people usually become better after sincere repentance.
Again, we judge actions and not individuals. If we keep this principle in mind as we interact with others then there is no conflict between having care and concern for others and wanting the best for them while maintaining our jealousy over the laws and commands of Allah (Most High) such that if we see wrongdoing it remains detestable to us.
Additionally, by understanding this principle we can prevent ourselves from becoming self-righteous when dealing with people who may be struggling with obedience to their Lord. People who struggle with religion often note that they find it difficult to be around so-called “pious” people because they perceive from them righteous indignation and contempt. Why? Because “pious” people tend to judge people and not actions. They condemn and don’t encourage. So mercy and concern is replaced by contempt and the opportunity to help and assist it lost.
Keeping Good Company
While we should maintain mercy and compassion for others that are known for their sinfulness we should also be keen not to keep close companionship with them. This is not out of arrogance or self-righteousness rather it is out of concern over our own states and the tendency of souls to take on the characteristics of other souls.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A man is only upon the religion of his close friends. So let one of you look carefully at whom he takes as an intimate friend.” [Ahmad, Hakim]. We shouldn’t maintain intimate company with people that are flagrantly sinful not because we are exceptionally pious and above them rather because of the inherent imitation the comes with close friendship. There is no contradiction between having a genuine care for all, not looking down at others with contempt while at the same being vigilant about whom we take as companions.
Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil
A distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim Ummah is their enjoying of what is right and good and forbidding foulness, evil and harm. Allah (Most High) says in the Holy Quran, “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.”[Aal `Imran: 104]
This a command of obligation and the scholars agree that it is a communal obligation. If some from amongst the Ummah uphold the responsibility then the remaining community will not be sinful. It is preservation of the Deen of Allah (Most High) and when it is neglected then the entire community is sinful and deserving of Allah (Most High) punishment.
It is related that Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (ra) used to say, “Allah (exalted and glorified) does not punish the general public because of sins committed in private. But rather when foulness and evil are committed openly and is not rebuked then they are deserving of punishment – all of them! [Imam Qazwini, Mukhtasar Shu`ab al-Iman]
Principles of Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Evil
The obligation of Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Evil is established in the Quran, Sunnah and by Consensus of the Scholars. It is a communal obligation which may in some cases become an individual obligation depending on the circumstances. However, there are a number of conditions that must be met in order for the obligation to be present. Among them are the following:
– One must be knowledgeable of the Halal and Haram according to the Shariah otherwise one could be enjoining what is haram and forbidding what is halal.
– One must be certain that by forbidding the evil that it does not lead to a greater evil. In such a case then it is not permissible to do so.
– That there is a high degree of certainty that one’s enjoining or forbidding will actually be of benefit. If not, then there is no obligation to do so. It should also be done with wisdom and sincere concern.
– The evil or sinful action must be manifest and open such that one does not have to resort to spying, sneaking and searching to expose the sin(s) one seeks to forbid. (Spying and searching out the sins of Muslim is forbidden and to be suspicious and inquire into another’s actions without due reason (such for a marriage or witnessing in legal cases) is likewise forbidden.)
– The sin must be one whose forbiddance is unanimously agreed upon or that the consideration of it not being forbidden is extremely weak. (Matters that are differed upon amongst qualified scholars are not the basis of ‘munkar’ and one cannot rebuke another over practicing upon an opinion which is differed upon.)
It is necessary that we consider the previous conditions so that in our attempt to help we don’t actually cause a greater harm. Additionally, it helps us to know when and when-not to engage situations. In regards to issues of high-crimes that require established political authority it is not our place to attempt to “change with our hands” without proper legal authority contrary to what is commonly misunderstood from the hadith.
Family Ties and Kinship Bonds
Finally, the obligation of maintaining family ties cannot be stressed enough. It is sinful to cut-off bonds of kinship or to shun relatives even if they are sinful.
Allah (Most High) says, “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” [an-Nisa: 36] The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The one who cuts of blood-ties will not enter Paradise”[Bukhari, Muslim]
In conclusion; as mentioned above we can maintain cordial friendly bonds with relatives who may be openly sinful while letting them know that we don’t approve of their sinful acts. At the same time we should be careful to maintain a true care and concern in our hearts that their state [and ours] improves. In reality this one of the distinctive marks of Prophetic character. In our times people become apathetic and indifferent which is not a healthy state. Going either to the extreme of complete rejection or complete acceptance.
Remember the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The believer is the mirror of his brother. If he sees a fault in him he corrects it.” Though our sins may not be manifest we can relate to weaknesses of the self and in that way we can all relate to struggling with sin. This should elicit empathy rather than arrogance.
I pray this has helped clarify the matter and Allah (Most High) knows best.
Tariq Abdul-Rasheed

Should I Let My Daughter Spend Time With Her Non-Muslim Father?

Answered by Dr. Bano Murtaja

Question: I am a woman who embraced Islam when my daughter was 4 yrs old. She is now 14yrs old and wants attention from her non-Muslim father. She lacks understanding of being a Muslim but accepts our decision and devotion for Islam. Should I allow her to spend time more time with him? I fear that she will be exposed to situations without the proper guidance.

 

Answer: As salam alykum wa rahmatullahi,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

We are guided to be good to our parents, regardless of their faith. With this in mind, it is important your daughter is able to maintain a strong and healthy bond with her father.

Given that your daughter’s father accepts the faith of you and your daughter, you could speak with him about the parameters that he should maintain around her. InshaAllah a joint approach to parenting will also provide a more stable environment for your daughter also.

Given that your daughter is now 14 you may also consider discussing the appropriate parameters with her. Presumably her upbringing in the US will already have given her a good understanding of how to navigate parameters between her Islamic faith and spending time with those who have a different belief.

One of the SeekersGuidance family, Br. Anik Misra is a convert, and shares some of the things he has learned about dealing with non-Muslim parents here, that may help your daughter.

A Convert Dealing With Non-Muslim Parents

May Allah grant you ease and facilitate the best for you, your daughter and her father.

Ma’salam
Bano

Obeying One’s Parents and Maintaining Ties of Kinship

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: My question is what if a mother is telling you to cut of ties with her as the daughter will not leave her husband on her say so. The daughter does by force sometimes go to see them but mother does not speak with her. Is the daughter at fault here? As she has no problem with her husband and also feels that a divorce is something displeasing to Allah.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, the daughter is not at fault. She appears to be doing her best given her circumstances and she will have her reward with her Lord.

The Narration (hadith)

A man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! There is a young man who is approaching death. It is said to him, ‘Say: There is no god but Allah’, but he is not able to say it. So he said (Allah bless him and give him peace), ‘Didn’t he used to say it during his life?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘So what prevented him from doing so now?’ He subsequently mentioned the whole story.’’ [Musnad Ahmad]

The verifier, Shaykh Shu`ayb Arna`ut, notes that its chain of transmission is weak.

As for the remainder of the story, its chain is also very weak.

The Rights of Parents

Being good to one’s parents is an unconditional duty as per the Qur’anic command, ‘and do good to parents’ [17:23]

There are many manifestations of being ‘good’ to one’s parents and obedience is often one of them. There are some cases in which one would not obey one’s parents; such cases include obeying them in leaving obligations (fard), doing something unlawful (haram), non-fulfillment of rights and the like. However, even in cases where in one does not obey them, one is still duty-bound to be ‘good’ to them.

Moreover, parents don’t own their children. Therefore, she will not be expected to leave her husband on her mother’s say so. However, in such instances, one must respond with gentleness and wisdom.

Maintaining Ties of Kinship

It is obligatory to maintain ties of kinship and cutting ties is a grave sin.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the ties of kinship.’ [Bukhari]

`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported: “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘A person who maintains ties of kinship is not someone who only does so with those who maintain ties with him. A person who maintains ties of kinship is someone who restores them when they have been cut off.’” [ibid.]

What is emphasised is one’s maintaining the ties of kinship when others cut them off. So, she should keep visiting, give gifts and pray for her mother. And by her upholding righteous character, Allah may well turn her mother’s heart back towards her, insha’Allah.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Can We Break Family Ties With Siblings Who Treat Us Badly?

Answered by Ustadha Rukayat Yakub

Question: Asalaamu alaikum,

We come from a broken family that lacks agreement on anything.  Our brothers generally only notice the sisters when they want something from them.  But when the sisters need something – they make excuses to the sisters.  We try hard to be there in times of hardship and to defend their honor.  Yet, when we struggle they offer no compassion, don’t visit us, and don’t defend our honor.  When one of my sisters was divorced she and her ex-husband agreed she would get a financial settlement. He kept that agreement until he got his citizenship and got another spouse, then he discontinued the money he owed her.  Our brothers still treat him as a close friend, ignoring that this hurts our sister when they invite him and his wife to the house. Our brothers never check on us.  The only thing we can expect is a dinner invitation during Ramadan and Eid. I feel it is time to breakup these false ties of family that has no value or substance.  One of my brothers took an object and hurled it at my sister when in a fit of rage, to further explain my frustration and anger. What do you advise?

Answer: wa alaikum as salaam sister

I am sorry that you and your sisters are experiencing this, but my sincere advice is to not to break of family ties but to change the way you interact with your brothers.

It seems that you have been trying for many years to get your brothers to change and this has caused much resentment frustration and pain,  Cutting off ties will not heal this especially as in Islam the we are taught and encouraged to hold dear family ties.  Allah ta’ala is well aware of your situation and what you have done to make things work,  However you are responsible for your actions and the only person in this equation that you can change is yourself.

So if your brothers decide that they only want to get together at Eid, then visit them at this time.  Maintain good adab with them and interact with them solely for the pleasure of Allah ta’ala.   Do not expect them to reciprocate, they might, but having that expectation leads to disappointment and even more resentment when they do not.  If you are in their home and are being hurtful, let them know that you will not tolerate this behavior, but you are their sister and you love them and when they are willing to act in a way that isn’t physically or emotionally hurtful you will be more than happy to visit or have them visit you.  Then leave.  I am not advocating cutting off ties, but the deen came to protect life, and honor among other things, and your brothers have no right to physically hurt any of you.  And even if you have to leave abruptly due to bad behavior, you should still send cards, or call to keep the lines of communication open.

Also think of all the times our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace endured the hardship of others,  This doesn’t mean that you let them, or anyone walk all over you like a dormat, but it does mean that you interact with them in the best way that you can, and leave it at that.

Stop trying to make them ‘do you right thing’ they are adults  You can and should insist that they treat you properly, but the key is, you can’t make them do this.  And you aren’t responsible for the way they behave, they will have to account for this themselves,  You will however be asked about yourself and the responsibilities you have been entrusted with so focus on nurturing your mind, body, and soul, encourage your sisters to do the same, and make dua for your brothers.   Beyond that I would not worry about the injustices they have perpetuated against you, worry just makes things worse.  Allah ta’ala is Just.  So do not worry.  Focus on now.  Focus on your mission in life and working with people who want to work with you and having good manner with those who do not.

And Allah ta’ala knows best

May Allah ta’ala give you all healing and strength and rectify the behavior of your brothers and reconcile the hearts of all the members of your family.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Maintaining Family Ties & Obeying Parents

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My sister was having relations with a non-Muslim boy. When told to stop because it was not allowed, she decided to leave Islam, go away from home with this boy, and have a restraining order placed against the parents. We’ve now discovered that she has been communicating with other relatives who have been supporting her and helping her out, even getting her married to this boy (who is of very bad character and degrades Islam) without the permission fo the parents. Now, my parents want nothing to do with them. They say they have forgiven much but this is the last straw. They have told us not to have any contact them. What should I do? Is this breaking kinship ties?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

May Allah give you strength in this trial and reward you abundantly.

Prioritizing Your Concerns

I think your primary concern should be maintaining a strong relationship with your sister. The most important thing in all of this is her returning to Islam. You should keep in touch with her and uphold good character. One particular trait that you should display to your sister is gentleness [rifq]. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] said, “Verily Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness in all matters” [Bukhari, Muslim], as well as “Gentleness is not found in something except that it adorns it, and is not removed from something except that it ruins it” [Muslim].

Be her friend, and let her see the beauty of our faith. This could be a long-term effort, but persevere and be patient. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] waited patiently for many disbelievers of Mecca before their entrance into Islam, all the while praying for them and displaying his superb character despite their animosity towards him and the religion. That is the prophetic sunna that we have been commanded to emulate. Your sister is the primary kinship bond that you should be concerned about.

With respect to your mother’s relatives, it seems like any attempt by you to maintain those ties will only lead to more familial tension and discord [fitna]. Two of the most important principles in Islamic law are “The lesser of two harms is to be chosen” and “Warding off harm takes precedence over acquiring benefit.” [Majalla al-Ahkam al-Adliyya; Articles 29, 30]

While normally you are required to maintain kinship ties with all your relatives, it would be better in your case to avoid contact with your mother’s relatives due to the expected harmful consequences entailed therein, namely, the spread of that tension to within your immediate family, between yourself and your parents. Leave that matter to them, and pray that Allah Most High heals their past wounds and reunites their hearts for His sake.

Patience and Trust

Allah Most High states in the Qur’an, “And be patient, and your patience is not except through Allah” [Nahl:127]. The trial you describe is a true test of patience, and the only way to actualize this virtue is through Allah alone, for He is the Provider of all virtues. Seek His aid in being patient and realize that, as our Prophet taught us, “No one has been given a better and more expansive gift than patience” [Bukhari, Muslim].

Place your complete trust in Him, and know that He is All-Wise and the Best of planners. “And trust in the Living, Who dies not” [Furqan:58]. As Imam Biqa’i explains in his masterful tafsir: “Trust” means “show Allah your utter incapacity and weakness, submit wholeheartedly to His decree, and rely on Him in all your affairs” [Nazm al-Durar].

We cannot handle our trials alone; we are weak and incapable. Our only recourse is to submit and consign our affairs over to Allah Most High. We take the means with full effort and diligence to fulfill our duties and persevere in our trials, yet our reliance all throughout is in Allah alone. As one of the early Imams states, “Whoever relies on Allah becomes free of need, while whoever does not rely on Him will be exhausted.”

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani