Question: I am somewhat of an introvert; being an only child I was very much accustomed to solitude and in recent years I have come to realize I also suffer from social anxiety. The thought of picking up the phone to speak to a relative is unpleasant and causes anxiety but my parents sometimes expect me to call family members. It’s not something I neglect on purpose. With my immediate family, I keep in contact. Am I sinning or do I need change?
Thank you for your question. It is refreshing to see that you care about this issue and sincerely want to do the right thing to make your parents happy.
Speaking to relatives
When you are on good terms with someone, there is no maximum or minimum limit to the interaction between the two parties. If you are on bad terms with someone, it is forbidden to cut them off for more than three days. There is no sin on you in the situation that you describe.
Increase your interaction
I encourage you to train yourself to call them a few times a year, or send them messages online, to rid yourself of this anxiety and to do the sunnah of upholding good relationships with them for the sake of Allah. I recommend joining a messaging group with your relatives to interact with them in a healthy amount but not waste time. You may also consider calling them on Islamic holidays, such as the two `Eids and the Prophet’s birthday, or the beginning of Ramadan. Phone calls need not be more than a few minutes. Make notes to look at so that you can converse on a few points.
Socializing is very important because our religion is a social one. People need each other, they support and encourage each other, and even their worship and good deeds have more value when done together. Keep in touch, not just with relatives but also with positive, religious people maintaining friendships with good Islamic etiquette. You will need these skills after you are married, too.
You will find that the du’as of the elders are very special and that you are very fortunate indeed if they remember you and include you in their supplication. If they can benefit you and you benefit them, you will be fulfilling the Prophet saying, “The best of people are those that bring the most benefit to the rest of humanity.“ [Daraqutni]
May Allah gives you the best of this world and the next and raise you in the company of the most beloved of all.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.