What Does Islam Say about Family Relationships?October 17, 2022 2022-10-17 15:16
As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All Praise and Thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In response to the question, Dr. Ali Al-Halawani, Assistant Professor of Qur’anic Sciences, says,
Islam is a faith that is based on the establishment of strong bonds between people who were created by Allah, the Creator of all, in order for them to know one another. In this context, “knowing one another” refers to integration, cooperation, and coexistence. In practice, everyone has something to offer others or something they require from others, so everyone’s wants and needs are met in some way. The Qur’an responds to this by saying,
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another” (Qur’an 49:13)
If you have a blood relationship with someone, you must get to know them and care for them; if they are vulnerable or minors, their rights against you are strengthened.
The importance of being kind to relatives
Doing good to relatives comes after worshipping Allah and doing good to parents in the Qur’an. The Qur’an says,
وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ …
“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, …” (Qur’an 4:36)
Similarly, the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) upholds kinship ties and forbids their severance. This is demonstrated by the following hadith:
`A’ishah reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The bond of relationship is suspending from the Throne, and says: ‘He who keeps good relations with me, Allah will keep connection with him, but whosoever severs relations with me, Allah will sever connection with him’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The following Ayaat (or verses) explain the rights of one’s relatives:
1- To financially support them
Spending on one’s relatives is one of the types of righteousness, as demonstrated by the ayah below. The Qur’an says,
لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, …” (Qur’an 2:177).
2- To give them their prescribed shares, if any
All due rights must be granted to their rightful owners without delay, procrastination, or waste, according to the Qur’an.
وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَلَا تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيرًا
“And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully” (Qur’an 17:26).
3- To give them a portion of the divided wealth as a gift
According to the Qur’an, when wealth is divided according to inheritance rules, relatives with no prescribed shares should receive some gift or present from the wealth to comfort their hearts and help them face the vicissitudes of life. The Qur’an says,
وَإِذَا حَضَرَ الْقِسْمَةَ أُولُو الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينُ فَارْزُقُوهُمْ مِنْهُ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا
“And when [other] relatives and orphans and the needy are present at the [time of] division, then provide for them [something] out of the estate and speak to them words of appropriate kindness” (Qur’an 4:8).
4- To honour them
The faithful are commanded by the Qur’an to revere, keep, and honour their womb relations (relatives) and not harm them in any way.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer” (Qur’an 4:1).
It should be noted that blood relatives have more rights than other believers.
Blood relatives have closer personal ties in Allah’s decree, as stated in the Qur’an, than believers and emigrants because they have two merits, Islam’s brotherhood and their specific blood relationship. The Qur’an says,
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ ۗ وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَفْعَلُوا إِلَىٰ أَوْلِيَائِكُمْ مَعْرُوفًا ۚ كَانَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُورًا
“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers. And those of [blood] relationship are more entitled [to inheritance] in the decree of Allah than the [other] believers and the emigrants, except that you may do to your close associates a kindness [through bequest]. That was in the Book inscribed” (Qur’an 33:6).
How should one deal with hurtful relatives?
If one has hurtful relatives who do not reciprocate mutual respect or good relations, he should treat them with kindness and never reciprocate. The Qur’an says,
وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Qur’an 24:22).
This is also clear from the following hadith, which says,
Abu Hurairah reported: “A man said to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): ‘I have relatives with whom I try to keep the ties of relationship but they sever relations with me; and whom I treat kindly but they treat me badly, I am gentle with them but they are rough to me.’ He (PBUH) replied, ‘If you are as you say, it is as if you are feeding them hot ashes, and you will be with a supporter against them from Allah as long as you continue to do so.’” [Muslim]
I pray to Allah to make us all from among those who honour and treat their relatives well. Amen!
was-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
Allah Almighty knows best.
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