Short Answer: Of course not. Your obligation to keep strong family ties does not end when you get married. Your family will always be your family, regardless of your new relationship with your in-laws. No, your husband cannot keep you from maintaining ties with your family, and cutting off these ties is a huge sin: Allah has said that He will cut off ties with those who cut off ties with their family. You have no obligation to obey your husband in matters wherein he forces you to disobey Allah.
Salam Dear Dinara,
Thank you for your sincere question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Our Obligation to Our Own Family Never Ends
You have brought up a very important issue, which is often misunderstood due to some unIslamic cultural beliefs.
One of those un-Islamic beliefs is the concept that after a woman gets married, her main obligation is only towards her husband’s family and that her obligation towards her own family ends.
And keeping ties with one’s family is a central principal in Islam.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said:
“Allah (God) created all the creatures and when He finished the task of His creation, the rahim (literally, “the womb”, but here it refers to “family ties”) said: ‘(O Allah) at this place I seek refuge with You against severing my ties.’
Allah said: ‘That I treat with kindness those who treat you with kindness and sever ties with those who sever ties with you.’
It said: ‘I am satisfied.’ Allah said: ‘Then this is yours’.”
Then Prophet Muhammad said, “Recite this verse if you like: “Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.” (from Quran 47:22-23) (Al-Bukhari)
Your Mother, Your Mother, Your Mother
In fact, keeping ties with one’s family is so important in Islam that Allah has said that He will cut off ties with those who cut off ties with their family.
Prophet Muhammad has said:
“Rahim (family ties) is a word derived from Ar-Rahman (the Compassionate) and Allah says: I shall keep connection with him who maintains you and sever connection with him who severs you.” (Al-Bukhari)
This is the case for any family member. However, kind treatment towards one’s parents, especially one’s mother, is even more emphasized.
Once a man came to the Prophet Muhammad and asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Who is most deserving of my fine treatment?” The Prophet said, “Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then your nearest, then nearest.” (Al-Bukhari)
Therefore, your husband cannot keep you from maintaining ties with your family, and cutting off these ties is a huge sin.
Abu Hurairah’s Teaching
It is such a big sin that once a young man went to attend the weekly hadith lecture of the Prophet’s Companion Abu Hurairah, but Abu Hurairah’s routine opening announcement stopped him:
If anyone sitting here has severed any ties of kinship, he should leave (and repair his relationship).
The young man recalled his aunt, who lived in the same town but with whom he had not been on speaking terms.
The young man quietly left the gathering and went straight to his aunt’s home.
He met his aunt and asked for forgiveness.
When the aunt inquired about the reason for this change of heart, the young man narrated how he had heard Abu Hurairah’s announcement.
His aunt accepted the apology but asked him to inquire from Abu Hurairah the reason for this unusual announcement.
Why, instead of mentioning the major sins, did Abu Hurairah focus only on this issue? What was so special about ties of kinship?
Abu Hurairah replied that he had heard from the Prophet that our deeds are presented to Allah every Thursday night and anyone who has severed family ties has all his good deeds rejected.
Abu Hurairah did not want any such person sitting in his gathering, which was held on the same night, for fear that it could deprive the entire gathering of blessings.
Keeping Family Ties is Tied to Belief in the Last Day!
Another hadith explains further the reason for this fear:
“He who severs ties of kinship, will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
Keeping ties with one’s family is so important that it is even tied to one’s belief in Allah and the Day of Judgment. The Prophet said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relation with his kindred.” (Al-Bukhari)
Those who break these ties are cursed in the Quran. Allah says in the Quran:
And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives) and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse, and for them is the unhappy home (i.e. Hell). (Quran 13:25)
One should be very cautious about causing someone to break ties with their family, since Allah punishes for this sin in this life and the next.
The Prophet Muhammad has said:
There is no sin more deserving of having punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of family. (At-Tirmidhi)
I pray that Allah resolves this issue between you and guides and softens your husband’s heart.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)