Maintaining Family Ties after Separation: Possible?

11 October, 2019
Q Assalamualeikum Islam attaches great importance to maintaining cordial relationships with Muslims and kinfolks. There are numerous saheeh ahaadeeths on the consequences of severing family ties. For example: The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter paradise (Saheeh Al Bukhaari 5984). I understand that kinship refers to blood relationship. Now, a divorce entails separating family ties. How far is this hadeeth appropriate to (a) divorcees and (b) their children, assuming that husband and wife were not blood related? Jazaak ALLAH Khayran

Answer

Short Answer: Under no circumstances, the husband or the wife can sever relations with children after divorce. This behavior cannot be justified. The children are the victims of divorce. The children should not be used as weapons to fight the other part after separation. Children should be cared about and supported psychologically and emotionally after divorce. Divorced husbands and wives should agree on managing the affairs of their children after divorce. If the children are under the care of their mother, she should teach them to love their father and be kind to him. The same applies if they move to father’s care. The Prophet set an example for us in maintaining relations with the family members of his wife’s Lady Khadijah as he used to visit her family and friends after her death.

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Salam dear questioner,

Thank you for your question.

Thank you also for your concern about maintaining family ties.

Maintaining cordial relationships with kinship in Islam

As you mentioned in your question maintaining cordial relationships with kinship is a very important aspect of the message of Islam. Islam came to foster these relations and paid much attention to founding sound families based on love, mercy, cooperation, and justice.

Therefore, maintaining these relations is an obligation and severing them is categorically prohibited. We read in the Quran what gives the meaning of:

*{So would you perhaps, if you turned away, cause corruption on earth and sever your [ties of] relationship? Those [who do so] are the ones that Allah has cursed, so He deafened them and blinded their vision.} (Quran 47:22-23)  

We are taught that it is not necessary that family relatives maintain a good relationship with me in order to be kind and gentle with them.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him”. (Al-Bukhari)

What if they are abusive?

Sometimes, we have to distance ourselves for a while from some family relatives if they are abusive but we cannot cut ties altogether.

Having good relations with relatives is a sign of believing in Allah and the Last Day. The Prophet is reported to have said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good relation with kins; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Dealing gently and kindly with relatives is a reason for having more wealth and long life.

The Prophet said:

“He who is desirous that his means of sustenance should be expanded for him or his age may be lengthened, should join the tie of relationship.” (Muslim)

A way to Paradise

Maintaining good relations with relatives paves one’s way to Paradise. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari reported that a bedouin came to the Prophet while he was traveling.

He asked, “Tell me what will bring me near to the Garden and keep me far from the Fire.” He replied, “Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, perform the prayer, pay zakah, and maintain ties of kinship.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

Abdullah ibn Salam reported:

I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

“O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salamu ‘Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace.” (At-Tirmidhi)

From a linguistic perspective, the word arhaam includes relatives from the mother’s side and the father’s side.

Abu Hurairah reported that a person said:

Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness). (Muslim)

In-Laws

As for the relatives from the wife’s or husband’s side, they are called in-laws, not relatives. We read in the Quran what means:

*{And He is The One Who created of water a mortal; so He has made him related by blood and marriage; and your Lord has been Ever-Determiner.}* (Quran 24:54)

This does not mean in any way that one can sever ties with family members of ex-wife or ex-husband after separation. Visits should not stop between them provided that women wear the proper hijab in front of adults and other male in-laws.

Relatives through marriage come under the general meaning of the verse which reads:

*{The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.}* (Quran 49:10)

Relations with children after divorce

Under no circumstances, the husband or the wife can sever relations with children after divorce. This behavior cannot be justified. The children are the victims of divorce. The children should not be used as weapons to fight the other part after separation. Children should be cared about and supported psychologically and emotionally after divorce.

Divorced husbands and wives should agree on managing the affairs of their children after divorce. If the children are under the care of their mother, she should teach them to love their father and be kind to him. The same applies if they move to father’s care.

The Prophet set an example for us in maintaining relations with the family members of his wife’s Lady Khadijah as he used to visit her family and friends after her death.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Why is Divorce on the Rise among US Muslims?

Are Islamic Divorce Rules Unfair to Women?

Divorce and Children: The Difficult Question

Can Muslim Men Divorce As Often As They Want?

 

 

 

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.