As salamu ‘alaykum,
Dear sister, it is indeed a difficult situation that your family has had to deal with. Unfortunately, we live in a world where jealousy and cruelty know no bounds, even among our own family members. Of course, the family you are referring to that is showing you such disrespect and cruelty is not your immediate family, but rather your extended family.
In my opinion – masha ’Allah for you mother’s attitude, patience and good will! She is truly a special woman. I think you should honor her and her upstanding character by heeding her words and showing the same level of respect to your family members, regardless of how they treat you. This is what is known as the ‘high road’, and obviously it is the road most beloved by Allah who has encouraged us to maintain good relations with our families, regardless of how badly they act towards us.
You may be absolutely right in saying that they are jealous of your mom – with her character who wouldn’t be! She sounds like an outstanding human being and it is quite understandable. That should make you feel an enormous amount of respect, love and appreciation to Allah for having such a wonderful mother.
Remember sister, you don’t have to like your family members or even spend a lot of time with them if in fact they are as bad as you say. What you are after is the pleasure and realization of Allah’s love – always keep this in mind! No matter how bad they are, you must focus on your goal. Take up your complaints and frustrations with the Lord of lords and ask Him for understanding and patience with your family members.
I have a good friend with a similar situation to your own. Her mother is one of 14 kids. However, her grandfather had two wives and so her mom is the only daughter from his second wife. As a result, the other siblings never treated her mom the same way. They looked down on her, thought she was inferior, etc.
Subsequently, my friend and her siblings were never accepted as part of the larger family, and always felt like outcasts and rejects compared to their cousins. It is indeed very similar sounding to what you are going through.
As a result, however, my friend and her siblings responded by making sure that their own family stayed very close, and supported one another in all aspects.
Despite the ill treatment shown to them over the years by their cousins, they never said or did anything in retaliation. They merely kept to themselves and maintained their own close family relations. Now, of course, they are all very successful and are the pride of the family so to speak.
Over the years, their relations with their cousins have improved and there is much less ill-feeling among them as they have grown older. They have tried to forgive their cousins, aunties and uncles for their petty jealousy and the like and as such, the family overall has come together in ways that it never was able to in the past.
In this example, by maintaining their noble character and not allowing the actions of their family members to dictate how they would act, my friend’s family not only became closer but have begun the process of forgiving and healing. It is not easy and is not always guaranteed to result in positive outcomes, but to take the high road is always the better approach.
Do not let your extended family turn you and your siblings into something you’re not. If it gets really bad and seems unbearable to be around them then simply stay away from them, but do not resort to ill relations. Do not stoop to their level.
If they become jealous of you then that’s their problem not yours, and they will have to face Allah with what they do. Do not focus on them, focus on Allah and how you are supposed to be as Muslims. Prove them wrong and show them their own foolishness by setting an example for them.
Honor your mother’s wishes and noble character by living and acting for Allah’s pleasure rather than your own petty need for retaliation and the like. I think the Muslim world right now has enough of this going on, don’t you think? We need to start rising above our egoistic need for retaliation and revenge and start learning to forgive.
The way of our Messenger (SAW) is, remember, to not cut off relations with family but rather always try to reconcile with them. If that is not an option then at least limit the harm done between you by staying away from them and not resorting to negative behaviors. In sha ‘Allah over time your upstanding behavior will benefit everyone.
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(From Ask About Parenting archives)