Recently, I was going through some life changes, which tested my responsibility, and required hard work on my part. I came up with a solution. I called my mum and other siblings, to let them know, because my mum told me that I had to call them and let them know. My mum, brother and a friend were very supportive. However, this particular sister tried to disillusion me, and she was blatantly discouraging with her anger. I was hurt of course, because I did not call her for some advice, I was just calling her out of courtesy to our mother.
It was very plain that she did not wish me well. It is very hard to describe her actions to you so that you can understand that I am not being paranoid or reading too much into 'nothing'. It is the truth, and once, even my mum acknowledged that she was jealous. If you ask the question "what could she be jealous about", I could not answer without sounding or being too vain.
However, it is a fact, so please help me. How can I deal with her? I may start to hate her, for I cannot accept that my sister has ill feelings towards me. It is okay for friends or colleagues, but my own sister, I cannot understand. Is it normal to have a sibling who is jealous of another, one that would actually applaud if I lived unhappily or if I was ruined? How can I deal with it from an Islamic perspective? And how should I deal with my sister dear counselors. Please help!
In this counseling answer:
“Try and discuss the problem with your mother, as to any reason why your sister might feel the way she does at the moment, towards you, and what you and your mother can do to improve the situation. Even though your sister is not treating you like a sister, this does not mean you should treat her likewise.”
As salamu alaykum my dear child.
This is one of the oldest stories as reflected in the story of Prophet Adam’s first two sons, known as Cain and Abel in the Biblical rendition, but in the Qur’an, only Habil (Abel), is mentioned, but both are referred to as “… the two sons of Adam” (Al Maidah 5: 27)
They were both “…offered an offering, but it was accepted from one of them and was not accepted from the other. He said: ‘I will most certainly slay you. (The other) said: Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil). If you will stretch forth my hands towards you; surely I fear Allah, the Lord of the worlds:Surely I wish that you should bear the sin committed against me and your own sin, and so you would be of the inmates of the fire, and this is the recompense of the unjust. Then his mind facilitated to him the slaying of his brother, so he slew him; then he became one of the losers. Then Allah sent a crow digging up the earth so that he might shoe him how he should cover the dead body of his brother. He said: Woe me! do I lack the strength that I should be like the crow and cover the dead body of my brother? So he became of those who regret.
For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our Apostles came to them with clear arguments… (Al Maidah 5: 27 – 32).
Cain is not mentioned by name in the Qur’an, but it was he who killed his brother Habil. The verses from the Qur’an tell us about the importance of forgiveness: “… Surely I wish that you should bear the sin committed against me and your own sin, and so you would be of the inmates of the fire, and this is the recompense of the unjust”.
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Without your forgiveness, and without understanding, your sister is less likely to change. You may be on the receiving end of more compassion, and more understanding than your sister, and from your sisters point of view, she may be feeling resentment on the belief that you are treated better than she has been, in addition to the fact thay she does not live at home with you. For whatever reason your sister in not living with you, your mother obviously wants you all to relate well with one another, and has tried to encourage you to consider your sister, so that she does not feel excluded, or less than anyone else in the family.
Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) said: “Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the gravest lie in talk and do not be inquisitive about one another and do not spy upon one another and do not feel envy with the other, and nurse no malice, and nurse no aversion and hostility against one another. And be fellow-brothers and servants of Allah” (Muslim 32: 6214).
Rather than falling prey to her derogatory comments, acknowledge her opinion, and treat it as nothing less than that. When you throw a ball into space, there is no resistance. When you throw a ball against a wall, an obstacle, then there is resistance, and the ball bounces right back. The ball is like the emotions, being thrown around, and the space is the person who accepts the intrusion of the ball as temporary. The space is not disturbed by it, whereas the wall (your negative emotions) are. By emotionally shutting down on your sister, you are not helping her, yourself or your friendship. You are stronger than her, because you are less damaged by whatever it is your sister has experienced, so be strong for both of you, and the family in general.
“O community of people, who believed by their tongue, and belief did not enter their hearts, do not back-bite Muslims, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, He disgraces him in his house (abu Da’wud 41: 4862)
Try and discuss the problem with your mother, as to any reason why your sister might feel the way she does at the moment, towards you, and what you and your mother can do to improve the situation. Even though your sister is not treating you like a sister, this does not mean you should treat her likewise.
Each time, your sister behaves badly to you, write it down, and reflect on what you were doing just before that behavior took place. Ask yourself, what was I doing, feeling, thinking, or saying? Was there anything in how you behaved that might makes your sister treat you the way she does? Do not assume that you did nothing to make your sister behave the way she does, but neither assume that you did something antagonistic towards her in anyway.
Admittedly, your relationship with your sister would stand a better chance if you all lived under the same roof, and your mother watching over relations between the both of you, but try and sense the emotional wall that you may be building around you in protection against your sister’s attitude towards you, because if you build that wall, your relationship will not go past the current state of affairs.
Sibling rivalry is not normal except in situations whereby through unintentional neglect, the parents do not treat all their children the same. At the same time, it might not have anything to do with personally, but you simply maybe the one vulnerable person who your sister can take her anger out on, the cause of which, your mother is more likely to know.
Pray for your sister and for a healthier relationship and make the following du`aa’:
Umm Salamah recalled how Prophet Muhammed never went out of my house without raising his eye to the sky and saying: “O Allah! I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or made to slip, or cause injustice, or suffer injustice, or do wrong, or have wrong done to me” ( Abu Daw`ud 41 #5075)
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