I am looking forward to your great assistance and valuable advice. I have been focusing on my `ibadat (acts of worship) during these 10 days of Dhul Hijjah and Alhamdulillah so far I feel at ease and even filled with lots of Iman (faith).
Prior to these days and even Ramadan, I have been having conflicts with 3 members of my family: my biological sister, an aunt, and a cousin. I haven't really had a fight but after many conflicts with them and hurtful feelings toward them, I decided to cut contact with them. It has been a month and truthfully I have been in peace since then.
When I meet them I would greet them normally, but I wouldn't interact and tend to avoid a gathering when they are around. To me, this is a method of healing and I don’t feel bad at all for doing this. I decided that as long as I don’t show them animosity, it’s all fine. But every time I think about them it just hurts me inside. (On the note, all 3 are very close and buddy to one another). I want to stay away from them as I mentioned before this method is really healing to me. The only time I feel unrest is when I have to deal with them.
My concern is: is my method of dealing with the situation Islamically wrong? How should I cope with `Eid when we have a whole family gathering? When we get together they tend to act in a manner that irks and even hurts me. Please help.
In this counseling answer:
• A Muslim is required to be kind even to his non-Muslim relatives.
• My advice to you is try your best not to focus on how your family reacts to you, but go and attempt to do what Allah (swt) loves for His sake alone.
• We must find it in our hearts to reach out and forgive, even if it means putting our own selves and pride on the line.
As-Salamu `Alaikum sister,
Thank you for your question. It is a very good one in that it refers to an important topic related to family relations. Islamically, we must remember that maintaining family ties is of the utmost importance in the sight of Allah (swt). We should do everything in our power to maintain our family ties and not cut off relations with our family.
One thing I noticed about your question is that you did not mention the cause of the strife between you and your family members. This is important because if there is any chance of healing the animosity between the four of you, all attempts should be made to do so. If it is something that somebody did or said, then they should be encouraged to ask for forgiveness, to apologize, or do whatever it takes to heal and mend relations.
I know that is easier said than done, and few people are willing to “buck up” and take responsibility for such things. Nevertheless, it is important and without it rarely will relations mend. Somebody should take the initiative to try and resolve the cause of the animosity.
Some examples from our Islamic tradition about the importance of maintaining family ties:
“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”. (Bukhari)
“Whoever believes in Allah (swt) and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously; and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should unite the bond of kinship (i.e. keep good relation with his kith and kin); and whoever believes in Allah (swt) and the Last Day, should talk what is good or keep quiet.” (Bukhari)
“The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.” (Bukhari)
While nearly every religion has emphasized good family relations, Islam has taken it to unprecedented heights. It is a duty to be discharged without an eye for reciprocity.
Check out this counseling audio:
“A Muslim is required to be kind even to his non-Muslim relatives. Similarly, he is required to be kind to even those relatives who are harsh to him. The most telling example in this regard is that of Sayyidna Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (May Allah [swt] be pleased with Him).
Among the many people who benefited from his generosity was a relative named Mistah. The latter, unfortunately, became involved in the scandal about the Mother of Believers, Sayyida Aisha (May Allah [swt] be pleased with her) which was started by the leader of the hypocrites. It was a whole month of torment and torture for all involved, after which verses of Surat an-Noor were revealed exonerating her and prescribing punishment for those involved in the false accusation.
Feeling hurt and betrayed, Sayyidna Abu Bakr vowed never to help Mistah again. Yet the Qur’an asked him to forget and forgive and continue helping his relative, which he did. Is there another society that can even come close to this standard in maintaining family ties?
Islam came to set all our relationships right. This includes our relations with Allah (swt) as well as with other human beings. Silat-ur-Rahim is a very important part of the latter.”
(Source: Khalid Baig, Posted: 19 Jamad-ul-Awwal 1424, 19 July 2003, Reprinted from AlBalagh.net, edited by Zawaj.com for clarity)
So you can see, sister, that this is a very serious issue. My advice to you is to try your best not to focus on how your family reacts to you, but go and attempt to do what Allah (swt) loves for His sake alone.
Do your best to mend fences with them, but only for the sake of Allah (swt). If they reject your efforts, then know that it is on them. At least your account with Allah (swt) is cleared and you can go on knowing that you did your best to fulfill the command of Allah (swt). If possible, you can use the situation also to educate your family on the importance of maintaining ties.
Our social worlds are falling apart in this age we are living and we must do all we can to keep the ties of kinship healthy and strong. We must find it in our hearts to reach out and forgive, even if it means putting our own selves and pride on the line.
I know it’s not easy but this is the way of our religion. We must strive for Allah’s (swt) sake. Remember, seek what Allah (swt) loves and, in sha’ Allah, He (swt) will make it easy for you in one way or another.
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