The Ninth Lesson :The rights of relatives and kinship
The Ninth Lesson :The rights of relatives and kinship
Praise be to Allah who has created (everything), and then proportioned it. And Who has measured (preordainments for everything even to be blessed or wretched); and then guided (i.e. showed mankind the right as well as the wrong paths, and guided the animals to pasture). I praise and thank Him, for He is all worthy of praise and thanking in the beginning and at the end. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone who has no partner. And I bear witness that our master and Prophet Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. He is the selected Prophet and the chosen servant. May Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him, his family, his Companions, those who follow his path of calling to Allah as he called, and those who follow his path righteously until the Day of Recompense.
We have talked in the previous lesson about one of the greatest rights incumbent on man and Allah made that right correlated with His Rights; that right is the parents' right on their children. Of their rights are the following: filial obedience, politeness when addressing them, humbling oneself before them, maximizing their role while minimizing yours, invoking Allah for them, asking forgiveness for them, teaching them, befriending them, fulfilling their needs serving them politely; walking, sitting, and talking with them; making them happy as much as you can with words, actions, money, and others; maintaining the ties with their relatives and friends during their life and after their death, fulfilling their will, and giving in charity in their behalf.
In this lesson we shall talk about another great right which Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) made it great and made it one of the basic Islamic principles and major fundamentals upon which Islam was based since its first days in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) proclaimed guidance and call. This is attested by the long Hadith in which Abu Sufyan talks with Heraclius when he asked Abu Sufyan: What does your prophet order you to do? He answered: He said: "worship Allah alone and do not associate partners with Him in worship, leave what your parents say. Moreover, he commands us to offer Salah, to pay Zakah, to keep good relationship with the kith and kin, and to be chaste."
This is the right of kinship, starting with the closest i.e., the parents, grandparents, and those who are close to them whether by kinship or by marriage.
Islam has made this truth one of the great features of this religion, such as: the Oneness of Allah, establishing Salah, and holding firm with truthfulness and chastity. So, Abu Sufyan counted them as one of the basic matters which the Messenger (peace be upon him) commanded them with. Imam Muslim (may Allah show mercy to him) reported on the authority of `Amr ibn `Absah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I had entered upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah at the beginning of the mission and asked him: "Who are you?'' He (peace be upon him) said: "I am a Prophet.'' I asked: "What is a Prophet?'' He said, "Allah has sent me (with a message)". I asked: "With what has He sent you?'' He said: "He sent me to strengthen the ties of kinship, to destroy idols so that Allah alone should be worshipped and nothing should be associated with Him".
Dear honorable Muslim brother, maintaining the ties of kinship and making them one of the most important things that our religion commands with gives it a great status. Therefore, the Shari`ah texts about maintaining the ties of kinship were numerous, urging to maintain these ties and warning against cutting those ties. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "So give to the kindred his due." Allah (He may be Glorified) says regarding maintaining the ties of kinship and considering them one of the qualities of the people of understanding and Paradise dwellers: "And those who join that which Allâh has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not sever the bond of kinship)." Allah (may He be Exalted) says about the other kind: "Those who break Allah's Covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allâh has ordered to be joined (as regards Allâh's religion of Islamic Monotheism, and to practise its laws on the earth and also as regards keeping good relations with Kith and kin)." In other descriptions, He promised those people that "for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell)."
Al Bukhari, Muslim, and others reported on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever loves that he be granted more wealth and that his lease of life be prolonged then he should keep good relations with his kith and kin."
There is no meaningful proof to the great care for the ties of kinship more than that great image which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) depicted for the tie of kinship when a womb stands before Allah, seeking refuge with Him against the one who cuts it. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Allah created His creation, and when He had finished it, the womb, got up and caught hold of Allah whereupon Allah said: "What is the matter?' On that, it said: 'I seek refuge with you from those who sever the ties of kith and kin.' On that Allah said: 'Will you be satisfied if I bestow My Favors on him who keeps your ties, and withhold My Favors from him who severs your ties?' On that it said: 'Yes, O my Lord!' Then Allah said: 'That is for you.' " Abu Hurayrah added: If you wish, you can recite: "Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? * Such are they whom Allâh has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight."
For the greatness of this religion and magnitude of the ties of kinship, Islam excels in its kindness and leniency to the extent that it recommends with maintaining the ties of kinship even if the relatives are non-Muslims. `Abdullah ibn `Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) publicly not secretly saying: "The family of Abu so-and-so (i.e. Talib) are not among my protectors." `Amr said that there was a blank space in the Book of Muhammad ibn Ja'far. He added, "My Protector is Allah and the righteous believing people." `Amr ibn Al-'As added: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying, 'But they (that family) have kinship (Rahm) with me and I will be good and dutiful to them."
The Prophet (peace be upon him) sent a garment to `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who gave it to his non-Muslim brother. When Asma' (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about maintaining the ties of her non-Muslim mother, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Yes, maintain the ties of kinship with your mother."
Dear Muslim brother, maintaining the ties of kinship and relatives are divided into classes, its highest is helping them with self and money and advising one another in goodness, whereas the lowest of which is maintaining the ties by salutation. There are classes in between, such as: paying visits along with salutation, good speech and asking about their conditions, giving them presents and gifts, congratulating them in occasions, calling them to gather, helping the indebted in paying their debts, helping them by relationships, fulfilling their needs, kind treatment, in addition to other means which strengthen the ties, double the good deeds, expiate sins, and satisfy the Creator (may He be Glorified and Exalted).
The highest type is that a Muslim maintains the ties of kinship with those who cut the relations. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Al-Wasil is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives, but Al-Wasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who had severed the bond of kinship with him."
The meaning is: The perfect maintenance of ties is when a person maintains the ties while his relatives cut it, and the least in rank is the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives.
Dear Muslim brother, let it be known that maintaining the ties of kinship is not limited by age or time, but by custom, so what customs recognize as maintaining the ties of kinship, it is as such and what customs recognize as cutting the ties, it will be as such.
These ties also differ according to the relatives and their status, so the tie of a father is unlike the tie of a cousin.
They also differ according to the difference of conditions, so the tie of a sick person and helping the needy are unlike maintaining the ties of others and maintaining the tie of the old is unlike the tie of the young.
They also differ according to the different of places, so the near relative is different from the one who lives outside the country.
Dear Muslim brother, maintaining the ties of kinship has a great virtue, great reward, and fruits in this world and in the Hereafter, of which: abundance of sustenance, long lifetime, and blessing in both. Al Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever loves that he be granted more wealth and that his lease of life be prolonged then he should keep good relations with his kith and kin."
The people of knowledge said: The meaning of increasing lifetime, blessing it, being guided to the obedience of Allah (may He be Exalted), and fulfilling it in what is useful are real.
Of these fruits: dutifulness and maintaining the ties of kinship are the cause for entering Paradise. Abu Ayyub Al Ansary (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that A man said to the Prophet (peace be upon him) "Tell me of such a deed as will make me enter Paradise." The people said, "What is the matter with him? What is the matter with him?" The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "He has something to ask. (What he needs greatly) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: (In order to enter Paradise) you should worship Allah and do not ascribe any partners to Him, offer prayer perfectly, pay the Zakat and keep good relations with your kith and kin."
Of these fruits: It is a cause for success in life, happiness, and comfort in this world and in the Hereafter as it is a cause for the obedience of children and offspring to their parents.
Dear honorable Muslim, the clear Ayahs and Hadiths invite you to renew this great tie and address your pure nature and affection in order that you maintain the ties of kinship which Allah has commanded you with. However, if you do not maintain these ties for a reason —but with your eagerness and desire to maintain them— the least you can do is to abstain from causing harm to them along with invoking Allah to them and awaiting the chance to renew the connection with them. You may invoke Allah to help you maintain these ties and fulfill that great obligation because He says: "If Allâh knows any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you." Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Your Lord knows best what is in your inner-selves. If you are righteous, then, verily, He is Ever Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again in obedience, and in repentance." May Allah guide you and me to every good and increase our eagerness to maintain the ties of kinship for He is All-Hearing, All-Responding and He is the One whose aid is to be implored.