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Family – Part 12

Apr 19, 2022

Who`s the one that Keeps Family Ties

Having understood the importance of keeping family ties in Islam and the benefits of it and coupled with the harms of neglecting it, everyone claims, “But I keep family ties!”

So, today let`s try to understand what does it actually mean to keep family ties, or who can really make the claim of maintaining family relations?

This was explained by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when he said:
“The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” [Bukhari].

There are many Ahadith narrated from the beloved Messenger ﷺ regarding who is a “Waasil”
Waasil means ‘one who keeps good ties with his blood relatives’. This is a general definition of Waasil. However, the Nabi of Allah ﷺ gave a more detailed explanation when he gave the definition for Waasil. He ﷺ said:

ليس الواصل بالمكافئ ولكن الواصل الذي إذا قَطَعت رحمُه وصلها
“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].

It was also narrated from Abu Hurayrah RA that a man said:
O Messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me. He ﷺ said: “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot ashes in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” [Muslim]

Someone asked the Holy Prophet ﷺ, “What is the way of saving oneself in the Hereafter?” He replied: “You maintain the ties (of relationship) with the one who severed it with you, you give to the one who deprived you, and you forgive the one who wronged you.” [Tirmidhi]

If the relationship is merely one of returning favours and giving like in return for like, and not taking the initiative, then this is not upholding the ties of kinship, it is only responding in kind. Some people follow the principle of giving a gift in return for a gift, and visiting in return for a visit, so if someone does not give them a gift, they do not give him a gift, and if he does not visit them, they do not visit him. This is not what is meant by upholding the ties of kinship at all, and this is not what is required by Islam. This is merely responding in kind, it is not the higher degree which Islam urges us to reach. A man said to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ

“I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot dust in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.”

Who could bear to put up with hot dust? We seek refuge with Allah from cutting off the ties of kinship.

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