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Rights of Relatives

Dec 31, 2009
 
A Muslim is required to maintain a good relationship with his relatives. In Islamic terms, 'Silah-Rahimi' is used to denote 'good treatment towards the relatives'.

In the Qur'an Allah tells us: "Give your relatives their due…" (17:26)

"Allah commands justice, kindness and giving to near relatives…." (16:90)

"…And show kindness to your parents and to near relatives…" (4:36)

The sayings of Allah’s Messenger Muhammad [Peace be upon him] are replete with virtues of joining the ties of relations and helping relatives. We are encouraged to visit our relatives, inquire about their circumstance, spend on them, give them Sadaqa (voluntary charity) if they are poor, assist them in any reasonable way and the most important is to show love and affection to them.

In the Quraan, where the Muslims are enjoined to show kindness to parents, they are also required to treat other relatives with love and sympathy and to pay due regard to their rights as well.

The foremost claim on a person is that of his mother, then of his father, and then grade by grade, of the other relatives. Therefore through relationship, the relatives' rights come after that of the parents.

Allah has declared, "I am Allah, I am Ar-Rahman (The Merciful), I have created the bond of kinship and named it Rahim,-which I have derived from the root of my name of Rahman. Thus, whoever, shall join it (ie. Rahim), I shall join him, and whoever will break it, I shall break him."

The Almighty has designed the system of birth in such a way, that whoever is born, is tied to the bonds of kinship-and these bonds carry certain claims and rights. Thus, whoever fufills these claims, by being kind to his relatives and treating them well, Allah will "join him" i.e. He will make him His own and bestow His favour and mercy on him. And whosoever will violate these claims, Allah will "break him" i.e. He will have nothing to do with him.

Fulfilling the Rights of Relatives
It is related by Anas (RA) that the Allah’s Messenger Muhammad [Peace be upon him] said "Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance and that the marks of his feet remain for a long time in the world (i.e. to live long) – he should be kind and helpful to his relatives."

Family quarrels, which generally arise from the disregard of the relatives' rights, affect a persons health and causes friction in homes and in the community at large. Those who treat their relatives well and are helpful to them, are free from tensions and they are happier and more peaceful.

Violation of Relatives' Rights
The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has said "Whoever violates the rights of relatives, shall not go to Paradise."

It shows that the violation of the relatives' rights is so detested by Allah, that with its filthiness, no one can enter Paradise. It is only when a person (believer) has received his punishment or has been forgiven, that the gates of Paradise will be opened for him.

Showing Kindness to Those Who Severe Relations
Often,there are people who care little for the bonds of relationship and are rude and unjust in this respect. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has enjoined to continue to treat them well and fufil the obligations, irrespective of what they do and how they behave.

Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) relates from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), "He does not fulfill the claim of Silah-Rahimi [one who keeps the ties of relations] who shows no kindness in return for the kindness shown to him. The person who really fulfills the claim is he who treats his relatives well even when they are mean and unjust to him."

A man asked: O Messenger of Allaah [Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam], I have relatives with whom I maintain ties of relations, yet they cut-off from me. I treat them kindly, yet they treat me in an evil manner. And I am forbearing and patient with them, yet they behave rudely and ignorantly towards me. The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "If the situation is as you say, then it is as if you are filling their mouths with sand. And Allaah will continue to aid and support you as long as you continue doing what you are doing."

When the violation of the rights of relatives is returned in a similar manner, then evil spreads in society – But if it is returned with kindness, it may lead to their correction and it will assist in the promotion of Silah-Rahimi, in the life of the community.

As we know, Islam enjoins us not only to be good to those who are good to us, but also to be good to those who are not good to us. This shows exemplary moral character according to the standard of Islam.

And the most important aspect of fulfilling the rights of relatives… It is a means to Allah’s happiness!

Some practical Tips to Promote Family Relations:
Visit them often – do not wait for “occasions” e.g. deaths, marriages etc.
Invite them home.
Always show love even if your relatives do not do the same.
Always make Dua [pray] for them.
Give them gifts – Spend on them according to your means.
Help them in need and sympathise with them on sad occasions.
Share happy moments and occasions with them.
Avoid backbiting – It is the main cause of friction.
Always talk positively about them and do not look down upon them.
Occasionally give them a call to enquire about their welfare.
Do not compete with them in material pursuits.
Always be a well-wisher of your Relatives.
Plan ways to improve and strengthen relations.

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