Just think, if for any reason a person does not take a shower for a few weeks, what would be the state of his body?
Obviously his body would start emitting a very awful stink!
Remember, he cannot get rid of that stink even if he decides to put on new, branded, expensive clothes or by lavishly spraying his body with a designer perfume.
The only way he can overcome that stink is by thoroughly washing his body and getting rid of all that filth that has gathered on his body.
However, this is all about cleaning our outer self.
What about cleaning our ‘inner-self’ [the real state of our nature, mind, nafs (soul) and heart]?
Please bear in mind that in order to achieve the genuine piety and proximity to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala it is of vital importance to clean our inner-self. If our inner-self is not free from filth then we can never achieve the required level of piety even if we put on the ‘outer garments and perfumes of piety’ because Allah is fully aware of the state of our inner self!
Maintaining Family Ties
One kind of inner-filth that is commonly witnessed today is possessing ill-feelings for our relatives. This ill-feeling in most cases leads to breaking family ties.
In Islam the bonds of kinship and the rights of other Muslim brothers and sisters play a pivotal role in our lives. All Muslims are to show kindness, generosity, and respect towards both their nearest and the most distant relatives.
Shariah has emphasized on maintaining family ties (Sila Rahmi), and has strictly warned against breaking them (Qata Rahmi).
Our Creator has stressed the importance of maintaining good relationship with the next of our kin as per the hadith given below:
Narrated Abu Huraira (RadhiAllah ‘anhu): Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam) said,“The word ‘Ar-Rahm’ (womb) derives its name from Ar-Rahman (i.e., one of the names of Allah) and Allah said: ‘I will keep good relation with the one who will keep good relation with you, (womb i.e. Kith and Kin) and sever the relation with him who will sever the relation with you, (womb, i.e. Kith and Kin).’” [Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 5988].
Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam has also said“He who desires ample provisions and his life be prolonged, should maintain good ties with his blood relations”.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Yet in another hadith narrated by Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu), Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam said, “There is no sin more likely to bring the punishment of Allah in this world as well as what [punishment] Allah has in store in the Hereafter than transgression [oppression/rebelling] and severing family ties.”[Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2511, Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith: 4866 and Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 4211]
Quite often you tend to drift apart from some of your close relatives for any wrong they might have done to you. You stop communicating with them and at times you are not even ready to visit them if they fall ill or are hospitalized.
We hear of siblings not on talking terms with one another for years, a son breaking ties with his parents, youngsters not on speaking terms with their uncles/aunts, cousins at loggerheads with each other, one-time best friends not ready to even look at each other – the list is endless.
Islam does not teach us that. You not only have to forgive them for the wrong that they might have done to you but to reciprocate it by being good to them. This is the most difficult thing to do, but then it is the real test of your Imaan!
Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam has said in one hadith:“Al-Wasil [the one who keeps good relations with his kith and kin] 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” [Bukhari]
We have a perfect example in the Golden Pages of Islamic History!
Among many people who benefited from the generosity of Abu Bakr Siddiq (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) was his cousin Mistah (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu). The latter, unfortunately was one of those who were involved in spreading the false rumours related to the Mother of Believers, Ayesha (RadhiAllahu ‘anha). When the verses of Surah An-Noor in which Allah declared the innocence of Ayesha (RadhiAllah ‘anha) were revealed, Abu Bakr Siddiq (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) took an oath that he would no longer support his cousin Mistah (RadiAllahu ‘anhu).
Regarding this issue Allah Almighty then revealed the celebrated verse: The high ranking and wealthy ones among you should not take an oath not to spend on their relatives, the poor and those who migrate in Allah’s path. They should forgive and pardon. Do you not like Allah to forgive you? Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur’an 24:22]
No sooner did Abu Bakr (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) come to know about this verse, he not only resumed his cousin’s financial assistance, but increased it over what he used to regularly give him!
Given below are some of the ways in which you can practically implement this great virtue in your life:
- Make restoring the broken family ties as one of your important responsibilities in life!
- If you realise you have messed up then instantly admit your wrongdoing and extend your apologies, even if you have to humiliate yourself while doing so! At times, overcome by arrogance and pride, we do not want to apologise. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) reported: Rasul Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam said,“No human being will enter Jannah if there is as much as the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart,” [Musnad Aḥmad 6526].
- Reach out!Be the first one to extend an ‘Olive Branch’ (say or do something in order to show that that you want to end a disagreement or a quarrel) regardless of who really is at fault.
- Before you extend that ‘Olive Branch’ make sure it is a fresh one(and not a rotten one!) which means whatever you do, you do it with full sincerity and with the sole intention of acquiring the pleasure of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
- Let bygones be bygones!Your intention should be to resume the old ties with even more cordiality than before.
- Try constantly to keep in touch with them by visiting them or by regularly communicating with them. Also, send them an occasional gift.
- Invite them at your home once in a while for lunch/dinner/a cup of tea or for Iftar during the month of Ramadhan.
- If you are not fully acquainted with some of your far relatives sit down with the elders of your family and ask them about these relatives. Draw a Family Tree and keep a copy for yourself and also distribute to the rest of the family members.
- Spend your Sadaqah (Charity)/Zakat on your poor relatives. We have clear instruction from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala that our Sadaqah/Zakat should be for our relatives as well as the poor and needy ones in other parts of the world.
- Even if you are not at odds with any of your kin but you know about certain people who do not see eye to eye then you should try to intervene as a mediator.In that case you are even allowed to speak something that is not true.According to a hadith narrated by Umm Kulthoom (RadhiAllahu ‘anha) Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam said, “He is not a liar who reconciles (quarreling) people by relaying or saying good (but untrue) things.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Remember, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has promised to keep good relations with those who keep good relations with their family members.
May Allah Subhahanu wa Ta’ala make us of those who maintain their Ties of Kinship…Ameen.