“… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of ) the wombs (kinship)…”
(Holy Quran 4:1)
‘Silatur-rahm’ has been defined as politeness, kind treatment, and concern for all one’s relatives even if distantly related, corrupt, non-Muslim, or unappreciative. 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. 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.
Following is a comprehensive collection of Quranic verses, sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), companions (RA), Islamic scholars & others on this topic.
Sayings of the Holy Quran on Keeping Ties
1. O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you. (Holy Quran 4:1)
2. So would you perhaps, if you turned away, cause corruption on earth and severe your [ties of] relationship? Those [who do so] are the ones that Allah has cursed, so He deafened them and blinded their vision. (Holy Quran 47: 22, 23)
3. “And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and severe that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).”
[Holy Quran 13:26]
4. “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want and those who migrated in the path of Allah. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Indeed Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (Holy Quran 24:22)
Maintaining ties with one’s family is required, regardless of how that family treats you. One must maintain these ties and treat one’s family with kindness, even if that family does not treat you with kindness. One of the best examples of this lesson is in the story of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA). After his daughter, Hazrat Aishah (RA), was slandered in the worst way, Abu Bakr (RA) found out that the man who began the rumor was Mistah, the cousin whom Hazrat Abu Bakr had been supporting financially. Naturally, Hazrat Abu Bakr withheld the charity he had been giving the slanderer. Soon after, Allah revealed the above verse.
5. “And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.”
(Holy Quran 9: 118)
It is unacceptable to indefinitely socially boycott a Muslim brother. The longest boycott the Holy Quran mentions in the verse above is of 40 days for the three companions who did not go to the battle of Tabuk. They too forgiven by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his companions (RA) after this divine intervention/revelation.
6. “Who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good;” (Holy Quran 3: 134)
7. “Surely all believers are brothers. So make peace between brothers, and fear Allah that mercy may be shown to you.” (Holy Quran 49: 10)
8. “The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Holy Quran 41: 34)
9. And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah . Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. (Holy Quran 42: 40)
Sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on Keeping Ties:
1. Hadith Qudsi: “Allah, the exalted, says: I am the Most Merciful, I created Ar-rahim and I cut out a name for it from my name, so whoever keeps good ties with it, I will keep good ties with him, and whoever cuts it off, I will cut him and finish him off.” (Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmithi)
2. Another Hadith Qudsi: “Allah created His creation, and when He 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 Al-Qati’ah (those who cut the ties of kith and kin).” On that Allah said, “Will you accept (be satisfied) if I bestow My Favors on him who keeps your ties, and withhold My Favors from him who cuts your ties?” On that it said, “Yes, O my Lord!” Then Allah said, “That is for you.” Then the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said recite if you wish “(The two verses 22 and 23 in Surah Muhammad) (mentioned above)” Reported by Imam Bukhari and Muslim
3. “There is no sin that Allah more readily inflicts the punishment for in this life, in addition to what Allah keeps as punishment for the sinner in the Hereafter, than the sin of transgression and cutting off relations with relatives.”
(Reported by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmithi, and Ibn Majah)
4. “He who severs ties of kinship, will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
5. “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relation with his kindred.” (Al-Bukhari)
6. Hazrat Abu Hurairah replied that he had heard from the Prophet (PBUH) that our deeds are presented to Allah every Thursday night and anyone who has severed family ties has all his good deeds are rejected.
7. What do you do if you have relatives with whom you keep good relations, but they cut off all relations with you? Would you cut them of?
No, listen to the hadith of the prophet (PBUH) that was when a man came to him and said, O messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I keep good relations, but they cut off relations with me, I forgive them, but they oppress me, I do good to them, but they treat me badly, should I get even with them (treat them as bad as they treat me)? The prophet replied: “No, If you do so all the relations will be cut off this way. On the contrary, be generous and keep in touch with them, you will always have support from Allah as long as you stay this way.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad and Muslim)
8. “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.” (Reported by al-Bukhari).
9. “A Muslim is not allowed to abandon another Muslim brother for more than three days” (Sahih Bukhari)
10. “He who makes peace between people by inventing good information or saying good things is not a liar” (Sahih Bukhari)
11. “Whoever believes in Allah and the last day, let him uphold the ties of kinship” (Bukhari)
12. “Never hate each other, never be jealous of each other; never think ill of each other, never boycott each other, always remain brothers unto one another, Oh servants of Allah” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
13. “The best charity is to make peace between people” (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Silsilah Saheehah)
14. “Oh Allah Reconcile (with love and understanding) between our hearts. And resolve our broken affairs. And guide us towards peace and paths of guidance and take us out of darkness into brightness” (Dua Related from Prophet in Ahadith-Abu Dawood & others)
15. “Speak the truth even if it is against you, do good to people even if they harm you, and make relations with those who cut you off” (Sheikh Albani-Silsilah Saheehah)
16. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said “Shall I not tell you about the nobility of character in this world and the hereafter? You maintain relations with one who cuts you off, you give to one who deprives you, you forgive whoever wrongs you” (Al-Tabrani)
17. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said “He who is desirous that his means of sustenance should be expanded for him or his age be extended, should join the tie of relationship.” (Sahih Muslim)
18. “Those who are patient in adversity and forgive wrongs are the doers of excellence”
19. “The gates of Paradise will be opened on Mondays and Thursdays and every servant of Allah who associates nothing with Allah will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. About them it will be said ‘Delay these two until they are reconciled, delay these two until they are reconciled” (Malik & Abu Dawood)
20. One companion came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked him “How many times should I forgive my slave?” The prophet remained quiet. The companion asked the question again. The Holy Prophet replied “70 times everyday” (Tirmizi)
So if one can forgive servants 70 times a day, what can be said about next of kin?
21. “Charity does not decrease wealth. No one forgives except that Allah increases his honor. And no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status” (Sahih Muslim)
22. “A person’s dua will still be answered as long as his dua does not involve sin or breaking ties of kinship and so long as he does not become impatient” (Muslim)
23. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said “Verily Allah will say on the day of judgement ‘Where are those people who have mutual love for Allah’s sake? Today I shall shelter them under my Shadow when there is no other shadow except my Shadow” (Muslim)
24. “The best amongst you is one who is the last one to get angry and the first to be satisfied and the worst among you is one who is the first to get angry and last to get satisfied”
25. A man said to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), “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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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.” (Reported by Muslim)
26. “Sadaqah given to a poor person is an ordinary sadaqah, but sadaqah given to a relative serves two purposes: one as a sadaqah and secondly, an act of upholding family kinship.” (Tirmizi)
27. “Allah’s mercy will not descend on people among whom there is one who severes ties of kinship.” [Baihaqi, Shuab Al-Iman]
28. “And you do not do evil to those Who do evil to you, but you deal With them with forgiveness and kindness” (Sahih Bukhari)
29. “Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to the people.” (Sahih Bukhari)
30. “The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
31. Another Hadith:
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace & good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind”
(Bukhari & Muslim)
It is stated with some references about Hazrat Umar (RA) not talking to one of his sons till his death and sometimes this incidence is made a reference for people who want to cut off relations with relatives or friends. Here are arguments against this point:
- One should always see teachings of the Holy Quran and Ahadith/Sunnah as a whole before making such wrong ‘Fatwas’/judgments. A single incidence does not validate an act if there are overwhelming Quranic verses and sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) contrary to it
- Teachings of Holy Quran are primary source of reference. Next are Ahadith. Then come references from Sahabah (RA). One has to arrive at a judgement in this order.
- We are not equal in stature to the Sahabah
- We should be knowing the reason why Hazrat Umar (RA) did so
- Companions of the Holy Prophet are not immune to doing wrong (unlike prophets).
- The incidence may be fabricated
- Anyone wanting to cut-off relations with a relative or friend can use this incident as a sole reference for his actions which is wrong. Then what, God forbid, are the use of all the above mentioned Quranic verses & Ahadith that strongly promote reconciliation and forbid cutting of blood relations?? One has to look at ALL references before arriving at a judgment.
“If anyone sitting here has severed any ties of kinship (qata-ur-rahim), he should leave.” (Hazrat Abu Huraira RA)