In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Maintaining kin ties:
Dear brothers, this is lesson No. 33 of the series Children Upbringing in Islam, and we are still tackling the social education. One of the most important topics in social education is kin ties.
Dear brothers, in Islam there is something similar to the contemporary term Social Solidarity. Allah the Almighty decreed that the social solidarity in Islam should be based on two foundations: kinship and neighborhood. In lots of Ahadeeth neighbors and kin ties are mentioned. Bear in mind that the child who grows observing his parents strengthening the kin ties with their relatives through visits, affection and cooperation will acquire that exalted social manner, and as you know the one, who lacks something, is unable to deliver it to others. You can be the best father in the world without saying one word, and this can be achieved when you set a good example to your son, so he observes your behavior, watches you control your mouth, senses your mercy on those around you and sees how dutiful you are towards your parents.
Man's own uprightness is his path to guide others:
Man does not need much talking to learn. The Prophet PBUH said:
((Be righteous in order to set a good example for others to follow in righteousness.))
A female student in full Hijab was studying mathematics in the United States, and once her professor sent her to one of his students to help her with her assignment. That officer was Jeffry Link who happened to be the bigger atheist in San Francisco, but in mathematics he was one of his kind. Jeffry Link said in his own words, "When I saw that Mediterranean woman wrapped in her Hijab in the middle of summer, whereas other women wander around half-naked, I said to myself, 'What kind of convictions this woman has to put up with Hijab in this hot weather?'" Accordingly, he started learning about Islam and reading the Quran thinking that there must be something wrong in it, but when he reached the following Ayah where Allah talks about Fir'aun (Pharaoh):
﴾ So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea)﴿
He called his friend Morris Bokeh in France who happened to be the manager of the morgue in Paris. He said to him, "You claim that the Quran is Allah's Words, so what about this verse?" Morris said to him, "The Pharaoh, who Allah mentions in the Quran, is the same one I restored his corpse with my own hands, and he died due to drowning, and he is the pharaoh of Musa (Moses) PBUH." Jeffry Link now is a remarkable caller to Allah. This Muslim woman did not say a word, but because of her Hijab, Link was convinced of Islam.
((Be righteous and you will be an example for others to follow))
The most effective means in education is to set a good example for others:
You could be the best father on earth without saying one word. It is enough that your son never hears you saying bad, filthy or obscene word, it is enough for him to see your discipline, affection, kindness and mercy and it is enough for him to see how dutiful and respectful you are towards your parents. As a result, he will acquire all these exalted manners naturally. In the coming lectures insha' Allah, we will tackle the effective means in upbringing your children, and the best of them all is to set a good example for them.
Once I visited Ash-Sha'rawi (One of the most remarkable scholars of Egypt, may Allah have mercy upon his soul), and I met with him in two long meetings. I asked him in my second meeting, "What is the advice you would like to give to the Du'aat (Callers to Allah?)" I thought that he would talk for more than an hour, but to my surprise he said only one sentence, he said, "The Da'iyah (singular of Du'aat) to Allah must avoid any contradiction between his words and actions."
These words are much needed to be adopted by every father and mother. The mother should not lie, so when her husband asks her "Did you go outside?" and she says, "No, I did not go anywhere", whereas the truth is that she visited her sister with her daughter, all the mother's preaching about honesty will vanish in the eyes of the daughter.
A relative of mine, who is resided in the United States, came to Syria for a visit, and he has a son who is very energetic, so his grandmother said to him, "Be quiet, and I will take you to a beautiful place in the evening." This child bought her promise, and he kept quiet, but in the evening she took him nowhere. It even never occurred to her to fulfill her promise to him, so he said to her plainly, "You are a liar." Some fathers promise their children to buy them a bicycle if they get high grades, but they do not buy anything, which is a wrong behavior since the most effective means in raising children is to set a good example for them.
Maintaining kin ties is a way to be dutiful to parents after their death:
How do you teach your children to maintain kin ties?
((Narrated Abu Usayd Malik ibn Rabi'ah as-Sa'idi: While we were with the Messenger of Allah! (PBUH) a man of Banu Salmah came to Him and said: "Messenger of Allah is there any kindness left that I can do to my parents after their death?" He replied: "Yes, you can invoke blessings on them, forgiveness for them, carry out their final instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honor their friends."))
Whoever lost a father or a mother, and then he maintains their kin ties, it is an act of dutifulness towards them after their death. When An-Najashi asked a companion (Ja'far) about Islam, Imam Ja'far, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
((O King, we were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshipping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals, committing all sorts of abomination and shameful deeds. breaking the ties of kinship, treating guests badly and the strong among us exploited the weak. We remained in this state until Allah sent us a Prophet, one of our own people whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity were well-known to us. He called us to worship Allah alone and to renounce the stones and the idols which we and our ancestors used to worship besides Allah. He commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed.))
"To be kind to our relations", means to maintain kin ties.
Who are the ones included in Ar-Rahem (Kin)?
Dear brothers, I would like to ask you a delicate question: Who are the kindred? Generally speaking, they are all relatives from the side of the father and the mother without exceptions. In details, they are the fathers, the mothers, the grandfathers, the grandmothers, the grandparents of the parents and all ancestors and the children, the grandchildren and all the offspring. Also the kindred include brothers, sisters, uncles (from the side of the mother and the father), aunts (from the side of the father and the mother), nephews, nieces, cousins, and other close relatives. In general, kindred include all relatives from the side of both the mother and the father.
Whoever maintains his kin ties pays forward a good deed to Allah in his Salah:
Allah refers to a delicate point in the following Ayah:
﴾Recite (O Muhammad PBUH) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur'an), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha' (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.) and the remembering (praising, etc.) of (you by) Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising, etc.) Allah in prayers, etc.]. ﴿
When you maintain your kin ties, you are actually offering a good deed with which you stand before Allah in Salah, and so you deserve to be mentioned by Him. A brother said to me once (and he is an honest person), "After I attended one of your lectures about kin ties, I decided to visit a relative whom I did not visit for a long time. Upon arriving at his house, I did not find him so I left my card on his doorstep. The man was very respectful, so he paid the visit back." This brother continued, "I live in a basement which does not see the sun, and I have five children and that relative of mine seemed to be rich, so he said to me, "Do you live here." I said, "Yes."This brother swore to me by Allah that it never occurred to him that his relative may solve his problem, but all he did was that he applied what he heard in my lecture about maintaining kin ties and he paid him a visit and the man visited him back. The relative said to this brother, "Find an easterly house in a third floor and come and take the money from me to pay for it." The man continued, "We found a third floor apartment in two months in Midan district, and it faces the sun. All my children restored their health, and I invoke Allah day and night in my prayers for that relative." Life is built on cooperation. Hence the poor person must visit his rich relative and the rich relative must check on the conditions of his poor relatives.
Maintaining kin ties has a wide meaning:
I would like to clarify a crucial point concerning visiting kinship. Most Muslims assume that maintaining kin ties may be fulfilled by a phone call or a visit on Eid, which is not true, for maintaining kin ties is to check on the conditions of one's relatives, on the way they live, on the educational situation (of their children) and on the health conditions in order to offer the available help whether financial, scientific or social. After achieving all that, one will be able to call his relatives to Allah.
Maintaining kin ties starts with a visit and ends with guiding relatives to Allah, which is the main purpose. Unfortunately, life complications have shrunk this process which winds up in visits paid on Eid only, and some people may thank Allah that they did not find their relative at home, and they are satisfied with leaving a card on the door. If by chance the relative opens the door and appeared to be at home they got disappointed. Is this how maintaining kin ties should be? Does it come down to leaving a card and hoping not to find your relative at home? Unfortunately, our life becomes mere formalities.
I admire the people of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, for they accustom themselves to be at home all the time (in the four days of Eid) by having the family divided into four groups; each group stays at home on one of Eid's days, so that visitors will find someone home on all the four days of Eid. I suggest that instead of paying meaningless visits from the door just to avoid blame, meet all your relatives in one house and spend time together. If only you know how keen the Quran and authenticated Sunnah are on maintaining kin ties.
I used to repeat these words a lot: You may help other people, but those people can be helped by someone else, while your relatives have no one else to help them but you. Accordingly, Zakat is not accepted from the rich person if there are needy relatives of his, for giving them Zakat will multiply his reward because he will acquire the reward of paying Zakat and the one of maintaining his kin ties. The Islamic ruling goes as follows: "Good deeds (including Sadaqah) are better to be offered to relatives."
Man's success lies in convincing others instead of suppressing them:
Some siblings fight one another over heritage, and they stopped talking to one another due to conflicts, so you may hear one of them saying to you, "I have never spoken to my brother for 30 years." The grave thing in such situations is that enmity of the siblings passes over to their children (the second generation). However, praise be to Allah that there are coherent families who are good examples of keeping their ties strong and maintaining the affection, the love and the cooperation amongst them after the father's death. I sometimes follow up on some families when the father passes away, and I feel so glad when I see that sympathy and love are still there among the family members. This manifests a proverb, "Only his eye (i.e. his body) is gone"
A Da'iyah to Allah used to hold a religious session every Wednesday morning, and 20 years passed after his death, but his sons maintained that sessions till now. I know a brother who died in an accident, and 25 years after his death, the discipline in his household stayed the same all that time including his wife's Hijab and His daughters' modesty, so everything remained as he left it without any change.
Dear brothers, I would like to draw your attention to a bitter truth that you may get upset upon listening to. When the father suppresses his sons and daughters, they may obey him and show discipline while he is alive, but after his death they will be deviated. Thus, your success is to have disciplined children during your life and after your death which reflects a successful upbringing.
((Instruct and do not rebuke,…))
Do not use suppressing as a means in raising your children, for they will obey you as long as you are with them, but the minute you leave them, they will become dissolute. Thus, success lies in persuasion not in suppression.
((Instruct and do not rebuke, because the instructor is better than the rebuker.))
Why are relatives called "Arhaam"?
Why are relatives called "Arhaam"? Some scholars said, "This term is derived from Allah's Name "Ar-Rahman" (The Most Gracious)", and according to some scholars, Ar-Rahman is the Great Name of Allah.
﴾ Say (O Muhammad PBUH) : "Invoke Allah or invoke the Most Beneficent (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names. ﴿
Dear brothers, please pay attention to the following Hadith:
((Narrated Abdur Rahman bin A'wf: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: Allah the Exalted has said: I am Compassionate, and this has been derived from mercy. I have derived its name from My name. If anyone joins it, I shall join him, and if anyone cuts it off, I shall cut him off.))
I know two brothers, one of them is very keen on maintaining his kin ties, and he helps his 5 sisters so if one of them is about to deliver a baby, he gives her money, if another one needs clothes and her husband cannot afford them, he helps her and he does the same to the rest of them. Glory be to Allah, Allah provides him with abundant provision unlike his brother, who is not less intelligent than him, but he is poor, because he does not look after his sisters.
Maintaining kin ties causes abundant provision:
In fact, maintaining kin ties is one of the reasons behind the abundant provision.
((If anyone joins it, I shall join him, and if anyone cuts it off, I shall cut him off.))
You may be invited to the house of a very rich person in town and you accept the invitation promptly because it is very classy, so are the assembly and the services there, but if you have a sister who lives very far and who is poor, you forget all about her and a month or even a year may pass without thinking about visiting her. Do you know that visiting such a poor sister is an act done for gaining the Hereafter? Visiting the rich person, on the other hand, is an act done for gaining the worldly life? Do you realize what will happen if you visit your sister? She will become proud of you, and she will say to her husband, "My brother visited us today. It is enough for her to pay her a visit and ask about her well being, health and children. She will be on cloud nine if you ask about the study and the health of her children, and if you are rich enough, some gifts, fruit or money will sooth her heart, because she is in need. By Allah the Almighty, I consider such a visit one of the highly rewarded deeds.
A brother of ours (who I assume to be honest) paid his sister a visit, and while he was about to knock on the door, he overheard loud voices coming from her house. When she opened the door for him, the noise disappeared as he stepped into the house. He asked, "What is wrong?" to which she said, "I am asking my husband to give me 300 Liras every month in order to buy the children clothes, but he refuses to give them to me and this is the reason of our fight."
Though the brother had limited financial resources, he promised his sister to give her the 300 Liras every month, and he kept his promise for six month during which a great affection was created between the two, so she asked him to hold a religious session for them. He did that, and despite his limited religious knowledge as he was an engineer, he was happy. He used to meet with his nieces weekly, and he used to bring one Ayah or two, one Hadith or a story of one of the companions, and he used to put efforts in preparing his lesson. He said to me, "In a matter of one year or two, all of them put Hijab, and most of them got married." I said to myself, "O Lord! 300 Liras for six months did all that affection and guide them all to Allah." What great goodness came from that little deed!
Good deeds usually bring indescribable happiness to man:
Dear brothers, there are lots of good deeds which only Allah knows, but you can offer, such as paying your sister a visit and soothing her heart. Do you believe that some brothers incite their sisters against their husbands, and one of them might say to her, "How can you live in this small house?" She is satisfied with her husband and the house, but he incites her against him until she hates her life.
((Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "Indeed a man may utter a statement that he does not see any harm in, but for which he will fall seventy autumns in the Fire."))
If you visit your sister whose house is small, her husband is an honest employee, upright and religious and they both love one another, you should say to her, "Congratulations for such a husband who owns exalted manners. I really respect him, and I invoke Allah that the affection between you two will last forever." In this case, she will receive her husband with a smile, because her brother praised him. In contrast, a brother may criticize his sister's house or belittled her husband using satanic words:
((Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "Indeed a man may utter a statement that he does not see any harm in, but for which he will fall seventy autumns in the Fire."))
It is recommended for the brother to sooth her sister's heart when he visits her, to congratulate her for her religious husband and to tell her how much he respects him due to his righteousness and honesty. This will bring comfort to the sister. If only you know the influence of maintaining kin ties. This sister will brag in front of her husband about her brother's visit. Your sister will highly appreciate you if you bring her some gifts, or if you meet some of her needs like warmth and clothes in winter.
By Allah dear brothers, good deeds bring about unimaginable happiness. Those who seek happiness in food, picnics or drinks have overlooked the fact that real happiness comes from offering good deeds which will make man shines like stars. Let me give you this piece of advice: Never abstain from giving due to your limited financial resources, because being deprived of the basic needs is actually worse.
The trust built by kinship should be used to serve Da'wah:
I repeat again, kin ties cannot be maintained by preparing an Eid card and invoking Allah to find no one in the house of your relatives. Real kin ties maintenance is achieved by visiting, meeting, sitting with your relatives and checking on all their conditions (their livelihood, the education of their children and their financial status), and then you meet their needs. After that you guide them to Allah. This is the real "Silah" (maintaining kin ties), and it is one of the highly rewarded deeds at all.
In fact, you cannot ask a stranger from the street to come with you to the Masjid, can you? You will scare him, but if you ask your brother or cousin who knows you very well, he might come with you to the Masjid. Allah says:
﴾ And warn your tribe (O Muhammad PBUH) of near kindred. ﴿
There is trust between relatives and by relying on this trust you can ask your relative to come to the Masjid with you, but you cannot ask a stranger to come with you, because most likely he will decline. Hence, take advantage of this trust among relatives. Allah says:
﴾ And warn your tribe (O Muhammad PBUH) of near kindred. ﴿
By Allah dear brothers, I really admire a brother in this Masjid, because though he is not educated, he longed to be a Da'iyah to Allah, so do you know what he did? He bought cassettes of my lectures and started lending them to his relatives, and he would write down "who" had taken "what". After his relative finishes listening to it, he takes it and gives it to another person, and in this way he has brought so far 20 people of his relatives to the Masjid without saying one word, but he does that through those cassettes only. If you are impressed with a religious session, take its cassette and give it to your relatives and let them take turns in listening to it. Maintaining kin ties is manifested in calling them to Allah, in meeting their needs and in offering good deeds to them. I would like to repeat the words I have said earlier, you may help other people, but those people can be helped by someone else, while your relatives have no one else to help them but you
(('Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Convey from me even an Ayah of the Qur'an"))
How can this be done? Well, you can pass the cassette of a Khutbah you are impressed by to your sister when you pay her a visit, and this is like calling her to Allah in the full meaning of the word. Then after she is done with the cassette, you can pass it to the other sister then to the third, then to your partner in business, then to your colleague and so forth. After a while, you will realize that more than 100 people have heard this Khutbah with their families, and this is as important as Da'wah to Allah.
((Convey from me even an Ayah of the Qur'an))
Da'wah Allah is Fard Ayn towards the people you know and through the knowledge you have:
Da'wah to Allah is Fard Ayn. Allah says:
﴾ By Al-'Asr (the time)* Verily! Man is in loss* Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). ﴿
Frankly, maintaining kin ties means the rich must start visiting the poor and the wretched among their relatives, and they should show them affection and visit them in their houses. I visited a brother once, but he was so embarrassed, because his guest room was very small and even two persons can barely fit in it, but I said to him, "Who are you comparing to the Prophet PBUH? When he PBUH used to offer Salah at night, his room was very small to such an extent that his wife, may Allah be pleased with her had to move to the right so that he would be able to prostrate, given he PBUH is the Master of mankind and the endeared to Al-Haqq (i.e. Allah)." Hence, with your behavior you can sooth hearts of people or make them hate their lives.
((Whoever sows dissention (between people) does not belong to us(to Muslims).))
Talking about the worldly pleasures and talking about the Hereafter:
Dear brothers, talking about the worldly pleasures scatters people, whereas talking about the Hereafter brings them together. During Eid's visits most of the chats (from the side of the rich relatives) will be about where this or that family spent their holiday, and one of the relatives goes on and on talking about the expensive prices of everything, and how he paid 30.000 per day in the hotel. Talking about these matters in front of a poor relative who is an employee and whose income is only 10.000 will leave him in deep pain, won't it? Thus, talking about the worldly pleasures scatters people, but talking about the Hereafter brings people together.
Your success as a believer lies in bringing hearts together in talking about The All-Knowing of the Unseen and in talking about Paradise, because these matters can be achieved by all people. Talk about Salah, about good deeds, about repentance and about donation. In other words, pick a topic which does not make the other feel any superiority from your side, and herein lies your true success, and this is the best way to show your exalted manners. By Allah, some rich people make you yearn to have wealth due to their exalted manners, humility and politeness towards the poor.
Teaching your children to maintain kin ties by example:
The best way to educate your children to become keen on kin ties is to maintain your own kin ties in front of them. You can do that saying, for example, "Let us visit your grandmother", and then you kiss her hand in front of your son, and you bring her a gift or nice food. In return your grandmother will say, "May Allah accept you and help you achieve your goals. I miss you O son." All these nice words are heard by your son, and this is how you teach him. If you want to offer a good deed, take your son with you. If you want to visit your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother, also take him with you, for the most effective means to teach him maintaining kin ties is maintaining them yourself in front of him.
Allah orders the Muslim to look for the needy in this Ayah:
Dear brothers, Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, says:
﴾ (Charity is) for Fuqara (the poor), who in Allah's Cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty.﴿
Who is the one who deserves your help? He is the one who does not ask you to help him, and he is the one who has this sense of self-respect, and this is the one you should look for.
Dear brothers, there is a Fiqhi ruling that goes as follows: "Whatever is necessary for a Fard to be done is Fard unto itself, and whatever is necessary for a mandatory is mandatory unto itself." Allah says:
﴾ (Charity is) for Fuqara (the poor), who in Allah's Cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty. You may know them by their mark, they do not beg of people at all.﴿
Who is the relative who deserves your help? Is he the one who dresses nicely? Definitely, the believer dresses nicely, he is clean and his house is neat, and he never asks due to his self-respect. Furthermore, whenever you ask him about his health or his conditions he would answer, "Praise be to Allah, for everything is going well." This is the one who deserves your donation. So what does Allah assigns you to do in the previous Ayah? He assigns you to look for such a person and to check on his conditions.
Man's success lies in helping the abstinent poor man who deserves his help:
By Allah, whenever I have a relative, who has dignity and never asks, I will insist on him to tell me if he has any debts, and he would be embarrassed in answering me and upon repeating my question, he would answer, "Yes I do", and then I would ask him how much his debt is to pay it. Whoever never asks for people's help is the one who deserves to be given the donation, and he is the one described by Allah as the unlucky in the sense that his means of living has been straitened.
﴾ And those in whose wealth there is a known right* For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living has been straitened); ﴿
He has self-respect which prevents him from asking for people's help, and your success is to look for him and find him. You may ask him if he has debts, and he may refuse first to tell you that he has, but by repeating the question he may tell you. This is the one who deserves your help, and by strengthening your ties with him, you will strengthen your connection with Allah.
If there is social solidarity in Islam, then it will be based on kinship and residence. A lot of Ahadeeth and Ayat instruct us on dealing with neighbors and encourage us to maintain kin ties.
Maintaining kin ties is one of the most exalted acts of worship:
The topic of today is about how to teach your son maintaining kin ties. To do that you should maintain your own kin ties in front of him. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of families who end up in the court of law, and they do not talk to one another.
The only way to exalt the society to a better level is by sticking to this transactional act of worship (i.e. maintaining kin ties). The Ayah which is the foundation of this topic is the following:
﴾ 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). ﴿
This means you should maintain your connection with Allah by abstaining from sins, and you should maintain your kin ties by strengthening them.
Dear brothers, Allah warns us about severing ties of kinship in the following Ayah:
﴾ Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? ﴿
By Allah, I know a very rich man whose mother does not have water in her house and she brings water from outside the house like in old days. She took him to the court to pay her allowance, given she is his own mother; can you believe this? In some families, praise be to Allah, there are affection, love and sympathy amongst the members of the families. I do respect and admire such families who are keen on their kindred even after the father and the mother pass away.