In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Setting a good example for children is an effective way in their upbringing:

Dear brothers, we are still tackling the social education of children, and we are discussing the topic Maintaining Kin Ties. Let me introduce  this topic by reminding you that every father should know his duties towards his kindred and should fulfill them, and this will be the best kind of education his children may get. We tend to believe that there are so many ways to educate children, but what tops them all is to set a good example for them. When the child observes his father checking on his grandmother, and visiting her on regular basis,  respecting and serving her, this will be the best lesson this child may learn, and I for one believe that practical education is more effective that the theoretical one.

You must know that there is a big difference between teachers and Prophets, peace be upon them, for the latter applied what they call people for, so their effects were miraculous on their followers. On the other hand,  an ordinary man may start giving other people religious lessons and talk about perfection although he is not up to his words, and when the knowledge seeker finds out this gap between that man's words and his actions, his Da'wah (call to Allah) becomes meaningless and the education stops to be effective.

I once met a very notable Egyptian scholar, and I asked him about a piece of advice for Du'aat (the Islamic missioners) to Allah. He said briefly, "The Da'iyah (singular of Du'aat) should be keen on avoiding any contradiction between his words and actions to be noticed by those he calls to Allah." In other words, the Da'iyah should set a good example to the ones he calls to Allah. Similarly, parents should set good examples to their children in being dutiful to their grandparents and in maintaining kin ties, so that educating them will be in its highest level. Last lecture we talked about the reality of maintaining kin ties. 

Maintaining kin ties is part of believing in Allah and the Hereafter:

Let us talk today about the fruits of maintaining kin ties:

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be hospitable to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good the ties of blood relationship…"))

[Agreed upon by Abi Hurairah]

How amazing this connection is! The Prophet PBUH connected this virtue and transactional act of worship with man's faith. Accordingly, maintaining kin ties is part of man's faith, so whenever you see someone who claims to be a believer, but he sever his kin ties, be sure that there is something wrong with  his faith, simply because maintaining kin ties is a crucial part of man's faith according to the Prophetic commandment:
 

((… Let him maintain good the ties of blood relationship; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, must speak good or remain silent.))

[Agreed upon by Abi Hurairah]

Being generous to the guests, maintaining kin ties and controlling the tongue are three crucial parts of man's faith according to the Prophet PBUH.

((…Let him maintain good the ties of blood relationship))

The Prophet PBUH elevated this transactional act of worship to the highest level, so  you should be grateful and dutiful to your parents and relatives who are the reason of your existence.

Maintaining kin ties is manifested  in visiting, checking, helping and calling to Allah:

I explained to you last  lecture that maintaining kin ties is not fulfilled by knocking on your relative's door and  hoping that he is not home while you already have prepared a card to put on his door. This has nothing to do with the real meaning of maintaining kin ties. Maintaining kin ties is fulfilled by visiting, checking on relatives, meeting their needs and then calling them to Allah. Hence, you have to check on them with regard to their financial, educational, scientific and social conditions,  in order to meet their needs, and then you can take their hands to Allah the Almighty.
Man should use  the trust between him and his relatives to guide them to Allah: 
There is a very delicate point indicated in the following Ayah: 

﴾ And warn your tribe (O Muhammad PBUH) of near kindred. ﴿  

[Ash-Shu'ara', 214]

Why does Allah start with the near kindred? I will tell you why. If you are heading to the Masjid can you ask a stranger you meet in the street to come with you to the Masjid? No, you cannot, because he does not know you, and he will doubt your intentions, but you can ask your brother, your nephew, your neighbor, your son in law or your cousin to come to the Masjid with you. Kinship means trust, and you should make use of this trust between you and your relatives:

﴾ And warn your tribe (O Muhammad PBUH) of near kindred. ﴿ 

 

[Ash-Shu'ara', 214]

I always say: The minute the true faith settles in the heart of the believer, it starts to manifest itself in his behavior and deeds towards others. It is like filling a pot with water till it overflows. The same goes with the faith in the heart of the believer, for when the heart is full of faith, man starts to guide the people around him to Allah and to His Messenger PBUH. The Prophet PBUH connected this transactional act of worship (i.e. maintaining kin ties) to faith, and according to some scholars, the Prophetic commandment regarding this act of worship is considered the most exalted ones. 

Some of the fruits of maintaining kin ties:

1- Abundance in provision:


Dear brothers: The first fruit of maintaining kin ties is abundance in provision. In fact  dear brothers, every person hears lots of stories due to his relations and position, and I for one know some people who are in the highest ranks of maintaining their kin ties and their provision is abundant thusly. I have a strong relationship with a man who has so many sisters, and he always checks on them, such as helping his nieces at school, helping the other sister with expenses of  her heart surgery and taking care of the third sister whose husband is abroad. This man  strives to meet his sisters' needs; the single and the married ones. Someone else may say, "Why should I help my married sister; she is married, so it is her husband's responsibility to meet her needs", while the man I have just mentioned never said that  and his provision is very abundant.

((On the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (PBUH), who said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said: Spend (on charity), O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you."))

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim and At-Tirmizi from Abi Hurairah]

(("Spend O Bilal whatever you wish, and do not fear any lessening from the Lord of the 'Arsh (Throne)". (That Great Deity that is the Lord of the 'Arsh, nothing will decrease in His Bounties by giving you).))

[At-Tabarani by Bilal]

((Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who desires ample provisions and his life be prolonged, should maintain good ties with his blood relations".)) 

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Anas]

These are but the Prophet's words PBUH.

﴾ Nor does he speak of (his own) desire.﴿ 

 

[An-Najm, 3]

Our Master Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas said, "There are three situations in which I consider myself a real man, and other than them I am just one of the common people. One of them  is that  I never heard something from the Prophet, peace be upon him, but I knew for sure that it is the truth that is revealed to Him from Allah the Almighty." The Prophet PBUH himself promised whoever maintains his kin ties to have abundant provision, and this is but a fruitful outcome.

2- Length in age:

The second fruit is the length in age, but this fruit is controversial, and there are different opinions about its exact meaning. Abdul Hameed bin Badis, the great Algerian scholar, lived only 45 years, yet during his short lifespan he was able to clarify the facts, to give a religious dimension to the Algerian people, to stand up against France (who invaded his country) and to be one of the reasons behind Algeria's independence. How many years did he live? He lived only 45 years.

Imam An-Nawawi, lived less than 50 years as well. Hence, the value of man's age is derived from his big achievements not from the length of his lifespan. It is just like the one million profit the shop owner makes for selling goods in one hour, and the one 100 Lira profit another shop owner makes for selling goods all the day.  (This is the example of having a fruitful life and a fruitless one.

It is all about time value which is derived from the way we spend it. In our previous example the former store owner earned 1 million Liras in one hour which is thousand times better than earning only 100 Liras in ten hours. Therefore, your age is prolonged when it is rich of good deeds. Accordingly, you should believe beyond doubt that richness is all about good deeds, so is poverty. When Prophet Musa (Moses) PBUH helped the two daughters of Prophet Shu'aib PBUH by watering their sheep, Musa PBUH said:

﴾ "My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!" ﴿  

[Al-Qasas, 24]

Hence,  man's lifespan gets longer by being enriched with offering good deeds.

The long life could be meaningful life not long lifespan:

The death of every human being is predestined by Allah, and it will not be delayed or come earlier, so how do we explain the following Hadith:

((He who desires ample provisions and his life be prolonged, should maintain good ties with his blood relations.))

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim by Anas] 

In order to explain this Hadith we say: The length of man's life is based on its content not on the many years he lives. A brother once said to me, "My sister called me and said that she is in dire need of 5000 Liras, and I swear by Allah that amount was all I had, and I had so many responsibilities at that time, so I hesitated to give her the money, and I said to her, 'I will call you back and give you the answer after an hour.' The man went on saying, "I thought and thought, and I desperately needed the money, but my sister is very dear to me, and she asked for the money for something important, so after all that struggle I decided to give her the money. Then, I went to my store, and a customer came in and asked for a kind of confection which I did not have, but I gave him the number of a factory which used to make that kind of confection. In the evening, someone sent me 10.000 Liras, and it seemed that the owner of the factory sold that customer a big order of that confection, so he wanted to show his gratitude for sending that customer to him, and he sent me the money. Imagine in the morning I was so keen on those 5000, but I got them back in the evening as 10.000." Verify, when you maintain your kin ties,  Allah will honor you with  abundant provision.

Whoever spends on his relatives shall be granted abundant provision:

Dear brothers, the problem is that  when we read a Prophetic Hadith we do not take it seriously. When the Prophet PBUH gave us a glad tiding that the one who spends on his relatives shall be provided with his provision from Allah, we should believe in this beyond doubt. Ten years ago a brother had a friend who used to work in selling, and he had to lift goods, so he got spinal disc herniation, and he was instructed by his doctor to lie in bed for a month, so that brother committed himself to spend on his friend the entire month, and he gave him 10.000, only his friend did not get better and was instructed again by his doctor to lie in bed for another month, and that  brother gave him another 10.000.

This story will get weirder, for that brother deals with foreign companies and according to the domestic law, he had to convert Dollars to Syrian Liras  in the Syrian banks where the exchange rate  of the Dollar is less than its rate  in the neighboring countries, and after that incident he was standing in the queue to be paid as usual, but when it was his turn, the clerk received a phone call from his supervisor to change the value of the Dollars to be as the one in the  neighboring countries, so she gave him his money with an extra 40.000Liras. However, after he was paid, the clerk received another phone call  asking her to stop dealing with that order, so the clerk said to that brother, "You are the only person who made benefit of this order."

He paid 20.000 to his friend, and Allah sent him 40.000 instead, and though he did not have much money when he gave his friend that amount, he could not leave him without provision for two months. Stories of this kind are countless. The Prophet PBUH said:

((He who desires ample provisions and his life be prolonged, should maintain good ties with his blood relations.)) 

3- It wards off bad fate:


The third fruit maintaining kin ties brings is protecting man from evil fates. I used to go to my work every day passing by the courthouse, and one day I saw a dead man next to the courthouse with a piece of cloth on him, and it seemed that he died in the street, so he was covered and people waited for the medical examiner to examine the body. I went to my work, sat there for 4 or may be 8 hours, then I went back home from the same course I always used to take, and to my surprise, the dead body was still there because the medical examiner could not make it due to being far from that place.

Some people die in their homes among their children and the people they love, and how  different such death is from the one that occurs while man is in the street.  I was once offering condolences in the deceased's house, and next to me sat an honorable scholar who was one of the famous brilliant Du'aat in Damascus, and as I know he was a virtuous and bold man.  There was a strong amiability between us, and when I asked him about his health, he said he was in good health and did not complain of anything. 

He left the house where the condolences were offered, and he walked a few steps, and then someone he did not know and who lived next to the house we were in, offered to take him to his house. He said, "Would you like me to take you to your home?" The scholar replied, "May Allah bless you my son, yes If you wish." The young man took him to the entrance of his  building. He went up four floors to his home, opened the door, went to his bedroom, took off his turban,  took off his coat, and lay in his bed, and he never woke up after that. Had that young man not taken him to his house by his car, he would have died in the street, but Allah the Almighty wanted to protect his dignity, and He decreed that he would  die on his bed among his family members. His son said to me, "You were the last one who had a conversation with him." 

Good deeds protect from evil fates:

As I have just said, maintaining kin ties protects from evil fates. How honorable it is to man when he dies among the members of his family, his sons and his daughters, while he is dignified and  surrounded with love instead of dying in the street. A man in India claimed to be the seal of Prophets not in the sense that he was the last of them, but he claimed  that he was the only prophet. At that time there was an epidemic flue, and he claimed that because he was a prophet he would never be afflicted with that disease. Yet, he was afflicted with that disease, and he died in the restroom. It is a well-known story. The Prophet PBUH talked about the good deeds in another Hadith:
 

((Good deeds protect from evil fates.))

[At-Tabarani by Abi Umamah Al-Bahili]

The proof of that is in the following Ayah:

﴾ Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, in their present life and after their death? ﴿ 

 

[Al-Jathiyah, 21]

I am addressing the youth amongst you: There is no Ayah in the Quran that fills the heart of the young man with tranquility like the following Ayah:

﴾ Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds. ﴿ 

 

 [Al-Jathiyah, 21]

Those who don't enter the worldly paradise shall never enter the Paradise in the Hereafter:

Pay attention to this part of the Ayah: 
    

﴾In their present life ﴿ 

It is a reference to the worldly life.

﴾ But for him who [the true believer of Islamic Monotheism who performs all the duties ordained by Allah and His Messenger Muhammad PBUH, and keeps away (abstain) from all kinds of sin and evil deeds prohibited in Islam and] fears the standing before his Lord, there will be two Gardens (i.e. in Paradise). ﴿ 

 

[Ar-Rahman, 46]

There are Paradise in worldly life and Paradise in the Hereafter. Man's life can be just like paradise when he enjoys his life at home, with his wife and with his children, when he has  good reputation, when he has an exalted social standing, when he offers good deeds and when he is  the offspring of exalted bloodline. The Ayah goes on as follows:

﴾ In their present life and after their death? ﴿ 

 

[Al-Jathiyah, 21]

By Allah, I know a benevolent  man who lived for 88 years; do you know where did he die? He died on the night of Qadr while he was reciting the Quran. Also few months ago, one of the most notable scholars in Damascus died while he was in the Masjid offering Friday prayer. Other people die while they are prostrating, offering Salah, or being in the Masjid, whereas wrong doers  may die in the restroom and this is but evil fate.
 

﴾ Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, in their present life and after their death? ﴿ 

 

[Al-Jathiyah, 21]

﴾ Worst is the judgement that they make.﴿ 

[Al-Jathiyah, 21]

4- It prospers homes and increases wealth:


Maintaining kin ties is a social act of worship, it maintains the prosperity of people's houses,  and it increases their wealth according to the following Prophetic Hadith:

((Allah maintains people's houses and increases their wealth. He was asked: "How O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "When they maintain their kin ties"))

[At-Tabarani by Abdullah bin Abbas]

It maintains people's prosperity in their homes, and it increases  their wealth.

5- It forgives sins and errors:


Maintaining kin ties, which is a social act of worship, is the means to have man's shortcomings and errors forgiven:

((A man came to the Prophet PBUH and said: 'Indeed I have committed a major sin, is there any repentance for me?' The Prophet PBUH said: 'Do you have a mother?' He answered: 'No.' The Prophet PBUH said: 'Do you have an aunt (mother's sister)?' He answered: 'Yes.' The Prophet PBUH said: 'Then be good to her.'))

[At-Tabarani by Abdullah bin Abbas]

By the way, the aunt is like the mother, and the uncle is like the father. This means that Allah will forgive your sins if you serve your aunt and uncle.

6- It makes man's reckoning easy and it admits him to Paradise:

Among the fruits of maintaining kin ties is making man's reckoning  easy and helping him be admitted to Paradise:

((Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet PBUH said: "O Uqbah whoever has three things will have easy reckoning by Allah and will be admitted to Paradise by  His Mercy" He said: "What are they O messenger of Allah, let my parents sacrifice their lives for you?" He said: "Give whoever deprives you, reconcile whoever cuts you off, and pardon whoever wrongs you. If you do so, Allah will admit you to Paradise."))

[At-Tabarani by Abi Hurairah]

Man should encourage this social act of worship and turn it into reality:

Dear brothers, one of the very crucial Ahadeeth is the following:

((Jubair bin Mut'am (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "The one who severs the ties of kinship will not enter Paradise.")) 

[Agreed upon]

Dear brothers, after mentioning all these Ahadeeth which encourage us to offer this social transactional act of worship (i.e. maintaining kin ties), what should we do? If you have nephews or nieces, you can set up a meeting with them once a week and deliver to them a nice well prepared lecture like interpreting an Ayah from the Quran interpreting a Hadith or telling them a story of one of the companions. These meetings spread affection and maintain kin ties. In other words, you can offer a good deed to your family and relatives, and this deed can be as simple as preparing a nice lecture of an interpretation of Hadith, Ayah, Islamic ruling or a story of one of the companions, and by being kind to them and generous, you fulfill the duty of calling them to Allah the Almighty.

((Sahl b. Sa'd reported the Prophet (PBUH) as saying: I swear on Allah, it will be better for you that Allah should give guidance to one man through your agency than that you should acquire the red ones among the camels.))

[Agreed upon by Sahl bin Sa'd]

This is one narration. According to another narration, the Prophet PBUH said:

 

((… Is better for you than anything over which the sun rises))

[At-Tabarani by Abi Rafe']

According to a third narration, the Hadith goes as follows:
 

((…Is far better than the world and all that it contains.))

[Al-Ihya' Al-Iraqi]

Let us move  to the practical aspect of this act of worship: Is there any person who has no relatives, nor brothers, nor sisters nor nieces nor nephews? If you are at the high school in the tenth or eleventh grade, I think you are capable of preparing a half hour lesson about an Ayah you have heard on Friday prayer, a nice Hadith you came across in Riyad As-Saliheen, or a story of one of the companions which you heard and touched by. Then you can gather your nieces and nephews, and you may prepare some refreshments and snacks for them and you give them this lesson. In this case you maintain your ties with your sister and nieces fulfilling by that this social act of worship and turning it into reality.  

7- It exalts man to the highest ranks on the Day of Resurrection:

Among the fruits of this exalted social act of worship is elevating its performer to the highest ranks on the Day of Resurrection. It is narrated that the Prophet PBUH said:

((Shall I not tell you something by which Allah elevates ranks (in Jannah)?" they said, "Yes O Messenger of Allah" He said, "Tolerate whoever wrongs you, pardon  whoever oppresses you, give  whoever deprives you  and maintains the ties with the one who cuts you off.))

[Al-Bazzar from Ubadah Ibn As-Samit]

Reciprocity has no place in the believer's life: 

I would like to shed a light on a crucial point that is based on the following Hadith:

(('Abdullah bin 'Amr Al-'as (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "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) …."))

[Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawod and At-Tirmizi from 'Abdullah bin 'Amr Al-'as]

Some people visit their relatives when the latter visit them, they give them gifts when the latter give them gifts and they invite them when the latter are invited by them, but if they do not visit or give them gifts they treat them with the same attitude and they do not visit or give them gifts. Reciprocity should have no place in the believer's attitude towards his relatives, and we are not going to discuss it since it is not part of this social act of worship. 

(('Abdullah bin 'Amr Al-'as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "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."))

[Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawod and At-Tirmizi from 'Abdullah bin 'Amr Al-'as]

The bottom line is that reciprocity attitude is not part of the believer's behavior in the sense that the believer maintains the kin ties with those he serves,  he forgives the one who wrongs him and he gives the one who deprives from him. 

It is out of sincerity to fear Allah in public and in private: 

The following Hadith is very delicate:

((The Prophet PBUH said: "Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear Allah in private and in public…"))

[Ziyadat Razeen from Abi Hurairah]  

What marks your sincerity is that you fear Allah at home the same way you fear Him in public. This means that your performance of acts of worship, your righteousness and your piousness are the same whether in public or in private. Thus, the believer's attitude is the same publically and secretly, his intentions are the same as his deeds, and he is transparent.

((Fear Allah in private and in public…))

What proves the believer's sincerity is that he does not have double face, he does not have an attitude in public and a hidden agenda in secret and he does not have two personalities, for the two-faced person has no worth in the Sight of Allah.

((Fear Allah in private and in public…))

Some scholars said that one of the signs of the sincere believer is that his deeds in public are the same as his deeds in private, and when he is praised by people or dispraised it is the same to him.

﴾ (Saying): "We feed you seeking Allah's Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. ﴿ 

 

[Al-Insan, 9]

Man should be objective in his rage and content:

The previous Hadith goes as follows: 

((…Justness, whether in anger or in calmness…))

While the Prophet PBUH was checking the captives after Badr Battle,  he found his son in law Abu Al-A's who came with Kuffar to fight him, yet the Prophet PBUH said, "He was a very good son in law"

((…Justness, whether in anger or in calmness…))

The fiancé is usually praised by his parents in law and he is elevated to the highest rank, but when the engagement is broken up, he is dispraised and accused of having psychological disorders, and that  he is epileptic. People tend to exaggerate in their praising and dispraising in a very dramatic way, while they are supposed to be objective when they give their opinion about someone, for objectivity is a scientific and moral value.

((…Justness, whether in anger or in calmness…))

You should be truthful and should say the word of truth whether you are angry or calm.

((…Moderation in both poverty and affluence…))

Man tends by nature to break away from religion when he is in prosperity, but when he is in hardship, he resorts to the Masjid. A brother told me that in Istanbul they used to have only one raw of prayers in the Masjid, but after the earthquake, the Masjid became full of prayers to such an extent that people had to offer Salah on the sidewalk and the street next to the Masjid.

((…Moderation in both poverty and affluence…))

The believer should forgive those who mistreat him:
The success lies in applying and fulfilling commandment:

((… That I should join hands with those who break away from me…))

If someone breaks ties with you, you should maintain them again, if he does not visit you, you should visit him and if he does not invite you to his son's wedding, you should invite him to your son's wedding. Thus, even if he breaks  ties with you, you should maintain them again (this is the true success).
 

((… That I should join hands with those who break away from me…))

This entails deep perception and exalted soul, but there is no virtue in treating people reciprocally.

((Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear Allah in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And to give those who deprived from me and to forgive those who wronged me))

When the Prophet PBUH conquered Makkah with an army of 10.000soldiers equipped with their shining swords, and they were waiting for one word from  the Prophet PBUH to end the existence of Kuffar who tortured his companions, got him out of Makkah,  killed his companions and fought him in Badr, Uhud and Al-Khandaq, he said to them: 

(("What do you think I will do with you?" They said, "Only good, O noble brother, son of a noble brother." The Prophet PBUH said: "Go, you are free."))

[The Prophetic biography]

((…And to give those who deprived from me and to forgive those who wronged me))

The older brother sometimes puts his hand on the entire heritage and leaves his brothers in poverty, but Allah the Almighty may honor one of those deprived siblings, and in this case the latter should maintain the ties with the old brother who deprived him of his heritage (and this is success).
 

((…And to give those who deprived from me))

The last three ones are:

((And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of Allah; And my vision keen observation;))

Truly, it is an outstanding Hadith.

((Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear Allah in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And to give those who deprived from me and to forgive those who wronged me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of Allah; And my vision keen observation))

[Razin from Abi Hurairah]

Preventing mischief is favored over  bringing about benefits:

There is one last point about maintaining kin ties: You should be careful of maintaining your kin ties with your aunt, for example, since you know that her daughters are not religious, and their outfits are not decent. Actually, it is not out of maintaining kin ties to sit with them and to laugh and chat, and in this case we say:  Leave this goodness, because it is potential evil, and keep in mind that preventing mischief is favored over  bringing about benefits. This kind of maintaining kin ties is not allowed, because your female cousins are strangers to you, so kin ties should not be maintained by mingling with the other gender and looking at one another, and all of such acts do not please Allah. Leave offering goodness if there is potential evil within, and remember that preventing mischief is more important  than bringing about benefits. 

In such cases what should you do? You can visit your aunt making sure that she is at home, and you make the visit short and ask if she needs anything and then go. Also, you can call her over the phone and ask her if she needs anything and that you are ready at any time to help her, or you can swing by her house and ask her if she needs anything then you go right away. The main thing is that you should maintain your kin ties without committing other errors. Let me remind you of this point one last time: Leave offering goodness which might have potential evil within and be aware that preventing mischief is more important than bringing about benefits. 
 

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations