In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Anas Bin Maalik [may Allaah be pleased with him] reported that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] stated during his illness [i.e. the illness through which he passed away], “Your Arhaam! Your Arhaam! [i.e. relatives of the womb!]”. Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadi Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “This hadeeth contains a precious advice (or command) from the noble Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] whose Lord described him in His statement:
[لَقَدۡ جَآءَڪُمۡ رَسُولٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَنفُسِڪُمۡ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيۡهِ مَا عَنِتُّمۡ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيۡڪُم بِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ – Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he is) full of pity, kind, and merciful]. [Surah At-tawbah. Aayah 128]
It is an advice (or a command) about maintaining the ties of kinship, and indeed the command regarding it has been stated in the noble Qur’aan and in the Prophetic Sunnah. As for in the Qur’aan, then indeed Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفۡسٍ۬ وَٲحِدَةٍ۬ وَخَلَقَ مِنۡہَا زَوۡجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنۡہُمَا رِجَالاً۬ كَثِيرً۬ا وَنِسَآءً۬ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى تَسَآءَلُونَ بِهِۦ وَٱلۡأَرۡحَامَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ رَقِيبً۬ا
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. [Surah An-Nisaa. Verse 1]
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] commanded (one) to maintain the ties of kinship and promised reward – in this life and the next – for it. These are upright exhortations. The intent behind the word Ar-Rahim – [relations of the womb] – are one’s relatives on the father’s and mother’s side, and they are of different levels (or categories). Maintaining ties with them aids a person in his worldly affairs to fulfil his needs and makes his affairs easy by the permission of Allaah. And with regards to (deeds related to the) afterlife, it is one of the best deeds through which a servant seeks to get close to Allaah [i.e. to receive the love of Allaah and reward, and repel punishment]. (1)
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Fear Allaah and maintain your ties of kinship”. Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadi Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The hadeeth is very clear in commanding two virtuous acts of worship- a right Allaah is owed and a right owed to the people. As for the right Allaah is owed, it is that one fears Him. Indeed, Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] commanded -in many places in the Qur’aan- that He should be feared, and from them is His statement:
[يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِۦ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسۡلِمُونَ – O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah]. [Surah Aal Imraan. Verse 102]
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said: [يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفۡسٍ۬ وَٲحِدَةٍ۬ – O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) [Surah An-Nisaa. Verse 1]
Allaah [Glorified be He said]:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَقُولُواْ قَوۡلاً۬ سَدِيدً۬ا
يُصۡلِحۡ لَكُمۡ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ فَقَدۡ فَازَ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمًا
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hellfire and made to enter Paradise). [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Verse 70-71]
Allaah connected the good in this life and the next to Taqwa [Fear of Him], just as it is found in His statement:
وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُ ۥ مَخۡرَجً۬ا
وَيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُۚ
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. [Surah At-Talaaq. Aayaat 2-3]; then Allaah said in Aayah 5:
[ وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يُكَفِّرۡ عَنۡهُ سَيِّـَٔاتِهِۦ وَيُعۡظِمۡ لَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡرًا – And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his reward].
These are from the [divine] texts in which Allaah commanded (us) to fear Him. And the reality of Taqwah [Fear of Allaah], as some of the pious predecessors stated, ‘It is to act in obedience to Allaah with a light from Allaah [i.e. guided to know and enabled to perform the act sincerely], hoping for Allaah’s reward, abandon disobedience to Allaah with a light from Allaah [i.e. guided to know what is wrong and being enabled to keep away from it sincerely] and out of fearing Allaah’s punishment’.
The statement of the Prophet in this hadeeth, ‘Fear Allaah’, means to perform acts of obedience to Allaah, abandon disobedience to Allaah, fulfil Allaah’s command, keep away from Allaah’s prohibitions, hasten towards good deeds, and distance yourself from evil manners and repugnant deeds.
As for the right owed to the people, this is referred to in the Prophet’s, ‘Maintain your ties of kinship’. The intent behind this is those related to you through lineage- on the mother’s and father’s side. It is obligated on a person to maintain the ties of kinship with these people as much as one is able by going to visit them, sending them beneficial advice and through wealth. All these are righteous deeds and a right of relatives. And the aim is that one enquires about their circumstances as much as one is able. And if corruption or something harmful enters into a tie of kinship, then one should make an effort to rectify the situation and not cut ties; rather one should make an effort to rectify the evil or mistake, so that Allaah rewards him for keeping the ties of kinship, and for enjoining good and forbidding evil. And if a person has a relative who has many female relatives, whilst he is not married and fears for him (i.e. lest he falls into what is forbidden through direct contact), then keeping the ties of kinship (with this male relative who has many female relatives suffices). It is not a condition that one speaks (in person) to the one who is not from his Mahaarim (a) in order to keep the ties of kinship; rather if he greats her, it should be behind a Hijaab (something prevents them from seeing one another)”. (2)
Second, lets ponder upon two excepts from Al-Allaamah Zayd’s Bin Haadee’s commentary on the two above narrations. Excerpt A is “Maintaining ties with them aids a person in his worldly affairs to fulfil his needs and makes his affairs easy by the permission of Allaah. And with regards to (deeds related to the) afterlife, it is one of the best deeds through which a servant seeks to get close to Allaah [i.e. to receive the love of Allaah and reward, and repel punishment]” and Excerpt B is, “It is obligated on a person to maintain the ties of kinship with these people as much as one is able by going to visit them, sending them beneficial advice and through wealth. All these are righteous deeds and a right of relatives. And the aim is that one enquires about their circumstances as much as one is able”.
Indeed, all praise is due to Allaah who legislated everything beneficial for humankind and Jinn. Every Muslim knows the importance of the family, the clan and the tribe, especially during stressful times and when one – sometimes- experiences exhaustion due to parenting responsibilities. Living in big families – aunties, uncles, grandparents – or at close proximity greatly assist parents through a social support network. Many of us – during childhood – who had close relationships with extended families living at close proximity or even in other cities will never forget the quality time one spent with them, the close bond that enabled one to constantly enquire about the welfare of other family members, the financial assistance that was given during hard times and a wide social network provided for the young ones. Grandparents, aunties and uncles were always present and one cannot count the number of times our parents said to us after a hard day’s work, “I’ve had enough today and off you go to your grandparent’s house, auntie’s house or uncle’s house for the weekend or for a few hours so that I can have a nap”, or “You’ll be spending the day with your grandparents because am off to a Waleemah”. Some of us spent most of our time with grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles, but we also spent enough time with our parents. Time spent at grandparents’ house was precious to us because it was an opportunity to be spoilt and pampered. How many times have we heard our parents scolding us in the presence of our grandparents, but grandma would say, “Leave him or her alone”, then our parents would reply, “Would we have dared do the same in your presence when we were young?” Grandma would just smile because she had no reply. All of this was said with laughter!
Indeed, without this close social support system our parents would have constantly experience parental burnout! So, merciful indeed is Allaah who commanded us to maintain the ties of kinship, and one certainly realizes the reality behind Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadee’s statement that “Maintaining ties with them aids a person in his worldly affairs to fulfil his needs and makes his affairs easy by the permission of Allaah”. [End of quote]
Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘Indeed Ar-Rahim (the womb) derives its root from Ar-Rahmãn (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)'”. [Reported by Bukhaari 5988]
We ask Allaah to provide this social support system to all children Aameen.
Relationship With Society As a Whole
Imaam Shanqeetee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
Ponder upon what the great leader [Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] has been commanded and how he should deal with his society. Allaah [The Most High] said:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ
And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.” [Soorah Aal Imraan: Ayah: 159]
Ponder upon what a person has been commanded and how he should deal with his leader. Allaah [The Most High] said:
[يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ – O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. [Soorah An-Nisaa. Verse 59] (3)
Ponder upon what a person has been commanded to do [in order to safeguard close members] of his society, such as his children and wife. Allaah [The Most High] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded. [Soorah Tahreem. Verse 6]
Ponder upon how (the Qur’aan) has informed the person about cautiousness and resoluteness when dealing his (close) social group in particular- that if he comes across that which is not befitting [from them], he is commanded to pardon and forgive. Firstly, the Qur’aan commands him to be cautious and resolute, and secondly, it commands him to pardon and forgive. Allaah [The Most High] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ ۚ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (i.e. may stop you from the obedience of Allah), therefore beware of them! But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.[Soorah At-Taghaabun. Verse 14]
Ponder upon how individuals in society have been commanded to deal with one another in general. Allaah (The Most High) said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Verily, Allah enjoins Al-Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allah Alone – Islamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsan [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet in a perfect manner], and giving (help) to kith and kin (i.e. all that Allah has ordered you to give them e.g., wealth, visiting, looking after them, or any other kind of help, etc.): and forbids Al-Fahsha’ (i.e. all evil deeds, e.g. illegal sexual acts, disobedience of parents, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right, etc.), and Al-Munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islamic law: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds, etc.), and Al-Baghy (i.e. all kinds of oppression), He admonishes you, that you may take heed. [Soorah An-Nahl: Ayah: 90]
And Allaah [The Most High] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another.”[Soorah Al-Hujuraat. Verse 12]
And He [The Most High] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.). [Soorah Al-Hujuraat. Verse 11]
And He [The Most High] said:
وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ
Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. [Soorah Al-Maa-idah. Verse 2]
And Allaah [The Most High] said: [إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ – The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion)]. [Soorah Al-Hujuraat. Verse 10]
And Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ – And who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation]. [Soorah Ash-Shooraa. Verse 38]
And when it is the case that the individuals of a society are not safe –regardless who they may be-from the hostility and enmity of others in their Jinn or human society, and it is the case that every individual is in need of a remedy for this problem whose trial affects everyone- therefore Allaah [The Most High] clearly prescribed its remedy in three places in His Book. The remedy for human hostility [Ref 2] is that [a person] should turn away from the hostile one and responds to him [or her] with what is better. Allaah [The Most High] said in Soorah Al-Araaf Verse 199: [خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ – Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don’t punish them].
Allaah [The Most High] said Soorah Al-Muminoon Verse 96: [ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ ۚ نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَصِفُونَ – Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter].
Allaah [The Most High] made it more evident that this divine remedy cuts off this satanic ailment and He also made more (evident) that this divine (remedy) is not bestowed upon every person, except upon a person who has been granted in abundance and a great portion [of the happiness in the Hereafter]. Allaah [The Most High] said:
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ
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. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of the happiness in the Hereafter i.e. Paradise and in this world of a high moral character). [Surah Fussilat. Verses 34-35]
And there is no remedy against a devil amongst the Jinn except through seeking refuge with Allaah. Allaah [The Most High] said:
[وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ – And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaitan (Satan) then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower].
Allaah [The Most High] said Soorah Al-Muminoon Verses 97-98:
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ
وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ
And say: “My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayatin (devils). “And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they may attend (or come near) me.”
Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ – And if an evil whisper from Shaitan (Satan) tries to turn you away (O Muhammad) (from doing good, etc.), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower]. [Surah Fussilat Verse 36] [Source: An Excerpt From ‘Al-Islaamu Deenun Kaamilun’. pages 10-12. slightly paraphrased.]
How to Enjoin Good And Forbid Evil In Society
Question to Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him]: Is enjoining good and forbidding evil by the hand obligated on all Muslims, or is it just for those in authority and their deputies?
Answer: Stopping what is wrong is an obligated on all Muslims based on their ability, because the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Whoever sees an evil deed, then let him stop it with their hand [i.e. by taking action based on what the law of a land allows him]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [i.e. by speaking against it based on what the law of a land allows him]; and if he cannot, then with their heart [i.e. by hating in his heart and keeps away from the evil], and that is the weakest of Iman (faith)”. [Reported by Muslim]
However, stopping evil with one’s hand must be based on ability and should not result in greater corruption or evil. A man has the right to rectify matters with his hand (by taking action) in his home in relation to his children, wife, and servants (i.e. baaed on what the law allows). A manager has the authority to make changes with the hand within the organization they are responsible for, in accordance with the instructions that were given to them [i.e. based on the law of the land], but people should not stop anything with their hand which they are not authorized to stop. If they stop that which they have no authority to stop, this will result in more evil and great corruption between them and the people, and between the people and the state. In this case, they should stop evil with their tongue [i.e. by speaking against it in manner allowed by the law]. They may say, “O such and such! Fear Allah! This is not permissible. This is prohibited. This is obligated on you” and clarify the affair with a legislated Islamic proof. This is what can be done with the tongue. As for stopping (evil) with the hand, this should be carried out where one has authority, such as in one’s home – amongst those under one’s responsibility [i.e. within the law], or those authorized by the ruler, such as those given permission and authority to enjoin good. They stop evil in accordance with the authority they have been given – in the way prescribed by the Shari’ah [i.e. based on Islamic law in a Muslim country], without exceeding their jurisdiction. The same applies to the governor of a city to stop evil with his hand in accordance with the instructions he has (been given). [An Excerpt from ‘Fataawa Ibn Baaz 8/208’. Slightly paraphrased]
Living With Non-Muslims In The West: With Fine Conduct
Ref 1: An Excerpt from At-taleeqaat al-maleehah Alaa silsilah al-ahaadeeth As-Saheehah vol 1. Page 62. Slightly paraphrased
Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘At-taleeqaat al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Vol 1. Pages 36-37. Slightly paraphrased
Ref 3: How to Deal With Rulers: