Q. What are the virtues of maintaining family ties?
A. “Among the greatest acts of virtue is that a man be kind to the friends of his father after his (the father’s) death.” — Hadith. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) described silah rahmi (kindness and assistance) to the friends of one’s father to be among the greatest acts of virtue. From this Hadith it is simple to understand the greater virtue of silah rahmi with relatives. What is the Islamic concept of Silah Rahmi? A man came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and said: “O Rasulullah! I observe silah rahmi with my relatives (being kind to them and aiding them). However, they sever ties with me. I am kind with them whilst they are harsh with me. I overlook their faults, but they revile me.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “If indeed you are as you have explained, then you have humiliated them (i.e. their evil reaction to your kindness, etc. has humiliated them). A helper appointed by Allah Ta’ala is constantly with you. He wards off their mischief as long as you maintain your attitude (of silah rahmi).” In another Hadith Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explaining the meaning of Silah Rahmi said: “A perfect person of Silah Rahmi is not a man who repays kindness with kindness. A perfect man of Silah Rahmi is he who is kind towards those who sever ties with him.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also said: “Whoever wishes for increase in his rizq (earnings) should be kind to relatives (i.e. practice silah rahmi).
Q. To what extent are we obliged to maintain family ties? What if we are required to commit haraam in order to maintain such ties?
A. “Beware of Allah, The One to Whom you supplicate for your needs, and beware of (breaking) family ties.” (Qur’aan), “And give to the relatives (family members) their rights (which are due to them).”(Qur’aan) The sustainment and maintenance of family ties are Waajib commands which have to be observed with great care. As long as this sustainment does not infringe on any laws of Allah Ta’ala, it has to be incumbently observed. The punishment in both worlds is severe for violating the rights of relatives and family members. Family members (Zul Qurbaa) in this context does not refer to only the wife and children. The term brings within its scope all relatives. Parents, brothers, sisters, step-parents, step brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, etc., are all within the ambit of Zul Qurbaa. All these relatives have rights on a man.
Usually the biggest stumbling block and opponent of a man in his endeavour to serve his parents and fulfil the rights of other relatives thereby conforming to the Qur’aanic command of sustaining family ties, is the wife. Most wives are averse to the relatives of their husbands. They develop considerable hasad (jealousy) for the relatives of their husbands. In her nefarious bid to thwart and prevent the husband from rendering service and spending part of his wealth in upholding the Shariah’s commands to sustain family ties, the wife engages in intrigue and conspiracy. She creates a great upheaval in the home bringing bitterness which may lead to even the break-up of the marriage.
She maintains a constant barrage of pressure in her shaitaani plot to prevent her husband from maintaining close ties and from offering aid and service to his relatives. Many husbands, due to their own weakness, submit to the evil dictates of the evil woman and either sever ties with their family or refrain from fulfilling their rights which the Shariah has imposed on them. Other men again ignore the tantrums of their wives and refuse to buckle under the haraam pressure their wives exercise. They choose the option of a tumultuous married life, but remain steadfast in the execution of the Waajib duty to sustain family ties.
Sustainment of family ties should not be misunderstood. In many quarters there exists the misunderstanding that family ties should be sustained at all costs, even at the cost of violating the Shariah and invoking the Wrath of Allah Ta’ala. It is haraam to go to this extreme. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) clearly stated that it is not permissible to obey anyone in any act which involves transgression. When Allah’s Shariah is being flouted by relatives, e.g. at wedding functions, etc., then it is not permissible to accept their invitation to attend. If family ties have to be severed in such cases, the sin devolves on those who commit haraam and invite others to haraam as well. Non-participation in haraam activities cannot be equated to severence of family ties. Sustainment of family ties means to render service to family members. To be kind and helpful to them. To go to their aid when they are in need. To spend on them within the limits of one’s income. To give them Deeni Naseehat. To overlook their faults. Not to fight with them when it is reported that they had spoken ill of one.
The significance and great importance of sustaining family ties will be understood better from the following Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The superior rank of kindness to one’s father is that one is kind to the friends of one’s father after his demise.” (Mishkaat). When sustainment of family ties brings within its scope even the friends of one’s father after his death, it will be readily understood how important and necessary is this Waajib sustainment during the lifetime of one’s parents and other members of the family.
Q. Is it permissible to go on a journey at the displeasure of, and against the wishes of one’s mother?
A. A man left from the City of Farghaanah (in Central Asia) with the intention of performing Nafl Hajj. When he reached Nishapur, he went to visit Hadhrat Abu Uthmaan Al-Khairi (rahmatullah alayh). He made Salaam, but Hadhrat Abu Uthmaan did not respond. Feeling annoyed, the man reflected in his mind: ‘It is indeed surprising that a Muslim does not respond to the Salaam of another Muslim!’ By kashf it was revealed to Hadhrat Abu Uthmaan what the man was thinking. He commented: “Does a person perform Hajj whilst abandoning his ailing and grieving mother?” Jolted by this truth, the man abandoned his plan for Hajj, and immediately set off to return to Farghaanah. He remained in his mother’s service until her death. After his mother’s demise he travelled to Nishapur to be in the company of Hadhrat Abu Uthmaam Al-Khairi. When Hadhrat Abu Uthmaan saw the man, he leapt up, embraced and honoured him. He remained in the company of Hadhrat Abu Uthmaan until the latter’s demise.
The rights of a mother, in fact the rights of parents, are sacred. The importance and sanctity of the rights of parents increase with age. The bond of parenthood becomes stronger with time. Even if the son reaches 60 years, he remains a child to his parents and it remains his obligation to keep them happy in all lawful things. It is not permissible for even the adult or elderly son to depart on a journey without the happy consent and blessings of his parents. And a journey in terms of the Shariah is a distance of 77 kilometres or more. Children should not deprive themselves of the wonderful Duas of their parents when they go on a journey. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) described the Dua of parents as ‘Mustajaab (readily acceptable), without doubt’. Most people indoctrinated with western ideas are oblivious of the Waajib rights of their parents. The western cult of life is the life-style of animals. The parental bond fades into oblivion for animals.
Q. A man abused his aged mother (72 years) by using vulgar language. What amends should he make to be absolved of his grave sin?
A. There is the grave danger of the man who abused his aged mother dying without Imaan. He has to compulsorily, fall at her feet and beg her for forgiveness. Then, he should go out of his way to keep her happy. He should buy gifts for her and ask her repeatedly for her needs and satisfy her. If he fails in this, he will regret when it is too late to regret. That is, at the time of Maut.
Q. A wealthy man in our town has applied to the court for the ejectment of his 80 year old mother who is staying in one of his cottages. The other brothers are defending the matter, but this brother is adamant and simply wants to throw his aged mother into the street. He has obtained a court ejectment order, but the order has been stalled since the other brothers are defending the matter. The wealthy son says openly that he does not care for his mother and that he only wants her out of his cottage. What is the Shariah’s ruling?
A. There is no Shar’i ruling for a non-Muslim. This man is not a Muslim. He has no Imaan. Only a callous non-Muslim who perhaps is an atheist will behave so cruelly to his own aged mother. Definitely he is not a Muslim, hence he behaves in this vile manner. Even if his mother is a prostitute, he has no right to have her ejected from the cottage.
Q. An adult son breaks ties with his father because of the stringent Deeni impositions of his father. He cuts all ties, preventing his wife and children also from visiting his father. Please comment on his attitude.
A. Neither his Nafl nor Fardh acts of ibaadat are accepted by Allah Ta’ala. This evil son is deprived from the special Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala, which settles on the entire Ummah on the auspicious Nights of Qadr and Baraa’ah. He is deprived of the special daily Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala which reaches children via the agency of their father. The la’nat (curse) and ghadhab (wrath) of Allah Ta’ala perpetually settles on this disobedient son. A variety of other calamities will descend on him right in this world.
The punishment for causing heartache to parents commences in this world. It is not postponed for the Aakhirah. The barkat of his earnings is eliminated and his lifespan is shortened. And, worst of all, the danger of him dying without Imaan overhangs him. The episode of Hadhrat Alqamah (radhiyallahu anhu) who was a famous Aabid among the Sahaabah, is a fearful example of the ultimate consequence which awaits such children who cause the hearts of parents to bleed. Even if his father reprimands and abuses him without justification, then too it is haraam for the son to sever ties. It remains Waajib for him to submit in obedience to all the lawful wishes of his father. This is adequate commentary for anyone who possesses Imaan and even a degree of fear for Allah Ta’ala.
About your father, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: • “The pleasure of Allah lies in the pleasure of your father, and the anger of Allah lies in the anger of your father.” • “Verily, your father is the central gate of admission to Jannat (for his children). Therefore (O son / daughter!) destroy this central gate if you prefer, or guard it.” • “Verily, among the best of good deeds for a man is to be kind to relatives and friends of his father, after his death.” • To cast a gaze of affection at your father gains for you the thawaab of a Hajj.
Q. My father is extremely abusive. For any little thing which displeases him he uses vulgar language to scold me. In view of his conduct I have distanced myself from him. My mother rebukes me for my attitude. Am I in error? Am I not justified on account of the abusive conduct of my father?
A. Inspite of the abusive and sinful conduct of your father, your behaviour is worse. You have opened up the gates of Jahannum for yourself. You have no option other than to tolerate the vulgar tongue of your father. Read and reflect on the gracious statements of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which appear above [previous question], then make your decision for your ruin or salvation.
Q. I have a son who became an Aalim and a Haafiz in another town. After six years he got married in the town where he studied. I have several times instructed him to come to his home and assist me, but he flatly refuses. I pleaded with the principal of his Madrasah and with the person whom he has adopted as his sheikh to advise him to return home, but to no avail. He is employed by the Madrasah where he studied. Inspite of my pleadings, reprimands and displeasure, he has chosen to ignore me. Do I as a father have any Shar’i right of calling him back home? Do his Shaikh and Ustaadh have more rights over him than his father?
A. The father has greater rights over his son than Ustaadhs and his Shaikh. First comes the haq of the father, then of the Ustaadh and lastly of the Shaikh. Undoubtedly, your son is disobedient and inviting the Wrath of Allah Ta’ala on himself. But, you should accept the position and not curse your son. Today, children are signs of Qiyaamah. They are closer to outsiders than to their own parents. When even so-called Aalims behave in this callous manner, what can be expected of the ignorant masses? Deeni Talaba are no longer painted with the hues of the Deen because they lack the suhbat of the Auliya. Such Suhbat is a sealed avenue in these times. We thus see students studying big kitaabs—tafseer, Fiqah and Hadith—without understanding the message of Allah and His Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) conveyed by the kutub.
After Hadhrat Haaji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh) had migrated to Makkah Mukarramah, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) in the company of his father went for Hajj. In Makkah Hadhrat Haaji Saheb requested Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi to remain with him. Hadhrat Thanvi was elated to be blessed with this wonderful opportunity. However, his father vetoed the idea, and Haaji Saheb instructed Hadhrat Thaanvi to return home with his father. But this understanding no longer exists today, not in students, not in their Asaatizah and not in their Shaikhs.
Q. What is the ruling of the Shariah regarding a son who has severed relationship with his father and is not on speaking terms with him because of worldly reasons?
A. This crime even if related to Muslims who are outsiders is exceptionally evil. The consequence are dire in both this world and the Aakhirah. When related to one’s own father, there are no words to describe the villainy of such a son. The general ruling of the Shariah pertaining to this crime even regarding outsiders is mentioned as follows in Jam’ul Fawaaid: “It is not halaal for a Mu’min to sever ties with another Mu’min for more than three days. After the third day, it (is Waajib) for him to meet his brother Muslim and offer Salaam to him. If he responds, then both join in the (immense) thawaab (of joining the ruptured ties). If he does not respond to the Salaam, he becomes sinful. In one narration it is added: He who severs ties for more than three days and dies (in this period), enters Jahannum.” As far as one’s parents are concerned, it is not halaal to sever ties for even three minutes. The son who commits this heinous crime, exposes himself to the ruin of his Imaan. He can be deprived of the Kalimah at the time of Maut.
Q. I am an aged man. My son told his mother that he has been contributing towards my expenses for too long. His duty is now over. Is this Islamically acceptable?
A. It is never acceptable in Islam. It is the Waajib obligation of the sons to support their parents until the day they close their eyes in this world. Your son is in grave error. He courts Allah’s Wrath and Curses if he withholds assistance from you.
Q. A son works in his father’ shop. Although his father sees to the expenses of the son’s home and family, he does no pay him a fixed wage. Will the son be within his rights to ask his father to pay him a wage?
A. It is not permissible for the son to demand wages from his father. A wage contract between father and son is not valid in the Shariah because it is Waajib on the son to render service to his father.
Q. Zaid has a business which he himself had started. After operating his business successfully for a few months, Zaid’s father enters and takes control of the business. He regulates the business and does not allow Zaid to take money from the business as he pleases. The father says that he will supervise the business. Zaid is allowed to take whatever he requires from the business. The father also takes his expenses from the business. He has no other income. Besides what he takes for his living, he says that he will retain all the profit for Zaid. But Zaid is dissatisfied with this arrangement. An acrimonious dispute has developed between father and son. Zaid wants the Ulama to arbitrate in this dispute. What does the Shariah say in this matter?
A. Zaid should firstly understand that irrespective of his father’s injustice, he (Zaid) has no right to stand up against him. It is despicable for Zaid to even think of submitting this matter for arbitration. He has not understood the rank and superiority of a father. The son is like a slave to his father. If the father wrongs the son, Allah Ta’ala will take him to task. But here on earth, the son has no right of rebelling against his father or to resort to legal measures or any other measure for securing any of his rights. He should be tolerant and obedient to his father. He should submit and understand that all his wealth cannever compensate and repay the father for the struggle which he had undergone to rear his son from infancy to adulthood. Zaid is indeed displaying an evil attitude.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) once told a Sahaabi that “you and your wealth belong to your father”. The pleasure of the father is infinitely superior to the business which Zaid is covetting. Undoubtedly, it is not permissible for a father to misappropriate the wealth and property of his children. He will be answerable to Allah Ta’ala for any misappropriation. But, children should not take any action against their father in monetary matters of this nature. The father is entitled to take from his son’s wealth his living expenses. There is no need for Zaid to call for an arbitration. In fact, it is highly improper for a son to resort to such a measure.
Q. If parents pressurize their son to remove his beard and they order him to do so, will he be committing a sin if he complies with their instruction? Is it a valid argument that the son will not be sinful on account of obeying his parents because the Shariah commands obedience to parents?
A. This argument is baseless and stupid. Obedience to parents is only in lawful things, not in haraam things. It is haraam for the son to obey his parents and remove his beard. His parents will not be able to assist him when Allah’s punishment overtakes him in the grave and in the Aakhirah. Parents who compel their children to commit such kabeerah sins should beware. The senior Ulama have said that there is the grave danger of the end of such parents being in kufr. May Allah Ta’ala save us all.
Q. Whose duty is it to look after aged parents? All the sons and daughters are married and live away from their parents. The sons and the daughters are disputing among themselves on this issue.
A. It is the Waajib (compulsory) duty of the sons to take care of their parents and to maintain them financially if they (the parents) are in need. If there are no sons or if the sons fail in their obligation, then the daughters should care for their parents with the permission of their husbands. The husband has a greater right over his wife than her parents. If the sons commit the great sin of refusing to look after their parents, then the sons-inlaw should allow their wives to attend to their parents. If they refuse permission to their wives to take care of their parents, then the daughters have to attend to their parents even without the permission of their husbands. But this will be permissible only if the parents are truly in need of aid and the sons miserably fail in their obligation. The sons who refuse to take care of their parents come under the wrath and curse of Allah Ta’ala. Even their Salaat is not accepted. It is not permissible for a daughter-in-law to prevent her husband from tending to his parents. Although it is not compulsory on the daughter-in-law to take care of her husband’s mother, nevertheless, it is her moral duty to make it easy for her husband and to assist him in caring for his parents. She will gain immense reward for this service. It is haraam for the daughter-in-law to try to prevent her husband from taking care of his parents. Parents-in-law are in the category of one’s parents.
Q. What should a son do when his parents invite him and his wife for meals? His parents consume SANHA certified chickens, and the son believes that such chickens are haraam.
A. The son should not eat their haraam food. He should inform them of the reason why he is abstaining from their food. He should not disrespect them or speak harshly with them, but at the same time he has to inform them that the chickens are diseased, haraam carrion. It is not permissible to obey the haraam wishes of parents.
Q. My son works with me in the shop. I give him a wage and see to all his other expenses. I have sold the business for a substantial amount. He now demands half of the money claiming that he had worked for years to build up the business. According to the Shariah do I have to give him anything?
A. According to the Shariah, your son is most ungrateful and insolent for demanding anything from the money. The Shariah position is very clear. When children work together with their parents in a business, then everything belongs to the parents. Children have to be satisfied with whatever the parents give them. But you have given him more than enough – more than what he deserved. Don’t give him a cent more.
Q. Do non-Muslim grandparents have rights over their Muslim grandchildren?
A. Yes, they do have rights. Even non -Muslim grandparents have similar rights over their Muslim grandchildren as Muslim grandparents. This applies to all worldly issues. As long as no conflict with the Shariah is involved, the Muslim grandchildren should respect and assist their non-Muslim grandparents and also give them da’wat of the Deen.
Q. My brother is divorced and living with my mother in the family home. Does he have to pay rent to us?
A. If he can afford to contribute towards the house expenses, then it is his duty to do so. If he is unemployed and lacks the means, then obviously he will not be in position to pay. The family should then accommodate him happily.
Q. On Eid days I don't visit my uncles and other relatives because they do not observe purdah when I am there. They eat carrion halaalized by SANHA. They have television. They say that I am breaking family ties. Are they correct?
A. They with their haraam practices are guilty of breaking family ties. You are quite right for not visiting such relatives who have no care for Hijaab and who flagrantly violate the Shariah. You must be firm and ignore their criticism. But, be polite and respectful. With firmness, they will eventually understand the Haqq. Don’t allow anyone to bend you as if you are wax.
Q. For how long is a man required to support his children?
A. The father has to maintain his children until they are able to support themselves. As far as daughters are concerned, he has to support them until they are married.
Q. Is there purdah between my uncle's wife and me?
A. Full Hijaab (Purdah) has to be observed for the uncle’s wife if she is not your paternal or maternal aunt.
Q. Is it permissible for a man to hug his mother-in-law?
A. It is not permissible for a son-in-law to even shake hands with his mother-in-law. He may greet her and speak respectfully to her. He may not be alone with her nor is she allowed to travel with him even if his wife is present unless it happens to be an emergency. It is haraam for him to hug her. If he does so, and if he becomes sexually stirred even slightly when hugging her, then his Nikah with her daughter will immediately terminate, and there will be no way of them ever living as husband and wife. A new Nikah will not be valid between them.
Q. What are the rights of the biological father over his illegitimate child?
A. Zina (adultery/fornication) does not give rise to rights. It gives rise to punishment. A man is not the legal father of the illegitimate children he ‘fathers’. Such children will not inherit in his estate. He has no rights over them.
Q. I am a young girl. My parents insist that I attend university. I am averse to go to university as I understand the Islamic requirement of Hijaab. My parents and other family members say that I shall be punished by Allah Ta’ala for being disobedient to my parents. Please advise me. What should I do in this predicament?
A. You appear to be an intelligent girl. It should not be difficult for you to understand what you should do. If your parents insist that you abandon Islam, will you do so? It is haraam for you to obey your parents in their haraam wishes. It is haraam for you to go to university. You are inviting the Wrath and the La’nat (Curse) of Allah Ta’ala and His Malaaikah on you if you attend university. Even if your parents threaten to expel you from the home, you should remailfirm in your refusal. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that obedience to any being which involves disobedience to Allah Ta’ala is not lawful. You are not permitted to put yourself up for prostitution to satify the satanis desires desires of your parents. University is another name for fornication and prostitution. No one ever emerges unscathed from such an evil abode. The early Muslims had to sacrifice even their lives under torture for the sake of their Imaan. You are called on to only abstain from a place of immorality for the sake of your Imaan.
Q. Does a stepmother have any rights over her step-children?
A. Yes, she does have rights over them. They have to respect and honour her as if she is their own mother and she is their responsibility in the absence of their father.
Q. It is known and understood that abortion is not permissible in Islam. If, however, the woman is an invalid and definite medical proof shows that childbirth will be extremely detrimental to the health of the woman, would it be permissible to resort to abortion under such circumstances?
A. Once life enters the foetus, abortion will never be permissible no matter what the circumstances. However, prior to life entering the foetus, abortion will he permissible if valid grounds exist, and if the medical experts say that childbirth will be “extremely detrimental” to a particular woman, abortion of the dead foetus will be permissible. However, abortion of even the dead foetus without reason is Haraam. (Answer taken from Imdaadul fataawa).
Q. Will a foetus in a miscarrage also intercede for its parents on the Day of Qiyaamah?
A. Even such a foetus will intercede for its parents. On the Day of Qiyaamah the foetus will be a perfectly developed child.
Q. All our children are now married. My wife now wants to learn to drive and apply for a job. What is the Shariah’s position?
A. Now when it is time for her to forge stronger links with Allah Ta’ala, to slacken her worldly ties and to make greater preparations for the grave and Aakhirah, she goes into the opposite direction. Her attitude does not bode well. If a person moves further from the Aakhirah the older he/she gets by the day, it indicates deprivation from Allah’s mercy. Her attitude and desires are highly detrimental for her Imaan. It is haraam for her to learn to drive and to seek a job, and it is haraam for you as her husband to allow her latitude in committing haraam.
Q. Whose responsibility is it to maintain an unmarried adult female who has no source of income?
A. It is firstly the responsibility of her father. Thereafter it is the duty of her brothers, then of her paternal uncles.
Q. A Muslim woman abandoned Islam, becoming an atheist. Is it permissible for her relatives to accept gifts from her?
A. It is not permissible to accept any gift from the murtaddah (renegade) nor is it permissible to maintain any ties with her. It is Waajib to sever all ties with her.
Q. Is it permissible for the maternal grandfather to loan out the money of his minor grandchildren?
A. Even the paternal grandfather may not lend out the money of his minor grandchildren. The maternal grandfather features nowhere in the picture. He has absolutely no such right.
Q. I live with my parents and am so unhappy and depressed that if suicide was permissible I would have been dead long ago. But Allah Ta’ala has saved me and strengthened my spirits and Imaan. Will it be permissible for me to make dua of a seriously sick person wishing for death?
A. Making such a dua is not permissible. A Mu’min should understand that everything is from Allah Ta’ala. You cannot thwart Taqdeer. Even if your parents may appear unjust to you, you as their child should be tolerant, obedient and respectful to them. If you should reflect, you will discover that your unhappiness if it is caused by any worldly difference with your parents, is baseless. If it is the result of a Deeni issue in which you are right and they wrong, then have patience. It is a trial. A Muslim is not expected to react with cowardice. You should not be so faint at heart. People had sacrificed their lives for their Imaan, but you are thinking of an evil such as suicide simply because you are `unhappy’ in your parents’ home. Kuffaar are weak in their hearts. They are unable to bear too much mental pressure. Suicide is committed by those who lack Imaan. The more you feel depressed, the more should your attention focus on Allah Ta’ala. You should increase your Thikr of Allah. The Qur’aan Majeed says: “Hear! In the thikr of Allah do hearts find solace.” Make dua for the removal of the trial and for strength of Imaan. A seriously sick person may not make dua for death solely on account of the sickness.