Rights of Relatives in Islam

A Muslim is required to maintain a good relationship with his relatives. According to a saying of the Prophet, we should visit our relatives, inquire about their circumstances, spend on them and give them sadaqa (voluntary charity) if they are poor. According to another hadith, if anyone of our relatives does not treat us well, even then we have to treat him well. As we know, Islam enjoins us not only to be good to those who are good to us but also to be good to those who are not good to us. This shows exemplary moral character according to the standard of Islam. Allah says:

 

وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَلَا تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيرًا

 

“And give the relatives his right, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and (do) not spend wastefully.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:26)

 

Islam is a complete code of life. Religion Islam emphasizes on keeping good relationships with family, relatives, and friends. Being a Muslim it is obligatory for you to keep good relation with relatives. According to the saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), we should visit our relatives, inquire about their matters, spend on them and give them sadaqa if they are poor. Allah says:

 

تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا

 

“Almost the heavens get torn therefrom, and splits asunder the earth and collapse the mountain (in) devastation.” (Surah Maryam 19:90)

 

It has been made compulsory to help the needy relations at the time of their requirements and a person should always stay kind to his relatives. Thus, it is obligatory upon everyone to treat his relatives in a best possible manner, and support them in accordance with their needs, and what they seek of help and support and share their sorrows and pleasure within lawful limits.. Allah says:

وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And not let swear those of virtue among you and the amplitude of means that they give (to) the near of kin, and the needy and the emigrants in (the) way (of) Allah. And let them pardon and let them overlook. (Do) not you like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah An-Nur 24:22)

 

The relatives hold a special status in Islam. Islam gives great stress to the rights of relatives and encourages Muslims to maintain a good relationship with their relatives. In religion Islamic term, ‘Silah-Rahimi’ is used to express ‘good treatment towards the relatives’. Allah says:

 

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا

 

“And if you fear dissension between (the) two of then send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. If they both wish reconciliation, Allah will cause reconciliation between both of them. Indeed, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:35)

 

The essence of Islam is thus to serve God and do good to our fellow-creatures, including the animals. The worship of Allah is linked up with kindness to parents, kindred, and those in want. It is not a matter of verbal kindness. They have certain rights which must be fulfilled. Allah says:

 

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلْ مَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

 

“They ask you what they (should) spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good, (is) for parents, and the relatives, and the orphans, and the needy, and (of) the wayfarer. And whatever you do of good. So indeed, Allah of it (is) All-Aware.( Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:215)

 

The essence of Islam is to serve Allah Almighty and do good to our fellow creatures in which individuals and animals also included. The worship of Allah is linked up with kindness to parents, kindred, and those in want. It is not a matter of verbal kindness; they have certain rights which must be fulfilled. Allah says:

 

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنكُمْ وَأَنتُم مُّعْرِضُونَ

 

“And when We took (the) covenant (from the) Children (of) Israel, “Not you will worship except Allah, and with [the] parents (be) good and (with) relatives and [the] orphans and the needy, and speak to [the] people good, and establish the prayer and give the zakah. Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you (were) refusing.(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:83)

 

From the Qur’an and traditions, we find that the institution of the family can only be maintained by feelings of well-wishing and kindness. So the Islamic laws of morality and decency must be observed. If we want to earn God’s pleasure and blessings we must abide by the Quranic injunctions, and extend our full support to our relatives. Allah says:

 

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا

 

“And worship Allah And (do) not associate with Him anything, and to the (do) good, and with the relatives, and the orphans, and the needy and the neighbour (who is) near, and the neighbour (who is) farther away, and the companion by your side and the traveller and what possess[ed] your right hands. Indeed, Allah (does) not love (the one) who is [a] proud (and) [a] boastful.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:36)

 

In Islam doing good to the relatives is next in importance to the obedience of parents. Following ayah clearly describes the importance of the rights of relatives. Helping relatives comes under both “Justice” and “Doing good”. Still, Allah mentioned it separately; it shows how important this act is in the eyes of Allah. Muslims should keep good relations with their relatives for the sake of Allah Almighty.

 

For those who do “Silah-Rahimi” will earn rewards in this life and hereafter are mentioned below:

  • His sustenance is increased
  • His life is elongated
  • His family and home prosper
  • His death discomfort is eased
  • Silah-Rahimi is equivalent to the fear of Allah and piety
  • All the doors of paradise will be opened for those who practice Silah-Rahimi

Islam has very strict laws in relation to interaction with relatives. It is regarded as a great act of corruption if a person cuts off his contacts with any of his relations as we can see from the above evidence. For those who do not keep a good relationship with relatives will suffer a lot in this life and hereafter too. Allah says:

 

الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

 

“Those who break (the) Covenant (of) Allah from after its ratification, and [they] cut what has ordered Allah it to be joined and [they] spread corruption in the earth. Those, they (are) the losers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:27)

 

Relatives are those who are related to you through blood and close ties; such as the brother, the uncle, the aunty, or their children. Everyone who has ties of relationship with you has certain rights upon you in accordance with how close they are related to you. Allah says:

 

فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ

 

“Then would you perhaps, if you are given that you cause corruption in the earth and cut off your ties of kinship.” (Surah Muhammad, 47:22)

 

There are many hadiths which show the rights of relatives in Islam some of them are mentioned in this article. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in one of his hadith:

 

“Whosoever believes in Allah and the last day let him keep the ties of relations.” (Bukhari)

 

In another narration, He (SAW) said: “Whoever violates the rights of relatives shall not go to Paradise.” This hadith, alone, should be enough to make us realize the importance of ‘Silah-Rahimi’.  It shows that the violation of the relative’s rights is disliked by Allah, that with its foulness, no one can enter Paradise.

 

The relatives hold a special status in Islam. Islam gives great emphasis to the rights of relatives and encourages that a Muslim maintains a good relationship with his relatives. The association of the family can only be maintained by feelings of appreciative and kindness. If we want to earn Allah’s pleasure and blessings we must accept the Quranic instructions, and broaden our full support to our relatives. May Allah give us the strength to live our lives according to the Quranic teachings and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)! Ameen

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