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Thread: The Muslim upholds the ties of kinship

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    The Ideal Muslim: Characteristics of the Ideal Muslim According to the Qur’an and the Sunnah
    The True Islamic Personality of the Muslim Man
    as Defined in the Qur'an and Sunnah
    By Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Hashimi
    Translated by Nasiruddin Al-Khattab and Revised by Ibrahim M. Kunna and Abu Aya Sulaiman Abdus-Sabur
    Copyright and published by the International Islâmic Publishing House (IIPH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1999.
    The Ideal Muslim is a man of the highest moral character. In his relationship with his Rabb, himself, family, parents, relatives, friends and the community at large, he has a most excellent example in the prophet of Islam (pbuh). His idealism is further strengthened by the characters of the first generations of Muslims who excelled in all the various fields of human endeavor. He is reassured by the teachings of Islam that he also can reach these noble heights by working to improve his character daily.

    Chapter 6: The Muslim and His Relatives (Arham)

    The Muslim upholds the ties of kinship according to the teachings of Islam

    The true Muslim upholds the ties of kinship and does not let his worldly concerns, wealth, wife or children distract him from keeping in touch with his relatives, honoring them and helping them. In doing so, he is following Islamic teaching, which regulates these relationships and ranks them in order of priority and degree of closeness, starting with the mother, then moving on to the father, then other relatives, from the most closely-related to others who are more distantly related. A man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He (s.a.w.s.) said, “Your mother, your mother, your mother, then your father, then those who are most closely related to you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

    The Muslim earns two rewards when he treats his relatives with kindness and respect: one reward for maintaining the relationship, and another reward for giving charity. This gives him a greater incentive to give to his relatives, if they are in need. By doing so, he will earn two rewards from Allah (S.W.T.), and will also win the affection of his relatives. This is what the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) encouraged Muslims to do, in the hadith narrated by Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah, the wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (r.a.), who said:

    “The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: ‘O women, give in charity even if it is some of your jewelry.’ She said, I went back to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud and told him, ‘You are a man of little wealth, and the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has commanded us to give charity, so go and ask him whether it is permissible for me to give you charity. If it is, I will do so; if not, I will give charity to someone else.’ ‘Abdullah said, ‘No, you go and ask.’ So I went, and I found a woman of the Ansar at the Prophet’s door, who also had the same question. We felt too shy to go in, out of respect, so Bilal came out and we asked him, ‘Go and tell the Messenger of Allah that there are two women at the door asking you: Is it permissible for them to give sadaqah to their husbands and the orphans in their care? But do not tell him who we are.’ So Bilal went in and conveyed this message to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), who asked, ‘Who are they?’ Bilal said, ‘One of the women of the Ansar, and Zaynab.’ The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked, ‘Which Zaynab is it?’ Bilal said, ‘The wife of Abdullah.’ The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, ‘They will have two rewards, the reward for upholding the relationship, and the reward for giving charity.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

    The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to reaffirm the priority given to kind treatment of relatives at every opportunity. When the ayah: “By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give “freely” of that which you love…” (Qur’an 3:92) was revealed, Abu Talhah went to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Allah (S.W.T.) says: “By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love.” The most beloved of my properties is Bayraha’ (a date orchard), which I now give up as Sadaqah to Allah (S.W.T.), hoping to store up reward with Him. O Messenger of Allah, dispose of it as you will.” The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: “Bravo! You have got the best deal for your property. I have heard what you said, and I think that you should divide it among your relatives.” Abu Talhah said, “I will do so, O Messenger of Allah.” He divided it among his relatives and (paternal) cousins. (Bukhari and Muslim)

    The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) looked far back into history and evoked ties of kinship going back centuries, when he enjoined good treatment of the people of Egypt, as is recorded in the hadith narrated by Muslim:

    “You will conquer Egypt, so when you conquer it, treat its people well, for they have protection (dhimmah) and the ties of kinship (rahm).” Or he said: “... protection and the relationship by marriage (sihr).”

    The ‘ulama’ explained that rahm here referred to Hajar the mother of Isma‘il, and sihr referred to Maryah, the mother of the Prophet’s son Ibrahim - both of who came from Egypt.

    What a display of loyalty and faithfulness and good treatment, which extends to the kinsfolk and countrymen of these two noble women down throughout the ages! It is no surprise, then, that the true Muslim willingly recognizes the rights of his relatives and eagerly fulfils his duty of treating them kindly and maintaining the relationship.
    [1] Narrated by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad.
    [2] Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad and by Ahmad in al-Musnad.
    [3]Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, with a sahih isnad.
    [4] The connection is clearer in Arabic, where rahm and al-Rahman are derived from the same root. (Translator)
    [5] A hadith qudsi reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, and by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi.

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