The only thing we a last name.

>> Monday, September 3, 2012

Salam, aunties,
I've got a major problem. I really can't stand my siblings. I've got a brother and sister but I don't feel like we are even related. IstagfirAllah, my brother is involved in everything he shouldn't be. It's so bad- smoking- clubbing- etc. He does not pray and didn't even fast Ramadan. In the beginning, I tried talking to him, but it's like there's no point. My sister is in her own little land where everything in the universe revolves around her. She also has no sense of identity or any idea of what responsibility is.
The disrespect they show my mother and the humiliation they've caused my family is just getting to be too much. I literally am too embarrassed to look my neighbors in the eye or to even go to the masjid because of all that they've done. It's actually been a month since I've talked to them and I feel like I may never talk to them again. Please help me change my heart and mind because I know I’m capable of never speaking to them ever again and it’s terrifying me.

Dearest Sister,

I could read how tired you were in your email. Tired of seeing haram and tired of having to deal with your siblings who don't act like siblings.Tired of the neighbor's talk and the drama and the humiliation you end up having to deal with because of irresponsible siblings. 

It definitely doesn't sound easy, at all. I can understand how you feel- how their actions can just drive you completely crazy- and how you just want to knock some sense into them or completely ignore their existence, but sis....did you ever think of it in this way:

 You don't choose who your relatives are.

Prophet Mohammed sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam certainly didn't get to choose Abu Lahab as his uncle....Prophet Noah didn't get to choose for his son to be a disbeliever....Prophet Abraham didn't get to choose that his father would be an idol carver and worshiper.

Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala is the one who in His Wisdom chose our families for us.

These siblings that you have-- that you would never be friends with if you happened to cross paths with- were chosen for you and you were chosen for them. Did you ever think that maybe there was a reason you were all born to the same parents? Maybe Allah chose YOU for them so that you could help bring back your siblings?

Perhaps they were chosen for you as a test of faith and perhaps you were chosen for them to guide them back to Allah...?

Let me ask you another question...

Have you ever felt scared for your siblings' Hereafter? Have you ever felt your body shudder and shiver at the thought of them not making it to Paradise (We seek refuge in Allah and pray that is not the case)..But, really, have you ever talked to them not because you were embarrassed at all that they've done to your family name, but because you were terrified that someone so close to you might end up in hell? 

One of the things the Prophet sallah allahoo alyhee wa salam said is "None of you believes until you love for your brother what you love for yourself".

If we truly want our faith to be completed, then, we have to love for our siblings guidance and paradise as much as we love it for ourselves. Imagine how terrified you would be of dying as a non-Muslim. You should feel that same fear for them and want Islam for them as much as you want it for yourself.

What if it was YOU who was lost? Would you want your family to give up on you? Or keep trying?
Now, I know that your brother doesn't pray or fast and the other one is difficult with no sense of identity...

The thing is, it's totally alright to be disgusted by their actions. Hating the sins that they do and the fact that they cross Allah's "red lines" (boundaries) is a part of faith: 
The prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam told us: 

On the authority of Abu Sa`id (Radiya Allah Anhoo) that the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said, “Whoever sees something evil should change it with his hand. If he cannot, then with his tongue; and if he cannot do even that, then in his heart. That is the weakest degree of faith.” (Muslim)

The weakest degree is to 'hate' what you're seeing when your brother goes clubbing or your sister disrespects your mother, etc.....

Allah SWT says, “…but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the guided.” [Al-Hujurat 49:7]

But...cutting off ties with them is a different matter.

You know it and I know it. It's haram.

There is only one exception: you can cut family ties temporarily IF you believe that will help them realize the gravity of their sins/ the extent of their wrongdoing and encourage them to return to Allah's path. If, on the other hand, you believe that it will only make them persist in their sins, then you are obligated to keep advising them.

Let me give you some fatwas:
1. This person's Uncle does riba which is known to be a "war against Allah". He's in debt and continues to take loans/ etc.

  If cutting relations with him would make him stop dealing with usury and interest, then you should cut relations with him.
However, if cutting relations with him, renders him stubborn and makes him extend his dealings in falsehood, then you should not cut relations with him but rather continue advising him. 

2.This person's sister married a Christian man who converted just for her sake and doesn't actually practice Islam. (Her marriage then is completely invalid)

I know that bringing your siblings back into your life and talking to them might make your life "more difficult", but that's where the test lies for you. 

Did you know that the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said:

"The believer who mixes with people and is patient in the face of their offense is preferable to the believer who does not mix with people and is not patient with their offense"

What about if these people are your siblings?

You don't have to be their best friend....but it is important not to completely cut the ties off.

Just saying at least "Asalamu aliakum" when you see them, sending them a message to their mobile, praying for them, giving them a book as a tape, making cupcakes for them, etc. 

In fact, as I type this, I'm reminded of a story.

You know the story of Abu Sufyan? Abu Sufyan was actually the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam's cousin as well as his foster brother. Growing up, they had a strong relationship....And then, Prophet Mohammed began to deliver the message of Islam. That's when everything changed. Abu Sufyan did everything in his power to stop him. He literally became known as the arch-enemy of Islam. Imagine your cousin literally starting a war against you, trying to kill you, writing poetry against you...abusing you and doing everything in his power to ruin you. 

This continued year after year.

We're talking 20 years.

And then.....subhanAllah....Allah guided Abu Sufyan to accept Islam.

When he went to the Prophet to announce his conversion, the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam really couldn't look him in the eyes (because of everything he had done to him). Prophet Mohammed urned away from him. Abu Sufyan tried again and again Prophet Mohammed turned away and didn't meet his eyes.

This happened for a couple of days...And then: (I'm copy pasting this part:

Abu Sufyan sat down at the door of the tent of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and his son Jafar stood beside him. But still Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) rejected to look at him.
The situation became too much for Abu sufyan and he said: By God, either the Prophet, peace be on him, shows he is pleased with me or I shall take my son and go wandering through the land until we die of hunger and thirst.
When Prophet Mohamed heard this, he relented and on leaving his tent, he looked more gently towards me then before. I so much hoped that he would smile.
Eventually Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) relented and told Abu Sufyan, "There is now no blame on you."
The Prophet then called Ali ibn Abi Talib who had newly embraced Islam and told him:
"Teach your cousin how to perform wudu and about the Sunnah. Then bring him back to me."
When Ali returned, the Prophet said: "Tell all the people that the Messenger of God is pleased with Abu Sufyan and that they should be pleased with him."

No matter what your siblings have done to you or your mother or to your family name, did they attack the Messenger of Allah? Did they attack Allah? Did they deny His existence? Abu Sufyan did that for yearsssssssssss, but in becoming a Muslim, he was guaranteed the rights of a Muslim (and the rights of the kinship ties).

Your siblings' rights in Islam are that you talk to them and that you keep trying to help them. Whenever you feel how hard it is to do that, remember the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam and all that he went through.

And remind yourself of this:

Allah is ""Al Baseer". He is watching you and your siblings. 

Every act of obedience you show Him, every time you try to talk to your siblings, every time you try to patch things up, advise them, etc.- Allah knows. And rest assured that He will never let any of your acts go unrewarded. 
…and whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing. (2: 110)

You see? Allah will never let your efforts and deeds go to waste. NEVER. 

I also want you to imagine this was a test paper. And your teacher told you that the last page was one of the most important pages. Would you deliberately skip it? The kinship ties is so important in Islam that Allah linked His relationship to His servants with their relationship with their relatives. He warned that if someone severed it, He would sever His relationship with them:

Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 93 :: Hadith 593
Narrated Abu Huraira:Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah created the creation, and when He finished from His creation the Rahm (womb) got up, and Allah said (to it). “Stop! What do you want? It said; “At this place I seek refuge with You from all those who sever me (i.e. sever the ties of Kinship.)” Allah said: “Would you be pleased that I will keep good relation with the one who will keep good relation with you, and I will sever the relation with the one who will sever the relation with you. It said: ‘Yes, ‘O my Lord.’ Allah said (to it), ‘That is for you.” And then Abu Huraira recited the Verse:– “Would you then if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship.” (47.22)
Imagine all your praying and fasting and wearing the hijab.......Will that amount to anything if your relation is severed with Allah?

Your siblings will be fully accountable in front of Allah for their actions and the way they treat your mother, etc. But you will also be accountable for your actions, towards them, too.

So for now, I want you to try sister to sit down and try to remember a time when you truly loved them...when they stood by you or when you guys used to play together. I want you to focus really hard on what is at stake here (your own Hereafter) and on the punishment and reward of the kinship ties.

And just more time :) 

Oh and before I last thing. You know how you said your sister  has no sense of identity": did you ever try to understand why she is like that? Do you think she likes not knowing "who she is" or "what her identity is"? Try to befriend her and be there for her. Share some funny youtbue videos, great links, offer to go shopping with her...Let her know that you are here to help her. She might think that right now she doesn't need you, but  a few years from now, I bet you that she will be so grateful that you stood by her during these turbulent years. 

With all my love, 

5 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

loving sister,  September 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM  

I pray that Allah SWT help the sister out from her trouble and guide her siblings to the truth..Also,i would just like to add something..even i had the same kind of problem with my brothers..So my dear sister,always remember that SUNNAH has its own beauty and attraction,that it is very contagious!!So u be the role them how u are keen on praying and reciting quran..sometyms when its tym for prayer,make ur moves such that they notice u are going to pray...if u are eating u can say bismillah out loud sometyms...when u are advising them,at the same time make sure u follow the deen in its utmost
care..they will start noticing..n even though they might not say or show,deep inside they will have a sense of regret atvsome tym..So pray for hidayath always and never give up..
I just added my own experience..MashaAllah,our sweet auntie's post itself is soooooo beneficial!!May Allah SWT reward immensely them for their efforts!!

Anonymous,  September 5, 2012 at 5:17 AM  

Talking of severing relations: I had a not-too-serious fight with my brother, but something came over him and he isn't talking to me; i tried talking to him once or twice, and made it clear that at least 'I' wasn't angry at him. But he's just been ignoring me and didn't reply when i said assalamoalaikum a few times.
So I've also started to ignore him as well. i dont want to just keep trying, it's hateful how he's acting...

Little Auntie,  September 6, 2012 at 9:34 AM  

Well anonymous, you said that you made it clear that you're not angry with him...the question though is: did you make it clear that you're sorry for upsetting his feelings?

Sometimes saying sorry doesn't mean that you were wrong. It means that you are sorry that the person felt bad/ betrayed/ didn't have things turn out so well. Ask yourself: what's more important here? Your pride? or your relationship?

Try saying something like: I really feel bad that we haven't been talking.I really want to resolve this in a way that both of us can walk away satisfied. What will satisfy you?" Give your brother a chance to describe what he would prefer and then you say what you would prefer. Remember, compromise is key.

And the reason why YOU should do that is because part of keeping the kinship ties is keeping it with someone who doesn't want to keep it with you:

Remember, the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said:

The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5645).
A man said to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot dust in their mouths. Allaah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” (Reported by Muslim with commentary by al-Nawawi, 16/115)

Loving sister, ma'shaAllah, great advice :)

Anonymous,  September 8, 2012 at 9:37 AM  

anonymous again: now ive made it clear that im sorry, and explained why i behaved the way i did, but he didnt even reply. so can i just keep greeting him inside my breath and not embarrass myself further?

jazakillah for sharing the ahadith, by the way =)

princess,  September 11, 2012 at 4:11 PM  

my sister abuses me emotionally and physically, yet she still comes to me to spill her feelings when she needs to. I can't find it in my heart to ignore her..

but i also just can never find it in my heart to love her. ever. Is that wrong?

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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