Sophia Rajpoot, Canada
يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوۡا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِيۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَةٍ وَّ خَلَقَ مِنۡهَا زَوۡجَهَا وَ بَثَّ مِنۡهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيۡرًا وَّ نِسَآءً ۚ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ الَّذِيۡ تَسَآءَلُوۡنَ بِهٖ وَ الۡاَرۡحَامَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ رَقِيۡبًا
“O ye people! fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and created therefrom its mate, and from them twain spread many men and women; and fear Allah, in Whose name you appeal to one another, and fear Him particularly respecting ties of relationship. Verily, Allah watches over you.” (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.2)
According to the verse above, God Almighty places “fear of God” side by side with “respect for the ties of kinship”, emphasising the importance of good treatment of relatives.
I find this concept to be particularly relevant today as now, more than ever, people are severing the ties of kin. Whether that be through divorce, parents disowning their children or children cutting ties with their parents. Regardless, family sizes have decreased tremendously over the last century and Islamically, kinship is obligatory and surely Allah prescribed us obligations that will serve for our betterment as individuals and as a society.
The reason why tolerance and maintenance of family equate to being the two golden pearls of a beautiful society is that because they are the two factors that instil empathy, understanding and togetherness within the home and outside the home. The Holy Prophetsa said:
“Never hate each other; never be jealous of each other; never think ill of each other; never boycott each other; always remain brothers unto one another. (Sahih Bukhari)
In another hadith, the Holy Prophetsa said:
“Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind” (Sahih Muslim)
Even the Western world has begun to understand the notion that there are consequences to society as a whole when the ties of kin are weakened. Well-known Psychiatrist, Dr Karyl McBride writes:
“[…] can a child grow up knowing how to provide empathy and nurturing if they were never taught? If children are loved and treated well, they don’t grow up wanting to hurt others; they grow up wanting to help and respect others, and with the ability to provide empathy.” (psychologytoday.com, “The Long-term impact of neglectful parents”)
Simply maintaining a family bond is not enough; it is our responsibility to put in the time and extra effort in being there for one another. If we can mistreat or break a bond with our own blood, it will only be easier to hurt others. As a teacher, this is something I have witnessed many times when dealing with difficult students who mistreat their classmates. They tend to have busy parents who neglect them and do not give them the time and attention they need.
Back in 2016, during a peace symposium in Calgary, Canada, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa highlighted this concept in his speech titled, Ways to Establish World Peace. At the beginning of his speech, Huzooraa quoted the golden principle for world peace that the Holy Quran presents:
“First of all, I will mention a golden principle for establishing peace that is enshrined in chapter 16, verse 91 of the Holy Quran, where Allah the Almighty says:
“‘Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred […]’
“Hence, the Quran does not only call upon Muslims to be fair and just, but rather it has established a far higher standard of treating others. Where Allah the Almighty says, ‘giving like kindred’, He requires a believer to favour others and to always desire the very best for them. It requires Muslims to treat all other people like their close family members. It obliges that they strive to love others, without any desire for reward, just as a mother selflessly loves her child. Furthermore, the Quran does not say that a Muslim should treat only their fellow Muslims in this way; rather, it says that they should love ‘others’ and this includes Muslims and non-Muslims alike.” (www.alislam.org/articles/ways-to-establish-world-peace/)
Clearly, “giving like kindred”, requires Muslims to treat all other people like their close family members, and that we are obliged to love others, without any desire for reward, just as a mother selflessly loves her child.
But what if a mother does not love her child and does not give her child the support and attention they need, then surely she won’t be able to offer the world any good. Huzooraa then goes on to discuss the state of certain Muslim countries today; rebels and terrorist groups have formed and it is indicative that people like this who break the peace of this world come from broken homes.
The Promised Messiahas is an excellent role model when it comes to tolerance towards family members. His demeanour with his own family was a beautiful example of gentleness. Those who had the occasion to observe his relations with his family, witnessed the fact that he possessed the most excellent morals in this regard. The Promised Messiahas was the ultimate disciple of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and as such, kept his practices constantly in mind. He was aware of the duties and obligations of a husband, of such sayings of the Holy Prophetsa: “The best among you is he who is best to his wife” (Sahih Bukhari). He, hence, took great care to be an attentive husband and father.
Islam holds family life as the epicentre for social development. The Holy Quran has constantly referred to family life and its importance. If “peace” within a family can be achieved, then the whole society at large will enjoy peace; every person should play their role in establishing this peace, from parents to children.
Chapter 47, verse 22, of the Holy Quran highlights this concept beautifully:
“Would you then, if you are placed in authority, create disorder in the land and sever your ties of kinship?”
I pray that may Allah enable us to truly implement the two golden pearls, tolerance and maintenance of kinship, into our lives and to always stay close and connected to our family, friends and communities.