Cutting off Relations with Relatives is a Major Sin
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on November 28, 1997)
Last Friday we learned about a number of major sins that we should avoid, and if we already fell in one or more of these major sins, we should repent with sincerity now and ask Allah (S.W.T.), the all-forgiving, all-merciful for forgiveness.
Today, I will talk about one of the major sins which is spread widely among Muslims today and which has lasted so very long till it became one of the habits which people do not realize and object it; that is cutting of the relations with relatives. This is a major sin with the consensus of all scholars because its prohibition and its warning are very emphatic, that is barring from entering Paradise on the Day of Judgment. This is clear from the hadith of the prophet (S.A.W.), which is reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, "One will not enter paradise if he/she cuts off relations with relatives."
Which relatives whom it is not allowed to cut off relations with?
They are the relatives whom you have the kith and kin relations with, whether they are the immediate relatives like the parents, brothers, sisters, uncles from the mother and the father sides, or the non-immediate relatives like cousins. This applies to both a Muslim or non-Muslim relative.
How is cutting off relations with them prohibited?
Cutting off relations with relatives is of various degrees of severity; the worst kind is to cut off relations with them completely (not even greetings or a single word with them). And a less severe degree is when you have less complete relations with them, the kind of relations where greetings are exchanged but there are no mutual visits on the appropriate occasions like Eid, weddings, and no support like financial support and no mutual help to stay well guided. All this is haram (prohibited), but some are worse than others.
What is mentioned in this subject?
Allah (S.W.T.) says in Surah Mohammed, (Verse 22 & 23), what can be translated as, "Would you then, if you were given the authority,
Do mischief in the land, and cut off your ties of kinship." Imam Ibn Katheer says, in his explanations of these two verses, "these verses mean that you go back to the period of ignorance (period before Islam); you spread mischief and transgress on earth, and cut relations off with relatives.... This is an emphatic, general prohibition from transgressing on earth and a special, emphatic prohibition from cuttings off relations with relatives.
Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Allah created His creation, and when He finished it, the womb got up and caught hold of Allah whereupon Allah said, "What is the matter?" On that, it said, "I seek refuge with you from Al-Qati’ah (those who cut the ties of kith and kin)." On that Allah said, "Will you accept (be satisfied) if I bestow My Favors on him who keeps your ties, and withld My Favors from him who cuts your ties?" On that it said, "Yes, O my Lord!" Then Allah said, "That is for you." Then the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), said recite if you wish "(The two verses 21 and 23 in surat Muhammad)"
In a Qudsi hadith reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmithi, "Allah, the exalted, says: I am the Most Merciful, I created Ar-rahim and I cut out a name for it from my name, so whoever keeps good ties with it, I will keep good ties with him, and whoever cuts it off, I will cut him and finish him off."
The prophet (S.A.W.) also said reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmithi, and Ibn Majah, "There is no sin that Allah (S.W.T.) more readily inflicts the punishment for in this life, in addition to what Allah (S.W.T.) keeps as punishment for the sinner in the Hereafter, than the sin of transgression and cutting off relations with relatives."
What do you do if you have relatives with whom you keep good relations, but they cut off all relations with you? Would you cut them of?
No, listen to the hadith of the prophet (S.A.W.) that was reported by Imams Ahmad and (Muslim in similar words.) when a man came to him and said, O messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I keep good relations, but they cut off relations with me, I forgive them, but they
oppress me, I do good to them, but they treat me badly, should I get even with them (treat them as bad as they treat me)? The prophet replied: "No, If you do so all the relations will be cut off this way. On the contrary, be generous and keep in touch with them, you will always have support from Allah as long as you stay this way."
Allah (S.W.T.) commands us to have good relations with our relatives, so He said in surat Ar-Ra’d, (Verse 21), what can be translated as, "Those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not cut the bond of kinship)," and also mentioned to us that this is from the duties of a Muslim toward his relatives and also He (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Isra’, (Verse 26), what can be translated as, "And give to the kindred his due…"
Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Whoever likes that his sustenance becomes abundant and his age be longer, let him keep good relations with his relatives." Which means Allah (S.W.T.) will bless them.
Imams Bukhari and Muslim also reported that a Bedouin asked the prophet (S.A.W.), " O messenger of Allah tell me something that gets me closer to Paradise and gets me further away from Hell Fire. The prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Submit to Allah only and do not take partners with Him, establish prayers, and pay zakah, and establish good relations with your relatives." When the Bedouin left, the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "If he holds onto what I told him, he will enter Paradise."
Imams Bukhari and Muslim also reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Al-rahim is hung to the throne of Allah (Al-A’rsh) saying: Whoever connects me, Allah will connect him, and whoever cuts me off, Allah will cut him off."
After we heard all these verses, and many ahadith, we ought to take a serious look into our lives; if we find ourselves in this major sin of cutting off relations with our relatives, then we should repent sincerely. This repentance should stop us from falling into this sin, and regret for what we have done, and be determined not to fall in this sin again. We should repent now without delay, before it is too late because we do not know when death will come.