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Islamic Voice Logo

SEPTEMBER 1999

MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-09 No:153    *   SEPTEMBER 1999/ JAMADI-AL-AWWAL 1419H
ADDRESS : Islamic Voice, P.O.BOX NO.: 2546, 64, Richmond Road Bangalore-560 025, INDIA.
Phone: 91-80-5544483 / 5574815, FAX: 91-80- 5302770 Email :
sadath@giasbg01.vsnl.net.in
Editor, Printer & Publisher A. W. Sadathullah Khan,

HADITH


Claimants to Our Kindness


Claimants to Our Kindness

Commentary by Adil Salahi

Al-Baraa ibn Azib reports that a Bedouin came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said: “Prophet of Allah; teach me an action which will earn me admission into heaven.”

The Prophet (Pbuh) said: “You have certainly used a few words in order to ask something very important. Set a slave free and release someone from bondage.” The man asked; “Are they not the same thing?” He answered; “No, setting a slave free is to free him yourself.

Releasing someone from bondage is to help him win his freedom. Be always willing to offer a helping hand and be especially kind to your relatives. If you cannot do that, then enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid what is wrong. If again you cannot do that, then restrain your tongue from saying anything except what is good.” (Related by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Al-Baihaqi)

We have established in earlier issues that our relatives have a strong claim to our kindness. Islam makes this a duty of every Muslim, for the fulfilment of which he is rewarded both in the hereafter and in this life.

Conversely, the person who is unkind to his relatives and severs his relations with them incurs the displeasure of Allah and all that it entails of punishment in this life as well as in the hereafter. It is appropriate to begin this article, with a Hadith which stresses that the reward for fostering ties of kinship is great indeed. Al-baraa ibn Azib reports that a Bedouin came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said: “Prophet of Allah; teach me an action which will earn me admission into heaven.”

The Prophet (Pbuh) said: “You have certainly used a few words in order to ask something very important. Set a slave free and release someone from bondage.” The man asked; “Are they not the same thing?” He answered; “No, setting a slave free is to free him yourself. Releasing someone from bondage is to help him win his freedom. Be always willing to offer a helping hand and be especially kind to your relatives. If you cannot do that, then enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid what is wrong. If again you cannot do that, then restrain your tongue from saying anything except what is good.” (Related by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and

Al-Baihaqi). The Prophet (Pbuh) is answering here a question which sets the aim very clearly; admission into heaven. This is not easy for anyone to achieve. It requires hard work and being always conscious of what pleases Allah as well as being always ready to do that. We know that the Prophet (Pbuh) mentions kindness to relatives among the first group of actions which ensure the attainment of this goal.

The Prophet (Pbuh) also makes it clear for us how to go about this duty and who of our relatives has the greatest claim to our kindness. Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’dikarib states that he heard Allah’s messenger saying; “Allah enjoins you to be kind and dutiful to your mothers; then he enjoins you to be kind and dutiful to your mothers. He then enjoins you to be kind and dutiful to your fathers. He then enjoins you to be kind to your relatives according to their nearness of relation.”(Related by Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Al-Hakim and Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad.)

What is worth noting in this Hadith is that the Prophet (Pbuh) mentions mothers twice as Islamic view. Abdullah ibn Amr quotes the Prophet (Pbuh) as saying; “The one who truly fosters his ties of kinship is not the one who returns kindness. He is the one who, when his relatives cut him off, maintains and fosters his ties of kinship.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawood and At-Tirmithi.) This makes it clear that we should also be kind to those of our relatives who are unkind to us.

Because Islam places such a high stress on fostering ties of kinship, a person who embraces Islam will be credited with the reward of any kind action he did toward his relatives prior to his embracing Islam. This is particularly significant because non-believers are not rewarded by Allah for their good actions. It is important for any good action to be linked to faith in Allah. An authentic Hadith quotes Hakeem ibn Hizam, a notable of Quraish who accepted Islam in the later years of the Prophet’s life, saying to the Prophet (Pbuh); “Do you think that the good actions which I used to do as worship in the days prior to my acceptance of Islam, such as maintaining my ties with my relative, setting slaves free and what I gave for charity, will bring me any reward?” The Prophet (Pbuh) answered; “When you become a Muslim you keep the good actions you have already done.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

The companions of the Prophet were keenly aware of the importance of maintaining good relations with their relatives, since they heard the Prophet (Pbuh) stressing this virtue time after time. They tried to impart what they had learned from the Prophet to others. Umar ibn Al-Khattab said once in a speech which he delivered in the Mosque; “Learn your lineages so that you can maintain and foster your ties of kinship. By Allah, it may happen that bad feelings may exist between a man and his brother. Had he been aware that kinship exists between them, that would prevent him from breaking with him.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab, Al-Mufrad and by At-Tirmithi.) This imposes on us a further duty of learning our lineages. This is particularly important in modern societies where families have tended to shrink into small units, especially in large towns and cities.

According to Islam, it is not enough to keep in touch with one’s relatives; it is also important to foster one’s relations with them. This can only be done through the cultivation of close relationships.

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