Silatur Rahm or observing the bonds of kinship is highly praised and recommended in our religion. Family ties and blood bonds are sacred and are to be revered and maintained.
Abu Huryarah narrated that the Prophet peace be upon him said, ‘learn enough of your lineage, so that you can establish the ties of kinship, for establishing the ties of kinship increases the love amongst families and multiplies wealth and extends age.’ (Tirmidhi, Hasan)
The love established by the ties of kinship is precious, and healthy. It breeds social cohesion and encourages co-operation, thereby building the ummah, and its unity. Every small family unit contributes to the unity of the ummah at large. If within the four walls of our house we cannot get on, then how do we expect to get on with the rest of the ummah?
Allah has issued a severe warning regarding cutting the ties of kinship,
“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).” [al-Ra’d 13:26]
Breaking the ties is grievous sin, and thus Allah has deprived its perpetrators of His extensive Mercy.
Even if it is just a phone call, or a quick visit, everyone appreciates family and good company.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Allah created the universe, and when He had finished, kinship (al-rahm) stood up and said, “This is the standing up of one who seeks Your protection from being cut off.” Allah said, “Yes, would it please you if I were to take care of those who take care of you and cut off those who cut you off?” It said, “Of course.” Allah said, “Then your prayer in granted.”’” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Recite, if you wish (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.’ [Muhammad 47:22-23].” (Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 16/112).
None of us wants to incur the wrath of Allah. We all seek His mercy, so why then do we cut relations throwing ourselves into the curse of Allah?
The Prophet explained exactly what is meant by the one who upholds the ties of kinship,
“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 Bukhari, 5645).
Returning favours and giving gifts, or exchanging visits for the sake of worldly benefit, or in kind or for some other reason is not considered upholding the ties of kinship.
Islam inspires us to reach a higher state, whereby we visit, call and give gifts without expecting a return. We uphold the ties for the sake of Allah, seeking His sole pleasure and His abundant reward.
I leave you with a final hadith to spur you on. Remember the case of the man who approached the Prophet regarding his family, who returned his kindness with nothing but animosity?
A man said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah 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 Allah be upon him) said, “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot dust in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” (Reported by Muslim).
May Allah make it easy for us to uphold the ties of kinship. Ameen.