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Care of Kin.Part1

Care of Kin.Part1

The Islamic term used for the care of kin is sila al-rahm which encompasses visiting one’s parents and relatives, asking after their welfare, and making them happy. Islamgives importance to relationships with people, particularly the mother and father and then other close relatives. Visiting them should become a principle in one’s life.

Khalid ibn Zayd (Abu Ayyub al-Ansari) narrated an event in which a man came and asked the Prophet,

“O Messenger of God, can you tell me an act of worship that will help me enter Heaven?” God’s Messenger replied thus, “Worshipping God, not associating any partners with Him, performing the daily prayers, giving to charity, and visiting your relatives.”

This hadith emphasizes the importance of sila al-rahm, stating that such actions can help Muslims go to Heaven. But sila al-rahm means more than just visiting relatives; it also includes taking care of their needs and always including them when doing something

helpful (like giving charity). The fact that this is mentioned directly after the prescribed acts of worship, such as daily prayers and charity, shows the great importance given to sila al-rahm in Islam. For this reason, some Islamic scholars hold that such behavior is wajib, or necessary, for believers, and they consider it to be a great sin to neglect or refuse these duties. Indeed, in the Qur’an God commands:

O humankind! In due reverence for your Lord, keep from disobedience to Him Who created you from a single human self, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad a multitude of men and women. In due reverence for God, keep from disobedience to Him in Whose name you make demands of one another, and (duly observe) the rights of the wombs (i.e. of kinship, thus observing piety in your relations with God and with human beings). God is ever watchful over you. (Nisa 4:1)

In the verse above, as well as the following verse, God’s Word charges us to maintain the bond of family ties, look after relatives and never allow these relationships to be severed:

And those who unite the bonds God has commanded to be joined (among kin as a  requirement  of  blood  relationship, and among people as required by human social interdependence), and stand in awe of their Lord, and fearful of (facing) the most evil reckoning… But those who break God’s covenant after its solemn binding, and sever the bonds God commanded to be joined, and cause disorder and corruption on the earth—such are those on whom there is a curse (exclusion from God’s mercy), and for them there is the most evil abode.  (Ra’d  13:20,  25)

There are differences of opinion as to how far the designation of “relative” extends, or who, exactly, is meant by these verses and hadith. According to some, relatives are close relatives with whom marriage is forbidden; according to others, the word’s meaning is those relatives close enough to have rights to inheritance. Still other scholars believe that the word rahm in the verse is inclusive of all relatives, even if they are distant relatives. In terms of social life the latter view is the most helpful.

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