15 Nov Care of Kin.Part2
Since it has been commanded by God and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to visit and care for relatives, it would be appropriate here to examine how this should be done. There are certain “degrees” of sila al-rahm:
- The absolute minimum is to speak kindly to relatives and be amiable when talking to them, to greet them when we encounter them, to ask after their well-being, and to always think positively about them and want the best for them.
- The second level is to go and visit them and to come to their aid in various circumstances. Such actions are a more physical way of serving our relatives. This is especially important as our relatives get older and need someone to assist them with things they can no longer do for themselves.
- The third and most important level of sila al-rahm is to give one’s relatives financial and material support.
There are exceptional circumstances, such as when someone is too poor to support their relatives materially. But the Muslim who is well-off cannot be said to have completed the duties of sila al- rahm simply by visiting and asking after their relatives. For such a person, these duties include financial support, as much as they can afford, for less well-off relatives. This support can be in the form of giving them a regular amount of money, or providing them with the things they need. This is what is meant by “looking after and caring for relatives” in Islam; a good Muslim should carry out all of the above three “degrees” of support to the best of their ability. Otherwise, if they neglect to carry out those duties that are in their power, they will be held accountable. We must keep in mind the punishment for those who neglect these duties given in the above Qur’anic verse. Our Prophet also said,
“Every Friday night each person’s deeds are presented to God; only those who neglect sila al-rahm will have their deeds denied.”
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, spoke of this topic in another hadith, proclaiming that faith in God and in the Last Day requires looking after one’s relatives. The Prophet said that God’s mercy is on those whom God judges to be taking good care of their families and those who take care to maintain blood ties. Conversely, God curses anyone who makes no effort to maintain their relationships with their relatives.
There are also other warnings that state that those who cut ties with their relatives will be punished. The Prophet declared that such people will not be admitted to Paradise. He also taught that only those who take good care of their relatives will be granted longer life and more abundance, and that one who gives financial help to relatives will be rewarded twice, both for helping family and for giving to charity.