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Maintaining Family Ties: A non-negotiable obligation

By Abuu ‘Aasim Muhammad Bin ‘Uthmaan, Kano

Shaykh Muhammad Bin ‘Uthman, is the Chief Imaam and Khatiibto  Sahaabah Masjid, Kundila- Kano. He delivered this paper at a quarterly workshop organised by Lekki Muslim Ummah(LEMU) Lekki, Lagos, themed “Family Affair”recently.

IN the name of Allah, The Ever Gracious The Ever Merciful.  Blessings, mercies and favours of Allah are on His chosen Servant, the Embodiment of piety and the Leader of His created servants, Muhammad the son of ‘Abdullahi, members of his blessed family, his righteous companions and all those who follow them in goodness till the end of the hour.

Beyond that, I send my heartfelt message of best wishes to LEMU or Lekki Muslim Ummah for organizing such workshops quarterly for the sake of enlightening members of the Ummah on their religion being the arguable guarantee for their safety and salvation here and hereafter if practiced the way and manner it should be preserved and maintained.

Additionally, I thank you for extending your invitation to me in the spirit of Aayah 2 Suurah 5 “….Help one another in good deeds and piety, do not help one another in sinfulness and transgression, fear Allah for Allah is stern in punishment”

Meaning of Family and its value. 

A source defines family saying, with a slight modification: “Family (is a) basic social group united through bonds of kinship or marriage, present in all societies. Ideally, the family provides its members with protection, companionship, security, and socialization. The structure of the family and the needs that the family fulfills vary from society to society.

The nuclear family—two adults and their children—is the main unit in some societies. In others, it is a subordinate part of an extended family, which also consists of grandparents and other relatives. A third family unit is the single-parent family, in which children live with an unmarried, divorced, or widowed mother or father”.

While the major part of this definition of family from this source is a good one and acceptable, the concluding part thereof, precisely the underlined part is not. It says:

“A third family unit is the single-parent family, in which children live with an unmarried, divorced, or widowed mother or father”.  This cannot be admitted in true Islamic scholarship as legitimacy is denied to children born out of wedlock albeit they have neither share of blame on the zina that occurred nor  consequent punitive measure- al-Hadd- to be carried out on the irresponsible  duo purportedly referred to as ‘single parent’

In Islamic legal system authentic marriage is one of the three causative agents of inheritance. Impliedly, such a child cannot even inherit his so-called father as no marriage took place prior to his birth. Says al-Imaamur Rahaby in his  ar-Rahabiyyah :

The value of family is easily discernible in the fact that it is a basic social group united through bonds of kinship or marriage present in all societies as previously read and understood. This natural phenomenon is prevalent in all created entities both those known and unknown to us. Subhaanal Laahi!!

Glorious Qur’aan

All of the Ummah of Islam firmly believes that the “one soul” mentioned here is no other than Adam (AS) while “its mate” refers to our Mother Hawwa’u or Eve (AS).This is a fact that no one denies it.

That is why the Glorious Qur’aan in a number of its verses refers to humans as Banii Aadam or sons of Aadam, which is his family. The Hausa man calls a male human being’ dan-Adam’ while the female counterpart is called ‘yar Adam’. On the other hand, human beings generally are called: ‘yan Adam’. These are indications culturally that Adam and Hawwa’u (AS) are indeed origin of all.


The Aayah establishes link between human races as a family and their origin being one regardless of their geographies, linguistic heterogeneity, socio-cultural and other related diversities. Subsequently and consequently it is sinful to be proud, pompous or braggart just because of what you think yourself to be.

1.In the light of this, there is  a Hadith transmitted by Abuu Daawuud  in his Sunah which  says:

“Allah has removed from you the dent of the days of ignorance and being proud of parental origins: a pious believer and a wretched wayward (are all the same in origin) you are sons of Adam and Adam was from dust; let some men desist from being haughty/condescending for their ancestors who were but a charcoal out of the charcoals of the hellfire, else they will end up more despised in the eyes of Allah than the scarab that throws away stinking objects with its nose!!”

In the light of the foregoing therefore, Adam and Hawwa’u- ‘ala’yhimas Salaam- are for the sake of emphasis- the origin of all human families.

Keeping Family ties intact

Nothing explains this subtitle than the saying of Allah: “So would you perhaps, if you turned away, cause corruption on earth and sever your [ties of] relationship?”

“Those [who do so] are the ones that Allah has cursed, so He deafened them and blinded their vision”

Another Aayah says: “And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully”. The Aayah here says: “and give…” here mentioned in this Aayah is of obligatory status owing to this golden principle referred to here. Secondly, your relative is prioritized by being mentioned first before others looking at the sequential flow of the Aayah

This is another important point talking about the necessity of keeping these ties intact.

The necessity and indispensability of keeping such ties intact can scarcely be overemphasized. This is because if the children for example are not shown the value and importance of keeping these ties, there are ugly chances of the same children growing up being cut off from their ancestral root.  A lot of people in diaspora- as an example- risk having such a negative and lamentable reality sooner or later unless the ties are dutifully kept and maintained.

By way an apt illustration, the wild life is very conscious in its characteristic way in keeping the family bond of relationship and ties by coming up in group to shield itself against a predator. The same can arguably be said when you look at the school of fish in the water. The predatory shark is disappointed by a potent and divinely bestowed shield formed by smaller species of fish forming one family and maintaining its ties for their mutual benefits in the face of an imminent danger. These are fishes!! What of the humans??!!  Yes again, even human societies do- from time to time- form a kind of ‘family ties’and keep same for achieving negative and reprehensible purposes and goals. The colonial masters, for instance, had to sit under Otto Von Bismarck the then German chancellor during the so-called Berlin West Africa Conference, also called the Berlin Conference, meeting of representatives of 14 European countries and the United States between 1884 and 1885 to deal with matters relating to European trade and territorial claims in Africa.

It was a nefarious and inhuman agenda that set the ball rolling towards colonizing the African continent. Yet in the process, they had to be together as one family of vultures hovering around a carcass that was later mercilessly eaten up!! They did maintain ties for that. If it became a necessity for them to keep those ties albeit momentarily for achieving their aims and objectives in colonization, a Muslim and indeed a truly practicing Muslim should maintain and keep his bond of family relationship in order for him to have Allah’s endorsement and pleasure.

Aayah 54 of Surah 25 on how Man is configured on family based ties.

“It is He who created the human being from water, then invested him with ties of blood and marriage, and your Lord is all-powerful”

This Aayah outlines the structural reality found in the human nature when it comes to issue of relationships. It says: “…then invested him with ties of blood and marriage”, in other words man is naturally tied by the rope of human fraternity through blood relations and marriage. You and I are either someone else’s son, daughter,grandson, granddaughter, farther, grandfather    son in law, daughter in law father, grandfather or husband and wife. When the Glorious Quran talks about the number of women forbidden for a Muslim to marry, 15 women are mentioned in three verses consecutively .  In the firstAayah, Allah The Exalted says: “And do not marry (of women) those married by your fathers save that which went by for it is -of certainty-  an act of abomination, disdained and evil as a way (of living)”

In the second, HE-’azza wa jalla- says: “Forbidden for you are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, and your brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters, your foster- mothers, and your foster- sisters, and your mothers- in- law and your step daughters under your guardianship (born) of your wives unto whom you have gone in- but if you have not gone in unto them, then there is no sin  on you (to marry their daughters) and the wives of your sons proceeding from your loins and also to having two sisters as wives as the same time  except for what is past for Allah is Oft-forgiving  Most Merciful”

In the third Aayah, The Almighty says: “(Forbidden as well for you) are those women under men as wives……..”  It is therefore a divinely ordained responsibility to guard against causing any form of disaffection and havoc within the ranks and files of one’s own family through blood or marital connection and or the family of the Islamic nation and of course other members belonging to the human race as members of that family in such a way and manner that DO NOT contradict the teachings of Islam as they (the teachings) are.

Steps in keeping family ties through:

Knowing and understanding textual bases on maintaining family ties: This refers to relevant verses and a hadith, some of which we have given them here above. Here I will make reference to two narrations only. The first of these narration is a Hadith that says: “Whosoever that wants his provision/sustenance to be expanded for him and his life span extended, let him maintained his relationship”

The second one is: “He will never enter the paradise he who severs his ties of his relationship” Comprehending and appreciating the legal status of maintaining family ties. Simply, the legal status is wujuub or compulsory. It is one out of the five celebrated ordinances of Islamic law and denying its compulsory status is tantamount to kufr or disbelief.

Passionately aspiring to have the rewards for Silatur rahimi and maintaining family ties. The Hadiith in item number 1 quoted above under this subheading on the value of keeping one’s relationship takes care of this segment.

Showing love and sincerity of purpose –ikhlaas– in maintaining one’s family ties, not being pretentious or shedding crocodile’s tears only when members of your family are afflicted. Sustained visits to your loved ones in the family and of course even those you ‘do not love’ as ‘blood is thicker than water’.



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