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THE VIRTUE OF JOINING FAMILY TIES

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

THE THIRD SERMON OF THE MONTH OF RAJAB, DATED 21ST RAJAB 1445 AH (2ND FEB., 2024).

TOPIC: THE VIRTUE OF JOINING FAMILY TIES AND SHOWING KINDNESS TO RELATIVES.

THE FIRST SERMON:

All praise is due to Allah, abundant and pure, as He loves and He is pleased. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone without any partners, glorified and exalted is He. I bear witness that our master and prophet, Muhammad, is His servant and messenger, the chosen and the best. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, his family, his companions, and all those who follow his guidance.

O servants of Allah, I advise you and myself to have taqwa (God-consciousness), as it is the path of the righteous and the people of understanding. Allah, the Exalted, says: (وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ) “And fear Allah, O you of understanding.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 197) Taqwa is the way out of every difficulty and hardship, and the means to all goodness and whatever one seeks for in this world and the Hereafter. Allah says: (وَمَنْ يَتَقِ اللهَ يَجْعَل لّهُ مَخْرَجاً. وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ) “And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect.” (Surah At-Talaq, 65:2-3)

The topic of our sermon today revolves around THE VIRTUE OF JOINING FAMILY TIES AND SHOWING KINDNESS TO RELATIVES.

Dear servants of Allah, know that joining family ties is one of the best ways to draw closer to Allah, the Almighty. It is also an obligation upon every Muslim, as it is a right that is deserved. This is achieved by connecting with one’s relatives and treating them kindly. Allah has linked between joining family ties and attaining blessings in time and provision, making it a means of attaining both. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever would like his provision to be expanded and his lifespan to be prolonged, let him maintain family ties.” (Sahih Bukhari 5986) Muslims should sit with their relatives, engage in conversations, and discuss various topics, which leads to a sense of clarity and openness between them, as well as an increase in love and affection. It is worth noting that relatives have the most right and priority in receiving kindness and care. Allah says: (وَأُولُو الأَرحامِ بَعضُهُم أَولى بِبَعضٍ في كِتابِ اللَّـهِ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيءٍ عَليمٌ) “And those who are kind to their relatives are more entitled to receive kindness from others in the Book of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of all things.” (Surah Al-Anfal: 75)

Joining family ties was known and practiced even before the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is evident from the statement of Khadijah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him), when the revelation first came to him. She said: “No, by Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin.” (Sahih Bukhari). The Prophet Muhammad used to praise his relatives, pray for them, advise them, and take pride in them. He would also provide them with both material and moral support. One of the notable incidents that demonstrate the Prophet’s concern for maintaining family ties is what happened when his uncle, Abu Talib, was on his deathbed. The Prophet came to him while Abu Jahl and Abdullah bin Umaya were present, and asked him to utter the testimony of faith, but he refused. When Abu Talib passed away, the Prophet wanted to seek forgiveness for him. Imam Bukhari narrated that the Prophet said: “By Allah, I will continue to ask for your forgiveness until I am forbidden from doing so.” (Sahih Bukhari) Then Allah revealed the following verse, prohibiting the Prophet from seeking forgiveness for the disbelievers, even if they were his close relatives: (ما كانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذينَ آمَنوا أَن يَستَغفِروا لِلمُشرِكينَ وَلَو كانوا أُولي قُربى مِن بَعدِ ما تَبَيَّنَ لَهُم أَنَّهُم أَصحابُ الجَحيمِ) “It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire.” (Surah At-Tawbah: 113)

There is no dispute about the obligation of maintaining family ties in Islam. This is supported by numerous evidences from the Quran, the Prophetic tradition, and consensus among scholars. One of the evidences from the Quran is the verse: (فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ*أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّـهُ فَأَصَمَّهُمْ وَأَعْمَى أَبْصَارَهُمْ) “Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are the ones whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.” (Surah Muhammad: 22-23) Another verse states: (وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا) “And fear Allah through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” (Surah An-Nisa: 1). Additionally, it is mentioned: (وَالَّذينَ يَنقُضونَ عَهدَ اللَّـهِ مِن بَعدِ ميثاقِهِ وَيَقطَعونَ ما أَمَرَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ أَن يوصَلَ وَيُفسِدونَ فِي الأَرضِ أُولـئِكَ لَهُمُ اللَّعنَةُ وَلَهُم سوءُ الدّارِ) “And those who break the covenant of Allah after contracting it and sever that which Allah has ordered to be joined and cause corruption on earth – it is those who are the losers.” (Surah Ar-Rad, 25).

As for the evidence from the Prophetic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain family ties.” (Narrated by Bukhari). Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Family ties are suspended from the Throne, and whoever maintains them, Allah maintains him, and whoever severs them, Allah severs him.” (Narrated by Bukhari). It should be noted that maintaining family ties has different levels, with the minimum being refraining from cutting off ties with fellow Muslims.

Family ties vary depending on the degree of kinship. The closer the kinship, the stronger the ties. Family ties include all relatives from both the paternal and maternal sides, regardless of distance. Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (may Allah have mercy on him) explained this and also recommended maintaining ties with neighbours, friends, righteous people, and showing kindness and respect towards them. The manner of maintaining family ties may differ based on their circumstances and availability, while avoiding prohibited mixing, seclusion, forbidden glances, or interfering in their affairs. It is also important for spouses to show kindness to the relatives of the other spouse, as a sign of maintaining good relations and love between them.

There are various ways to maintain family ties, such as providing financial assistance, offering help and support, guiding them, giving advice, and making supplications for their guidance. It also includes visiting sick relatives, responding to invitations, enjoining good and forbidding evil. It is worth mentioning that maintaining family ties is based on customary practices. Whatever people consider as maintaining family ties is considered as such, and whatever they consider as cutting off ties is also considered as such.

One of the aspects of maintaining family ties is that the reward and virtue of maintaining ties are for those who maintain ties with those who cut them off. The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified this by saying: “The one who maintains family ties is not the one who reciprocates, but the one who maintains ties when they are cut off.” (Narrated by Bukhari). This is done in the hope of attaining the pleasure of Allah, not for seeking any recognition or status in people’s hearts. Some of the ways to maintain family ties include:

– Giving charity to them: The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged this by saying: “Charity given to the poor is charity, and charity given to a relative is both charity and maintaining family ties.” (Narrated by Bukhari) It is important to have sincere intentions for the sake of Allah, and to maintain privacy and confidentiality when giving charity.

– To urge them to obey Allah – exalted be He – and worship Him with wisdom, good advice. By doing so, the one who maintains family ties will receive the reward of guiding others towards goodness and righteousness.

– Reconciliation among them in case of disputes and conflicts, spreading tranquility and peace among them, while ensuring the fulfillment of rights for all parties and achieving their interests. Allah – exalted be He – says: (لَّا خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّن نَّجْوَاهُمْ إِلَّا مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلَاحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا) “There is no good in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward” (Quran 4:114).

– Strengthening and maintaining family relationships through various means such as visiting, inquiring about each other, providing financial and moral support, with humility, affection, and love.

Dear listeners, maintaining family ties and showing kindness to relatives have numerous virtues that benefit the individual in this world and the Hereafter. Some of these virtues include:

1- It is a means of entering Paradise. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) narrated that a man asked him about an action that would lead him to Paradise, and the Prophet replied: “Worship Allah alone without associating partners with Him, establish prayer, give charity, and maintain family ties.” (Sahih Bukhari)

2- It is a sign of faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should honor his guest and maintain family ties.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

3- It is a means of increasing one’s lifespan and blessings in sustenance. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever wants his provision to be expanded and his lifespan to be prolonged, let him maintain family ties.” (Sahih Bukhari)

4- It is a means of attaining the mercy of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) narrated that Allah said: “I am Al-Rahim (the Most Merciful), and I have created the ties of kinship. Whoever maintains family ties, I will maintain ties with him, and whoever cuts off family ties, I will cut off ties with him.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

5- It is a form of obedience to Allah. Maintaining family ties is commanded by Allah in all religions and is a sign of goodness and kindness towards others.

6- It is a sign of noble character, generosity, and loyalty.

7- It leads to the spread of love, affection, and unity among relatives, resulting in pure hearts towards one another.

8- It elevates the status of the one who maintains family ties in the eyes of their family and others.

O Allah, make us among those who listen to the words and follow the best of them. I seek forgiveness from Allah for myself and for you.

THE SECOND SERMON

Praise be to Allah, the One whose praise is true. Praise be to Allah, who with His praise fulfills the purpose of His creation. We praise Him for His favor and blessings, His kindness and goodness. We bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, without any partners, and we bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, his family, his companions, and those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

As to what follows,

Dear servants of Allah, no progress can be achieved in the society without abundant security and stability. Security has a great role in life, as Allah has favored the Quraysh with it, both within and outside their sanctuary. Allah mentioned their security as a great blessing upon them, saying: (لِإِيلافِ قُرَيْشٍ (1) إِيلافِهِمْ رِحْلَةَ الشِّتاءِ وَالصَّيْفِ (2) فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هذَا الْبَيْتِ (3) الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُمْ مِنْ جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُمْ مِنْ خَوْفٍ (4)) “For the accustomed security of the Quraysh – Their accustomed security [in] the caravan of winter and summer – Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.” This refers to their safety and security during their journeys in winter to Yemen and in summer to Syria for trade and other purposes, and then returning to their homeland safely, which made them respected among people for being the inhabitants of Allah’s sanctuary. This is their situation during their travels and journeys in winter and summer. As for their situation when they reside in their land, Allah says: (أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنا حَرَماً آمِناً وَيُتَخَطَّفُ النَّاسُ مِنْ حَوْلِهِمْ) “Have they not seen that We made [Makkah] a safe sanctuary, while people are being taken away all around them?” (Quran 29:67)

Dear brothers, our beloved country, Nigeria, is still suffering from the security and stability challenges until now. We are witnessing the continuous rise in incidents of kidnapping, banditry, and incessant killings. The previous verses contain lessons and insights in this regard. We learnt from them that the issue of security and stability requires two important preparations: firstly, the spiritual and faith-based preparation, which includes relying on Allah, supplicating to Him, seeking His help, expressing gratitude for His blessings, and sincerely worshiping Him while rejecting any form of polytheism. This is because the source of security and stability is from Allah, who is the source of peace and from whom peace emanates. Allah has favored the Quraysh with security, as mentioned in the verses. Secondly, the material preparation, which includes benefiting from human resources and acquiring modern security weapons and using them properly for the most beneficial purposes. Both preparations are required from both the leaders and the people, although the second preparation is mostly the responsibility of the leaders.

In conclusion, we advise you not to forget your brothers in Palestine in your prayers, especially in these harsh conditions. One of the signs of the acceptance of your prayers, O brothers, is the recent preliminary ruling and provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice against Israel in the lawsuit filed by South Africa, accusing Israel of violating the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Although this ruling did not prevent the aggressive actions of the oppressive Israeli government against the land of Palestine and its people, but we view the ruling as a prelude to the expected divine justice from the Lord of the Worlds, who is the most just of all judges. No one is wronged in His presence, and He is the ultimate source of help.

Supplication: O Allah, we ask You for permanent security and stability in our country, Nigeria, and in all Muslim lands. Grant victory to our brothers in Palestine, support their cause, grant them clear victory, destroy the Zionists and those who support them. O Allah, honor Islam and the Muslims, humiliate disbelief and the disbelievers. O Allah, nullify the plots of the enemies of Islam and frustrate their schemes. O Allah, we seek refuge in You from their evil and seek Your protection. O Allah, unite the hearts of the Muslims upon the truth. O Allah, grant security to the people of Palestine, lift the siege imposed upon them. O Allah, remove their hardships and alleviate their suffering. O Allah, heal their sick and the sick among the Muslims. O Allah, free the captives of the people of Palestine and the captives of the Muslims. O Allah, grant us security in our homelands and rectify the affairs of our leaders, and grant them success in what You love and are pleased with. O Allah, forgive our deceased and the deceased of the Muslims. O Most Merciful of the merciful and O Lord of all worlds.

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