In many countries, Eid celebrations differ from one place to another. But what is common between various communities is the spirit of visiting one another. Like any other festival, people take the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones, their family and friends, and catch up with one another. Even though this might seem like a normal thing people usually do on weekends and other occasions such as birthdays and weddings, the act of maintaining relations with others lies at the heart of the teachings of Islam.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The word ‘Ar-Rahm (womb) derives its name from Ar-Rahman and Allah said: ‘I will keep good relation with the one who will keep good relation with you, and sever the relation with him who will sever the relation with you.
From this hadith, we understand that Allah emphasises the importance of fostering kinship. It becomes a way for us to gain Allah’s pleasure. Of course, it’s not always easy to maintain good ties with people. Often more than not, we will have barriers and issues that cause tension between family members. Bad-tempered relatives or jealous aunts always give you a hard time trying to make decent conversation with them, and when you want to point them out, all hell breaks loose.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “One will not enter Paradise if he/she severs relations with others”.
Why does Islam emphasise so much on building and maintaining good relations with others? Why does it matter so much what other people feel about us? Does it make me a bad person if I have issues with someone?
Well, what we know is that society is made up of lots of families, and families are made up of individuals. Islam teaches us to have good relations because a strong family creates a strong society. Likewise, if many families become shattered and dysfunctional, so does the society. There is value in the preservation of the family unit because it serves as the building blocks of the community.
A strong community is better able to come together and achieve more. This is the fruit of the teachings of Islam that permeate into every aspect of our lives.
In another hadith, our dear Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions of seven groups of people who will be given the Shade of Allah on the Day of Judgement. The Shade of Allah here refers to the Shade of His Throne. It is mentioned that among these people are “two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah”. This can include our family, our friends and many more. When people love and care one another for the sake of Allah, it becomes the reason with which they receive the honour of being under the Shade of Allah. And why is that? Because maintaining relations is hard.
Frankly speaking, not everyone has loving and supportive family members. There’s a reason we are taught to ‘maintain relations’, meaning that it requires lots of effort, and a lot more patience. It means putting up with petty behaviour, it means making time to meet them even though your daily errands have tired you out, it means forcing yourself at times to go to a gathering of a relative who lives far away, it could also mean just taking some time out of your day once or twice a week to make a call or give a text.
It’s hard. Do they deserve your good treatment? Yes, because they have a right upon you and also, and more importantly, because it is a reflection of your own self and your own character. How they treat you is one thing, but how you bring yourself around them is another thing altogether. And at the end of this, you know deep down that what you’re doing is ultimately to please Allah and to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).
What could be better than that?
Contributed by Ustaz Mizi Wahid of Safinah Institute as part of #SalamTodayRamadan series with SalamToday and SalamWeb.