Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's All Relative

On top of the trunk loads of gifts we receive after visiting family, we often get another windfall: our wishes come true.

About a year ago, for example, I desperately wanted my daughter to learn our Holy Book but could neither find a local tutor nor make the time to teach her myself.

A few days after returning from seeing relatives--where my guilt trip got guiltier after a cousin asked about my kids' Quran progress--came the solution. Intending to call a neighbor, I accidently dialed an acquaintance with the same name who went on to tell me about her brother's new online Quran tutoring service!

Mere serendipity?

I think not. I'm convinced that referral was a godsend for our weekend efforts at silat-ar-rahm, an Arabic term for loving, sympathizing with and doing good to relatives (other than dependents).

Silat-ar-rahm is a serious obligation and can be expressed in many ways, such as supporting, helping or visiting our blood relatives (near and far) and in-laws.*

"Man is not given the reward of any good work sooner than that of silat-ar-rahm," according to Ali, husband of Fatima (one of the four perfect women).

Rewards in this world for silat-ar-rahm include a longer life, increased sustenance, a prosperous home and family and the easement of death pangs.

Fatima's great-grandson Jafar Sadiq demonstrated the utmost importance of silat-ar-rahm on his deathbed. While coming in and out of consciousness he told his slave girl Salimah to give his relative Hasan 70 dinar.

Salimah said: "You are bequeathing to a man [Hasan] who had attacked you with a knife and wanted to kill you?"

Jafar Sadiq said: "Do you not want me to be among those whom God has praised for 'joining the relationship'? (Quran 13:21)

O Salimah, verily God created Paradise and made its scent pleasant and its scent reaches up to the distance of two thousand years. But the person who disobeys his parents or severs relationships will not smell its scent."

Indeed, strengthening family ties for the pleasure of God provides support for the individual and a network for fulfilling social obligations.

"Struggle is a multi-generational task," says lecturer Sheikh Nooruddin.

Fatima's son Hussain provided the ultimate example of how one family's collective commitment to truth and justice can revolutionize society. When Hussain undertook his mission to Kerbala to protest an oppressive regime, his kinfolk-- the old and the young, the men and the women--joined him.

That, in fact, was the secret to his success.

"If Hussain had fought to quench his worldly desires...then I do not understand why his sister, wife and children accompanied him," said nineteenth century writer Charles Dickens. "It stands to reason, therefore, that he sacrificed for Islam."
*As a side, silat-ar-rahm does not sanctify participating in activities in which God's laws are violated, even if they are hosted by family members. 


Sarosh said...

Salam Salina,

Jazaki Allah Khair for another well written blog. May Allah Bless your efforts.

Subhan- Allah, your question is something we all deal with at some time in our lives. We are human and tend to get hurt often, either from relatives or friends or in laws. The best way to deal with this situation is to truly forgive the person. Only then we can continue with our relationships with them with pure hearts. Sometimes forgiving come easier than forgetting, but its definitey a derivative that follows suite insha2 Allah.
I would suggest falling back on the example of our Beloved Prophet(S. A. W).
Also praying for the person who hurt you in your Salah. When we are able to acheive this, it means we have forgiven them for the hurt inflicted and then insha2 Allah will be able to continue & mantain our bonds of kinship.
Life is too short, it shouldnt be wasted over trivial fights and misunderstandings. Time is an asset, an enormous blessing bestowed on us from Allah and we shoud be smart to use it to accumulate wealth through deeds like Silat - Ar Raham that counts as a currency towards our AAkhiraa.

It Reminds me with these Aayat (19-23) from Surah Al Maarij that I read this morning:

Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient; (19) Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; (20) And niggardly when good touches him;- (21) Except those who are devoted to Sal√Ęt (prayers)[]. (22)

JAK wa Salam

Anonymous said...

Nice! Thanks for sharing the deen.

Salina Khan said...

Salam, Sarosh, Thank you for your very touching and inspiring advice...i like the way you led us to forgiveness and encouraged looking at the big picture.

Parisa Alaie said...

What a great blog entry! You have done it again Sister, thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us and reminding us of small parts of our religion that we forget quite easily.

Salina Khan said...

Salam, Parisa, Thank you for your encouraging words! I think many of us get caught up in our own lives (kids, school, work etc) and neglect our duties to others. My latest struggle is with trying to balance everything! Thank you for reading!

thePerfectionistas Fan said...

Yoi've inspired me sooo I think I'll go e-mail my uncle,cousins,mom,and aunts.And maybe tommorrow I'll call my grandma,grandpa,aunts, and cousins.

Salina Khan said...

Thank you thePerfectionistas Fan! May God reward you for reaching out to your family, God willing!