Columns's Our Families

March 2002

Ties of the Womb

by Siddiqua Hassan Haswarey

Muslim women and mothers in line Muslim mothers and women in line.

Allah has said, "O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the womb (kinship). Surely, Allah is ever an All Watcher over you." {Surat An-Nisaa 4: Verse 1}

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet -sallallahu alaihi wa sallam- said, "Allah created the creations, and when He finished from His creations, Ar-Rahm, i.e., womb, said, '(O Allah) at this place I seek refuge with You from all those who sever me (i.e. sever the ties of kith and kin).' Allah said, 'Yes, won't you be pleased that I will keep good relations with the one who will keep good relations with you, and I will sever the relation with the one who will sever the relations with you.' It said, 'Yes, O my Lord.' Allah said, 'Then that is for you.' " Allah's Apostle -sallallahu alaihi wa sallam- added, "Read (in the Qur'an) if you wish, the Statement of Allah: 'Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship?' (47.22)" (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.16)

One of the characteristics of Rasullallah -sallallahu alaihi wa sallam- that is most admirable is the honor he gave to his relationships. Be it his extended family, aunt or uncle, or even his own daughters, he -sallallahu alaihi wa sallam- honored those relations, respected those ties, and did what was best in order to maintain and nurture them to a point where he even maintained ties with those who were related to his beloveds, like in the case of Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha), his beloved wife.

In Islam, the Qur'an and Sunnah have placed a great deal of importance to blood ties, or as it is described in the hadith above, "ties of the womb". Allah (Tabaarak wa Ta'ala) has emphasized the significance of maintaining ties of kinship. What is interesting though is that nowadays there has been an steep increase in the amount of significance and importance given particularly to bonds of marriage, while in the process isolating the other relationships in an individual's live, which nonetheless are just as important. There is an ever-increasing amount of importance being given to the marital bond but there is hardly any mention of the other ties that we all are bonded by, more specifically ties of the blood. Everyone is aiming to be a great spouse, but not a very great brother or sister.

A lot of cultures around the world are based on certain Jahiliyy concepts. For example in the Indian subcontinent, the daughter is not a complete part of the family but will belong to the family into which she marries. This is upheld to such an extent that if she were to have a divorce, she would not be accepted back into her blood family, rather she is isolated and left to deal with the situation as it is. Whereas in Islam, a woman is not even required to change her maiden name because it is a mark of her roots; it is the title that shows what tribe she comes from, the title that shows precisely where her blood ties originate. When two people get married, they essentially bring two tribes (or families) together and neither one leaves his/her family to join the others, but rather they come together in a union that expands his/her tribe in interconnection with another tribe. This concept of leaving your family or tribe to join anothers has seeped into Islam from Jahiliyyah. Ironically, even before the time of Rasullallah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) the women were addressed with their maiden name or as the daughter of so and so. When Rasullallah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) married all of his wives, they were always addressed as belonging or coming from another family, not so they would feel like an outsider but because they in fact belonged by blood to another family. This also served the purpose of clearing up the mahrem and non-mahrem relationships.

What is even more distressing is to see the disrespect being given to the ties of the womb, in comparison to the all of the other relationships. It is almost as though Muslims have begun to weigh the bonds of marriage so heavily that in the process they have forgotten the importance of the ties of blood. We are the progeny of our fathers and our mothers. What flows within our veins is their blood and none others. Our brothers and sisters are progeny of the very same parents and what flows in their veins is exactly as what flows in our very own. No matter what we do there is nothing that we can possibly do to change that fact. Yet we treat our families as though they are strangers and we treat strangers as though they are family. SubhanAllah! Muslims have more love in their hearts for those who are related to them through this deen than the affection they have toward their own blood brother even though the latter is just as Muslim as he is. We have thinned down the blood ties to such an extent that we are ready to destroy our very own brother or sister for the sake of success in this dunya. Would Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) be pleased with us to destroy the bonds that He has blessed each of us? Bonds that He (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has explicitly and continually ordered us to uphold and maintain. We are ordered by Allah to be a brother unto a fellow Muslim. Imagine the weight He (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has placed on our relationship with one who is Muslim and is related to us through blood ties?

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously; and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should unite the bond of kinship (i.e. keep good relation with his kith and kin); and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep quiet." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.160)

Narrated by Abu Aiyub (radhi Allahu anhu): A man said to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, "Tell me of such a deed as will make me enter Paradise." The people said, "What is the matter with him? What is the matter with him?" The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "He has something to ask. (What he needs greatly.)" The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "(In order to enter Paradise) you should worship Allah and do not ascribe any partners to Him, offer prayer perfectly, pay the Zakat and keep good relations with your kith and kin." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.479)

We are living in a time when Muslims are so concerned with pleasing their spouses that they are willing to sacrifice their bonds of blood. Muslim men are racing to be the "best of mankind by being the best to their wives" but, are the worst of men to their mothers, who carried them for nine months and then bore the burden of nurturing them until they were strong enough to care for themselves; they are the worst of men to their sisters who are bonded to them in blood and not in contract, who rightfully deserve their respect and care. Can Allah be so unjust to have weighed down the marital bonds above the bonds of the womb? SubhanAllahi Atheem! Allah can never be unjust; in fact He (Tabaarak wa Ta'ala) is far from imperfection. Indeed, Allah created us in order to test us just as He created each and every single being in existence and truly, we all will get as each of us deserve, in this dunya as well as in the Aakhirah.

"Say: 'To whom belong the earth and all beings therein? (Say) if you know!' They will say 'To Allah!' Say: 'Yet will you not receive admonition?' Say: 'Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) Supreme?' They will say '(They belong) to Allah.' Say: 'Will you not then be filled with awe?' Say: 'Who is it in whose hands is the governance of all things who protects (all) but is not protected (of any)? (Say) if you know.' They will say '(It belongs) to Allah.' Say: 'Then how are you deluded?'" {Surat Al-Mu'minun: Verses 84 - 89}

O Allah! Make all of our deeds righteous and make them purely for Your Sake, and do not let there be any share for anyone or anything else in them. O Allah! Turner of Hearts! Keep our hearts steadfast on Your religion. Aameen. Allahumma Aameen.

Subhanaka `Allahumma wa bihamdika, wa `ash-hadu `an laa `Illaaha `illaa `anta, `astaghfiruka wa `atoobu `ilayka. (Glorified are You O' Allah and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no deity except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You).

Siddiqua Hassan Haswarey

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