In the family business when a disciplinary process and penalties have been agreed prior. However, when a family member transgresses, the senior/ father/ elder is reluctant to apply the penalty because they soften up to the child. How is this best handled by others? Inevitably this will result in family disagreement. Please advice.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
We acknowledge your commitment to uphold justice, equality and fairness within all members of the business. Undoubtedly, it is immoral and incorrect for the elder to discriminate in ensuring rules and regulations of the business between members without any valid reason. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Each one of you is a shepherd and each one of you will be asked about his flock.
However, it is imperative to endure patience and wisdom in trying to ensure the elder is just in his business issues. Infuriating and disproportionate reaction may only further aggravate the issue and lead to a volatile situation with enduring animosity within family members.
You must articulate your sentiments in a professional and a humble manner. Do not employ any vulgar language or direct criticism. Elderly people are sensitive to any seemingly rebellious attitude or behaviour against their decisions and conduct. We must value their experience, their efforts in forwarding the interests of the family, and their expectation to be obeyed without questions. Explain to them the possible consequences of instability in the business resulting from discrimination between members and unequal scrutiny and accountability. He may reveal the hidden cause to his apparent unfair treatment to other members of the family.
The senior and elderly member is the central figure of the hierarchy of a family in its unity, smooth functioning and course of direction. The foresight of elders must not be overlooked. They may be sensitive to any criticism
There are various methods you could adopt:
- Directly address the elder with humility and concern;
- Alternatively, express your sentiments to an elderly reputable person who may enjoy some influence over the elder and thus explain to him kindly;
- Contact a local reliable scholar who could confide in to the elder to overcome this issue;
- The individual who has surpassed the parameters of the business code should be explained with wisdom the need for him to comply with the rules and voluntarily accept his misdemeanour.
Note: You have not mentioned in the question the nature of the penalties imposed. However, it must be noted that monetary fines are impermissible in Islam.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Hanif Yusuf Patel
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
[Sahih al-Bukhari, 853]
 وَفِي شَرْحِ الْآثَارِ التَّعْزِيرُ بِالْمَالِ كَانَ فِي ابْتِدَاءِ الْإِسْلَامِ ثُمَّ نُسِخَ. اهـ. وَالْحَاصِلُ أَنَّ الْمَذْهَبَ عَدَمُ التَّعْزِيرِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ،
[Al-Bahr ar-Ra`iq, 5: 44, dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya]
وَالْحَاصِلُ أَنَّ الْمَذْهَبَ عَدَمُ التَّعْزِيرِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ
[Radd al-Muhtar, 4: 61, Dar al-Fikr]