Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My father has disowned my siblings and I and doesn’t want anything to do with us. He lives in a different country now, and my parents have separated. I’ve still been sending him Friday greetings by text, but he never replies, and I heard he doesn’t want my messages. It’s complicated.
I want to ensure I do my part so I’m not held accountable before Allah. I’ve also cut ties with my older brother because he treats my parents poorly. I tried for years to balance family relations and do my best to keep my father happy, but unfortunately, he will never be satisfied with us.
Is it enough to send salams only on the two Eids?
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration and pain and pray that you can one day reconcile and recover from this challenging relationship.
You are not the one cutting off your father; he is cutting you off. You have done more than your share of trying, and messaging him on the Eids is undoubtedly sufficient for now. You should intend to reconcile with him and edge your way back into his life if you see that he starts to soften toward you. Continue to pray for him and try to remove any grudge that you have against him from your heart. When he finally allows some contact with you, welcome him.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him.” [Bukhari]
Maintaining ties of kinship with your brother is obligatory, even if he doesn’t treat your parents well. Tearing apart the family and giving ultimatums is not the sunna. Instead, heed the advice of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said, “There is no sin more deserving that Allah hastens the punishment in this world, in addition to what is stored up for him in the Hereafter – than injustice and severing the ties of kinship.” [Ibn Maja]
Interact with your brother minimally, and don’t tolerate his abuse of your parents. Constantly remind and prevent him from hurting them if he abuses them in front of you. Teach your parents how to defend themselves and stay safe from abuse. Cutting him off won’t teach him anything, so please get back on speaking terms with him.
Stop the Cycle
Do your utmost to stop the cycle of abuse, unhappiness, ingratitude and cutting ties of kinship in your family. You can only do this by making an intention to transform, seeking knowledge, and relying on Allah at every point in this journey to change. Find a happy balance between work, family and worship. Make the Quran your best friend and supplicate to Allah to improve your family relationships; your whole family will follow suit by His grace.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.