Family ties in Islam
The subject of family ties is one of the many important things considered in Islam. While that is the case, some Muslims may take this responsibility not very serious.
One can severe ties with family only when the reasons for doing so are valid. Generally, it is considered a major sin to cut family ties in Islam. This applies to every family member, including: grandparents, uncles and aunts, parents, children, brothers, sisters, etc.
One of the main goals with which the Prophet (ﷺ) came is to preserve the family ties. This was mentioned together with Tawheed and rejection of idols.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "I have been sent to preserve the family ties, to reject the idols and to invite to the Oneness of Allah." [Sahih Muslim 832]
When family ties can be broken
Generally, a Muslim should not consider cutting ties with his family, but there are exceptions to the rule. If you are currently suffering from your family because of their abuse, then you have the right to consider cutting ties in order to protect your health and wellbeing.
Abusive parents pose a great threat to your health, sanity, wellbeing and overall quality of life. Allah does not obligate you to stay in such an oppressive environment if the abuse is damaging you greatly.
If you are being abused mentally, emotionally, phsyically or sexually, the choice is yours if you are willing to continue this bond with your family or family member.
Some people do not deserve permanent access, even if they are your parents, grandparents or children. Islam has came with boundaries to protect the people from abuse and injustice. Injustice is unacceptable in Islam.
- A parent who wishes death upon his child, says "if only you were not born" or "Allah will never let you enter paradise" and makes terrible unjust accusations
- A family member who threatens and manipulates you for financial gain
- In-laws who set you up unjustly against your partner and who spread hatred and jealousy
- A family member who has abused you sexually or physically
- A parent who has stripped you of your rights and neglected you emotionally
Breaking family ties without a valid excuse
It is not allowed to break family ties without having a valid reason to do so. There are quite a few invalid excuses people use to break family ties.
- Because you are too busy with a career
- Because you do not get any financial support
- Because you do not get a call every day
- Because you have a mild argument with your relative
- Because your family member is hurting you with bad comments about Islam
But those who break the covenant of Allah after contracting it and sever that which Allah has ordered to be joined and spread corruption on earth - for them is the curse, and they will have the worst abode.
Those who break the covenant of Allah and break that which Allah has commanded to join (kinship) and cause corruption on earth. It is they who are the losers.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "The person who severs family ties will not enter Paradise." [Sahih al-Bukhari 5984]
Thus, the unjust severing of family ties is a major crime in Islam. It may result in you entering hellfire. So this is quite a big thing.
Disbelieving family member who insults Islam
It is not permissible to break contact because a family member offends Islam. This is something that many of the Sahaba had to deal with immediately after their conversion. Their parents and relatives would insult Islam.
Nowhere does it say that it would be valid or permissible to cut off contact with such a family member.
Abu Hurayrah said: “My mother was a polytheist and I invited her to accept Islam. Once, when I invited her, she said something [unpleasant] about the Prophet (peace be upon him), which I did not like. I went to Rasulullah (ﷺ) crying and said, 'O Rasulullah! I invite my mother to accept Islam and she always refuses. Today I invited her and she said something unpleasant about you. Ask Allah to guide my mother.' The Prophet (ﷺ) then said: 'O Allah, guide Abu Hurayrah's mother.' I left, happy with the supplication of the Prophet (ﷺ). When I went home and walked to the door, it was locked. My mother heard my footsteps and said, "Abu Hurayrah, wait a minute." I heard the sound of water. She took a bath, put on her clothes and covered her hair. She opened the door and said, "O Abu Hurayrah, Ash-hadu an-laa ilaha illa Allah wa ash-hadu annaa Muhammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh." I went back to the Prophet (ﷺ) crying with joy.' I then said, 'O Rasulullah! Rejoice, for Allah has answered your supplication and guided my mother.' The Prophet (ﷺ) praised Allah, glorified Him and spoke some good words. I said, 'O Rasulullah! Ask Allah to endear my mother and me to the believers and to make the believers endearing to us.' The Prophet (ﷺ) made this supplication. After that event no believer was born who heard of me and saw me, except that he loved me.'" [Sahih Muslim 2491]