It is noteworthy that Islam is keen on building a strong society in which love, cooperation, and sympathy prevail. In order to achieve this, Islam has laid down certain rules to govern people’s interaction with one another in the society, defining the rights and obligations of its members. Among social relations that attract Islam’s attention is the kin relationship.

In this regard, the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states: Islam forbids a Muslim to severe relation with Muslim brothers. Muslims are prohibited to nurse grudge or hatred or to be alienated from fellow Muslims. It is only allowable for conflicting brothers in Islam to keep away from one another for no more than three days maximum, so that they calm down and their dispute cools. After that they have to reconcile and get over their pride, anger, and disagreement. Allah Almighty praises those who are always forgiving towards their fellow Muslims, saying: (Allah will bring a people whom He loveth and who love Him, humble toward believers.) (Al-Ma’idah 5: 54) Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Neither nurse mutual hatred, nor jealousy, nor enmity, and become as fellow brothers and servants of Allah.” (Reported by Muslim)

Severing relations with others is even bitterer when it is within the framework of blood relations whom Islam has enjoined to keep in touch with one another. Allah Almighty says: (Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah hath been a Watcher over you.) (An-Nisaa’ 4: 1) The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clarified the great value that preserving the tie of kinship has in the sight of Allah Almighty, saying: “The tie of kinship is suspended to the Throne and says: He who unites me, Allah would unite him, and he who severs me, Allah would sever him.” (Reported by Muslim) He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: “The severer would not enter Paradise.” Ibn `Umar said that Sufyan (explained it as): One who severs the tie of kinship would not enter Paradise. (Reported by Muslim)

Real cherishing of blood relations is not observed in anticipation of an equal reaction on the part of one’s kin; but the ties should be maintained for Allah’s sake only. Maybe this is done from one side only while neglecting the behavior of the other side in its return. `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas quoted the Prophet (peace be blessings be upon him) as saying: Al-wasil (one who maintains good relations with his kinship) is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives, but al-wasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who have severed the bond of kinship with him.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

However, a Muslim can, or rather, should sever ties with wrongdoers who don’t care for Allah’s displeasure. It is the highest degree of iman (true faith) to love for Allah’s sake and hate for Allah’s sake. The most obvious example is that of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) severed all ties with the three men who remained behind and didn’t participate in the Battle of Tabuk, which was intended, as all other battles in Islam, to spread Allah’s religion. He boycotted them, and no one talked to or greeted them, till they became distressed. Then Allah revealed that He had forgiven them. It is only then that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) restored relations with them.

Allah Almighty says: (And to the three also (did He turn in mercy) who were left behind: when the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for them, and their own souls were straitened for them till they bethought them that there is no refuge from Allah save toward Him. Then turned He unto them in mercy that they (too) might turn (repentant unto Him). Lo! Allah! He is the Relenting, the Merciful.) (At-Tawbah 9: 118)

Moreover, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) abandoned his wives for forty days, and `Abdullah ibn `Umar deserted his son till he died because he refused to act upon a hadith reported by his father that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned men against preventing their women to go to mosques.

Muslims are, thus, forbidden to nurse rancor and desert one another for secular reasons whatsoever, because this worldly life and all its aspects deserve nothing in the sight of Allah Almighty. (Had it been worthy of a fly’s wing, Allah would have never availed the disbeliever a mouthful of water in it.) Being so worthless, Muslims should never fight or compete for it, nor sever ties and relations in this course. In addition, Allah will punish those who harbor grudge and sever ties of kinship with prevention of His mercy and forgiveness.

Abu Hurayrah reported Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “The gates of Paradise are not opened but on two days, Monday and Thursday, and then every servant (of Allah) is granted pardon who does not associate anything with Allah except the person in whose (heart) there is rancor against his brother. And it would be said: ‘Look towards both of them until there is reconciliation; look toward both of them until there is reconciliation; look towards both of them until there is reconciliation.’” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

So, when a wrongdoer regrets his deed and extends apology to the wronged, the latter should forgive him and put an end to their conflict. In other words, the wronged is forbidden to refuse conciliation with the wrongdoer, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned those who do so that they won’t drink of the Prophet’s basin on the day of Judgment.

Interference of a third party for reconciliation

Although the conflicting parties are commanded to settle their disputes according to the mutual rights they owe each other as brothers in Islam, the society also shoulders a great responsibility. The Muslim Ummah should be a cooperative and integrated community. It is improper for them to act as onlookers while their brothers are fighting; Instead, people of wisdom and sound reasoning should interfere to reconcile the conflicting parties, taking an objective course that is void of personal whims and inclinations. Allah Almighty says: (The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy.) (Al-Hujurat 49: 10)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also clarified the great merit of reconciliation in contrast to the disastrous effects of disputing and conflicting. He (peace and blessings be upon him) said to his Companions: “Would I tell you of something greater in reward than prayer, fasting and charity?” The Companions said: “Yes, Allah’s Messenger.” He said: “Reconciling the conflicting parties, for conflicts are (like) shaving blades. I don’t mean it shaves hair; rather it eradicates religious spirit.” (Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
Moreover, we’d like to remind you of the Qur’anic verse which reads: (Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.) (Fussilat 41: 34) Then ask yourself whether you have ever granted your in-law any presents to make him happy, following in the footsteps of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: “Exchange presents, so as to exchange love.” How many times have you praised him for a good deed or a good quality in him, whether in his presence or behind his back? Have you prayed to Allah to soften his heart, guide him, and make his affairs go well?