Quranic Reflection No 579. Āyat 11:46 – Real and Lasting Relationships

قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ

Qāla yā Nūhu innahu laysa min ahlik

He said, ‘O Nūh! Indeed, He is not of your family

(Sūrat al-Hūd, No 11, Āyat 46)

This verse is Allah’s answer to Prophet Noah ‘alayhis-salām when the Prophet asks Him about his son who was drowned in the flood. Noah (a) had four sons. One of them by the name of Kan‘ān refused to board the ark, telling his father he would seek refuge on the mountain. When Prophet Nūh sees his son drowning in the flood waters he calls out to God. He asks why Allah ‘azza wajall had not saved him as He had promised earlier that his family would be saved from the punishment. Allah answers him by saying: surely, he is not from your family.  

Family relations are assumed to be biological and through marriage. However, real family relationships are that of the souls. When they have the same beliefs and travel together on the path towards Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā then that is a true family. In the worldview of Islam, relationships are real when there is a spiritual bond. This applies to family relationships as well as those with friends. Allah says in the Quran: On that day, friends will be one another’s enemies, except for the God conscious ones (Q 53:67). True lasting relationships are those of faith. All others are apparent and worldly which do not last. People who had close relationships in the world but had no belief and did not support one another in the journey towards God, will blame each other on the Day of Judgment. They will attribute their fate to the other person, saying they misled them.  On the other hand, two people whose relationship was based on faith will still be close in the Hereafter. They will reap the rewards of the relationship in the Hereafter and will be pleased about it as it helped them achieve these rewards. 

Ibn Abbas narrates from the Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallamNo one may taste true faith except by building relationships for Allah’s sake, even if his prayers and fasts are many. People have come to build their relationship around the concerns of the world, but it will not benefit them in any way. https://www.erfan.ir/english/16375.html 

We can see the importance of the spiritual side of relationships in the lives of the Ma’sūmīn (a). The Prophet (s) said about Salmān al-Fārsī: Salman is from us, the Ahlul Bayt. Salmān was not biologically related. He was a Zoroastrian Iranian whose original name was Ruzbih. He converted to Christianity in his youth, and later converted to Islam. His faith was so strong that he was considered spiritually close to the family of the Prophet (s).  Salmān al Fārsī became known as Salmān al-Muhammadī. The Prophet (s) also said that Heaven was eager for the arrival of Salmān.

Imam al-Rida (a) was once talking to his companions, and they discussed the son of Prophet Nūh (a). The Imam said that it was because of his disobedience to God that Kan‘ān was not considered the Prophet’s son. Then the Imam continued to explain that when a Shī‘ah of the Imam disobeys God and is regular in disobedience such that it becomes his essence, he also is not considered a Shī‘ah or follower of the Imam.

This verse reminds us that real relationships are those that are based on faith and spirituality. These will be the lasting relationships, remaining with us when we depart from this earth and move through the other stages of life. It is necessary to build and strengthen these relationships while on earth to benefit from them in the Hereafter.

Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;