وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ
And those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined
Sura ar-R’ad, verse 21
According to Tafsir, one of the things that Allah has commanded to join, or keep intact, is family relationships. The keeping of good relationships with family members is a religious duty. Allah looks with favor at the person who strengthens family bonds and maintains close ties with them. This includes looking after them, helping them in times of need, keeping in touch with them, praying for them . . . essentially all that which shows a connection that overcomes distance as well as differences.
A family fulfills the emotional needs of the human being. It has been described as an oasis for the human being, where the weariness that is felt in the outside world can be refreshed. Love within the family acts as a buttress in trying times. Islamic teachings of the Masumeen (a) show loving relationships with family members, a love that included respect, affection, support, cooperation, and harmony. These qualities give the human being a sense of belonging and confidence, and help boost satisfaction in life. It is no wonder that hadith describes family as the wings with which one flies.
Although occasional conflicts are inevitable, family relationships must be closely safeguarded. We must make time, and put in effort, to foster close relationships. This applies not only to members of the nuclear family, but also the extended family. It includes in-laws, for although you may not be blood related to them, your spouse and children are. You cannot afford to have negative relations with them, thereby depriving your spouse and children from being able to have close relations with them.
Recite this verse to encourage yourself towards strengthening family relations. Remind yourself of it every time you visit family, call them, email them, talk to them on skype – whatever way you might choose to keep in touch. These ties will do you and your children a lot of good, both in this world and in the hereafter. Family matters a lot, and the community thrives when families are strong. Do your part in tightening the threads that bind families, and communities, together.