18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

Disbelieving Parents

Asma (radi Allahu anha) narrated: “My mother, who was a pagan, had come to see me in the days of the Messenger of Allah, so I sought the advice of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) about her visit. I told him, ‘My mother has come to see me and she is outside Islam, shall I treat her kindly?’ He said, ‘Yes, treat your mother kindly.’” [Sahih Bukhari]

Al-Khattabi explains this hadith: “A disbelieving mother should be treated kindly just as a Muslim mother, and the disbelieving parents should be supported even if their son is a Muslim.” [Fath al-Bari]

One is obliged to maintain family ties, even in the face of difference of religion. Yet one is prohibited from participating in sin for the sake of maintaining family ties. Unfortunately, many Muslims misunderstand the concept of “Silah Rahmi,” and use it to participate in gatherings and events wherein Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is disobeyed and His prohibitions are violated. The following ayat is unequivocal on this matter:

“And We have enjoined upon man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents, his mother carried him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years – Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is the final destination. But if they strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly.” [Quran 31:14-15]

Ibn Hajar points out that to keep up family ties and behave well with relatives does not mean that you should have for them the same love and affection that is reserved for Momineen. Allah has forbidden this to the Muslims saying: “You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger.” [Quran 58:22]

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