How Can Muslims Form and Maintain Relationships?

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“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me…” (Q25: 27-29)

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, relationship means the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other. Islam as a religion emphasizes the importance of relationship in numerous ways including family, friendship, and neighborhood.

Many types of relationships have been identified in previous writings of others; among them are friendship, family, romantic, and professional relationships. However, I will only discuss how to form and maintain family and friendship relationship in this article.

Forming and Maintaining Family Relationship

Islam is a complete way of life. It considers the family as the cornerstone of Islamic society. It bases the atmosphere in the family on sacrifice, love, loyalty, and obedience. Islam organizes family relationships based on husband-wife relationship and parent-children relationship. The family relationship in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah is the one formed on the following basis.

A family relationship should be formed based on a common goal. The common goal I’m talking about here is the purpose of our creation. The relationship will be meaningless and has no value without spirituality. Allah says: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Q51:56) Couples who share the same goal are likely to grow and stay together, and perhaps, a family divided in goal will not grow. This is why Islam prohibits Muslims from marrying idolaters and atheists. It strongly recommends marriage to believing Muslims. (See Q2:221)

A family relationship should be formed based on justice and commitment. What is meant here is that parents and children have duties and rights over one another. Leaders and the led have theirs. Duty neglected is right denied, and denial of the legal right is injustice and oppression which has devastating consequences. Therefore, the family relationship should be formed based on justice, each spouse carrying out his/her duties, and children doing theirs.

A family relationship should be built on cooperation. Allah says: “They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…” (Q2:187) Members should be ready to protect, beautify, comfort, defend and complement one another. Another basic foundation of a family relationship is mutual love, care, and trust. Allah says: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them, and He placed between you affection and mercy.” (Q30:21) The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The best among you are those who are best to their families. I am the best of you to my family.” (Trimidhi, 3892)

Family in Islam refers to those who are related by blood and marriage. They are those who cannot marry one another because of blood affinity or marital relations. They are those who can inherit one another. It is an obligation in Islam to maintain ties of kinship even if the kin is not Muslims. Allah says: “So give the relative his right, as well as the needy and the traveler. That is best for those who desire the face [approval] of Allah, and it is they who will be successful.” (Q30:38) To show the seriousness of Islam on maintaining family relationships, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Anyone who breaks the ties of kinship will not enter the Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim) The following are some of the ways to maintain family relationships:

  1. Love them and pray for them.
  2. Console them in times of sorrow and rejoice with them in times of joy.
  3. Take practical steps to remove their difficulty.
  4. Spend for them if they lack and give them gifts even if they have.
  5. Resolve disputes that ensue between them.
  6. Be adamant about keeping the ties even if they boycott you.
  7. Correct them if they indulge in wrongful acts and invite them to Islam if they are not Muslims.

Forming and Maintaining Friendship Relationships

Friends are an integral and important part of life as they contribute heavily to what a person makes of his or her life. This is the reason why Islam also speaks about friendship. Islam acknowledges the importance of friends in one’s life. Therefore, it emphasizes the selection of righteous friends. Hence, it’s important to form friendship relationship that will be pleasing to Allah.

Forming friendship in accordance to the Quran should be the one formed based on the verse wherein Allah says: “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy on them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Q9:71)

Friendship relationship should be formed based on sincere love for each other. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “There are seven persons whom Allah will shade on a Day when there will be no shade but His…two persons who love each other who meet and depart from each other for the sake of Allah…” (Sahih Bukhari)

It is the one formed with a pious companion. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The similitude of a good companion is like an owner of a musk; if you don’t get anything, you will get the smell of it…” And, Allah says: “…close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous.” (Q43:67)

Friendship relationship can be maintained by having a common goal, enjoining each other to righteousness, forbidding evil deeds, reminding each other about Allah, praying for each other, trusting each other, fulfilling promise, not telling lies, consoling each other in times of sorrow and so on.

In conclusion, Islam provides completeguideliness for forming and maintaining relationships in such a way to benefit the members in this world and Aakhirah.


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