Grief is a natural process that we experience when we lose a loved one, and…
One of the most beautiful blessings that God has gifted us is our families. They are meant to be a source of comfort, love, and support throughout our lives. Unfortunately, in many of our communities, we are seeing a divide that is damaging these familial relationships. God speaks numerous times in the Holy Quran about the importance of maintaining family ties. He states, “Worship God and consider no one equal to Him. Be kind to your parents, relatives, the orphans, the destitute, your near and distant neighbors, your companions, the wayfarers…God does not love the proud and boastful ones.”1 Quranic injunction offers us an important piece of advice- to consistently cultivate kinship ties and strive to perfect them despite the challenges that we have to endure.
Families Get into Arguments
Every now and then families find themselves in the midst of a conflict and that is okay! All families get into disputes with relatives. This is one way for everyone to figure out solutions to the problems that arise. Finding ourselves in these types of situations does not mean we have to get upset to the point where we stop speaking to our relatives. Such actions will not solve anything. It is okay to be bothered by such things and the need for our own space, but we must make sure to think before we speak, make sure to not raise our voices, especially to our parents, and understand that no matter what the problem is, it is not worth severing family ties. In his final will, Imam Ali (p) advises, “You should maintain ties with kinship and spend for others. Avoid turning away [from one another] and severing mutual relations.”2 Our families, and especially our parents, are those who loved, cared for, and nurtured us from a young age. They deserve all the respect we can give them even when we think that it is sometimes hard. At the very least, it is our responsibility to God, even if we do not necessarily have that intense love or affection for our family members.
Forgive and Move On
When encountering disputes with our friends or relatives, many of us begin to hold grudges for long periods of time. This often happens when we feel that we have been wronged. We sometimes might think that by being angry with someone for a long time might bother the person we are upset with or even resolve the problem. However, we are making the problem worse and harming our mental health. Holding these negative emotions does not solve anything. We are just doing more damage to ourselves. Research shows that “a grudge inhibits your ability to cope with or resolve your issue and keeps you stuck in the past—trapped in an unpleasant event or interaction that causes you distress.”3
Therefore, we need to train ourselves to let things go. In the long run, these fights are just not worth it. We should learn to forgive others for their shortcomings. Remember that no one is perfect, that we all make mistakes, and we all need to be forgiven at some point in our lives. Research shows that “Forgiveness and acceptance often lead to a more emotionally stable mindset, less stress, and healthier well-being.”4
Once we can do that, we will feel so much better and realize that life has so much more to it than these little bumps on the road. After all, there are so many benefits of keeping relations with our loved ones. Imam Muhammad Baqir (p) is reported to have said, “keeping relation with family purifies your deeds, increases wealth, repels misfortunes, eases the account [on the Day of Judgement], and prolongs one’s life.”5
Bits of Advice
1. Apologize and accept apologies: We should understand that when we have wronged someone, we should take responsibility and apologize for our behavior. We must put our egos to the side and admit our shortcomings. Also, when someone apologizes to us, we should accept their apology. The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) is reported to have said, “Whoever receives an apology from his brother but refuses to accept it will not reach me on the Day of Judgment.”6
2. Forgive and forget: Imam Ali (p) is reported to have said, “Give mercy and you will receive mercy.”7 Forgiving others cultivates a sense of humility within us, and though it may be challenging many times, it is a testament to our conviction and belief in God as He has commanded us to be merciful to those around us, particularly our families. At the same time, sometimes forgiving others allows us to move past the challenge that we encountered in the midst of our relationships and can thereafter contribute to our mental and spiritual growth.
3. Reconcile: When we see people who have been in similar conflicts as the ones stated above, we should make it our responsibility to restore their relationship with their families. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “Reconciling between others is better than the acts of recommended prayers and fasting.”8 If we can be a bridge between our family or friends in a dispute, we should be sure to do our best to support them for it is a source of incredible blessings.
1. The Holy Quran 4:36
2. Nahj al-Balagha, Will 47
3. Vanbuskirk, Sarah. “The Mental Health Effects of Holding a Grudge.” Verywell Mind. Accessed July 12, 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-mental-health-effects-of-holding-a-grudge-5176186#citation-15.
5. Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 150.
6. Mizan al-Hikma, vol 3 pg. 1859.
7. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 74, p. 383.
8. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 73, p. 43.
١. قال الله تعالى ((وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ))
“.٢. روي عن الإمام أمير المؤمنين (ع) في نهج البلاغة: ”وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالتَّوَاصُلِ وَالتَّبَاذُلِ، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالتَّدَابُرَ وَالتَّقَاطُعَ
“.٥. روي عن الإمام محمّد الباقر (ع): ”صلة الأرحام تزكي الأعمال وتنمي الأموال وتدفع البلوى و تيسر الحساب وتنسئ في الاجل
“.٦. روي عن النبي (ص): ”من اعتذر إليه أخوه المسلم من ذنب قد أتاه فلم يقبل منه لم يرد علي الحوض غدا
“.٧. روي عن الإمام أمير المؤمنين (ع): ”ارحم ترحم
“.٨. روي عن النبي (ص): ”إصلاح ذات البين أفضل من عامة الصلاة والصوم