"The one who truly joins family ties is not the one who deals with people in the same manner that they deal with him. Rather, the one who truly joins family ties is the one who joins ties when they are severed."

By: Dewan Abdul Alim Choudhury

[The author is an alumnus of Darul Uloom Deoband and additional general secretary of famous NGO – Markazul Ma’arif, a unit of Ajmal CSR, based in Hojai, Assam]

Wi-Fi, GPRS, 3G, 4G and 5G; Satellite or Fiber-optic internet, in short – we live in a world of ever-increasing connectivity. No matter where they be, or what time of the day or night it may be, people insure that they always remain connected and online.

In an age where most Business is conducted over the phone, it is easy to understand why some people fear that losing connectivity can cost lucrative deals and precious profit may slip out of hands. Hence even if they have the slightest expectation of someone phoning them for a deal, they will insure that their phone batteries are charged and they are in an area with full network connectivity. They know it well that so long as they are connected, they will continue to get benefit from the opportunities.

Let’s Connect to the Mercy of Allah

We all need to remain ‘connected’ to the mercy of Allah Ta’ala. If we are ‘disconnected’, we will remain deprived of bounties and will never prosper and find happiness, neither in this world nor in the world hereafter. There are certain occasions when Allah (swt) showers His especial mercy upon believing mankind. On this ‘locative occasions’ if one is ‘disconnected,’ he will certainly remain deprived of Allah’s remunerations and will not enjoy His especial mercy. Hence, it is of paramount importance that we first identify those factors that cause us to become ‘disconnected’ from Allah’s mercy and shun them at all costs.

Forgiveness in the 15th of Sha’baan (The Shab-e Bara’at)

The suspicious occasion of the Shab-e Bara’at, also referred to as ‘Laylatul Bara’at and the ‘Laylatun nisfu min Sha’baan – the fifteenth night of Sha’baan, is one such chances wherein Allah (swt) showers His special compassion on one and all. The scholars of Islam consider the Hadith about the 15th of Sha’baan as being strong (Sahih), good (Hassan) as well as weak (Dha’if). However, due to the fact that there are numerous Ahadith on this subject matter, thus the virtue of this night is accepted as authentic by the majority of the mainstream Hadith scholars.

Rasulullah (saws) said:

“On the fifteenth night of the Sha’baan, Allah Ta’ala looks at the entire creation with especial mercy. He then forgives the sins of all (who turn to Him in repentance), with exception of those who ascribe partners with Him and those who harbor enmity in their hearts.” [Sahih ibn-e Hibban, #5665]

The prophet Muhammad (saws) also said to Aisha (ra):

“Allah descends in the night of the middle of Sha’ban to the lowest heaven, and He forgives more than the numbers of hair on the sheep of Banu Kalb (an Arab tribe renowned for their great flocks of sheep)’. [Ibn Majah and others]

It is reported in another Hadith that the Prophet (saws) said:

“On this night, from sunset until dawn, Allah asks His servants, ‘Is there anyone seeking forgiveness from Me, so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone seeking provision from Me, so I may provide for him? Is there anyone suffering, so I may relieve his suffering?” [Ibn Majah]

Therefore, make a lot of Du’a for forgiveness on the 15th night of Sha’baan. Increase your Dhikr, and ask Allah particularly for amnesty, mercy, relief from suffering and for especial provisions. Remember to forgive anyone whom you have a grudge against and resolve your problems with them, especially if they are family members and friends, and Allah will forgive you in return.

The auspiciousness and blessed nature of this night has also been attested to by the eminent Tabi’ee, ‘Atta ibne Yasar (ra)’ who mentioned that the night of the fifteen of Sha’baan is the greatest night after Lailtul Qadar. [Lata’iful Ma’ari, P. 264]

Nevertheless, from the above Ahadith, it is also indicative that even on such an auspicious occasion, when Allah (swt) is ready to forgive even His entire creation, there will be certain unfortunate souls who will remain disconnected and deprived of forgiveness. These are the people who harbor enmity for others in their heart. Notably Rasulullah (saws) also stated that ‘those who sever ties with their family members will also be deprived of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness on this night’.

Importance of Silah Rahmi (Family Ties)

The importance of maintaining family ties in Islam can be understood from the fact that when Rasulullah (saws) entered Madinah Munawwarah and delivered the very first Khutbah on Islam, which would serve as an introduction to the Deen, he addressed the people by saying:

“O people! Spread the Salaam, (i.e. to say Assalamu Alaikum [peace be upon you] to one another), feed the people, maintain family ties and perform nafl (optional) Salah during the night while people are asleep. (If you do hold firmly to these actions together with the other obligations of Islam,) you will enter Jannah with Salaam and peace." [Sunan Ibni Maajah #3251]

Hence, maintaining family ties, is an integral part of Islam and its importance cannot be overlooked even the least.

Unforgiving Nature is Kind of Wickedness  

It often happens that a person is ill-treated or oppressed by a family member. In most cases, it is due to some monetary dispute, either related to inheritance or a partnership disagreement, that the relationship is broken. Under such circumstances, while the behaviour of the oppressor is by no means acceptable or condonable, it still does not behoove us to adopt a ‘tit-for-tat’ approach, where we repay an ill-behaviour with similar ill-behaviour in the vain effort to prove a point or to feed our ego.

Rasulullah (saws) has taught us that in order for one to truly remain connected and maintain family ties, he would need to have a heart to overlook the mistakes and ill behaviours of others. He needs to have the heart to forgive and forget. If he has to retaliate for every ill that he ever suffered, he will inevitably sever ties further, instead of joining them. Instead of becoming a source of happiness for people, he would simply add to the problems that already prevail. This is adding fuel to the fire and kind of wickedness. Hence, the merciful Prophet of Islam (saws) had stated:

"The one who truly joins family ties is not the one who deals with people in the same manner that they deal with him. Rather, the one who truly joins family ties is the one who joins ties when they are severed." [Sahih Bukhari #5991]

An Unpolluted Heart is a Boon of Allah

Rasulullah (saws) was blessed with a heart that was absolutely clean and pure. His blessed heart was completely free from all grudges and enmity. He was ready to forgive even those who humiliated him, fought against him and murdered his loved family members. The one who is prepared to bury his anger and forgive his rights on others, in order to avoid dispute, is indeed the most blessed and fortunate human being. An unpolluted heart is a boon from Allah (saw). The Prophet (saws) had promised:

"I guarantee a palace on the outskirts of Paradise for the person who abstains from disputes, even though he may be in the right..." [Sunan Abi Dawood #4800]

A Heart with Peace and Happiness

If a person carries the excess, unwanted baggage of grudges, it would perpetually weigh him down. If he harbours malice in his heart, the happiness will dock elsewhere. For one’s heart to find peace and happiness; one ought to unburden his or her heart from the unwanted past baggage. In doing so, he or she will find inner satisfaction, calm and content, will please Allah (swt) and will also attain the incredible reward of forgiving others and joining ties. These are people who would surely remain connected to the mercy of Allah – the Creator of this universe, and will continue to progress here and hereafter.

May Allah (swt) bless us all to have clean hearts, forgive others, maintain family ties and stay ever connected to our loved ones as well as the One Who created us all – Aameen!