Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I have an extremely difficult relationship with my sister. Not only has she argued with me via phone and social media,but she also flirted with my husband.
I stopped talking to her. After that, she went around telling everyone that I called her an indecent woman.
What should we do with bloodthirsty family members?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah heal your sister and improve your relationship with her. Truly, nothing is difficult for Allah.
‘Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Merely maintaining the ties of kinship is not adequate. But connecting the ties of kinship is when ties to the womb are severed, and he connects it.” [Tirmidhi]
Your sister sounds very unhappy and very unwell. With individuals like her, you must draw strong boundaries, but always with tact and balance. It is impermissible for you to completely cut ties with her, so you must maintain a minimum of contact e.g. send her emails, text messages and/or gifts, visit her for Eid. Do it for Allah’s sake. Expect nothing in return from her. Trust that Allah is All-Seeing and All-Hearing, and knows how painful this is for you. Think of this as expiation for your sins.
The talebearing that she has done about you is a major sin. Work on forgiving her, because a grudge in your heart only harms you. Please perform The Prayer of Need and ask Allah to grant you patience to bear with this trial until He lifts it from you.
I strongly recommend that you see a culturally-sensitive counsellor who can help you cope with her emotionally abusive behaviour. Please describe your situation to your counsellor, and learn how to stand up for yourself in a respectful and confident way. Your priority is to protect your health and the harmony of your household.
Allah does not wish for you to be target practice. Passively taking your sister’s destructive behaviour is harmful to your spiritual, emotional and physical health. You are a Muslimah, and your dignity is sacred. Telling her to treat you with basic courtesy is an excellent start. Follow it up with minimal interaction. Hold up your end of the relationship, and Allah will take care of the rest.
Please refer to the following links:
What is the Minimum Amount of Relationship I Have to Keep with a Relative I Hate?
My Sisters-In-Law Belittle Us and Their Parents. Do I Need to Maintain Ties With Them?
A Reader on Family Ties
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani