Fatwa ID: 04687
Answered by: Maulana Naieem Mohammad
Assalamu alaykum. Can you please tell me this?
What is more important: Segregation between men and women or keeping family ties?
I am asking because, in my native place and family, people have almost completely left the rules of segregation between men and women. So, I’m afraid to visit my family members. I have been concerned about the rules of segregation that I stopped visiting my relatives for a long time. Because of this, my relations with family members have become really bad – which is another bad thing in Deen.
Also, in my current situation, I can’t survive alone. I need help from my family to survive. I cannot stop visiting them.
Additionally, many of them are not able to understand my stance on this issue. Many of them are getting a bad image of Islam when I give less importance to family relations. They seem to be going further away from Deen and Imaan because of me.
So, how should I balance this?
I am a weak-hearted person. I may not be able to boldly oppose malpractices when I visit my family. Also, I can’t bear to see their hearts broken because of me. I am also not able to convince them of our rules.
Now, I am feeling that I should give more importance to maintaining family ties. I am feeling that I should visit them even if I may unintentionally do some sin in the process.
Is this the right way to proceed?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The society that we live in is indeed rife with temptations towards sin and invites us to the disobedience of Allah. The people of Iman find themselves stronger when we keep our bonds of kinship tight and when we encourage one another to do good and we forbid one another from evil.
It is a known fact that Islam teaches us to be conservative and modest with regards to our dress-code, mannerism, and ethics of intermingling amongst the sexes.
The keeping of family ties is also a command of Allah. The Quran mentions, ”Be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of kinship, surely Allah watches over you.” (Surah Nisaa,1).
Within the framework of the Hanafi madhhab, there exist the following guidelines through which a justified reason is understood:
- “The greater harm is bypassed by adopting the lesser”
- “The lesser of the two evils is chosen”
- “When two destructive options appear, the greater one is overlooked and the lesser one is adopted”
By considering the above guidelines, we clearly understand that cutting family ties in an effort to avoid free intermingling amongst your non-mahram relatives may result in your family having a bad impression about Islam, you breaking the command of Allah to keep the ties of kinship, your Imaan becoming weak by you isolating yourself and many other harms.
Thus, the Shariah has given the allowance of choosing the lesser of both harms which is to maintain the ties of kinship with the risk of free mixing. You are, however, advised that it will still be a sin to intermingle with your non-mahram relatives without a valid excuse. Please exercise all caution by lowering your gaze without offending anyone and also making istighfaar for yourself and your family.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Naieem Mohammad
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
Qawaaid Fiqhiyya, page 32 # 19
Qawaaid Fiqhiyya, page 32 # 20
Qawaaid Fiqhiya,page 33 # 21