a query regarding a troublesome relative. he says
things to purposely annoy and ridicule me. know that
in Islam we should not cut ties with our relatives!
Every time I meet a particular relative of mine, he
says things to purposely annoy and ridicule me. I
just do sabur with him and do not say anything back,
so as to avoid any conflicts. However, I feel that
his words keep lingering on my mind and are always
distressing me. I know that in Islam we should not
cut ties with our relatives. Also, it is not
possible to tell him to stop doing what he does, so
instead could you please tell what I can pray, so
that he stops saying things to me.
Jazakallah for your questions.
You write about a relative who ridicules and
purposely annoys you. You have adopted sabr and not
broken off relations with him, that is excellent.
However, I cannot understand why you cannot tell
that the person that his words are hurtful and out
of line. We are all human and sometimes we have
failings through which we take advantage of another
person whom we perceive to be weaker than us. We may
do it so often that we don't realize we are causing
pain, we may think we are being funny, or we are
just insensitive and don't care. Or, it could be
that pride causes the person to think he is better
than you so he thinks it is fine to bring you down.
None of these characteristic are acceptable in a
Muslim. No one has the right to abuse another
person, whether it is physically, emotionally or
If you think this person does not realize that you
are hurt when he mocks you, then bring it to his
attention. You do not have to get angry nor become
insulting. Quietly tell him that you would like to
talk to him privately. Avoid going into history.
What I mean is, avoid saying, "You always say nasty
things...." The next time he uses nasty words,
repeat his words to him. Tell him exactly what he
has told you, tell him that you do not appreciate
those words, that you find them hurtful and that you
would like him to stop treating you in that way.
Reassure him that you respect him and that you would
like your relationship to remain a pleasant one.
He may respond with anger or deny he has hurt you.
That does not matter. You have to get your point
across in a pleasant manner. It is so much better to
point out his bad manner so that he has an
opportunity to reflect on his behavior and change
it. It will give him the opportunity to apologize to
you. If you do not tell him, he will not realize
that he is hurting you and in this way he will not
have the opportunity to change. We humans are like
that, we are quick to see fault in others, very slow
to see it in ourselves. It may take him a few days
to accept what you have told him. You will be
helping him to change and insha'allah with your good
intentions, Allah Ta'ala will strengthen your
relationship and kinship ties.
I wish to remind you that you have the freedom of
choice as to how you respond to his remarks. If what
he says is untrue, why feel hurt? Why take
responsibility for his daftness and insensitivity?
Why not decide that he is wrong in his assessment of
you and not let it bother you? If he is right in
what he is saying, then examine yourself and change
what needs to be changed. Why do you take
responsibility for his mean words? You should take
responsibility for your own words and responses. You
will not "blame" him if you are happy about
something he says. So why blame him if you decide to
feel hurt? I hope you understand what I am saying.
Allah Ta'ala has given us freedom of choice as to
how we respond to what anybody says. You can choose
to ignore what he says and get on with your life. Or
as you say, You can allow his words to linger and
cause distress to you. The choice is entirely yours.
You can accept and enjoy the good and reject the
unacceptable and mean. Choose to be happy with your
Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) is reported to
have stated that, "Paradise is for the man who
controls his tongue." Another Hadith states that,
"The faith of a servant (of Allah Ta'ala) cannot be
straight until his heart is straight, and his heart
cannot be straight until his tongue is straight."
Remember, a Muslim is one from whose tongue and
hands other Muslims are safe. Help your relative to
overcome his weakness by gently pointing out his
weakness to him. Make dua for him, invite him to
your home, give him a little gift, say good things
about him and forgive him.
May Allah Ta'ala grant me and every Muslim the
tawfiq to make amal on this knowledge and to strive
to maintain family ties for the pleasure of Allah
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai