Dealing with troublesome relatives

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Q:) I have 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.

A:) 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 verbally.

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 choices.

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 Ta'ala. Ameen.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best



Article taken (with Thanks) from



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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .