“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
Asalaam Alaikum/Hi all
This is a rare slightly Islam based personal post from me. I generally tend not to get too religious on my blog as I do not want to end up getting into debates or seem like I am preaching at people.
But one thing has been bugging me a lot recently and I have had some advice from some good friends. However I thought I would put up a post about it and see what others think.
I have a niece who recently turned 18. Her father (my brother) died when she was 2. Her mum is a non muslim and she is basically being brought up as a non muslim.
When my brother died my parents went through the courts and fought tooth and nail to maintain contact with the only living remainder of their son. We ended up seeing her every other weekend – she only lives about 5 minutes walk from us.
As she got to her teenage years she started showing signs that coming to see us was a chore. It was like she was embarrassed by her ‘brown’ relatives in their traditional pakistani dress. If we went shopping she would hang back as if she did not want to be seen with us. She started saying she had homework to do at weekends. My parents did not push her to visit; they left the door open to her to see them if she so wished. In all honesty their heart was breaking as they were seeing her growing up as a non muslim. She had started to wear revealing clothes and they realised that the next step would be boyfriends and drinking.
I had a good relationship with her as I do with my other niece and nephew. I guess because I am the youngest in my family they can relate to me more. However the last time I saw her was at my munchkins first birthday. She only came because I bumped into her nan in a shop the day before and said she can come if she likes. That was 4 years ago. Since then she has made no effort to visit and we just left her to live her life.
I recently started thinking of her as I realised she would soon turn 18 so I looked for her on the internet. I found her on facebook and I sent her a friend request. She accepted me immediately but did not say anything. I gave it a few days and then messaged her asking how she was. She replied saying she was good and that she had just passed her driving test. I said that was great and then after that there was no conversation.
It was my birthday in June ( a few months after I added her) and lots of my friends/family wished me happy birthday. My nephew was the first. She did not say anything. It seemed like she did not want to make the effort.
I chose to remove her from facebook. In all honesty it killed me to see the way she was dressing and the antics she was up to. It was depressing me. Every time I opened FB I dreaded seeing more pictures that broke my heart into tiny pieces.
I was thinking to give her a present on behalf of her father when she turned 18 (a week ago) but I do not think she would have appreciated it. Not once has she asked about where her father is buried, or asked to see pictures of his grave or even ask about what he was like.
Islam puts an importance on maintaining ties with family whether they are muslim or non muslim. That was part of the reason I searched for her. The other reason was because she is part of my brother and we still miss him as much as we did when he first died.
However I do not think my parents can cope seeing her in the state she is now. If I am totally honest I do not want her in my life if it will influence my munchkin to behave like her. I do not want her coming to my home in revealing clothes and so much make up that she looks like a clown, or coming when drunk.
Then I think maybe I am being too harsh. She is after all our blood.