Her Female Cousins Misunderstood Her Act of Goodness and Accused Her of Backbiting
Fatwa No: 429040

Question

A few months ago I asked one of my older cousins to relate to my younger female cousins to maintain distance from our male cousins as they touch each other too much and think "they are like our brothers". After my older cousin did, the younger cousins have been accusing me of backbiting and have been treating me in an estranged manner. It feels like much of our family is against me now, such as their parents and siblings. I know what I did was to forbid evil so I do not regret that, and my older cousin is closer to them and that is one of the reasons I asked her to relate the message to them for me. May you please send me verses of the Quran and hadiths to comfort me. And may I have advice how to go handle this situation? As this happened a couple months ago I have just settled for accepting their dislike for me and maintaining ties through gifts and the occasional visit, but a recent family fight regarding this situation (I was not a part of this fight) has furthered feelings of ire. Please advise me. Jazakallahu Khairan

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

May Allah reward you for your protective jealousy for the religion and sacred ordinances of Allah, The Exalted. You did well by trying to advise your female cousins; may Allah reward you for that and add it to your scale of good deeds on the Day of Resurrection.

You did the right thing by choosing your oldest female cousin to advise them because she is closer to them, and this was wise on your part. However, it seems that your cousins misunderstood this act and considered it backbiting. You should know that your act does not fall under the category of forbidden backbiting in the slightest. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned some cases in which backbiting is allowable when done for a valid purpose. He said in Riyaadh As-Saaliheen: “Seeking help to change evil and bring the sinner back to the straight path; so he says to the person whom he believes would be able to remove the evil: so-and-so does such-and-such evil, so repel him from this, and the like, and his intention should be that of removing and eliminating such evil.” [End of quote]

Instead of treating you in a cold manner, your cousins should have thanked you for what you did and recognized your favor, because your act reflects your care and that you want what is good for them. It was narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "…and whoever does you a favor, reward him for it, and if you cannot find the means of doing so, then keep supplicating for him until you believe that you have rewarded him adequately." [Ahmad, Abu Daawood and An-Nasaa’i]

We advise you to patiently endure such estrangement, for patience is one of the most helpful means for a believer at times of affliction. To learn about some of the reported texts about the virtue of patience, please refer to Fatwa 83577.

You should strive to correct the misunderstanding and try to reconcile with them. It is impermissible for Muslims to cut ties with each other and turn their backs to one another, especially if they are relatives because it involves cutting off ties of kinship.

One of the texts underlining the virtue of reconciliation is the verse that reads (what means): {No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.} [Quran 4:114] Abu Ad-Dardaa’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "'Should I not tell you what is better in degree than prayer, fasting, and charity?' They (the Companions) said: 'Yes, please do.' He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: 'Reconciling people, for grudges and disputes are the razor (that shaves faith).'" [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]

You should also strive to uphold ties of kinship with your relatives even if they cut you off; you should not forsake them, even if they distance themselves from you, for doing this yields great reward. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that a man said: "'O Messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I uphold the ties of kinship, but they cut me off; I treat them well, but they mistreat me; I am patient with them, and they are harsh with me.' He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: 'If it is as you say, then it is as if you are stuffing hot ashes in their mouths, and you will continue to be supported by Allah against them so long as you continue to be like that.'" [Muslim]

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 384895 and 386965.

Allah Knows best.

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