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In the Name of God بسم الله

Breaking off ties with Relatives

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Guest Ahlulbayt

I know we are not allowed to break off ties with family and relatives. But what about a step-parent. If you and your step-parent both don't want any type of interaction with each other. Will that be okay? Also like we don't even greet each other if present in the same room and pretend like the other doesn't exist. 

I don't wish anything bad for them, it's just that my life (and their life too I guess) are better this way

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I can't say if it's absolutely haram or not (you would have to consult your marjaa for that), but I can say it would be bad aklaq because your step parents, like your parents, have probably sacrificed quite a bit of their money, time, energy, needs, wants in order to see that you are safe, educated, fed, etc. You might not 'click' with them personality wise, and btw, there is always a cultural / generational gap between older and younger people, but this is not an excuse to break off ties. We need to have mercy, patience, and respect toward people in general and especially, especially for those who sacrificed for our well being. This is called shukr, the minor shukr, being grateful to other people for that things they have done for us and the ways they have helped us. If you shun this minor shukr, you will eventually shun the major shukr, which is thankfulness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Some people don't think these two things are connected, but they are. Anyone who have sacrificed for you deserves respect, at least that if you can't muster up the love and affection. Part of respect is keeping some kind of relationship, even if it is once a month or once a year.

I would say the exception to this is if there is ongoing abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or mental abuse to the point that your life is severely affected (you have insomnia, physical problems, can't form healthy relationships with other people, etc, as a direct result of the abuse). Then you have a good reason, both Islamically and logically, for cutting off ties. 

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Salam,

What do you mean by break ties? Does this mean you never talk to them?,or leave them alone for the rest of their/your own life? Or you abandon them, and would not help during challenging times in their own life? If you mean this, then it's haram. 

There is nothing wrong in Islam if you don't get along with a friend, relative, or family member. However, Islam stresses upon developing, and maintaining good ties with each other, whether it's your friend, family member, neighbour and so forth. 

Nobody expects you to be best friends with this step parent, and there is not expectation for you to like them... this is not wajib. However, you must maintain a tie that enables this person to feel you are someone they can count on, or at least feel that there is some sort of relationship there in which they can contact you in an emergency. 

To maintain this level, simply contact this person a couple of times per week, or months. Ask them how they are doing, and reinforce that you are always there to lend an helping hand. This phone call, or text message does not have to be lengthy, but the message should be quit clear. 

There is a story that whenever the prophet walked by a house, the owner would dump trash upon him. This was the usual case, however, one day the Prophet noticed that this person did not dump trash upon him. He went to the owners house, and realized he was sick. The Prophet checked up on this person, and cared for him even though he had oppressed him on a weekly basis. 

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Guest Ahlulbayt
7 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

I can't say if it's absolutely haram or not (you would have to consult your marjaa for that), but I can say it would be bad aklaq because your step parents, like your parents, have probably sacrificed quite a bit of their money, time, energy, needs, wants in order to see that you are safe, educated, fed, etc. We need to have mercy, patience, and respect toward people in general and especially, especially for those who sacrificed for our well being. This is called shukr, the minor shukr, being grateful to other people for that things they have done for us and the ways they have helped us. 

 

I have never been dependent on her (step-mother) for any of my needs. By the time she became a part of my life I was capable of taking care of my own needs. Though she used to do some stuff for me sometimes like doing some chores, making/ serving food. In those days, I use to try to be nice to her. And I almost never asked her to do any of that. 

But the thing was that she would be smiling and slyly making some taunting remarks. Or she would say bad stuff about me behind my back to my father. And sometimes she was loud that I could hear her saying all that. And sometimes I heard her praying for my and my siblings destruction. All of this was very disturbing.

Does this count as abuse? And will this be an acceptable reason to not want her to be a part of my life anymore except what is Unavoidable 

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Guest Ahlulbayt

Wa alaikum Asalam

We live in the same house but different portions so we almost never see each other or avoid each other on purpose. Even if we see each other by chance we pretend we didn't and ignore each other. 

If she needs my help anytime in future though I doubt that she would ask me for help, I would try to help her I think. But maintaining ties, saying salams talking normally with each other has become extremely uncomfortable and awkward

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30 minutes ago, Guest Ahlulbayt said:

I have never been dependent on her (step-mother) for any of my needs. By the time she became a part of my life I was capable of taking care of my own needs. Though she used to do some stuff for me sometimes like doing some chores, making/ serving food. In those days, I use to try to be nice to her. And I almost never asked her to do any of that. 

But the thing was that she would be smiling and slyly making some taunting remarks. Or she would say bad stuff about me behind my back to my father. And sometimes she was loud that I could hear her saying all that. And sometimes I heard her praying for my and my siblings destruction. All of this was very disturbing.

Does this count as abuse? And will this be an acceptable reason to not want her to be a part of my life anymore except what is Unavoidable 

If you want my opinion, I am not saying you should be best friends, but to cut off relations all together seems kind of drastic, given what you said. Its hard for me to judge the situation, because in order to give you really good advice, I would need to know the context in which those things (like praying for your destruction, talking about you in a negative way) happened. As you might or might not know, I am American, of European descent, a revert to Islam, and my wife is Lebanese, born and raised in Lebanon. Obviously in the beginning, there were some major issues between me and her family, since the cultures are so different. They did things, which I thought were an attack on me, but later on I realized that they were simply trying to help me and their daughter. They had good intentions, but the way they did it seemed to me (coming from my culture) as hostile, and it wasn't. After a few years of going thru this, I actually developed a good relationship with them and we see each other on a weekly basis now (they ended up moving to the US, near where I live). 

So maybe take some time and get some distance from the situation and see if maybe you are misinterpreting things. Maybe you're not, but anyway, you have alot of flexibility between cutting off ties and being best buddies. Try to find a way that both preserves your dignity but doesn't violate the best Islamic ethics and morals. We should always strive for the best ethics and morals (aklaq) even if we may fall far short.  

Also, returning the Salam is wajib. You should always return the Salam, you don't have to initiate it. This is, I believe, one of the genius practice of Islam that is not in any other religion that I know of. I believe the reason for this is to, at a minimum, acknowledge the fact that you are encountering another human being who shares the same basic beliefs as you and it keeps the door open so that if something changes in the future the relationship can improve. This practice basically keeps the hope alive that tomorrow may be better than today in terms of your relationship. 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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