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“Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” {Adab Al-Mufrad, 594}

10 Islamic Ways of Improving Relationships

10 Islamic ways to improve relationships

Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”

Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala has made us social creatures in order for us to interact with others and go about our daily lives. He has placed certain people within our lives and it is these relationships that transform and mould the way we are as humans. Within this article, I will outline 10 key tips, In Sha’ Allah, we can use to improve our general relationships with others whether it be with our parents, siblings, or friends.

1. Choosing righteous friends
Our religion has placed great emphasis about choosing companions. The Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam provided guidelines when it came to choosing friends. He said,

“A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he befriends.”
[Abu Dawud]

When distinguishing between a good friend and a bad friend, the Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam stated,

“The example of a good companion in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows; from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

If we analyse this hadith, we would find that good friends will always benefit you just like musk sellers. You can either buy perfume from them or at the very least, you would try some on and leave with a pleasant scent. On the other hand, a bad companion is the one who will always bring harm to you in one way or another just like a blacksmith, who, when you are around them, will burn your clothes or at the very least, gives off an unpleasant odour that will affect your clothes.

The good friend is the one who when you see, they increase your Iman. When the Adhan goes for prayer, they are the ones who encourage you to go and pray with them so that both of you can gain greater reward by praying in congregation, whilst the bad companion is the one who when the time of prayer enters, will give a hundred and one different excuses not to pray or they will divert you from praying and instead, occupy you with something else. This is why within the Qur’an, Allah mentions the status of friendship on the Day of Judgement,

الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous”
{Surat Az-Zukhruf 43: Verse 67}

Friendship based upon wealth and looks will not benefit any individual on the Day of Judgement, rather Allah  explicitly states that it will be a cause of enmity on the day we meet Him. So what kind of friendship will bring about benefit? It is the one that is based on the love of Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala and the one that revolves around bringing each other closer to Allah .

2. Offering advice
This tip is closely linked to the previous tip except it can be used for relationships other than just for friends. As someone sincere, when we see our friends, parents or family commit a mistake, it is incumbent upon us to rectify that error by advising them (if possible) in a polite manner. For many of our relationships involve those who are older than us and so there is an aspect of respect involved.

3. Making Dua for good relationships
A key ingredient to a successful relationship is Dua. There are Duas mentioned within the Qur’an that can help us at the onset of our relationship.
E.g. relationship with our children:

رَ‌بَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّ‌يَّاتِنَا قُرَّ‌ةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous”
{Surat Furqan 25: Verse 74}

Even for our friends, Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala records a Dua that Prophet Yusuf  made,

تَوَفَّنِي مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ
“..Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.”
{Surah Yusuf 12: Verse 101}

These are just a few Duas I have selected from the Qur’an that Allah  has mentioned. Each Dua is different and can help us to nurture the different relationships we have with others. If we look within the Qur’an and Sunnah, we will be able to extract more Duas which we can use as catalysts in improving our relationships.

4. Maintaining the ties of Kinship
Kinship is something that Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala has created. In a hadith reported by Abdur Rahman Ibn ‘Awf , the Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said,

“Allah said, ‘I am the Merciful (Rahman). I have created ties of kinship (Rahim) and derived a name for it from My name. Whoever, maintains ties of kinship, I maintain ties with him and I shall cut off from Me whoever cuts them off.”
[Narrated by Adab AlMufrad, No. 53]

Those of us who have extended families, it can be extremely difficult to keep in contact especially if a relative cuts off ties, but rest assure, Allah  will reward your efforts. In addition, if a person wants his/her life to be lengthened and receive an increase in provision, s/he should maintain ties with his/her kin as the Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam explained,

“Whoever loves that he be granted more wealth and that his life be prolonged then he should keep good relations with his Kith and kin.”
[Sahih Bukhari] 

5. Avoiding Jealousy
It is part of human nature to desire prosperity and have people praise you but there will be those who will excel further than you in certain fields. Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala says,

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَائِفَ الْأَرْ‌ضِ وَرَ‌فَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَ‌جَاتٍ لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ
“And it is He who has made you successors upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you.”
{Surat An’am 6: Verse 165}

When people are more successful than us, it is important to realise that it is a blessing from Allah  or else the poison of jealousy will enter into our hearts. When it does, it fuels enmity and hatred. How do we tackle this issue of jealousy?

By making Dua for that person asking Allah to bless them and at the same time, an angel will make the same supplication for you as the Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said,

“There is no Muslim servant who supplicates for his brother behind his back except that the angel says: For you the same.”
{Narrated by Sahih Muslim, No. 2732}

6. Forgive and pardon
The more time you spend with a person, the more their weaknesses become apparent. For example, before marriage, everything is bliss but as soon as the marriage is legalized, and the honeymoon period elapses, reality steps in! For this reason, our creator who knows us better than our own selves has commanded us to pardon and forgive others for their mistakes,

وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ
“..Pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you?…”
{Surat Nur 24: Verse 22}

A means of achieving the forgiveness of Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala can be attained through forgiving others. Who doesn’t need the forgiveness of Allah ?

7. Giving gifts
The Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said,

“Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”
{Narrated by Adab Al-Mufrad, No. 594}

8. Learning from the life of the Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam
Studying the Seerah can help us improve our relationship. Analyzing the way the ProphetImage result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam dealt and interacted with people during his life will give us guidance on how to improve our own relationships – the way he interacted with his wives, his family members, his companions and even his enemies.

9. Providing help and support
The Prophet Image result for sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said,

“Whoever relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his hardship on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever helps ease someone in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps the servant as long as he helps his brother.”
{Narrated by Sahih Muslim, No. 2699}

10. Making Dua for your loved ones
Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala has blessed us with Dua. Not only do we ask and receive, but it is an act of worship, and hence, we are also rewarded. Make Dua that Allah  may bless the one whom you love within that relationship.
It was reported that one of the Salaf would have the names of his friends written down on a scroll. When he would supplicate to Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala, he would supplicate for each of his friends by name!
Whatever relationship you’re involved in, whether it be with family or friends, strive to make it work and know that Allah  will reward you for your endeavour.

Authored by Ibrahim Khan
Edited by Tahira Amatullah

Prophet Muhammad - "Convey (knowledge) from me even if it is just one ayah" [Bukhari 3461]

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