Great Islamic teachings
To maintain blood relations, to show good character towards relatives and to be good towards relatives and step relatives are from the enlightened teachings of Islam. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
وَّ بِالْوَالِدَیْنِ اِحْسَانًا وَّ بِذِی الْقُرْبٰى وَ الْیَتٰمٰى وَ الْمَسٰكِیْنِ وَ الْجَارِ ذِی الْقُرْبٰى وَ الْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَ الصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنْۢبِ وَ ابْنِ السَّبِیْلِۙ-
And be good to parents, and relatives, and orphans, and the needy, and the near neighbour and the distant neighbour, and the close companion and the traveller,
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 5, Surah Al-Nisa, Verse 36)
Alas! In our society, step relatives are looked at with great disdain whereas the enlightened teachings of the religion of Islam teach us the respect of every relative. We are also taught the manner of expressing affection without creating a distinction between actual and step relatives through the blessed biographies of the Beloved Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and the Ummahat-ul-Mu’mineen رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْھُن.
Sayyidatuna Fatimah Al-Zahra رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا is the biological daughter of Sayyidatuna Khadijah Al-Kubra رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا but despite this, the following incident shows the mutual loving mother and daughter relationship between Sayyidatuna Aaishah and Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْھُمَا:
For the sake of being a mother
Sayyidatuna Aaishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states that once Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا came to the blessed court of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and upon seeing her, he said: ‘My daughter! Welcome!’ He then sat her close to himself and whispered something in her ear after listening to which, Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا began crying. When he saw her restlessness, he whispered something a second time which caused her to smile. Sayyidatuna Aaishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states that when the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم left, I asked her about the whispering and she replied that I cannot reveal the secret of the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.
Sayyidatuna Aaishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا, who was not the biological mother of Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا, states that when the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم passed away, I said to Sayyidatuna Fatimah (رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا): ‘By the right that I have upon you (i.e. the mother has a right upon her daughter), I present that right to you and ask you to inform me, what did the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم say to you?’
Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا replied: ‘Yes, I will now inform you. When he first whispered, he informed me that every year, Jibra’eel would revise the Quran with me once. This time around, he revised it twice with me so it is my assumption that my time is near. Fear Allah and be patient, indeed I am a good forerunner for you.’ Upon hearing this, I began to cry. When my noble father saw my restlessness, he again whispered in my ear and said: ‘O Fatimah! Are you not pleased upon the fact that you are the queen of all heavenly women or all believing women’, so I smiled. (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, vol. 2, p. 435, Hadees 6138; Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 6, p. 453)
Command to love
Once, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said to Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا: ‘O my daughter! Will you not love the one whom I love?’ She replied: ‘Of course.’ The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘You should love her (i.e. Sayyidatuna ‘Aaishah Siddiqah).’ (Muslim, p. 1017, Hadees 6290)
Spending on step children is also a means of reward
Umm-ul-Mu’mineen, Sayyidatuna Umm-e-Salamah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا had step children. So she asked a question to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم: ‘O Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! If I spend on the children of Abu Salamah who are like my own children, will I receive reward?’ He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied: ‘Spend on them, as you will receive reward for spending on them.’ (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, vol. 1, p. 366, Hadees 1933)
Whilst explaining the importance and the rights of a step mother to a son, Sayyidi A’la Hadrat رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes: ‘A step mother has a unique and great relation with his father due to which, her respect and honour is no doubt necessary upon him. Due to this honour, Allah Almighty has made her eternally forbidden just like the actual mother.’ (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 24, p. 387)
However, the difference between an actual mother and a step mother is that the actual mother is herself deserving of all kind of service, respect, reverence and obedience, whereas the step mother does not have a personal right, whatever she attains is because of the father. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 24, p. 368)
The word ‘step’ is maligned for no reason in our society, whereas the reality is that many step relatives show more affection, longing and kindness for each other than the actual relatives. We should avoid showing rude behaviour and bad conduct towards step parents or step children as they are relatives at the end of the day and Islam has commanded us to show good behaviour even towards unknown people. If a person’s stepmother or stepfather scolds him for something, he should not use this step relation as a base (to quarrel), rather, he should think that even actual parents discipline and scold their children on many occasions to rectify them, hence, always treat them with love and good conduct and refrain from harming them with your words and actions.
May Allah Almighty grant us the Taufeeq to attain Islamic teachings and develop an Islamic environment.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم