The Role of Sisters

Islam and Women

The Role of Sisters

Umm Milad Attariyya

Familial blood ties are one of Allah’s prized bounties. In the Quran, Allah Almighty ordains for these ties to be respected and maintained, highlighting their importance. Blood relations must be honoured, and those who do so are praised by Allah Almighty Himself:

وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَصِلُوۡنَ مَاۤ  اَمَرَ اللّٰہُ بِہٖۤ  اَنۡ یُّوۡصَلَ  وَ  یَخۡشَوۡنَ  رَبَّہُمۡ وَ یَخَافُوۡنَ سُوۡٓءَ  الۡحِسَابِ )۲۱(

Translation: And those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread severe accountability.[1]

Acting on Islam’s teachings on strenghtening blood relations not only strengthens familial ties, but it complements societal values too. And this is because families are foundational roots of society; consolidating them consolidates society. After parental ties, the strongest and most prolonged relationship is that of a brother and sister.

Brothers and sisters live, eat, speak, and experience life together. Their bond offers support to the other. Alongside being a perfect religion, as Islam is also a religion that conforms to the natural predisposition of mankind, it details how brothers and sisters can maintain their ties and exhorts for these ties to be consistently upheld.

A hadith states, “Whoever has three daughters or sisters, or two daughters or sisters, and he treated them graciously and feared Allah regarding them, Paradise is for him.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī, vol. 3, p. 367, hadith 1,923)

Just as brothers are tasked with behaving well towards their sisters, the same applies regarding sisters behaving well towards their brothers. They must act as relief for one another in times of hardship and a helping hand during difficulties. However, at times, brothers and sisters oppose one other, which leads to hurtful words being exchanged.

Some sisters think that their brother’s wife should serve them and carry out their duties for them. When their brother’s wife comes home, they believe she should do everything. This has no base in Islamic law. The brother’s wife is a part of the family. She is not only part of the brother’s life but holds her own importance as a Muslim and servant of Allah Almighty, which makes her deserve respect. 

If a married sister visits her parents’ home, she must not have the mindset that her brother’s wife is to serve her, look after her children for her, and cook her favourite dishes; it is not befitting to think this way. Also, she should not stay there for too long, and during her duration there, she should carry out her personal tasks herself and also help her brother’s wife.

Some sisters develop a negative mindset towards their brother’s wife. For instance, they may say, “Your wife does not clean the home”, “Whenever I come, she doesn’t give me any importance”, or “She doesn’t look after our mother.” This can lead to the brother thinking ill of his wife and having a negative attitude towards her, resulting in an unpleasant vibe pervading the home.

Some sisters even push their own sisters to think bad of their husbands or in-laws. This is abhorrent. The final Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم declared, “Whoever pits a wife against her husband is not from us.” (Musnad Aḥmad, vol. 9, p. 16, hadith 23,041) If what these sisters say is false, this can lead to them incurring the punishment for slandering. The final Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم announced, “Whoever accuses a Muslim with the intention to disgrace him, Allah (Almighty) shall restrain him on the bridge of Hell until he is acquitted of what he said by pleasing that person or incurring punishment commensurate with his sin.” (Sunan Abī Dāwūd, vol. 4, p. 354, ḥadith 4,883) Islam prohibits sisters from acting in such a manner, and thus they should refrain from such conduct.

Some sisters believe they should always be given things by their brothers, be it due to the norm on occasions of happiness and festivals. At times, some demand that when their brother has a child, they should give their sisters expensive gifts, money, or gold. Many a time has this been the case. However, one should refrain from making such demands. Given the current rising cost of living, it is inappropriate to financially burden one’s brother without a need. If someone’s brother is financially capable and gives out of his own accord, there is no issue in this, as family members normally exchange gifts with one another. Pray to Allah Almighty to grant your brothers more blessings when you see them happy.

It has been observed that in matters pertaining to distributing inheritance, despite having been brought up by the same parents under one roof, brothers and sisters are seen ardently opposing one another in pursuit of this transient worldly wealth. Islamic law stipulates the exact amount of inheritance sisters are to receive, yet some are seen wanting more than their share. This leads to lifelong grudges, breaking of familial ties, and a host of other problems. At times, this brings into disrepute the honour and respect of some families. Islam comprehensively covers the laws of inheritance. Whatever Islam specifies for someone in this regard should be accepted wholeheartedly. Doing so prevents numerous problems from arising.

To conclude, sisters should realise the many ways in which they can positively contribute to the happiness of families. We should all strive to create a happy and pleasant environment in our homes.

[1] [Kanz-ul-ꜤIrfān (translation of Quran)] (Part 13, Surah al-RaꜤd, verse 21)




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