Once upon a time, the father of the home would ‘load’ his family into the car on a Sunday, or during the holiday, and from the morning until the evening, they would go from ‘khaalah to khaalah’ (from one aunt to the next), visiting their various family members.

As they entered the various homes, the cheeks of the children would be pinched and a kiss or two would be given before they would be allowed to run off and play with the children of the home. The men would sit together and ‘catch up’ while the women would likewise enjoy each other’s company. The kettle would be boiled, and whatever was available, no matter how simple it may be, would be served. When it was time to depart, the visiting family would seldom leave empty handed, and even the children would at least be given a lollipop to take home. These visits were regular features of the weekends and holidays and were emphasized by one and all. As a result, love and unity was maintained in the family and all the members were well acquainted with one another.

Our beautiful Deen of Islam greatly emphasizes the importance and reward of maintaining family ties, and similarly warns of severe punishment for those who sever family ties. Hence, in the past, many families had adopted the above method in an effort to uphold this injunction of Deen.

However, if we cannot visit our relatives regularly enough, then we should seek some alternate method of maintaining ties. One way of doing this is to maintain regular contact, whether via the phone or any other method. Similarly, sending gifts for our relatives – even if it be a small gift, such as a plate of biscuits – is a sure way to keep the hearts warm. Whatever effort is made in this regard, even if it be a small effort, will fetch tremendous rewards in the Hereafter.