The captain of a ship has a very delicate task of steering his ship safely to the destination. While at times he will sail through the calmest waters under sunny skies, he may also encounter very stormy weather and surging waves. He has to also carefully navigate past icebergs and sandbars or else the ship could be in serious danger. Likewise, if the engine malfunctions or he experiences navigation equipment failure, his ship could sink in the deep seas. He thus has to be alert, keep his focus on the destination, be very careful in stormy weather, avoid the icebergs and continue checking his navigation equipment and engine. If he does this, insha-Allah he will safely reach his destination.

The same applies to every relation-ship, whether between parents and children, spouses, siblings, extended family, in-laws, etc. There are bright sunny days in the relation-ship… and there could be some stormy nights as well. Various day to day issues — whether due to some misunderstanding, a sheer mistake or wanton carelessness and neglect — become icebergs and sandbars that can bog down or even sink a relation-ship.

Very often, it is a case of navigation equipment and engine failure. The compass which should be set towards gaining the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala in all situations, and the engine of the heart which should be driven and motivated by His love, has malfunctioned. The compass is jammed by anger and set towards taking revenge, or towards emotions of “I will show him”, “I will fix him up”, etc., or towards greed and jealousy. Instead of the engine of the heart being fuelled by the pure love of Allah Ta‘ala, it is filled with the love of the ego, pride, arrogance and malice. If the compass is pointing in the wrong direction or if the engine fails, any relation-ship is in extreme danger of sinking.

The person whose compass is pointing to the right direction will be very accommodating and forgiving and he will make big issues very small. He will ignore the dozen negatives, latch onto the one positive and will always try to keep the relation-ship sailing smoothly even in the most stormy seas.

On the contrary, if the compass is pointing in the wrong direction, all the positives will be ignored and the smallest negative will be latched upon. Very small issues will deliberately be made big — often just in order to “show him a point”In the process, the relation-ship has sunk — and has embroiled and dragged down the ‘ships’ of many other close family members as well.

Keeping the relation-ships sailing smoothly, especially close family relation-ships, is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and very greatly emphasized in our most beautiful Deen. It is the prescription for barakah (blessings) in one’s life and sustenance, and for one to receive the du‘aas of the ‘kin-ship’ that is suspended from the ‘arsh (the throne of Allah Ta‘ala), as well as numerous other blessings that have been reported in various ahaadeeth.

On the contrary, those who do not care to uphold kin-ship and do not maintain family ties are seriously deprived. For instance, on the 15th night of Sha’baan Allah Ta‘ala forgives numerous souls from the fire of Jahannam. However, among those who are deprived of this extremely great blessing are those who are disobedient to their parents, who sever family ties and those who harbour malice.  

Life is short. It is not worth clinging onto petty issues. This is a time to earn the great blessings of Allah Ta‘ala by mending broken ties and keeping relation-ships sailing smoothly. The icebergs and sandbars will still be there. However, if we pay attention to our engines and ensure our compass is set in the right direction, we will insha-Allah safely navigate past these obstacles without sinking any relation-shipInsha-Allah this will help us to a very great extent to sail safely in this world and the Hereafter, aameen.