Sunday, September 09, 2007

Blood is Thicker than Water

Blood is thicker than water... or is it?

We use the expression the describe the superiority of familial relations over mere friendship. I've also heard a quite opposite but similar expression, the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, implying that a covenant bond (you cut your hands and mix the blood), in particular the religious covenant (in Christianity, maybe Judaism) is stronger than even familial ties. I prefer that meaning, rather than the more common understanding... especially on days like this.

I was hoping, earnestly trying to resume somewhat normal relationships with my family--my sisters, in particular. I visit my parents semi-regularly although it's not frequent (every week or so) or for very long, at least I see them. I talk to my brother every now and again on the phone and just visited him recently for a few days, and he lives the furthest away. But I almost never talk to my sisters.

So I invited them and my nieces, and my mom to dinner. My mom was okay with it, the sister to whom I am closer rejected it providing a laundry list of excuses from timing, to blaming her husband, the selective invitation (only the girls) and ultimately blaming it all on me for being Muslim, and I don't have the heart after that to call my other sister again to see what she thought.

It pains me to no end how my own sister could say such things as she did, when I'm clearly being pushed away, out of my own family. Am I the one cutting ties when every attempt at reconciliation is met with such a reply? Is it fair for them to demand I capitulate in faith when I never have asked them to do so? I'm not asking them to agree with me, or even listen to me, just see me!

So blood is not thicker, not the blood in my family. Or is it the water of the womb which binds us? I understand that cutting ties with our families is wrong, I do, and we should obey our parents in everything except that which opposes Islam. And I'm coming around with my parents. Some of my Muslimah friends, converts who are much older than I am, suggest that maybe after a while my family will come around to accepting this decision of mine. How long? It's hard to believe that right, now, while things are just getting worse, and worse. How can I keep from cutting ties if I'm treated this way? And I'm not even talking of pride or arrogance here, but how is it possible to prevent such ties from dissolving when I can't even get them to talk to me, to see me?

I really don't think I can. And that just kills me.


Hopeful said...

assallamu alaikum sis,

I'm sorry to hear of your hardship with your family. Some families come around quickly, some take longer and then others take years to see sense.

If they choose to break the ties of kinship with you, it is through no fault of yours. Keep ringing to see how they are, or send them a nice card/letter every once in a while. You are keeping up your duty, and Allah will reward you for this.


Amy said...

walaikum assalaam;

I was talking to some convert friends a few nights ago and they were talking about how it took so many years for their family to begin to accept them, and it's been only a year and a half for mine so maybe I just need to wait more.

One of the hardest parts of that conversation though was my sister saying that everytime we talked there was "tension." I never felt any tension; but she seemed distressed I would even call to tell her daughter happy birthday.

Jazakillah khair for the nice advice, sis.

Anonymous said...

salam alaikum amy,

Aww, I feel bad :(
you are doing the best you can by trying to keep relations with your family. You are not to blame if they reject your offers. Just keep up what your doing and remember, Allah will never give you more than you can deal with. It may seem really disheartning, but, he has his reasons for things happening this way.In the end things will turn out for the better if you remain close with him. With hardship comes ease, and with hardships you reap rewards.


jq said...

Assalamu `alaykum,

It's true that I cannot imagine being in your situation. However, I just wanted to let you know that I shall be praying to Allah Ta`ala that He soon changes your relations with your family to be a source of peace for you.

I think the following hadith is applicable to this discussion.

Abdullaah ibn 'amr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet Sallallahu `alayhi wasallam said, "A person who reciprocates in doing good is not the one who joins his blood relations generously; but he is one who joins with his blood relations when they sever the kindship ties." [Al-Bukhaari]