Culture Vulture – Sheikh Zayed Masjid, Abu Dhabi

I had been waiting on the Abu Dhabi Cor-niche bus stop with my friend, Khalid, for almost an hour and there was still no sign of a bus.

“It’s almost sunset and the precious daylight would be gone in another hour or so”, I said in a melancholy tone.

“Don’t worry, Yousuf. We’ll make it to the masjid on time”, said Khalid.

“Humph! So much for my photo adventures”, I replied.

This was the first time I had been to Abu Dhabi and was most eager to take in all the sights in a single day before heading back to Dubai. There were two places I was eager to visit; the Emirates Palace and the Sheikh Sayed Masjid. Since I had already accomplished half my goal, I was eager to get to the masjid to complete my photo adventures.

The bus finally came but it was full; the driver didn’t even bother to slow down. After another 15 minutes, we finally managed to squeeze in on the second bus. This particular bus took us to the terminal and we switched buses; it was just 10 minutes to sunset and time was running out.

Generally, the masjids have poor night-lighting and I was positive the photos would come out pathetic. My stomach lurched from anticipation as the bus moved towards our destination, the pessimist in me taking full control of my mental faculties.

Fortunately for me, I was dead wrong!

The entire masjid was bathed in what looked like blue clouds clearly being projected from strategically selected locations. Since time was precious, I could only spare a few moments to admire this man-made spectacle. This right here is one of the first decent photos of the masjid I took after I got off.

The First Look: Mesmerizing

The First Look: Mesmerizing

Breathing a sigh of relief, I walked into a long and winding driveway. I was breathless, not from the long walk, but from what lay in front of my eyes. I cannot convey the awe I was in into words. I was so taken by this location that I went back later to take more shots. Here’s one that has been treated to highlight all the gold. Take a look for yourself.

Golden Reflections

Golden Reflections

As it was time for Maghrib prayers, we asked for directions to the ablution area. I was struck, not by the size, but by the sheer extravagance of the interiors. Everything from the brightly colored wall murals to the detailed carvings on the ceilings and the domes was perfection, and a sense of serenity set in on me, as it should when you walk into a place of worship.

The carvings on the ceiling

The carvings on the ceiling

The wall mural

The wall mural

Coming to the ablution area, I was taken by the uniquely styled ablution stations. These were undoubtedly the best ablution stations I had ever seen as they took into account the comfort of the worshiper.

The ablution chamber

The ablution chamber

After we were done with our ablution, we started walking towards one of the smaller prayer chambers. As we walked through the arches, I couldn’t help admiring the perspective of depth they so elegantly created.

An arched perspective

An arched perspective

After my prayers, I stood up and looked around me. The stained glass work on the windows was nothing short of spectacular.

Refractions

Refractions

We came up to a door that led to the entrance area that further led to the main prayer chamber. All the walls were covered in embossed floral patterns. A grand chandelier took center-stage and was undoubtedly the most note-worthy piece in the room.

Floral fantasies

Floral fantasies

The chandelier

The chandelier

After soaking in all the extravagance, I could not wait to see what the main prayer chamber looked like; I was not disappointed. The minbar (area where the imam stands for prayers) couldn’t have been more gorgeous. The entire wall was selectively back-lit with white lights and covered the 99 names of Allah in a mesmerizing floral structure. The waxing and waning of lights only added to the magnificence I beheld.

The minbar

The minbar

When it came to domes and chandeliers, this masjid did not disappoint. right in the center was the biggest chandelier I had ever seen. The dome within which it was set was equally impressive.

Let there be light

Let there be light

Out of nowhere, a guard appeared and requested everyone to leave the main chamber, as it was almost time for Isha prayers. I couldn’t resist myself from taking a photo of the chamber as the doors were being closed.

Closing

Closing

As we had had a long day, Khalid was too tired to further explore the masjid with me. I left my backpack with him and camera in hand, ventured out to the central courtyard. It was here that the true size of the masjid was revealed to me.

The view

The view

This masjid reminded me of the great Badshahi masjid in Lahore, Pakistan in so many ways. The way the courtyard was laid out to the domes on top, I could see strong influences of the Mughal architecture with inspiration from other Islamic styles, of course. As I only had about 20 minutes before Isha, I tried my best to capture the essence of the masjid as much as I could.

After our prayers, we reluctantly headed back out, but not before taking a few more photos of the reflected arches.

Reflected arches

Reflected arches

Right outside the masjid was the final resting place of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the visionary behind this massive project. I said a quick prayer for him and with one final look at the beautiful masjid, started walking towards the bus stop.

Rest in peace

Rest in peace

Here is a complete gallery of my favorite shots from the trip; hope you enjoy them.

This here is an account of my personal experience. For more details on the masjid, you can visit the Sheikh Zayed Masjid page on Wikipedia.

A Stomach-Friendly Approach to Eid-al-Adha

Eid-al-Adha, one of the two festivals celebrated by all Muslims globally, marks the remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham – peace be upon him) commitment to sacrifice his own son Ismaeel (peace be upon him) to please Allah. Allah, impressed by this gesture of utmost devotion and unwavering loyalty, made it immortal by incorporating it as part of Hajj, an annual pilgrimage that brings millions of Muslims to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It gives me chills just to think what we would be sacrificing had Allah not replaced Ismaeel with a sheep/ram.

Sacrifices aside, the thing we all look forward to most is the food and the endless BBQs that are sure to follow. However, after a few meat-eating days, one (or shall I say ‘the stomach’?) finally deserves a refreshing break from all the heaviness. Its often difficult to find the right balance between light and delicious; fortunately, there are a few middle-eastern staples that fit the bill. I decided to take an Arabian approach to this post as an homage to the roots of this festival.

As usual, I added a Pakistani twist to both recipes, so instead of a traditional Shawarma and Shish Tawook, I present to you the Roast Beef Shawarma with Hummus and Shish Malai Boti with Vegetables.

Roast Beef Shawarma with Hummus

Ingredients:

  • For Roast Beef
    • 1/2 kg beef (single lean cut)
    • 3 tbsp ginger paste
    • 2 tbsp green chili paste
    • 1/2 cup vinegar
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp red chilies (ground)
    • 4-5 cups water
  • For Hummus with Tahini
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans (canned works best but you can also boil at home)
    • 1 tsp sesame seeds
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic
    • 3 tbsp yogurt
    • salt to taste
    • olives for garnish
    • paprika or cayenne pepper for garnish
  • For Shawarma
    • 6-8 pita bread
    • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
    • 2 cups iceberg lettuce (thinly sliced)
    • 1 cup picked jalapenos, cucumbers, gherkins, beetroots and carrots (thinly sliced)
    • 1 cup tomatoes (cubed)
    • 1 cup cabbage (thinly sliced)

Method:

  1. Take a pan and add all the ingredients for the roast beef into it; cook on low flame till all the meat is tender and all the water has dried out.
  2. Wrap the meat in a foil and put it in the oven for 3-5 minutes on medium temperature. This step is optional.
  3. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. Cut into thin slices and set aside.
  4. Put garbanzo beans, sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic, yogurt and salt into a jug and blend till everything is a smooth paste; set it aside in a bowl.
  5. Cut pita bread into half and spread a tablespoon of hummus on the inside.
  6. Add two to three slices of roast beef to it.
  7. Top it off with onions, iceberg lettuce, cabbage, pickled vegetables and tomatoes.
  8. Serve with a side of hummus (garnish with paprika/cayenne and olives) and pickled vegetables.

Note: You can easily pickle vegetables at home. Just dice the veggies you wish to pickle and mix them in vinegar, some salt and sugar. Heat this mix in a pan for 5-7 minutes to get instant results.

Shish Malai Boti with Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • For Malai Boti
    • 2 chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes)
    • 2 tsp ginger & garlic paste
    • 1/2 tsp white cumin seeds (roasted and powdered)
    • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (roasted and powdered)
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 3 tbsp cream (one that rises to the surface after boiling & cooling whole full-fat milk)
    • 3 tbsp fresh cream (a.k.a. heavy cream)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp green chili paste
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp red chili powder
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • 3 tbsp yogurt
    • salt to taste
  • For Shish
    • 15-20 bamboo skewers
    • 2 tomatoes (cut into eighths)
    • 2 onions (cut into eighths)
    • 2 capsicums (cut into eighths)
  • Optional Ingredients
    • 1 small piece of hot coal
    • 1 tsp olive oil

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for malai boti and marinate the chicken for 1 hour.
  2. Put the marinated chicken in a pan and cook on medium flame till it is tender.
  3. If you like adding a smokey flavor to the chicken, (a) take a small steel bowl and put it in the center of the pan, (b) place the hot coal into it, (c) drizzle the olive oil on the coal, (d) cover the pan immediately, (e) let it stay for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once the chicken has cooled significantly, put the individual cubes onto bamboo skewers interleaved with pieces of tomato, onion and capsicum.
  5. To give the skewers a slight char, place them directly over a flame; be careful not to set the bamboo skewers on fire.
  6. Serve with a side of tamarind chutney or mint raita.

Eid is all about sharing with people less fortunate than us. So if you are sacrificing something, a goat, a cow or a camel, please ensure that those around you don’t go hungry on this auspicious occasion.

A very happy Eid Moo-Baa-Rak to everyone!

Cheers,
Yousuf

Pakoras Galore: Let The Ramadan Feast Begin

The month of fasting (and over-eating) is finally upon us, and what makes this Ramadan more special is the fact that it is coinciding with monsoon, the clouds in Karachi ready to pour any moment now (Please, God, please?). Monsoon and Ramadan have nothing in common save for a piping hot (garma-garam) plate of Pakoras. This Pakistani staple dish is a must-have for Iftar and any dastar-khuwan is incomplete without a variation of this. The popularity of Pakoras lies not only in their unique flavor profile, but also in their affordability.

Pakoras (or Bhajiyas) are savory snacks deep-fried to a crisp and served with a dash of chaat masala with ketchup, tamarind chutney or chili sauce. Cultures across the world have their own adaptation of Pakoras. The English have Fritters, the Chinese, Dumplings, and the Japanese, Tempuras, but nothing beats the satisfaction of a crunchy Pakora at the time of Iftar. This notoriously popular snack is light on the taste, heavy on the waist, especially if it is deep-fried in ghee, so no matter how tempting it may look, do not, I REPEAT, DO NOT give into the temptation of finishing up the entire platter in one go.

Pakoras, and most of its other variations, are made using gram flour (baisan), but some adaptations include corn flour, pearl millet (bajra) flour and all-purpose flour. Also featured in the pakora is a mixture of edibles including potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, onions, cottage cheese, unripe mangoes, eggplant, and green chilies. These can be found in all shapes and sizes across the country with practically every street-vendor peddling them. As with any street food, it’s better to keep the hygiene factor in mind, what with all the parasitic and bacterial diseases out and about. So let me show you how we can make not one, but FIVE different variations of this phenomenal snack within the confines of your own kitchens:

(left) Chinese Pakoras and (right) No-Fuss Pakoras

No-Fuss (a.k.a. Jhat-pat) Pakoras: These pakoras (popularly known as bhajiyas) require very little time and effort and can be made in a jiffy, ergo the name Jhat-pat. Ideally, these are served with a side of yogurt mixed with some red chili powder and salt.

Ingredients:

  • 1 potato (thinly sliced) – you can also use sliced onions, whole green chilies, sliced eggplant, or spinach leaves
  • 1 cup gram flour (baisan)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • water as required
  • salt to taste
  • oil/ghee for frying

Method:

  1. Mix gram flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl with some water to form a thick batter (to the consistency of condensed milk)
  2. Heat oil in a wok, dip each slice of potato in the gram batter and drop it into the wok
  3. Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown

Chinese (a.k.a. Oriental) Pakoras: These pakoras are slightly different from the rest in taste as well as texture, mainly because the only spices and sauces used are traditional to Chinese cooking. You can also substitute chicken in the recipe with shrimps. Since it is originally my wife’s recipe, I dedicate this section of the write-up to her.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tomato (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 onions (coarsely chopped)
  • 2-3 green chilies (finely chopped)
  • 1 potato (coarsely chopped)
  • ¼ chicken breast (cut in small cubes), marinated with the following for 2-3 hours:
    • ¼ tsp ajino moto (MSG – optional)
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp chili sauce
    • ½ tsp crushed red chilies
    • salt to taste
  • 6-7 tbsp corn flour
  • 2-3 tbsp gram flour (baisan)
  • 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp chili sauce
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Once the chicken is marinated, add all the vegetables, corn flour, gram flour, soy sauce, chili sauce and salt to the chicken and mix well
  2. Heat oil in a wok, take a teaspoonful of the mixture and drop it into the wok
  3. Deep fry on medium heat till slightly dark brown; note that these will take a slightly longer time to cook as you need to ensure the chicken is tender

Julienne Pakoras

Julienne Pakoras: These are essentially similar to the pakoras you get at the street vendors’, the only difference being the cutting style of the vegetables. Using a julienne cut for the vegetables ensures that the pakoras come out extra crunchy and extremely delicious, instead of just turning into a doughy mush. Do not forget to drizzle some chaat masala over them before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium potato (julienne cut)
  • 1 medium onion (julienne cut)
  • 10-12 spinach leaves (thinly sliced)
  • 2 green chilies (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • ½ tsp crushed red chilies
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds (dhania kay beej)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp gram flour (baisan)
  • water as required
  • oil/ghee for frying

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well; add enough water so that the resultant mixture becomes sticky
  2. Heat oil in a wok, take a tablespoonful of the mixture and drop it into the wok
  3. Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown

(left) Moong Dal Pakoras and (right) Chili Pakoras

Moong Dal Pakoras (a.k.a. Moongwadas): These are slightly unconventional pakoras in the sense that they do not use gram flour. Instead, these are made entirely using Mung beans (moong dal). This is one recipe that was carried over from India to Pakistan and has been in the family for many generations.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mung beans with skin (chilkay waali moong dal)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 green chilies (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds (freshly crushed)
  • oil/ghee for frying

Method:

  1. Soak the mung beans overnight and remove all the green skin before grinding it in a blender with the garlic cloves (use the wet mill attachment so as to eliminate the use of water)
  2. Once the beans are blended, add all the vegetables and spices to them and mix well
  3. Take a teaspoonful of the mixture in your hands and flatten it into the shape of a patty
  4. Drop it into a pre-heated wok with oil and deep fry on medium heat till golden brown

Chili (a.k.a. Mirch) Pakoras: These pakoras use the chili as a container for an assortment of spices and are then deep fried with a crisp gram flour coating on top. The type of chili used is entirely up to how much heat you can take during Ramadan. This recipe uses banana peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 banana peppers
  • ½ tbsp cumin (zeera)
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds (dhania kay beej)
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 cup gram flour (baisan)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • water as required
  • salt to taste
  • oil/ghee for frying

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, add the cumin and coriander seeds, and toast them till they are nice and crisp
  2. Take a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush the cumin and coriander seeds
  3. Now add the chaat masala and the lemon juice to the crushed seeds and form a thick spice paste
  4. Take each banana pepper, make a vertical slit using a knife, and stuff the spice paste into it
  5. Mix gram flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl with some water to form a thick batter (to the consistency of condensed milk)
  6. Heat oil in a wok, dip each pepper into the gram batter and drop it into the wok
  7. Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown

I hope you enjoy these pakoras at home but before I sign off, I’d like to add my two-bits about the essence of Ramadan. Never in my life have I ever heard anyone losing weight during Ramadan. Let’s see what the Qura’an has to say about this:

“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.” (Al-Baqarah, 183)

As the above ayat indicates, Ramadan is not just about giving up food and drink for a prescribed amount of time; it’s about moderation, preservation and self-control. Moreover, it teaches us the ever-important lesson of sharing what Allah has bestowed upon us with those who cannot afford it. So don’t forget to share with those in need, even if it’s some money, clothes, or something as insignificant as a platter of pakoras.

Blast From The Past – Shah Shams Tabrez, Multan

Shah Shams Tabrez is one of the thousands of saints buried in Multan, Pakistan. There are quite a few legends and/or miracles associated with him, the most popular being him requesting the sun to come down and roast a raw fish he held in his palms. To this day, many natives relate the insanely temperate summers in Multan with this legend, but only God knows better.

His shrine was built around 1330 AD by his grandson and renovated around 1710 AD. Keeping in tradition with the exquisite Islamic architecture prevalent in that era, his shrine has a very distinct style. The use of color glazed tiles all over the dome and the exterior is note-worthy and awe-inspiring. Unfortunately when I went there though, the inside of the mausoleum was under construction and I couldn’t take any shots of the interior. Here are some photos I did manage to take and I hope you like them.

Blast From The Past – Bahauddin Zakaria, Multan

Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria is perhaps the most famous saint in all of Multan. He is the grandfather of the famous Shah Rukn-e-Alam and they are both buried just a couple of hundred meters from each other. The shrine is designed as a perfect square, and holds around 50+ graves of the Hazrat’s descendants. Even though his shrine is not as spectacularly designed as his grandson’s, it is a sight to behold. The exquisite blue tile-work is mesmerizing and I couldn’t help myself from staring at it for a long time.

As with Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s shrine, people paying homage to the great Hazrat believe that he is capable of hearing and answering their prayers, even after death. Be it the tying of empty plastic bags on the shrine’s grills or the burning of diyas (small oil lanterns made of clay) and rubbing their oil on one’s face or feeding the pigeons, there are several ways (supposedly) to get the Hazrat’s attention. Then again, I do not believe in any of this, but Allah knows better. I was astonished to see brides and grooms visiting the shrine for the Hazrat’s blessing before embarking on their new journey together, as well as barefooted people walking to the Hazrat’s Darbar (another word for shrine) as a sign of their devotion and respect; seems like taking things a bit to far. I even heard one of my local colleagues claiming that people going for the holy pilgrimage to Makkah (hajj and umrah) come to the darbar before actually leaving on their journey; WOW!

Here are some glimpses of the mausoleum for your viewing pleasure.

Parenting for Dummies: The First Trimester

What goes on in the labor room, stays in the labor room. Some progressive hospitals let the dad into the labor room to enjoy (seriously?!) the whole 360-degree birthing experience, but more often than not, the dad and the couple’s close relatives sit in the waiting area, praying for the health of the mother and the baby. Just like in the movies, the father-to-be can clearly be distinguished from the lot as the one pacing the entire length of the dimly-lit corridor, biting his nails (or indulging in some alternate idiosyncrasy), waiting for the nurse to come out with some good news; a scene straight out of a silent movie. It could be hours, even days (God forbid), till you hear from the hospital staff, and when you’ve given up all hope, a nurse sporting blood-splattered scrubs (the source is better left unnamed) bursts out of the labor room screaming, “It’s a girl! It’s a girl!” (or a boy). What follows is nothing short of a miracle; the silent ambiance is ruptured with shrieks of joy and cries of “Mubarak Ho, Mubarak Ho!” (meaning Congratulations). From my personal experience and fairly recent induction into daddy-ville, a possible sequence of events that follow include:

  1. shedding a tear (or two) of relief, or even a full-blown outburst (believe me; no one will judge you)
  2. seeing the baby for the first time
  3. shedding a tear (or two) of joy – again; no judging
  4. checking on the mother’s health
  5. sharing sweets with everyone
  6. seeing the baby again
  7. your mother and your mother-in-law arguing over who she resembles
  8. saying the Azan (Muslim call for prayers) in the infant’s ear
  9. seeing the baby some more (you just can’t seem to get enough of her)
  10. having some more sweets (Pakistanis will be Pakistanis)
  11. shortlisting baby names (if you haven’t decided on one yet)
  12. meeting your wife together with the baby and crying some more
  13. giving the baby something sweet to taste (honey, in most cases)

And then the baby comes home, bringing with it, two invisible companions (who are very real in every other sense) named “Sleepless Nights” and “Ceaseless Crying”. You have no choice but to welcome them into your humble abode; no compromises. Waking up at hours unheard of somehow becomes routine. People at work mock/pity you as you walk into your office with bulging red eyes. You seem to be running to the doctor every time the baby sneezes. You used to think your wife was high-maintenance; well guess again! The formula milk and the diapers, the cleaning wipes and the bouncers, the bottles and the sterilizers, the rattles and the swings, and loads of other things-that-shall-not-be-named, don’t come cheap; and don’t even get me started on the filthy expensive vaccinations. But wait; there’s another intruder that creeps into your life and needs no invitation; “Postpartum Depression”. Your wife’s mood swings, an essential part of her hormonal imbalances, may drive you to the edge and back; tears of joy might turn into a crying frenzy on how she would be a terrible mother. In her defense, after what she’s gone through, she deserves a breakdown or two (hmm… make that a hundred). As a loving husband, you must hold her hand through all the highs and lows, and make sure she knows that you are there to support her no matter what.

The last paragraph should pretty-much sum up your life for the first three months after the baby’s birth. But as soon as the baby crosses over into her fourth month, most lucky parents (myself included) see a visible change in their lifestyles. The baby becomes more responsive, starts cooing, even ga-ga-ing at times, might even recognize you, bestow you with a smile or two, and seems to settle down into a sleeping pattern. Sleeping for four (maybe even six) hours isn’t just a dream anymore. Life somehow seems much more settled. There are a few outbursts, a tummy-ache here, a little gas there, but all-in-all, you feel blessed after having gone through what you have in the early days.

My daughter is a little over five months old now and she keeps getting more adorable every second. I can barely restrain myself from taking a bite off of her cheek. There’s so much she has to offer, be it a sincere smile, or a gentle caress, but more than anything, she has drastically changed my perceptions on learning; it’s NOT a one-way street as perceived by most new parents. Read my other post entitled What my five-month old taught me for further details.

NOTE: Being a father, I’m writing this article from a dad’s perspective and from my own personal experience. Even though it has a lot of religious and cultural influences, you may be able to relate to most of my experiences.

Punishment for Breaking Ties in Islam

When I look around me, I see people breaking-off ties with their close relatives as if nothing matters, siblings not talking to each other for days, weeks, even months at a stretch. I am a mortal and have done the same on more than one occasion. Thankfully for us, Islam comes to the rescue and explains the importance of family ties and brotherhood.

Just thought I’d search for some references from the Qur’an and Sunnah to help everyone understand the importance of family and how breaking ties will effect us in this world and the here-after.

The following is a collection of interpretation of verses from the Holy Qur’an:

“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers.” (49:10)

“… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of ) the wombs (kinship)…” (4:1)

“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).” (13:26)

“Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.” (47:22-23)

A lot of ahadith explain the importance of family and the implications of severing ties with your relatives:

Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Do not desert (stop talking to) one another, do not nurse hatred towards one another, do not be jealous of one another, and become as fellow brothers and slaves of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to stop talking to his brother (Muslim) for more than three days.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “People’s deeds are presented before Allah on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave (of Allah) is granted forgiveness (of minor sins) if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancour against his brother, will not be pardoned. With regard to them, it is said twice: `Hold these two until they are reconciled’.” [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “It is not lawful for a Muslim to forsake his (Muslim) brother beyond three days; and whosoever does so for more than three days, and then dies, will certainly enter the Hell.” [Abu Dawud]

Abu Khirash Hadrad bin Abu Hadrad Al-Aslami (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “Whosoever forsakes his brother for a year is like one who sheds his blood.” (Abu Dawud)

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5645).

“There is no sin more deserving of having punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world, along with what He has for him in the next world, than oppression and severing family ties.” (Tirmizi)

“Does not enter Paradise he who breaks up his family ties”. (Bukhari)


This is an eye-opening compilation and should serve as a basis of all our present and future relationships. If you think you know someone who is in the middle of a personal/family feud, please forward this to them and ask them to fix their ties for Allah’s sake.

Thank you and remember me in your prayers.