The mother's relatives are part of a person's family
Fatwa No: 298228

Question

Are the mother's relatives considered one's own relatives? Are they part of one's family? I know that they do not inherit, but some people in our culture go as far as to not keep ties and a loving relationship with the mother's relatives, saying that they are not part of one's family and blood ties and that the father's family are the only relatives who should be loved. What about the hadith in which the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said that the son of a people's sister is from them?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

There is no doubt that the mother’s relatives are among her children's relatives as well and are entitled to the rights of kinship (on part of the children). The mother’s father is the grandfather of her children and is entitled to dutifulness and the upholding of the ties of kinship on part of the grandchildren. The same applies to the mother’s mother; she is the maternal grandmother of the children and is entitled to inherit from them. She has a right to dutifulness and the upholding of the ties of kinship with her, and so is the maternal aunt. A hadeeth has been reported indicating that the maternal aunt has the same status as the mother in terms of respect and dutifulness. Al-Baraa’ ibn ʻAazib  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "The maternal aunt holds the same status as the mother." [Al-Bukhari]

This hadeeth serves as evidence proving that the maternal aunts are given precedence over the paternal aunts to the right of child custody. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ruled that the maternal aunt was more entitled to the custody of the daughter of Hamzah although her paternal aunt, Safiyyah bint 'Abd Al-Muttalib, was still alive.

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

"It is deduced from this hadeeth that the maternal aunt is given priority over the paternal aunt as far as the right of child custody is concerned because Safiyyah bint 'Abd Al-Muttalib was still alive. If the maternal aunt is given precedence over the paternal aunt although the paternal aunt is among the closest female ʻasabaat (paternal relatives), then this means that the maternal aunt is given precedence over other relatives (for a greater reason). Also, it is deduced from this hadeeth that the relatives of the mother are given precedence over other relatives (as far as child custody is concerned)..." [Fat-h Al-Baari] For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 242668.

Moreover, another hadeeth underlined that the maternal uncle is the heir of the one who has no heirs. Al-Miqdaam ibn Maʻdi Karib  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallAllaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, "The maternal uncle is the heir of the one who has no heir." Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar wrote, "This hadeeth was cited by Ahmad, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa'i, and Ibn Maajah. Abu Zurʻah Ar-Raazi declared it hasan (good), and Ibn Hibbaan and Al-Haakim declared it saheeh (sound)." [Buloogh al-Maraam]

In addition, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "The son of a sister of a people belongs to them." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) sent for the Ansar (and when they came), he asked, "Is there any stranger amongst you?" They said, "No, except for the son of one of our sisters." The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "The son of the sister of some people belongs to them..."

An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "This means that the sister’s son is bonded with ties of kinship to his mother’s relatives..." [Shar-h Saheeh Muslim]

How can one then claim that the mother’s relatives are not entitled to dutifulness and the upholding of the ties of kinship? Such a claim can only be suggested by an ignorant or stubborn person trying to justify the severing of the ties of kinship on his part.

Allaah knows best.

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