My latest post is up at the wonderful InCulture Parent: Islam's Take on Children and Kinship Ties. There is an excerpt below:
Preserving kinship ties is considered to be a very important part of Islam. This generally refers to maintaining good relationships with both your close and extended relatives and upholding the rights Islam gives to them. There is a prophetic tradition in Islam that says, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.” (Bukhari) As most people with large families know, this is easier said than done. When you add children into the mix, it can become even more challenging.
During the first part of my childhood, I grew up in a large extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins (12 of us at one point), all under one roof. I remember these early years with fondness—friends to play with, lots of attention and many people to bother. Once my parents moved out, life became quieter, but I always missed the chaos of the big house full of people, the constant stream of visitors and my cousins and favourite uncle around to play with whenever I wanted.
As an adult, I resolved that I would run my home as my grandparents had. We have an “open house” of sorts, welcoming guests, always making room for one more person to stay for dinner or the night, and never turning away family. This is pretty much the way my husband and I have “played house.” We have guests stopover throughout the year and extended family come and stay with us for six months at a time. Friends that have been new to this country have stayed whilst they find their feet, our local mosque sometimes sends guests here and we hold study circles and lectures when a speaker is visiting the mosque. When my grandmother lived with us and then my mother-in-law, we had guests late into the night, with the family gathering for dinner, including my parents or uncles when they heard that a certain guest has turned up. Often on weekends, visitors would sit past midnight, reminiscing with cups of cardamom-laced green tea in their hands and plates of sweets and nuts.
You can read the full article here.