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IslamQA: On overcoming dislike for family members and relatives

Assalamualaikum. I need your opinion about something. I have a big family and we have certain members that we're not a fond of because of their characters and things that they did. It's very hard to forget because it really hurt and disappoint us. And I know that we should have mercy on people like Allah does to us. So is there anything that I can do to let it go all of these feelings and treat people kindly no matter what they have done. Jazakallahu kheir.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Your personality is made up of two elements. You have a soul that wishes to treat everyone with kindness and forgiveness. And you have a brain that has memories of the past wrongs they have done you and that resents them for that. Unfortunately there is little you can do about how your brain responds to people, because it has its own instincts and thought processes. We often find ourselves in situations where our brains are in conflict with our souls. We just have to do our best to force ourselves to be nice and kind regardless of how we feel.

Something that helps greatly is to be close to God. After an hour’s Quran-reading I feel that I am able to treat people with a clean slate without worrying about what they have done to me in the past. This of course requires daily work, because we always go back to our normal instincts if we ignore the work needed to maintain a strong relationship with God.

Best wishes.

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