I'm wondering what advice Islam gives for forming and maintaining positive relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but family, friendships, work relationships, etc. Are there any quotes from the scriptures which can help with this?
I am quoting either from the Prophet or from Shia references:
There are many narrations in Islam that addresses Muslims, and many that just refer to a position or people in general, as for now you are asking for the position, mother, father, neighbor, friends... so they don't have to be a Muslim and actually it's the beauty of Islam that has such instructions regardless of their faith, regardless of them showing affection to you or not!
The general idea is a quote from Imam Ali: Know that people are of two types: they are either your brothers in religion or your equals in creation. I am only speaking about the 2nd type.
Right your neighbors, from the Prophet:
- Help him if he asks for your help.
- Give him relief if he seeks your relief
- Lend him if he needs a loan.
- Do not block his air by raising your building high without his permission
- Do not harass him.
- Give him a share when you buy fruits; if you do not, bring what you buy quietly and let not your children take them out to excite the jealousy of his children.
- Visit (and take care of) him when he is ill.
- You must attend his funeral when he dies (and take part in burial arrangements).
- If he commits a sin, prevent it from being known.
- Congratulate him if he is met with good fortune.
- Grieve in sympathy if a calamity befalls him.
The remaining section is from Treaties of rights by Imam Sajjad (grandson of the prophet) Mother:
The right of your mother is that you know that she carried you where no one carries anyone, she gave to you of the fruit of her heart that which no one gives to anyone, and she protected you with all her organs. She did not care if she went hungry as long as you ate, if she was thirsty as long as you drank, if she was naked as long as you were clothed, if she was in the sun as long as you were in the shade. She gave up sleep for your sake, she protected you from heat and cold, all in order that you might belong to her. You will not be able to show her gratitude, unless through God's help and giving success.
The right of your father is that you know that he is your root. Without him, you would not be. Whenever you see anything in yourself which pleases you, know that your father is the root of its blessing upon you. So praise God and thank Him in that measure. And there is no strength save in God.
Right of your child:
The right of your child is that you should know that he is from you and will be ascribed to you, through both his good and his evil, in the immediate affairs of this world. You are responsible for what has been entrusted to you, such as educating him in good conduct (husn al-adab), pointing him in the direction of his Lord, and helping him to obey Him. So act toward him with the action of one who knows that he will be rewarded for good doing toward him and punished for evildoing.
Right of your siblings:
The right of your brother is that you know that he is your hand, your might, and your strength. Take him not as a weapon with which to disobey God, nor as equipment with which to wrong God's creatures. Do not neglect to help him against his enemy or to give him good counsel. If he obeys God, well and good, but if not, you should honour God more than him. And there is no strength save in God.
**Right your kin: ** (From a different source)
The very least you should do is to not bother them! After that it starts from the smallest of things, to give them water. If they don't visit you, write to you or even never want to meet you, it is your duty to still meet/socialize with them.
As for general socialization with people and your friends, from Imam Sadiq
- Convey my greetings to any followers community who obeys us.
- I instruct you to be abstemious, and ‘ war’a ’ (Abstinence) in religion, and struggling in Allah’s way.
And truthfulness, and Bailment, and long prostrate, and kindness to neighbors.As Muhammad has came with these ( to perfect).
Return the trust to whom has trusted you, whether (he) is a righteous or evil. Prophet ordered to return trust although thread and needle.
- Tie with kin and participate in their funeral, pay visit to their ill and respect their rights.
- Therefore, who abstains in his religion, is trustful, treats people kindly, (then) people say, he is from the Ja’fari school; This makes me happy, and brings happiness from him to me, and they say this is the etiquettes of Ja’far.
- Otherwise, his shame and dishonor would be upon me, and people would say: “ This is the etiquettes of Ja’far.
- I swear, my father informed me of a man and his tribe, and that he was the gem of his tribe. He was better than all of them for returning a trust, respected their rights better than any one else and was the most honest when speaking. The most righteous for all instructions and commands. And if you asked about him, they would say: “who is like him? He is the best with deeds for trusteeship and honesty. Al-kafi, volume 2, page 636, narration #5
So basically if my cousin, father, sister, or even neighbor doesn't want to see me because their religion is different, or because they don't like me, Islam still instructs us to know of their rights and address to it appropriately as the Prophet doesn't like anyone who makes his/her parents ( even after our parents' death we are instructed to visit their graves and ask for Allah's mercy and forgiveness; from Another narration, it has been said that a child did not have the satisfaction of his parents but after their death he prayed to seek their forgiveness and he made his parents and Allah happy as another child who made had the satisfaction of his parents in this life, he forgot them and lost the satisfaction of his parents and Allah), siblings, friend, kin or neighbors upset, even if they have wronged us!.
A believer has lot of obligations towards another believer and humanity. There are lot of quotes in the Glorious Quran and Sahi Hadith that guide a Muslim towards healthy relationships no matter whom they are.
From the Quran -
'And hold fast, all of you together to the rope of Allah, and do not separate' (3:103)
From Hadith -
'You will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever' (Muslim and Bukhari)
The Prophet (SAW) said 'The right of a Muslim upon a Muslim are six' It was asked what are they? He replied
When you meet him, salute him
when he calls you, respond to him
When he seeks advice, give him advice
When he sneezes and praises Allah, respond to him
When he falls ill, visit him
When he dies, follow him (the funeral bier)' (Muslim)