A maternal uncle of mine who is addicted to alcohol lives in the same house with us – me and two of my brothers who are younger than me – in a kaafir country in a small house, just two rooms. When he first came to live with us he did not drink so much. In addition to that he does not pray, and sometimes he insults Islam and the Lord. He has been here in this kaafir land for nearly 30 years during which he has never been back to our homeland. He was a friend of my father’s before my father married my mother. Praise be to Allaah, we pray and we try to fear Allaah as much as we can. We spoke to him in the best manner and advised him to repent to Allaah, and he says to us: “You are right, pray to Allaah forgive me,” then one or two days later he goes back to his old ways. If we throw him out of the house, he will not find anyone to give him shelter, which means that he will end up sleeping in the street like many of the Arab addicts who live in the streets. We ask Allaah to guide them. My question is: what should I do, knowing that my father and mother do not live with us in the same house; they are in our homeland, but if I throw my uncle out or speak harshly to him, it will upset my mother because she still loves her brother and has not seen him for 30 years.
The problems of Muslims in kaafir countries are innumerable and heartbreaking. These societies and environments are not suitable for Muslims, because their values are incompatible with Islam and its noble principles, high moral standards and decent etiquette.
The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us sternly against living in such environments and societies, because he knew the bad effect that this would have on Muslims, with regard to their religious commitment, morals and behaviour. He said: “I disavow myself of any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (2654) and al-Tirmidhi ( 1604); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (1207).
Your uncle’s situation – and that of many others – is the result of settling among the kuffaar which our religion has forbidden.
It is a great loss in this world and in the Hereafter, if Allaah does not bestow His mercy upon him.
You have no choice but to be patient with your uncle, for it seems from your advice to him and his response to you that the seed of faith is still alive in his heart, which needs your care and concern on an ongoing basis. Always keep in mind the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him): “If Allaah were to guide one man at your hands, that would be better for you than red camels (i.e., the best kind).” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2942).
If he stays with you in the house – and you keep advising him and taking care of him – that is better for him than wandering the streets and living as a vagabond, which could lead him to a bad end because of his being far away from you. Doing the lesser of two evils and warding off one by means of the other is what is required here.
Treating him kindly is also part of honouring your mother and pleasing her, so strive to call him to what is good and try to distract him from what he is doing now. Take him to the mosque with you sometimes. We ask Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, to guide the Muslims who have gone astray and to show them the right way, for He is Able to do that.
And Allaah knows best.