"Your kinship, your kinship." أرحامكم أرحامكم
Honoring the ties of kinship is one of the most important deeds in Islam. It was mentioned in the first khutba (speech) the prophet delivered when he migrated to Madina, as narrated by Abdullah Ibn Salam who had heard about the prophet while searching for the religion of truth. In the speech, the prophet said: "Oh people! Spread the greetings, give food in charity, connect kinship ties, pray at night while people are asleep, you will enter paradise in peace."
Also in the Qur'an, taking care of kinship ties is praised, while cutting them or abandoning them is associated with corruption, which is one of the worse crimes. For example, in the first ayah of surah #4, kinship is linked with the taqwa (fear) of Allah. Thus indicating its utmost significance.
When asked, "What deed is the most beloved to Allah?", the prophet said, "Belief in Allah, then honoring kinship ties, then enjoining the good and forbidding the evil." When asked the opposite question: "What deed is the most hated by Allah?", he gave the opposite of the first answer.
Keeping relations of kinship is one of the most distinctive characteristics of true believers. It's a sign of belief. The prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the hereafter let him uphold the ties of kinship". In another Hadith, he commanded us to maintain the ties even with relatives who severed their ties with us, to treat them kindly and gently even if we are met with hostility and abuse. This will guarantee us the support of Allah as long as we don't give up.
There are great benefits gained by honoring kinship ties. According to the prophet in several Hadiths, honoring kinship ties is a way to create love among family members, to increase rizq (provisions), and to extend one's lifespan. Also, on the day of judgment kinship ties will be given the ability to testify for or against people depending on their relationship.
The consequences for abandoning it are grave and scary. The prophet said,“No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise”. In fact, such a person gets part of the punishment in this life before meeting the greater part in the hereafter. This fact is supported by the prophet's saying: “There is no sin worthier of Allah hastening punishment for it in this life, in addition to what He has in store for its offender in the Hereafter, than transgression and cutting off relations of kinship.” Allah the Almighty says in the Qur'an: "Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? (22) Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight" [Muhammad 47:22-23].
There are 3 levels of maintaining kinship ties. The highest is financial or physical assistance, followed by kindness, and the lowest is the exchange of greetings.