Islam and the Family

Islam and the Family

Islam and the Family Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari While the warp of society is the individual person and the woof is social order, the unit of the design is the family. Families in which mutual understanding, sincerity and tenderness reign, form details of a harmonious pattern. But a family in confusion and disarray distorts and […]

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    Islam and the Family Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari While the warp of society is the individual person and the woof is social order, the unit of the design is the family. Families in which mutual understanding, sincerity and tenderness reign, form details of a harmonious pattern. But a family in confusion and disarray distorts and mars the pattern. The instinct for survival is innate in human beings. Producing children is the expression of one urge of this instinct, for a child seems like an extension of one's own personality, and a guarantee of the continuance of the same life-force. The primary origin of the urge to found families is sought by many thinkers in this instinct for survival. The need to feed and support a family incites a man to industrial productivity. Other thinkers hold that the primary urge towards family-founding was merely the sex instinct; others favour the gregarious instinct; others regard wedlock as a mere commercial transaction between families entered into for the profit of both. In fact, communal living in society requires families as its units of construction. To degrade the pure love between husband and wife merely to sex, profit or protection, is to deny human nature at its highest. Some say that, since in the inchoate days of human living the woman as a weaker being could not exist except under a man's protection, family life is merely a feminine institution imposed on man. This is manifest nonsense: for it ignores a man's need of woman, which may be different from woman's need of man, but is just as deeply and inextricably a part of his nature. True, man has to be the breadwinner in most cases. But he needs his mate as a partner in happiness, in joy and in sound living. In marriage is the end of loneliness. Each sex needs the other. This is why "male and female made He them." God implanted the sex instinct. God created sex differences. He created the survival instinct, the security instinct and the society instinct of gregariousness. All these were part of His providence in preparing mankind to be His joyful family Sociologists give each instinct its due weight in the scheme. They say that the exact role of each instinct varies with the changes in social structure. In primitive society the need to find food and housing is of primary importance. In the ancient agricultural community the need for children became paramount since many hands make light work. Today the sex urge has come very much to the fore, since humanity has devised means to achieve adequate food, satisfactory housing and machines to do the work. But over and above the instincts, the urge to love and the need to be loved are amongst the highest attributes of human nature. Islam answers the call of nature affirmatively, with its insistence on the family as the best safeguard of public virtue, and its asseveration that it is the only right and legitimate way. It is written in the Sura XVI: Nahl- "The Bee" verse 72: "God has made mates for you of your own nature and made for you of them children and grandchildren and posterity, and provided for you sustenance of the best. Are they then going to believe in vain things and not be grateful for God's favours?" Islam sets out to protect young people from being led astray by the strength of the Godimplanted sexual urge in the years before their character and conscience have matured and their will is governed by discretion. That is why it lays on parents the responsibility of I admonishing youth, and of imparting rules of. life and guidelines of prudence which will lead to godliness and the natural use of the power of procreation. It also holds parents responsible for arranging early I marriages for those who are mature enough to wed. Young people not yet I economically capable of supporting a family may find the thrust of the sex urge so strong that, without the guiding hand of their parents on the 1 reins, the horses of nature may run away with them and carry them into danger or into the trap of illicit sex. Parents must steer the life-force into I its God-given legitimate channels where peace of mind and calm of conscience accompany the happiness of a shared life. The Prophet is reported to have preached thus from the pulpit of the mosque: "O Muslim community! Your daughters are like ripe fruit on a tree. Fruit must be picked at its optimum moment; otherwise the sun or other agencies will rot or spoil it.

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