By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
September 4, 2013
To know about any value system it is necessary to go to the original sources to understand the concept in the proper light. By looking at people and passing judgment based on their actions, then we will be doing a great injustice to that value system. Similarly in order to understand the concept of family values in Islam, we should not look at families; rather we go to the original sources to understand the concept better. Family values should not be judged by what the Muslims do or what the Muslim society does. It should be judged according to the authentic sources, that is the Quran and the Sahih Hadiths.
Let me begin from the beginning. What does Islam has to say about the family values related to the children. The Quran says:
“...kill not your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities...” (6:151)
“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (17:31)
Killing of children, whether of a boy or a girl is a great sin in Islam. And a special mention is made especially to the killing of female child:
“And when the girl (who was) buried alive is asked
For what sin was she killed” (81:8-9)
This special reference was needed because in the pre-Islamic days in Arabia, before the Quran was revealed, it was a very widespread practice that when a daughter was born very often she was buried alive. After the revelation of this verse this evil practice was totally abolished in the Arab countries. But this evil practice is still in prevalence in many parts of the world, most especially in India due to cultural norms.
The Quran not only prohibits the killing of female children, it is even against the intentional thought of a person becoming downhearted or sad at the news of the birth of a female child.
“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been in-formed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” (16: 58-59)
The Prophet said “Anyone who upbrings two daughters correctly, with kindness and love; they will be very close to me on the Day of Judgement”; and another Hadith says the same thing, but it adds that the person will enter heaven.
Once there was a person who kissed his son and placed him on his lap in front of the Prophet, the Prophet objected and said that he should have also kissed his daughter and placed her on the other lap.
The first verse that was revealed to the Prophet was to ‘read’. The Prophet said ‘It is obligatory for everyone, whether man or woman to acquire knowledge’; on another instance he said ‘it is obligatory for parents to make sure that their children acquire knowledge, especially girls’.
Now, what does Islam say regarding the value system of spouses that is mentioned in the Quran and sayings of Prophet? The Quran refers to the woman as a ‘Mohsana’ which means a ‘fortress against the devil’ (one who protects against evil). A good wife keeps the husband on the “straight path” and prevents him from going to the wrong track. The Prophet said
“O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, BOOK 62: Wedlock, Marriage (Nikah), Number 3)" The Arabic word used here for Young people is (يا معشر الشباب, it means young grown up man and young grown up woman.
In another Hadith, Hz Anas reports that the Prophet said “Anyone who marries completes half his religion”. Marriage prevents one from promiscuity, from fornication, from other types of evil in the society. Only after you are married do you have an opportunity to be a husband or a wife, only after you marry do you have the opportunity of becoming a father or a mother, which are very important duties in Islam.
The Quran says: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection (love) and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30:21)
Allah calls marriage a sacred covenant: “And how could you take it while you have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?” (4:21)
And for a marriage to solemnize the permission of both man and woman is equally important. The Quran says “Do not inherit the woman against her wishes” (4:19)
Once there was a lady who was forced by her father to marry a man who she did not like, and when she reported this to the Prophet, then immediately the Prophet nullified the marriage.
There are two verses in the Quran which many men take wrong advantage of. But in fact if they only knew the real meaning behind the verse then they would have mended their ways. Many men, including some Muslim men think that on account of these verses they are superior to women. These two verses are:
“...And due to them [i.e., the wives] is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men [i.e., husbands] have a degree over them [in responsibility]. And God is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (2:228) and
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what God has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth.” (4:34)
The Arabic word used in second verse is ‘Quawwama’. This word is derived from the root word ‘Equama’, which means to stand up for. What this actually means is that the men have one extra degree of responsibility in supporting the women. They don’t have one degree of extra superiority. Both husband and wife have equal rights. As the Quran says “And live with them (wife/wives) in terms of equity and kindness” (4:19)
Both husband and wife should act like garments: of covering their shame, protecting each other and as well as beautifying each other. “They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” (2:187)
The woman is financially secure in Islam. Before the marriage it is the duty of her father and her brother to look after her; and after her marriage, it is the duty of her husband and son. Even during marriage she is on receiving end, instead of her family giving dowry, she gets dower from the family of her would-be husband.
“And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.” (4:4)
The value system of parents in Islam is very important. The best verses that I can think of are:
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” (an expression of disapproval or irritation) and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.”(17:23-24) We have to be good to our parents (6:151).
The Quran also says: “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of those who submit my will to You.” (46:15)
“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” (31:14)
And the next verse says that even if your parents coerce you to do shirk (i.e., associating partners with God) then do not obey them in this, but still you have to be good to them and treat them with kindness and mercy.
“But if they endeavour to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do”. (31:15)
Everyone knows of this oft-quoted Hadith: “Paradise lies beneath the feet of your mother”. And I conclude with my favourite Hadith: a man came to the Prophet and asked him, ‘who deserves the maximum love and companionship in this world?’ and the Prophet replied, ‘your mother’; the man asked after that, the Prophet reiterated, ‘your mother’; the man asked after that, the Prophet again said, ‘your mother’, the man asked after that, finally the prophet said, ‘your father’.
(All the Quranic quotations have been taken from Saheeh International Translation)
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