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Monday 29th of November 2021
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HOW DOES ISLAM BUILD THE FAMILY

HOW DOES ISLAM BUILD THE FAMILY

By studying the Islamic religion, and analyzing its ideas, laws and

values concerning the building and organizing of this great cultural

project, `The Family', one may broadly classify its measures as

follows:-

1. The call to build the family:

2. Organizing the family relations:

To complete our study we shall explain these two steps for the

readers' benefit.

1- The Call to Build The Family:

"And of His signs is this: He created mates for you from yourselves

that you may find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and

mercy. Most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect."

Holy Qur'an (30:21)

 

"He it is Who did create you from a single being, and of the same

(kind) did He make his mate that he might incline to her."

Holy Qur'an (7:189)

 

"...Marry such women as seem good to you."

Holy Qur'an (4:3)

 

Looking up the lexical meanings of the Arabic words of "husband",

`marriage' and `matrimony', we may understand the psychological,

spiritual, social and organic implications of marriage in the Islamic

religion, and the reason why the Qur'an uses the word `Spouse' (زوج)

for both the man and the woman bound together with a legal tie, and

the word `Marriage' (نكاح) for the coupling process, and the lawful

enjoyment between husband and wife.

In the Arabic language, to marry means to consort and mix.

" The rain married the earth" means that it mixed with the soil of

the earth.

"The trees married" means that the trees consorted or got closer to

each other.

Going back to the lexicon, and looking up the meaning of `mixing',

which implies the concepts of both the words `Spouse' and `Marriage',

we realize that the meaning of "to mix one thing with another" is to

gather and mingle them together. `Mixing' is gathering, mingling and

consummating.

`To consort', implied by the word `to marriage', means: to tie and

connect, as is seen in the lexicon.

Thus, through lexical understanding of the meanings of `spouse' and

`marriage' used in religious terms, we come to discover the great

human implications contained in the relation between man and woman

from Islam's viewpoint: joining, mixing, tying and connecting.

Thus, to Islam, marriage is an interaction, a mixing, a psychological

and spiritual connection, and a tying of two individuals (a man and a

woman) together to become "a married pair". A pair consists of two who

are similar to one another. Without this similarity none of us would

have found his half to make a pair, but would have remained a single,

feeling lonely and away from his spouse, and would have continued his

natural search and longing to join his half with the other half that

would take him out of the dreary prison of singleness, and fill up the

gaps of love, affection and yearning in his inside.

The Glorious Qur'an has beautifully illustrated the love and relation

between the couple by drawing a verbal picture, in a wonderful style

expressing the human truth implied in this relation:

"And of His signs in this: He created mates for you from yourselves

that you may find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and

mercy. Most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect."

Holy Qur'an (30:21)

 

It has illustrated marriage as a relationship of `rest', `love' and

`mercy', which are desired by the individual when he is away from his

other half, because he (she) would not enjoy the happiness of

affection, love, mercy and sympathy, unless he (she) joins his (her)

spouse and get together. This makes us understand that `coupling' to

the Qur'an, does not refer to a mathematical figure resulting from

adding a man to a woman. Actually it is a process of omitting the

singleness - in its psychological and organic meaning, and in its

specific and social aim - through the natural meeting and perfection

and biological connections and feelings may mix, react, communicate

and unite, In this way the psychological and biological perfection

between them and their split personalities is cohesively united, so

that they may form the base for the continuation of existence and

preservation of the human species. The humanity which grows,

fertilizes and practices its lively activities, is the perfectly

natural humanity would disintegrate and would not be able to survive.

"He it is Who did create you from a single being, and of the same

(kind) did He make his mate that he might incline to her. So when he

covers her she bears a light burden, and she move about with it, but

when it becomes heavy they call upon Allah, their Lord, saying: If you

give to us a good one we shall be of the grateful ones".

Holy Qur'an (7:189)

 

It is, thus, obvious that Islam's advocation of marriage and the

building of the family is a legislative and cultural one, to attain

the natural and social aims of the human life.

The one who carefully follows Islam's invitation to marriage, and

scrutinizes the relevant texts and concepts, would realize the

importance of this human relationship, Islam's great emphasis on it,

and its sacredness to human life.

Numerous verses in the Glorious Qur'an deal with this relationship

between man and woman, and define the rights and the duties of both

the spouses.

There are more than eighty verses which speak of marriage,

matrimonial enjoyment, loving and respecting women and having

relations with them.

Speaking about marriage, the Qur'an regards it as a general

relationship of the creation which runs through the entire universe,

and covers everything therein, an atom, a plant, an animal, a human

being, etc, since it is a relationship of attraction, yearning and

connection between every two parts of a `pair' in this universe,

perfecting its system and keeping it one its right course.

This general and universal system of couplement it put in a nutshell

by the Qur'an:

"And of everything We have created pairs, that happily you may

reflect."

Holy Qur'an (51:49)

 

Let every man and woman understand that their relations with their

spouses should be based on a universal consciousness, beyond the

limits of pleasure and passing instinctive feelings, and reach the

depths of the general matrimonial and legal understanding of this

relationship as mentioned in the Qur'an.

If we move from the Qur'an to the Prophets' Traditions, we shall see

that they are full of sayings about diverse aspects of marriage, and

matrimonial relations, including even what happens between the couple

in their privacy and during enjoying moments of sexual intercourse.

Here are some examples concerning marriage and forming a family: The

Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq quoted The Prophet as follows:-

"Marry (yourselves) and marry (your sons and daughters). Fortunate is

the Muslim who can afford to pay for an unmarried woman. Nothing is

more loved by Allah the Exalted in Islam than a home set up by

marriage, and nothing is more hated by Allah the Exalted in Islam than

a home pulled down by divorce"

The Imam further explained this by saying, "Allah the Exalted did

emphasize his words about divorce because He strongly hates

separation."

The Commander of the Faithful, the Imam, Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.),

quoted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) saying:

Whoever wants to follow my Tradition, then marriage is my

Tradition."

The Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) also quoted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) to

have said:

"The lowest of your deeds are the bachelors."

It is narrated, too:

"Whoever marries, safeguards half his religion. Let him take care of

his duty to the other half.”

It is also narrated from Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.):

"The wife of Uthman bin Maz'un, a companion of the Prophet, came to

the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and said:

"O Messenger of Allah, Uthman fasts during daytime and spends the

night in prayer". The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) got angry, and

immediately hurried out until he came to where Uthman was praying. On

seeing Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) he stopped praying. The Messenger of

Allah (s.a.w.) said to him: "O Uthman, Allah has not sent me with

monasticism, but with a simple and merciful monotheistic religion. I

fast, pray and touch my wife (i.e. to have sexual intercourse with her). So, whoever likes my nature, let him follow my traditions and to marry is of my Tradition.”

So, this collection of ideas, concepts and regulations, found in the

Glorious Qur'an and in the prophet's Traditions, enlighten us, with

pure clarity, humane values, a sound understanding of marriage, and an

invitation to build a family, the nest of happiness, the cradle of

love, and the lap of affection which embraces all its members and

floods them - husband, wife, children and relatives - with feelings

of love and mercy.

This lofty cultural building, the family, is the expression of a

natural feeling, an inner longing, and one's innate desire to be

sociable, amicable, and taken care of thus, the Messenger of Allah

(s.a.w.) was angry with Uthman because he neglected his wife, and

explained to him Islam's attitude, and positively told him that he is

against cloistral life which ruins marriage, destroys humanity and

contradicts human nature and life's order. That is why we hear the

Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), on many other occasions, confirm that

marriage is of his divine and tolerant religion is an upright one -

that is, far from being abnormal or deviated. It is in perfect harmony

with the logic of universal existence and the innate natural order.

So, singleness is regarded as an evil, and marriage is regarded as

completing half of one's religion, since it regulates the instincts,

inclinations, activities and practices which affect half of the

conduct, instinctively, psychologically, socially, economically and

morally in general.

In order to accomplish its objectives harmoniously and without

contradiction, Islam disapproves the obstacles and barriers forged by

a society deviated from the principles of faith. By removing the

psychological or social hindrances in the way of building family and

establishing matrimonial relations, it prevents a clash between

different social values and the natural law of life. It breaks up

class discrimination, racialism and other differences of ignorance;

and changes them into humane values and lawful objective

considerations.

It also modifies the customs concerning marriage portion and dowry so

that it should not be too overstated and be a materialistic barrier in

the way of marriage and forming of families.

Let us read what the Glorious Qur'an says about these practical

principles and values in respect to marriage:

"And marry such of you who are single and the pious of your male

slaves and female slaves. If they be poor Allah will enrich them of

his bounty. Allah is of ample means, Knowing. And let those who do not

find means to marry keep chaste till Allah gives them independence by

his grace. And such of those who seek a writing (of emancipation) from

among those whom your right hands posses write it for them if you are aware

of any good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which

He has bestowed upon you. Force not your slave girls to whoredom that

you may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would

preserve their chastity. And if one forces them, then, after their

compulsion, surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

Holy Qur'an (24:32-33)

 

"Wed not idolatresses until they believe; and certainly a believing

bondwoman is better than an idolatress even though she should please

you; and give not (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until

they believe, and certainly a believing slave is better than an

idolater even though he should please you. These invite to the Fire,

and Allah invites to the Garden, and to forgiveness by His grace, and

expounds thus His revelations to mankind that they may be mindful."

Holy Qur'an (2:221)

 

These verses are explicit in their call for marriage and to abolish

class and financial differences and to fight against prostitution and

sexual liberties.

In Islam wealth, class, color or even beauty, should not be an

obstacle in the way of marriage. The only criterion is goodness, piety

and having good offspring. These are the values and principles of

Islam which are derived from its humane spirit and objective look at

mankind and at the reality of the social activities and phenomena.

In addition to the Qur'an, the Traditions also play an important role

in stressing and confirming these values and concepts:

"Ali bin Asbat wrote to the Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Ali bin

Al-Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) complaining that he could not

find anyone equal to him in status to marry his daughters. The Imam

replied to him and urged him not to look at it that way, as the

Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) had said: If someone of good character and conduct proposes to your daughters, marry them. If you do not, there will be mischief and great corruption on earth."

The Messenger (s.a.w.) himself gave a practical example by marrying Zaid

bin Hanitha -his freed slave- to Zainab bint Jahsh - the Prophet's

cousin, - one of the noblest and most beautiful women. Later on, when

Zaid divorced her, the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself married her.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) also married Diya'a bint Al-Zubait bin

Abd Al-Muttalib of Quraish - a cousin of the Prophet too - to

Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad - who was far below her in nobility and tribal

position according to the customs prevalent in those days.

Commenting on this marriage, the Imam Al-Sadiq says:

"By marrying Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad to Diya'a bint Al-Zubair bin Abd Al-Muttalib, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) aimed at encouraging people to follow the path of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and simplify marriage and to  remember that, `the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct' Al-Zubair was Abdullah's (the prophet's father) and Abu Talib's full brother."

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) ordered Ziyad bin Labid Al-Ansari, a

nobleman of Bani Bayada to give his beautiful daughter, Al-Dhalfa', to

Juwaibir, the Prophet's poor companion. He used to live on charity,

with some other poor, familyless persons under a roof built for them

by The Messenger (s.a.w.) called "Al-Seffah."

The story of Juwaibir starts with a wonderful dialogue between the

Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and his respectable companion: "O Juwaibir,"

the Prophet said, "how about your getting married, so that your wife

may keep you chaste and help you with your world and your hereafter?"

"O Messenger of Allah," replied Juwaibir, "my father and mother be

your ransom; who would like me? By Allah (I have) no ancestral

nobility, no wealth and no beauty, so what woman would want me?"

"O Juwaibir," the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) replied, "Allah, with

Islam, lowered him who had been arrogant during the Era of Ignorance

(Jahiliyah), made him respectable, with Islam, who had been humiliated

during the Era of Ignorance, and abolished, with Islam,

superciliousness, and taking pride in tribalism and ancestry. Today

all people, irrespective of being white, black, whether of Quraish,

Arabs or non-Arabs, are sons of Adam; whom Allah had created from

clay. The most beloved of people to Allah the Exalted, on the Day of

Resurrection, are the most pious and obedient to Him."

Then he told him to go to Ziyad bin Labid and, ask for his daughter's

hand. When Ziyad heard Juwaibir's proposal, he could not believe it,

and turned away Juwaibir at once. But his daughter, Al-Dhalfa',

protested against her father's haughty attitude towards the Prophet's

order. Finally, Ziyad relented, changed his mind and gave his daughter

in marriage to Juwaibir.

These principles and noble values are embodied in the practical live the

progeny of the Messenger (s.a.w.), who were Imam of the Muslims and the

noblest of the Arabs.

It is narrated that the Imam, Ali bin Al-Husain bin Abi Talib (a.s.)

had a wonderful ideological dialogue with the Ommayyad Caliph, Abdul

Malik bin Marwan, who used to oppose the Imam (a.s.), insult and

belittle him.

It is related that Abdul Malik bin Marwan appointed an agent in

Al-Madinah to spy upon its people and report the matter. One day the

Imam, Ali bin Al-Husayn emancipated a bondmaid then married her. The

spy informed Abdul Malik, who wrote to the Imam saying: "It has come

to me that you have married your bondmaid, while I know there are

women in Quraish who are your equal and would bring glory to you by

marriage, and would give you worthy sons. But you neither cared for

yourself, nor respected your children."

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