Family relationships in Islam have great values. After passing a whole busy day. I returned home from my office, badly tired, crossing the entrance of my home. I was thinking about what tasks I had to do tomorrow in the office. Planning the whole thing in my aching head, I pressed the door handle of the main door. And I was not even wholly entered the home when my little daughter came running fast to hug me with her cute little arms open wide.
And all of a sudden, I forgot whatever I was thinking. And bowed down to pick up my daughter in my arms. Meanwhile, the smiling face of my wife appeared. She took my office bag and files from me and brought a glass of juice to freshen me, even without my demand. And My son was also sitting aside me and telling me that he scored the highest on his test today.
In all the beauty of my family, I forgot whatever tension I had a few minutes before entering my home, how my boss scolded me today. Whatever plenty of tasks were assigned to me, whatever tensions and frustration I had. I was free of them now. And the reason was my family. That is why great importance has been paid to family relationships in Islam.
Importance of Family in Islam
Family relationships in Islam are just one of the great blessings of ALLAH Almighty on us. Which a Muslim is encouraged to enjoy freely. Because family is considered a cornerstone of the whole society in Islam, it is a complete social institution. When we say family, we mean all relations, husband, wife, children, and parents.
The Prophet (SAW) said
“The best of you is the best to his family. I am the best amongst you to my family.” Tirmidhi, IbnMaajah.
Imam Shawkaani states in his book Nayl Al-Awtar.
“This is pointing to the fact that the best people. And those most worthy of this description are those who treat their family the best. Indeed, the family deserve the most to be happy. To be treated with good manners and kindness, protected from harm, and provided with what benefits them. So, if the man fits this description, he is the best of people. And if, on the other hand, he acts contrary to this, then he is in the realms of evil.
You frequently see people falling into this trap. So you see, when he is with his family, he has one of the worst characters. He is stingy and mean and shows them little kindness.
However, when he meets others, he is gentle. Shows good character, is joyful and does a lot of good. There is not a shadow of a doubt. This type of person is deprived of success and has deviated from the straight path. We ask Allah for the well-being.”
When it comes to family relationships in Islam. or what Islam means by building a family, then there are 2 types of significant relationships which constitute the whole Family:
1) Husband-wife relationship.
2) Parent-child relationship.
Both of those relations carry equal importance. However, both exist in different but overlapping dimensions. We will discuss both of them one by one.
For the husband-wife relationship following verse beautifully portrays the right Islamic atmosphere:
وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَءَايَٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And among His signs is this. He created for you spouses from yourselves. that you might find rest in them. and He ordained between you love and mercy.” (30-21)
As an internal organization of family relationships in Islam, the man is in charge of the family. Especially the matters lying outside the family (e.g. economic, disciplinary issues, etc.). At the same time, a female is responsible for the internal matters of a family. (e.g. looking after the home, bringing up children, etc.).
Both have equal but unique responsibilities and positions. Often people confuse this uniqueness and equality of status of women and men in the Islamic family system. They think a man a ranked higher. Its true in some cases that decision power is vested in man to compensate it. Women are ranked higher when she is a mothers.
Men are in Charge of Women:
Men are in charge of the woman because Allah has made one of them excel and because they spend their wealth to support them and the family.
It is narrated in the Quran,
ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ ۚ فَٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتُ قَٰنِتَٰتٌ حَٰفِظَٰتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱلَّٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا۟ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allāh has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allāh would have them. But those [wives] from whom you fear haughtiness – advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allāh is ever Exalted and Grand.
And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them according to what is equitable, and men have a degree (of advantage) over them; Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Holy Prophet (SAWW) said:
“It is only the evil one who abuses them (women). and the honoured one is he who honours them”
Each of the husband and wife has been assigned their responsibilities. And both are liable to judgment equally if anyone fails to fulfil them. Both have equal rights with each other.
For a peaceful atmosphere of family. Mutual understanding and love of both partners are crucial as marriage is not just a temporary union of two people. But it is meant for the entire span of life. Both must understand the problems and needs of each other.
Regarding the parent-child relation, Islam first assigns the duty to parents for proper and healthy treatment of children. Their grooming, education, food, clothing, and everything. It orders:
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوٓا۟ أَوْلَٰدَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَٰقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْـًٔا كَبِيرًا
“Don’t kill your children for fear of poverty. it is We who provide sustenance for them and you; verily killing them is a most heinous crime.!” (Al-Isra’: 31)
And then it orders children too, to obey and care for parents. Even lousy breath from our parents has to be controlled when we are in danger.
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَٰنًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا
“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. and that (you show) kindness to parents. Should one or both of them attain old age with you? Say not “Fie or uff” unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.
وَٱخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ٱرْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرًا
And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy and say, My Lord! Have mercy on them both, as they did care for me when I was little.
رَّبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا فِى نُفُوسِكُمْ ۚ إِن تَكُونُوا۟ صَٰلِحِينَ فَإِنَّهُۥ كَانَ لِلْأَوَّٰبِينَ غَفُورًا
Your Lord is best aware of what is in yourselves. If you are righteous, then lo! He ever forgave unto those who turn unto Him.”
(AlQuran 17: 23-25).
It is stated in the Quran,
“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind toward his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and delivers him with hardship. His bearing and weaning are thirty months until he attains full strength and reaches forty years.
He says: ‘My Lord! Arouse me that I may give thanks for the favour wherewith you have favoured my parents. And I may do right acceptable unto you. I have turned unto you repentant and Lo! I am one of the Muslims.
ALLAH loved the child’s relationship with his parents so much that a dua Was added to the tashahhud in prayer. Thus, we end our prayer by saying these words. 5 times a day in every 2 rakaat:
O Lord, Make me and my children steadfast in Salah. Our Lord accepts the prayer. Our Lord, forgive me, my parents, and the believers on the Day of Judgement.
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