The importance of a family unit


Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail| 29 November 2016| 28 Safar 1438

Out of all the previous divine religions, none has given due importance to the family as Islam did.

In doing so, Islam has legislated procedures and means which maintain security and preserve stability within the family. It has also prescribed some measures which prevent the family from collapse and destruction.

We, particularly in the present time where immorality abounds and temptations are overwhelming, have to return to the endless spring of the Quran, the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) as well as the sayings of the righteous predecessors which are guiding beacons for us along our road to maintain family stability.

Reconciliation After Disputes
Islam has initiated several measures to maintain the stability of the family as well the whole Muslim community. Here, we will discuss only some of the measures that Allah The Almighty has legislated to avoid the disintegration of the family structure and to maintain the unity of the Muslim community and steadfastness in the face of the huge challenges that the entire Muslim Ummah (nation) is facing.

Restricting the gates to divorce is the first requisite to maintain marital life and safeguard the community. To avoid making divorce the first decision in case of dissention and dispute, Islam stated stages for reconciliation between the spouses.

The policy of reconciliation between the disputing spouses is essential here. Reconciliation is recommended even before dissension worsens and its evil consequences emerge. The arbitrators are chosen from the spouses’ families because they are more capable of reconciling them and of knowing the details. The arbitrators should truly seek reconciliation and maintenance of the marital life, and as such God will help them to achieve this:
{And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever knowing and Acquainted [with all things].} [An-Nisa’ 4: 35]

Accordingly, Islam directed the spouses to exert their best efforts in reconciliation when dissention and dispute occur among them:
{And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess.} (An-Nisa’ 4: 128)

Commenting on the last verse, At-Tabari, may God have mercy upon him, said:
“There is a consensus that this is applicable when the wife is unattractive or very old and feels that her husband no longer desires her, treats her with contempt or inclines to other women. In such a case, she can waive some of her rights in order to appease him and maintain her marital life.”

Be Patient
Islam warns against following whims and desires as well as surrendering to emotions, which overwhelm and change. A husband may feel aversion towards his wife, but if he is patient, this feeling will soon change. Therefore, it is not acceptable that a husband divorces his wife because of these temporary feelings of aversion. God says:
{And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good} (An-Nisa’ 4: 18)

In a Hadith, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“No believing man should hate his believing wife. If he dislikes some of her characteristics, he would surely like another.” [Muslim]

This means that a husband could hate one of his wife’s characteristics while he is heedless of her other good ones. Consequently, he has to think deliberately before divorce as he may prefer keeping her and his feeling of dislike could change.

It was narrated that a man consulted ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, about divorcing his wife and ‘Umar said to him: “Do not do so.”

“I do not love her,” the man argued.

‘Umar may Allah be pleased with him said, “Are families built only on love? Where is, then, mutual care and the maintenance of rights and duties?” [Fi Thilaal Al-Quranby Sayyid Qutb]

The statement of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, indicates how Islam is keen to maintain the solemn marital contract as Allah describes it in the Quran:
{And they have taken from you a solemn covenant.} (An-Nisa’ 4: 21)

Even if love is missing in marital life, there is still scope for cooperation, solidarity and the fear of blame for divorce which distresses the wife, the children and the husband himself in many cases.

Source: OnIslam| Muslim village