The relationship between faith and love in a Muslim family
By: Sayyid Jalal Mir A’qaiee
Family is the holiest social structure as well as the initial core that establishes the human society. The establishment of a safe social relationship on the basis of mutual respect, protection of rights and duties of its members, consideration of morality and generosity, plays a key role in safeguarding its consolidation, fluency and stability. This structure at the same time being the primary social unit of human relations proclaims a high position in customs, laws, human social and historical traditions worth regard to all the differences they may have had or still have. The basic members of the family including father, mother and children (boys and girls) and at the next level grandfather and grandmother, uncles and aunts benefit from written or non-written rights and duties, in society’s customs and traditions whether tribal or ancient in the modern or advanced world. Each of the various sciences such as sociology, psychology, and socio-psychology; as well as, law, literature, poetry, art, tribal myths or even as is seen in recent conventions that are held by different civil organizations especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reflect the man’s susceptibility and his emphasis on the family. Among the above mentioned, the semantic religions which are the great messenger of morality, truth, friendship, and respect have faced this matter with creativity which springs from their feeling of responsibility. This can be easily proven with a quick glance at the history, literature, religious texts and the written or non-written heritage that is left by our ancestors.
Islam, the last Divine religion whose holy text, the Holy Qur’an, is still unchanged and safe from distortion and from which the richest historical and traditional (Ravaee) documents have remained untouched, has studied this subject more than any other religion and culture and has emphasized on its importance. At this point, it would be beneficial to mention the following documents in order to make clear the Islamic principles and values concerning family and its rights and duties:
1. The Holy Qur’an many of whose verses relate to the family system and the rights of its members as well as about the rights of father, mother (parents), child, old people, girls, women even about the servants who live at their home.
2. The words of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who has taught his apostles and companions about these important issues.
3. The words of the Prophet’s (SAW) companions inspired from the Prophet’s (SAW) words.
4. The words of the members of his household and the successors of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) who had been the trustees of his knowledge. It is possible to study these statements in Nahjul-Balagha, which is written by Imam Ali, Amir-al-mu’omenin (AS) and other traditional (Hadith) books.
5. The Prophet’s (SAW) behavior, the generous companions and Imams (AS) of the Prophet’s household who are the merited examples for Muslims to be followed, as relates to their relationships with their fathers, mothers, other family members and Muslims. Such behavior can be widely found throughout the historical books
6. The prayers that have been left by the great religious men. These prayers are very rich sources and are also filled with Islamic training about family rights.
7. And finally, one of the very valuable and rich sources that can be used is Imam Saj’jad’s (AS), treatise (Resa’la) of Imam Ali ibn al Hussain (AS) that is called “Resa’lat ul Hoquq”. This treatise is a valuable and exact explanation of the Imam’s opinion of rights in Islam.
Imam Saj’jad (AS) mentioned 50 important rights concerning individual and social responsibilities in relation to Allah and one. These rights include the rights of mothers, fathers, children, brothers and other relatives. This treatise (resa’la) is worth reading and learning from.
The importance of cultural and social backgrounds in the interpretation of family rights in Islamic texts:
A study of the Islamic texts concerning family rights, and it’s comparison to customs and habits of the Prophet’s (SAW) era in the Arabian Peninsula and other areas around it such as Rome and Iran, and even a comparison of the rules of the non-Islamic societies during the centuries following shows how advanced and just these rules are.
In a society in which children particularly daughters were buried alive, women were considered second class citizens and were even used as blood-money at tribal disputes, the mention of kindness, love and respect for the personality, social and political rights of women was like a dream. Moreover, recommendations concerning a child’s right to fostering, nurturing and education was considered as idealistic but all of these are realities in Islamic culture.
The philosophy of family rights in Islam:
From an Islamic viewpoint, the fundamental principles and basic values in establishing a family are as follows:
1. Mutual love between a wife and a husband.
2. Coordination between faith and religion.
3. Consideration of the common cultural and economical background.
4. The holy agreement between a man and a woman.
5. Mutual respect and moral dominance.
6. Being responsible for/towards children.
The above principles, that will be explained briefly, not only are the basis of a common safe and sound life, but also cause its stability and continuity.
1.Mutual love between a wife and a husband:
“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” (ar-Rum, 21).
In this Holy A’yah in addition to emphasis on the most important principle of a matrimony life (love and peace), they are also considered to be the kindnesses and favors of Allah, which He has created.
2. Coordination between the faith and religion of man and woman:
Man’s matrimonial life cannot stabilize and continue on the basis of conflict and contradiction. Love cannot be continued if it is established solely on feelings of affection. This type of love is nothing but passion (Hawa). In an Islamic family the important thing is common belief, deep and holy love. So, a woman and a man who are Muslims and share the same religion are true mates. If this common idea is incorporated with “love” and “responsibility”, it will form the foundation of a good family life.
3. Common cultural and economical background:
This principle is a form of social advice of Islam to the families that similarity in cultural, social and economical status should be considered in matrimonial life. But of course this is not a general principle. There are several cases among the Prophet’s (SAW) apostles who were encouraged by the great Prophet (SAW) to marry a girl from a wealthy family, with her assent, to a faithful and honest boy of lesser means.
But it is experienced that such marriages must have strong religious and cultural support. In general, it is better to consider the suitability of education, economics, beauty, and professional position in the society.
3. The Holy agreement between a man and a woman:
It is very simple. Two brief sentences that express this concept are the acceptance of mutual love and the responsibility as regard to rights and duties. And what mentioned above is necessary for a heaven life that is formed in the earth. This agreement destroys the possibility of chaos in the relationship between a man and a woman; more over it makes this relationship legal and divine.
4. Mutual respect and moral dominance:
Even though, in Islam like all other legal systems, rules that compose the rights and duties of family members are dominant in the relationship, consideration of morality, forgiveness, generosity and devotion hold a high position. Living under the protection of morality offers such a special serenity and spirituality that a formal life under the control of law is not able to provide. This only becomes possible if there is bilateral forgiveness and generosity.
All the Divine religions like Islam are interested in making morality and mutual respect dominate over all fields of society, but the sweet taste of this principle is more manifest in family life.
5. Being responsible towards children:
Children as members of the family are the result of human sexual instincts and his need to procreate. Parents and children have mutual rights. There is a right for each duty and in contrast, a duty for each right that is stressed in Islamic verses and traditions (Rawaya’t). The safe haven, which exists in the family and results in the improvement and promotion of man, can be established by considering these rights and duties.