THE ISLAMIC FAMILY

"0 my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family all" (Q26: 169-170)

The Islamic family is very large. A man's family begins with his household: his wives and children, to whom he has primary responsibility and about whom he shall be held accountable before Allah. This then extends to his parents to whom he has binding filial duties and who may inherit from him, and stretches to his siblings with whom his kinship ties must never be broken. In the final circle are the grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and cousins who have a right to his care if they are poor or are orphans: Let's look at some of the individuals in a Muslim family:

HUSBAND: He is the head of the family:

"Men are in charge of women, because Allah, has made men the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women) ..." (4: 34)

His role is not limited to provision of material needs onus family alone but more importantly he is the spiritual guide of the family. The fate of members of his family will rest upon his proper understanding and discharge of his obligations. Allah Commands:

"O you who believe! Save yourselves and you, families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones ... "(Q66:6)

The Husband is thus a shepherd who would be questioned about his flocks.

WIFE/WIVES: The wife is the chief supporter of the man; she defends the home frontier in his absence and completes his role in the family structure. At the discretion of the family the wives may even be two, three or four in a Muslim family. More than just taking charge of the kitchen, their major role is to serve as the first school for the child, and bring up a sound next generation. The Prophet (pBUH) said:

"All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian of his family; the lady is a guardian and is responsible for her husband's house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards.” (Bukhari)

FIRST WIFE?: In a Muslim polygamy, the concept of senior or first wife is baseless. All wives are equal and this is evidenced by the fact that all wives shares equal percentage of their husband's property; when he is deceased.

ELDEST SON?: Islam does not allot any special position to any child in preference to others. The culture of the first son taking the lion share or having greater rights is not Islamic. All children are treated equally as much as possible.

ADOPTED SON: The relationship between the adopted son and the adopting father goes no more than care and kindness. Adoption does not substitute for blood relationship.

"... nor has He made Your adopted son your son." (Q33:4).

Adopted son must bear his own father's name:

"call them by after their fathers: that is just in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their father's names, (then they are) your brothers in faith, or your friends ... " (Q33:5).

Thus adopting father is allowed to marry the divorced wife of the adopted son just as a friend can marry the divorced wife of his friend or brother.

HOUSE HELP: Servants in Islam are human beings and they are treated humanely. They must not be abused. The Prophet (PBUH) captures the position of the servants in the Muslim family:

"these servants are your brothers whom Allah has placed under your authority. Anyone who has authority over his brother should feed him from what he eats himself and clothe him as he clothes himself and not oblige his brother to do anymore than he can bear. If you must ask that of him, then you yourself must give him a hand." (Bukhari).

NEIGHBOURHOOD

Neighbours are two persons who live close to each other; in such a situation one of them apprehends some troubles from the other, as they reside nearer to each other. It is therefore, the foremost duty of a true, rational and divine religion like IsIam to regulate the relationship between neighbours. In Islam, whoever lives within 40 houses radius is a neighbour and kindness to him is held sacred. The Prophet (pBUH) said:

''Angel Jibril kept exhorting me about (obligations towards) the neighbour: so much so that I imagined that he might be included as one of the heirs" (Bukhari),

He also asked: "Do you know what the rights of neighbours are?" And he went on to give a list: "Help him if he asks your help. Give him relief if he seeks your relief Lend him if he needs a loan. Show him concern if he is distressed. Nurse him when he is ill. Attend his funeral if he dies. Congratulate him if he meets any good. Sympathise with him if any calamity befalls him. Do not block his air by raising your building high without his permission. Harass him not. Give him a share when you buy fruits, and if you do not give him, bring what you buy quietly and let not your children take them out to excite the jealousy of his children. "

Non-Muslim neighbour - The Muslim neighbourhood does not discriminate in the distribution of kindness and humanitarian gifts. Non-Muslim neighbour must be shown care as far as it is within the halal limit. Within the same limit, his invitation to share his joy should be welcomed and he should be commiserated when he is bereaved. Above all Islam should be demonstrated to him as much as is practicable.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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