Friday, October 22, 2010

Building a Family

Building a family on a sound, rational basis is not an easy task, conversely it is a momentous duty that requires preparation and preparedness. Married life is not all fun and games; rather it is a series of responsibilities and duties, whoever proposes marriage without ability or suitability is ignorant, unaware of the wisdom of Allah’s Divine Law, and whomsoever uses marriage for evil purposes, or denies its rights deserves the anger of Allah and His punishment; so one must always behave righteously in this life. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…” (At-Tahreem 66: 6)

Family life is a life of work. And life has its costs and burdens; so it needs someone to be in charge to direct it’s actions, and supervise its safety this leadership is called Qiwaamah in the Qur’an and it is the lot of the man. Leadership is not for the purpose of reverence and domination but it is a post of supervision and upbringing. It does not mean denying the wife her own personality and wishes, or preventing her from expressing her opinions or having any say of what goes on in the family.

Allah has prepared the woman for certain jobs, and has prepared the man for certain jobs. They are each suited to their own jobs by reason of the physical and mental differences between them. If women were made to be the protectors and maintainers in place of men the woman would be charged with more than she could handle, and the family would be deviated from its normal course and would face trials and difficulties. There are essential differences between men and women which enable them to perform the gender-specific tasks which have naturally and traditionally been theirs to perform. If the roles of men and women were reversed, it would harm the family, and ultimately the community at large. Those people who call for the removal of man’s natural assertiveness and leadership are fools because that goes against the natural Law of Allah.

Al-Qiwaamah means that the head of the household is responsible for the physical safety of his family, and for their safety from a religious standpoint. He protects them from evil fashions and deviation, and provides the perfect example in the way he abides by the Limits set by Allah, and his exaltation of his religious rites and ceremonies, unashamedly and with the best of character and moral standard. He is like a shepherd that protects his flock.

The head of a household is required to strike a balance between his work, his acts of worship and being free for his family; to give each one it’s due, e.g. the rights of the wife, bringing up the children etc. If the head of the household is unable to make time to sit by himself or with members of the family to talk to them and listen to them, later on, when it is too late to do so, or is no longer possible, he will regret not having made the time.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas said,

“The Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘I have been told that you fast all day and then stay up all night (in worship) Don’t do so; For your body has it’s rights on you, and likewise your wife has rights upon you: fast and break your fast; fast three days in each month for that is (as if you were) fasting your whole life.’” (Bukhari & Muslim)
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