Muslim Attitudes to Marriage and Family Life
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Muslim Attitudes to Marriage and Family Life
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In Islam, marriage is a partnership. Muslim women accept only Allah as
their master, and do not therefore consider themselves to be inferior
to a husband. It is basic in Muslim society that the man is
responsible for the family's welfare and business outside the home,
but the woman has virtually absolute rights within it so long as her
behaviour does not shame her provider or husband.
No institution works well without a clear leader, and therefore there
should be one in every family. Most Muslim women are quite happy for
this leader to be the man. If the man is not worth respecting, divorce
is a straightforward matter, and the woman may look for a better one.
Sometimes the woman in a household is more intelligent or organized or
practical than the man, so he will quite sensibly leave most matters
to her-but in Islam he is still responsible for her and therefore must
take care of her and try to provide for her as much as he could and
not just take advantage of her advantage of her. The women usually
live with the husband's family but must be treated with the same
respect and not considered an outsider.
Marriage and family life are considered to be very important in Islam.
Traditionally the man's duty is to go out to work to support the
family and the woman's duty is to bring up the children and look after
the household. The father makes the main decisions whilst the mother
is important within the home and must be shown respect by her husband
and children. This is seen as the natural order of things and the way
Allah intended men and women to live. The man was also considered to
be the provider for the family.
Muslims believe that their household is an institution founded by God
and intended to give a secure atmosphere for the growth and progress
of all its members. Anything, which weakens or disrupts it, therefore
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Family Life Muslim Attitudes Marriage Muslim Society Natural Order Muslim Women Allah Provider Respecting
it is regarded as a serious matter. The home is considered to be far
more important, sacred, creative and rewarding than any place
'outside'. There is a great importance placed on the family as the
cradle for developing the younger children.
The family is a complex interwoven unit consisting of many people. It
is not just a husband and wife plus their parents and children. It
includes brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts and cousins. In most
Muslim household aunts uncles and other relatives live in or near the
house to each other to keep a close relationship, which also helps to
build a cradle and support for younger children so that they have the
right environment to grow stable. In the atmosphere of a loving,
outgoing unit, it also includes friends and neighbours, and anyone who
falls within the sphere of that love and who needs help.
'Those who show the most perfect faith are those who possess the best
disposition and are kindest to their families.'
'May his nose be rubbed in dust who found his parents approaching old
age and did not enter Paradise by serving him.'
A good marriage and good household teaches the children of Muslim
families the aspects needed to bee a good Muslim and servant to Allah.
A good marriage also shows the importance of family to the children
and so family is very important to Muslims to sub-stain good
relationships and bonds with each other in which helps them to commit
them selves to each other and to Allah.
A household in which there is love, peace and security is considered
to be valuable beyond price, and it does not come about by accident.
It has to be worked for by all members, and requires a strong
commitment to patience, forgiveness, tolerance, sense of duty and
love. All these things are regarded as vital, and the key person in
the household who sets the tone and does most of the work is
undoubtedly the mother.
To be a good mother is so important in Islam that she is considered to
be the most precious treasure in the world. Her role is the decisive
factor in the family.
'The best of treasures is a good wife, she is pleasing in her
husband's eyes, looks for ways to please him, and takes care of his
possessions while he is away; the best of you are those who treat
their wives best.'
The father is expected to provide the means whereby all this can
actually be achieved, to protect the home, and generally to make the
mother's role possible. The father is responsible for bringing in
money, and therefore it is his duty, as far as possible, to be strong,
respected and honourable. Just as the mother's role involves far more
than cooking and cleaning, the father's involves leadership,
responsibility, and duty, and an involvement in the world of
economics, business, trade and commerce.
In a marriage, both the husband and wife are to be mindful of their
duty to God and their responsibilities to one another in all aspects
of their interaction.
' O mankind, be careful of your duty to your Lord, Who created you
from a single soul and from it created its mate, and from the two of
them spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your
duty to God in Whom you claim (your rights) of one another, and
towards the wombs. Verily, God is Watcher over you' (4:1)
Islam goes much further than setting the course of behaviour for
husbands and wives. There are many statements in the Qur'an and the
Sunnah that prescribes kindness and equity, compassion and love,
sympathy and consideration, patience and good will. The Prophet goes
as far as to declare that the best Muslim is the one who is best to
his family, and the greatest, most blessed joy in life is a good,
Islam does appoint the leadership of the family to men because in
general they do possess a somewhat greater physical and emotional
strength and endurance than women. For this reason, they have to be
responsible for maintaining and supporting women. This does not only
mean their wives and daughters, but also any other female relatives
who may need help and support.
' Men are responsible for women because God has given them one more
than the other, and because they spend of their property (for the
support of women). Virtuous women are therefore obedient, guarding in
their (husbands') absence that which God has guarded.'
The husband is expected to provide for the home i.e. he is responsible
for bringing in money - this is his duty. The husband is responsible
for the cost of his wife's food, clothes and accommodation. In
addition to providing these material needs, a husband is to be
considerate and concerned for his wife's welfare. There are many
Hadiths of the Prophet, which prescribe kindness and consideration for
women. They also advice Muslim men to treat their wives with honour
and respect. The Prophet said that the best men are those who are best
to their wives. He not only should avoid hurting her but also should
bear with her even if she does something disagreeable.
Although women generally do the domestic work of the house, but Islam
does not require them to do so, often it is because they are more
convenient as men often go to work. A husband should help his wife
with the housework like the Prophet did. Muhammad used to assist his
wives, mend his own clothes and participate in manual work.
He should also meet his wife's sexual needs and reserve his sexuality
for her only. It is very important that he handles the matter of sex
relations with skill, care and understanding. He should not regard his
wife as an object of his own enjoyment alone. If the husband does
practise polygamy, then he must treat his wives equally.
The wife is her husband's helpmate and companion. She is responsible
for the household affairs and its members in terms of their physical
and emotional well-being. She is generally the primary means of
training the children, as she is the one who is usually in the
household who usually looks after them. She should obey her husband
unless he wants her to disobey God. As the previous Qur'an verse
indicates, she's also accountable of her husband's property and
possessions. She should look after her husband's money for him and
spend it economically.
She must be attentive to the comfort and well-being of her husband and
should try not to offend or hurt his feelings. The wife should try to
be faithful, trustworthy and honest. She should not receive any
strange males in her home without her husband's knowledge or
permission. She shouldn't accept their gifts either without his
approval. This is probably meant to avoid jealousy and suspicion. A
wife must be faithful and devoted to her husband. She should reserve
her sexuality exclusively for the man she's married.
The primary responsibility of the wife is to take care of the
management of the household, which would include any meal preparation,
house cleaning, cleaning, laundry etc. It is her task to manage them
in the best interests of the family. But we have to bear in mind that
although the wife generally does most of the domestic work, but this
is not required by Islam.
As well as looking after the children, she should look after other
relatives that live in the house, and especially of any elderly that
live in the house.
Islam regards men and women in complete equal terms as the following
Qur'anic verses show:
''And their Lord answered them: ' Verily, I will not allow the work of
any worker, male or female, to be lost. You proceed from one another.'
''And whoever does good, whether male or female, and he (or she) is a
Believer, these will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged by so
much as the groove of a date-stone.'' (4:124)
''And the Believers, men and women, are protecting friends to one
another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, they
observe regular salat and pay zakat, and they obey God and his
Messenger. As for these, God will have mercy on them. Verily, God is
Mighty, Wise. God promises the Believers, men and women, Gardens
underneath which rivers flow, to abide therein - blessed dwellings in
Gardens of Eden. And greater (than that), God's good pleasure: that is
the supreme success.'' (9:71-72)
Because the nature of men and women are different, they are each
appointed with different role and function: these roles are meant to
complement each other.
Marriage in Islam is one of mutual respect, love and compassion. The
husband is there as a friend and partner to share the wife's concerns,
he is to cherish and protect her while a man has in his wife a
companion and helper who can give him peace and comfort. They both
will help each other through life's problems and struggles.
' They (wives) are your garments and you (husbands) are their
Bringing up children is not an easy task. In particular the Muslim
woman's role as mother is regarded as being of the highest importance,
the most serious and challenging responsibility she could have. Islam
acknowledges the immensity of the debt, which an individual owes to
his parents, and especially to his mother. There are verses in the
Qur'an, which support that.
' And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents: his mother
carries him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two
years. Therefore show gratitude to me and to thy parents: unto Me is
the journeying' (31:14, also 46:15)
' Say: ' Come, I will recite to you what your Lord has made a sacred
obligation for you; that you associate nothing with Him (as partner in
his divinity) and that you do good to your parents â€¦' (6:151)
The following verse from the Qur'an tells Muslim children the type of
attitude they should have towards their parents. Allah says:
'' Thy Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him and you be
kind to parents. If neither or both of them reach old age with thee,
do not say to them (so much as ) 'Uff!' nor chide them but address
them in terms of honour, and out of kindness lower to them thy wing of
humility and say, ' My Lord, have mercy on them as they cherished me
in childhood' '' ( 17:23-24 )
The verse summarises how children should behave to their parents.
Allah's command is clear, that Muslims should be dutiful and kind to
their parents, they owe their parents this kindness and care. To
Muslims, the idea of putting old people into ' homes ' and leaving
them to die in despair and loneliness so that they don't cause a
burden on their children is totally inhuman and selfish. When parents
reach old age, it's their children's turn to take care of them. They
should treat their parents with respect and honour and look after
them. The children should be gentle towards their parents and should
admit the mistakes they make towards their parents. At the end of the
verse, Allah tells them to have mercy on their parents. Muslim
children should pray to Allah to have mercy on their parents, to guide
and bless them and forgive them for their mistakes. They should do
their best to do well in the education in which their parents have
provided for them. They should do their Muslim worship i.e. salat and
zakat. There are times when children should not obey their parents,
and that is if the parents tell them to disobey Allah. Allah says in
the Qur'an that if their parents force them to worship anything else
besides Allah then they are not to obey them but ' bear them company
in this life with justice '(and consideration) (31:15).
The parents should do their best to ensure that their children receive
a good education. Education is not only a right but also a
responsibility of all males and females. It is very important to bring
them up in the Islamic faith; parents have to ensure that their faith
is not lost through their education. They have to make sure their
children attend the madrasah where children are taught Islamic
beliefs, how to pray, and how to read the Qur'an. This is especially
important if the family lives in the West where their faith might not
be practised in the Western schools. Prophet Muhammad said:
"Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim" (Muslim" is used
here in the generic meaning which includes both males and females).
The parents should always deal with them justly and with love, they
should always try to be fair. They should also help them, when they
reach the age, to find them a compatible partner so that their
children may have a good and happy marriage.
One of the most important thing is to train them in Muslim worship.
They should begin learning prayer and fasting by the age of seven.
' He who has no compassion for our little ones, and does not
acknowledge the honour due to our elders, is not one of us.' (Hadith)
Marriage among the Muslims is both social and religious contract, which is legalised after nikah. But it is considered more social rather than a religious institution. The law of marriage in Islam is regulated by Holy Quran.
Conditions for muslim marriage
Before a marriage takes place among the Muslims there are certain prerequisites which must be satisfied. These conditions are essential to make a marriage legally valid. The first essential condition is that parties to the marriage should be healthy and mentally sound. None of them should have illicit relations with anybody and must have attained the age of 15. Sanction of the parents is necessary to make marriage valid, if parties to the marriage are less than the prescribed age to 15.
If these conditions are fulfilled then proposal for the marriage is put in a meeting in which males and females representing both sides are present. It is very essential that the proposal f0r marriage be put forth by one party and must be accepted by the other at the same meeting or otherwise the marriage will not be legal.
Witnesses to the marriage are considered essential among the Sunnis but not among the Shias Insane persons cannot enter into matrimonial contract.