, by SYED AKBAR HASSAN
Our discussion last week had shifted from individual character building to the building up of ideal family based on strong bond of love, principles and values. In this context we had come closer to Surah Nur, ayat 32 whereby we came to know that the parent of a girl should not reject a saleh (pious) and nek (virtuous) rishta (suitor) merely because he happens to be poor. Similarly the boy’s parents should not go on postponing his marriage because he is not yet fully settled. Rather we should refrain from being too calculative in this regard simply on the basis of our own intellect and worldly pursuits. Then, we had tried to understand certain issues related to the right and duties of the spouses so that we must not try and intrude into each other’s biological and natural divisions. In fact, we should perform our duties and discharge our duties in our respective fields and hope for equal reward from the Almighty.
Once these things are clear to us, there will not be any conflict of motives among ourselves - as husband and wife - which will pave the way for ideal environment for the next major component of a family – our off-springs, children. Before, proceeding further, it must be noted here that since family is the basic unit of society, the Qur’ān discusses family laws at great length. We do not find detailed legislation in the Qur’ān regarding economic or political systems – just a few principles and directives but about the family system, we find on getting closer to the Qur’ān that very lengthy discussions are made on the subject of nikah, talaq (divorce), separation, etc. particularly in the Madni surahs. This reflects how important the family structure is.
From day one of our family life we must have firm belief (so that we may act and set our priorities right) that our responsibility is not limited to making effort to be on right path and save ourselves from the punishment of Allah but it is also our responsibility that we educate and train – to the best of our ability – each and every member of our family also to become Allah’s favourite servants. Our concern should not only be that our children should lead a happy and prosperous life in the world but we must try and ensure that they always remain concerned about akhirah as well, so that they are successful in both the worlds and with Allah’s rahmah (mercy) and magfirah are saved from the fire of Jahannam and awarded Paradise. We must remain within the limits.
It becomes very important for us to take our spouses and children in the direction of being muttaqui (righteous people). What we are trying to make out of our sons and daughters is our litmus test – it reflects our inner values. The love for our wives and children should always remain within the boundaries of Shari’ah; if it exceeds that limit then we must be accountable before Allah and for such circumstances only ayat 14 of Surah Taghabun points out: “O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (i.e. may stop you from the obedience of Allâh), therefore beware of them! But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”.
In order to meet out the demands of our wives or in order to give our children the best of education, we may go beyond our limits and means, thus, may just to fulfil the unwanted requirements take recourse to haram means. The second part of the ayat: “But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” is also very important as far as peaceful family life is concerned. We are supposed to act with hikmah (wisdom) and sabr (patience). At times to maintain the tranquillity and peace in the family we should remain open to overlook and forgive our spouses or children. Allah is also Ghafoor-ur-raheem (Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful). So, on one hand we should be forgiving but at the same time we must be on our guard and always be alert that our love for our spouses and children do not go beyond the love for Allah and His Prophet and the limits of Shari’ah. In this context also the Holy Qur’ān says: “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight ... are dearer to you than Allâh and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allâh brings about His Decision (torment). And Allâh guides not the people who are Al-Fâsiqûn (the rebellious, disobedient to Allâh). 9:24.
Another message we get is on getting closer to ayat 6 of Surah Tahreem: “Believers, guard yourselves and your kindred against a Fire whose fuel is human beings and stones, a Fire held in the charge of fierce and stern angels who never disobey what He has commanded them, and always do what they are bidden”. A Hadith in this connection also needs to be mentioned here. As reported in Bukhari by Abdullah Bin Umar, the Holy Prophet said: “Each one of you is a herdsman and is accountable with regard to his herd: the ruler is a herdsman and is accountable with regard to his subjects; the man is a herdsman of his family and is accountable with regard to them; and the woman is a herdsman of her husband’s house and his children and is accountable with regard to them.”
Now if we ignore our responsibility as mentioned in the above two paragraphs and particularly in the above quoted ayat 6 of Surah Tahreem and remain unconcerned about akhirah by having all our focus and endeavours only for attainment of success and status in this world, the wording of the very next ayat i.e. ayat 7 of Surah Tahreem is very strong (It will then be said): “Unbelievers, make no excuses today. You are being recompensed for nothing else but your deeds.”
The message of both these ayaats contains a severe warning for us – the Muslims. In the first ayat we have been addressed and told that we should save ourselves and our spouses and children from the terrible punishment and in the next ayat that this will be said to the disbelievers while subjecting them to punishment in Hell. This by itself is a great warning for us. We, therefore, in this world should avoid adopting that conduct and behaviour in consequence of which we may have to meet with the fate as that of the disbelievers in the akhirah (The Hereafter).
Lastly, we should understand that Allah is al-Aleem (All-Knowing) and al-Hakeem (All-Wise) and not ourselves. Thus, our well-being lies, only in carrying out duly the ahkam (Commands) given by Him.