يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
O mankind! Fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. He created its mate from it and from the two of them spread countless men and women [throughout the earth]. Fear God, in whose name you appeal to one another, and be mindful of your obligations in respect of ties of kinship. God is always watching over you. (4:1)
All human beings are one and the same by birth. Ultimately, everyone can trace his origin to the same man and woman as father and mother. It is, therefore, necessary that all human beings should have a feeling of affinity with each other and live with fairness and goodwill like the members of one extended family. This racial unity becomes more compact in family relationships and the importance of decent behaviour among kinsfolk becomes further heightened. Good behaviour between fellow human beings is important, not merely from the moral point of view, but rather as a matter of personal concern to man himself. This is so, because everyone is governed by the Great, Almighty God, who as the Reckoner for one and all, will decide the eternal future of all human beings in the Hereafter, requiting them according to their actions in this world. Man should, therefore, not consider his dealings with others as a matter between man and man, but as a matter between man and God. He should fear the grip of God and should adhere to the bounds set by God so as to save himself from His wrath.
According to a hadith, God proclaimed, ‘I shall associate Myself with one who strengthens the ties of kinship and detach Myself from one who severs them.’ This shows that man’s attachment to God is being tested by the criterion of his relations with other human beings. One who goes in fear of God while dealing with the rights of others, is one who truly venerates Him; one who loves other human beings, is one who really loves his Creator. The virtues of fair dealing and compassion are general requirements of human society, but so vital are they to maintaining good family relations that in importance they stand second only to God.
EDUCATION IS AS important for women as it is for men. Without education, both are incomplete. Education is a need that no one can afford to ignore. Ignoring it would mean depriving oneself of the means to attain a higher goal in life. Unable to reach any worthwhile goal, one would then leave this world in a state of frustration. Education is so important for both men and women that no excuse should be made in not seeking education. There can be no excuse for not doing so, for education is not just for procuring a job, but for building up a good life for oneself. Today, education is important in every sphere of life. Therefore, no one can afford to remain uneducated, as that stops one from living life to the fullest. Man is like an animal. What is it that elevates man above the level of an animal? The difference is education. Education enables man to realize his latent potential and turn it into reality. This is not possible without education. Education here means higher education, not just vocational education. Vocational education ensures one a job, while a broader education transports one to the world of knowledge and wisdom. The acquisition of knowledge and wisdom takes the educated person to the highest pedestal of humanity.
Judging by an unrealistic criterion makes one think that one has ended up with the wrong partner. A lot of people live with this notion and their lives are filled with misery till the day they die. If they had known of and accepted the reality of life, they would have lived differently. And they would have taught their children the same as well. If all parents taught their daughters the reality of life and prepared them for the many challenges they would face, things would be different. The daughter would take things in a positive manner, would regard new circumstances as challenges posed by nature, and utilize her God-given capabilities to build a successful life for herself. Life is a challenge for both men and women. Those who know this will see this challenge as a ladder to progress, and by climbing this ladder will reach the higher stage destined for them. Comfort does not lie in material pleasures; comfort lies in discovering the secret to adjusting to one’s circumstances.
The Secret of Success
AS IS THE CUSTOM in the eastern world, after marriage, women leave their parent’s home and live with their husband’s family in his home. But most women, though physically residing in their husband’s home, feel their hearts are in the homes they have left behind. This is an unrealistic way of thinking and results in disturbed lives. Parents are basically to be blamed for failing to make their daughters aware of the realities of life. In most cases, the parents take the side of their daughters whenever problems arise, thus giving them a false sense of righteousness. This kind of love, in the end, leads to affliction, for after they die, their daughter will be left alone to face the harsh realities of life.
We know many fathers who, at the time of sending off their daughters after marriage, gave them this parting advice; “Where you are going now is your home. Your mother-in-law and your father-in-law are now your parents. We will pray for your well-being, but you must know that, now, your home, as well as your parents, have changed.” With this sincere advice, the daughter made the home of her in-laws her home and found all the happiness and security of life she had in the home she left behind.
The secret of success in life is to be realistic. The causes of the majority of the problems in life are the result of an unrealistic way of thinking. The ones who discover this secret will certainly be successful in making their lives pleasant and well worth living.
The Difference Between a Parent’s Home and an In-Law’s Home
HAVING A BLOOD relationship makes it easy for people to love one another. And this is particularly true of parents and children. Even if a child does not return his parents’ love back, he or she will continue to receive love. But relations regarding one’s in-laws are totally different. A daughter-in-law lives with people to whom she is not related by blood. If, at her parent’s house, the culture was one of unconditioned love, the culture at her in-laws would be, ‘in giving we receive’. This means — that if one is not prepared to give, one will not receive.
It is quite common for women to consider their parent’s home ideal, and their in-law’s homeless more than ideal. But the one who suffers as a result of this thinking is the woman herself. Due to this way of thinking, she fails to build a genuine relationship with her in-laws and her husband. God has created men and women with special, different capabilities so that they may play their respective roles effectively. But most women fail to play their roles and thus leave their potential unutilized. A joint effort is necessary in order to play any role in this world. A home is an institution where such effort is essential for its successful running. The people in the house should realize this, and make efforts accordingly. This applies more particularly to the woman, as she is the foundation of a home. And she can play her part effectively only when she considers her in-law’s home as her own. But such a course of action can be followed only by those who regard their home as a social institution.
The Joint Family
AFTER MARRIAGE, the first question that most often comes to mind is whether to opt for living in a joint family or a nuclear one. The Shariah has nothing against either. One is free to choose any of the two according to one’s own convenience. But in my experience, if the couple is mature enough, the joint family system would be beneficial in every respect. There are many requirements in every home. To build a successful home, many demands have to be fulfilled. In this regard, the joint family system proves more effective than the nuclear one.
In the initial nuclear family, there are only two members—the husband and wife. But later on, children are born, and this entails taking care of one another, and taking care of the house as well. In a nuclear family, the husband and wife end up having to do everything on their own. While in a joint family, all the members of the family contribute to the functioning of the house and help each other out. This proves beneficial for everyone. But everything has a price, and in a joint family, one has to live amicably with all the members of the family, avoiding confrontations and unpleasant situations. This is a prerequisite for a successful joint family system. Therefore, those who have an aptitude for a harmonious living should opt for this system. In life, everyone has to pay the price of either system. One either sacrifices one’s ego for the benefit of a joint family system, or one keeps one’s ego intact and deprives oneself of these benefits. No one can find both these things at the same time.
The Problem Between a Mother-In-Law and a Daughter-In-Law
THERE IS a problem in almost every joint family between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law. But this is not a real problem. The problem lies in the underlying psychological condition. One particular way of thinking can be solved by another particular way of thinking. For instance, if a daughter lies down in the presence of her mother, it will be regarded as something natural. But if a daughter-in-law lies down in the presence of her mother-in-law, she will be regarded as being disrespectful. Problems thus arise, due to this way of thinking, which basically results from the fact that while the mother-in-law does not regard her daughter-in-law as her real daughter, neither does the daughter-in-law regard her mother-in-law as her real mother. If they both were to change their way of thinking, there would be an atmosphere of love and peace in the family, and problems would never arise. The law of nature made by God is such that, every daughter will become a daughter-in-law, and every mother a mother-in-law. Therefore, every woman must cooperate with this system, as anyone failing to do so would be disobedient to her Creator. These problems cannot simply be treated as existing between human beings; they are between man and his Creator. For this reason, the solution suggested should be taken seriously, so as not to invoke God’s wrath.
Angering another man is like angering a human being like oneself, but angering God would be like asking for collision with the entire universe! Who can prevail over the entire universe?