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Right Order of an Ideal Family

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وَ قَرْنَ فِیْ بُیُوْتِكُنَّ وَ لَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِیَّةِ الْاُوْلٰى وَ اَقِمْنَ الصَّلٰوةَ وَ اٰتِیْنَ الزَّكٰوةَ وَ اَطِعْنَ اللّٰهَ وَ رَسُوْلَهٗؕ-اِنَّمَا یُرِیْدُ اللّٰهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ

الرِّجْسَ اَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَ یُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِیْرًاۚ(۳۳)

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. God wants to remove all abomination from you, O people of the household, and to make you pure and spotless.” (33:33)

It is important for a man to learn the art of Life Management. The art of life management means, on the one hand, man understanding himself, (i.e. he should know who he is, what his capabilities are) and, on the other hand, his becoming aware of the world around him. Then he may plan his life in a realistic manner, and make improvements whenever and wherever required.

The only criterion by which to judge whether one had planned one’s life well or not is to see the result. A plan which yields a negative result is not right, and a plan which yields a positive result is right. Examining an action by an ideal standard is not a wise thing. Wisdom lies in examining things in the light of the result. The relationship between a husband and wife is a delicate matter because they are not related by blood. Therefore, the only way to make this relationship successful is to use reason, rather than allow emotions to take precedence. In a blood relationship, there is an emotional bonding. But even then, one has to make a conscious effort. The force of nature, existing in blood relationships, does not exist between a husband and wife, which is why it is difficult to manage this relationship successfully without rational management. In short, a blood relationship establishes itself by the force of nature, while a non-blood relationship is established through conscious effort and rational management.

The Handling of Failure Management

The Art of Failure Management lies in not looking at marriage as something ideal, but as a practical matter and then accepting one’s partner the way he or she is. People generally tend to measure their partners by an ideal yardstick, and when they do not measure up to their expectations, they tend to think that they have not found their ideal soul mate. This happens both in the case of a husband and a wife, and so both partners fail to experience the joys of their union. The truth is that every woman and every man are almost the same. Physical appearances might be different, but inside, there is no great difference. If couples realize this, then they would rejoice in each other, and accept each other as the best life partners.

The Policy of Non-Interference

We agreed that this was the best principle for maintaining harmony in the home. God has endowed man and woman with different temperaments. Every man and woman is different. Therefore, in a marriage, the relationship stems from two different natures. And since God Himself created this difference, we have no power to change it. Instead of making futile attempts to change this difference, we should learn to adjust to it.

This difference is not evil. There is a great benefit hidden in it. Differences do not mean mere differences: they should be seen as representing two different capabilities. If both men and women had uniform capabilities, they would be able to achieve very little. For, the absence of uniformity is the secret to intellectual development. It has rightly been saying, “When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.” Therefore, the policy of non-interference is the best policy for a normal and happy life, both at home and in the outside world.

The Formula of 30 Seconds

AS A MAN is egoistic by nature, and a woman emotional, they can often be at loggerheads with each other due to their differences. This difference cannot be obliterated. The only solution to this problem is that, when a man’s ego flares up, the woman should keep her calm; and when the woman becomes emotional and loses her temper, the man must keep likewise calm. They should not give in to reactions of any kind. This is the only solution to this situation. A negative feeling such as anger flares up on its own. But, in its initial stage, it remains within a certain limit. And it crosses this limit only when anger is allowed to intensify. The law of nature regarding negative feelings is that it gets activated for only about 30 seconds, and if it is checked, it gets defused like a balloon. Therefore, if a person checks his anger, and does not allow it to flare up, the negative feeling will ebb away naturally, without there being any negative outcome.

It is necessary for both a husband and a wife to understand this Law of Nature, which I call the ‘Formula of 30 seconds’. Knowing this is the greatest secret of married life and those who have applied it in their lives will never have a major crisis in their marital relations. The Creator has placed necessary safeguards within nature itself. The only thing we should do is to learn of these things provided by nature and apply them in our lives. The way of nature is silent communication. Those who can understand this language of silence will be able to listen to the voice of nature, and benefiting from it, will lead successful lives.

Simplicity—A Principle of Life

In accordance with EXPERIENCE, most parents do not understand the ‘principle of simplicity in life. They may often adopt simplicity by way of compulsion, but seldom out of choice. Children are very perceptive and are influenced by their parents’ way of life and thinking. And the children of such parents will fail to discover the value of simplicity in life. What is simplicity? Simplicity is that state of living in which man has realized the purpose of his life and given it the utmost importance while regarding everything else as secondary. It is important for everyone to develop a personality of high moral character. God has created great potential in humans; it is up to them to realize it. It is very important for them to discover their potential and realize their purpose in life. They should develop their minds through study and through their experiences. They should learn to manage their time and utilize all their resources towards the acquisition of their goals. A purposeful life is an ideal life. Simplicity is a must in order to lead a purposeful life. Simplicity saves man from unnecessary expenditure and distractions—things that hamper him in working towards achieving his goal in life.

Exemplary Family

CHAPTER 33 OF the Qur’an refers to the Prophet’s family, and says, “God wants to remove all abomination from you, O people of the household, and to make you pure and spotless.” (33:33) This verse was addressed to the Prophet’s family, but since the Prophet’s family serves as a model to all believers; it is equally applicable to all believers. It addresses every Muslim home. It is necessary for all Muslim households to adopt this reformative course which the Prophet’s family was commanded by God to do. Every house is a unit, and these units form a society. If every unit of society is reformed, then the whole of society will be reformed. But if the units go awry, the whole of society will also go awry. In this respect, the responsibility of every unit is like that of the Prophet’s family, or Ahl-e-bait, as it is expressed in Arabic in the Quran. Every Muslim family has to undergo this process of purification and cleansing so that evil is removed and goodness is promoted. Every man and woman in the family is responsible for this, so that a virtuous society may come into existence. And in this respect, both men and women are equally responsible. But the position of man is like that of an administrator, and a woman is that of a supporter. It is the duty of both the husband and the wife to understand this responsibility and fulfill their respective roles. This is a duty imposed upon them by God. If they fulfill their role, they will be rewarded by God, but if they fail, they will be taken to task, and God’s chastisement will be without doubt the most severe.

Qawwamiat or ‘Bossism’

IN THE 4TH chapter, the Qur’an states that men are the protectors (Qawwam) of women. (4:34) The word used by the Qur’an is Qawwam, and it has the same connotation as the word ‘boss’ used today.

The word ‘boss’ seemingly appears to convey the meaning that one is the ruler, and the other, ruled. But Qawwam has a different meaning. Qawwam refers to administration, rather than ‘ruling’, or being ‘superior’ to a woman. Today, the concept of ‘boss’ or ‘bossism’ is widely known. We can understand the concept of Qawwamiat with this example. Qawwamiat means that a man is the head of the family, just as there is any head in an institution or a company. This ‘head’ or ‘boss’ runs the administration of the company, but this does not mean that he ‘rules’ it. The common adage goes, “The Boss is always right.” This does not mean that the Boss is superior, but that for an organization to function successfully, someone with authority and responsibility is needed at its helm. Similarly, a home is also an institution. And likewise, a head or a boss is required to run this institution successfully. It is in this regard that the Qur’an has called a man a qawwam. The Qawwam of any home has the position of a manager or an administrator, standing above members of equal position. A home could become prey to anarchy if this principle were not accepted.

Being a Boss means having responsibility for, not superiority over another. Similarly, Qawwamiat is also a responsibility. It fulfills the administrative need, rather than exercising superiority over one another. If the difference between this practical need and ideological authority is fully understood, then the concept of Qawwamiat will be easy to understand.

Woman: A Supporter

THE SECOND CHAPTER of the Qur’an says: “Your wives are a tilth for you. Go then, into your tilth as you will Do good deeds, and fear God and know that you shall meet him. And give good tidings to believers.”(2:223) In this verse, the words ‘do good deeds’ sum up the basic theme. This central idea explains the full verse, which means that one should be engaged in activities that are beneficial for the future. Man must prepare himself for all the different tests in life, so that he may gain a place in the world to come. This should be the goal of a person in life. The verse further says that one should try to understand how a woman relates to this goal in life. God has created women to support man in life, just as the field supports the farmer in the subsistence of life. This verse of the Qur’an was revealed in Makkah at a time when people were debating about the role of women in life. People those days knew only two things about women: sexual satisfaction and the continuation of the human race. But the Qur’an says that over and above those two things, a woman extends a supporting hand in building a successful life. Therefore, man should utilize this provision, gifted by nature, and work at building successful lives for themselves. Any other concept of a woman—less dignified than this—belittles a woman’s position. A man and a woman come together in marriage so that they may unitedly play their part in building a greater role in human life.

A Source of Comfort

THE 30TH CHAPTER of the Qur’an says, “He created for you from among yourselves spouses so that you may find repose in them.” (30:21) ‘Repose’ or ‘comfort’ here does not only mean comfort in a marriage; it also refers to the contribution a peaceful partner makes towards playing a greater role in life. A unified effort alone enables great tasks to be accomplished in this world. A solitary person cannot perform any great feat. The first and most natural form of this united feat is for a man and a woman to come together in marriage. This brings two souls together, and this unity of the two souls is the only unity that produces mutual trust and love. The coming together of a man and a woman in marriage creates the greatest companionship in this world. If both the husband and wife realize this and take it as a blessing from God, they can unitedly perform such great feats that no other human companionship can ever accomplish.

Nature has endowed men and women with great capabilities. Anyone who recognizes his role and works hard can achieve success in his own particular field. Unfortunately, the superior role of women has not been fully recognized either by the western or eastern world.

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