وَاللّٰهُ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بُيُوۡتِكُمۡ سَكَنًا
And Allah has made your homes a place of rest for you (16:80)
PREPARING THE NEXT generation is a mother’s responsibility. The human generation is like a flowing river, where the water is continually replaced. In human beings too, the new replaces the old. And a mother plays the crucial role of preparing this new generation. The responsibility of supplying good human beings to every generation devolves upon her.
How do you define a good person? A good person is one who has the courage to face life; one who is endowed with a positive attitude, who is constructive, and makes a positive congenial contribution to society.
It is commonly believed that one born into a wealthy family is fortunate, while one born into a poor family is unfortunate. Here too, a mother’s role is to make her child feel privileged no matter what the circumstances, and that even if one was not born with the proverbial silver spoon in one’s mouth, one still had the ‘incentive spoon’! She should also show her children how most successful people are where they are today because they struggled and worked hard to achieve what they have achieved today. Likewise, a mother should teach her children not to divide people on the basis of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. It is often seen that although certain individuals have been born into deprived families, they have risen to become members of the privileged classes! Therefore, the dichotomy is not between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, but between ‘potential haves’ and ‘actual-haves’. Therefore, it is important to have courage in life, coupled with a positive attitude. It is the duty of every generation to imbue the next generation with the courage and maturity to face the realities of life.
The Harm of Pampering
SOME PARENTS FEEL, out of love, that since their daughter shall have to do household chores after marriage in her new home, they exempt her from doing any work at home. And so when the daughter eventually does marry, she is not accustomed to taking care of her new house or taking up new responsibilities. This kind of love is not true love.
Such parents usually start preparing for their daughter’s dowry right after she is born. In most cases, this dowry is not put to any good use, and just becomes a means of temporary display. The dowry does not, in any way help the daughter to establish her life in her new home. Dowry has nothing to do with the role the daughter has to play in her in-law’s house. The real task of the parents should be to prepare their daughter for the future, not just prepare her dowry. She should be given an education, and proper training in social etiquette so that she has the wisdom and fortitude to make her life a success.
Pampering, a part of the culture in many homes, is expressed in many ways. Parents tend to pamper their children by trying to fulfill all their desires. They often ignore the faults of their children, hoping that they will outgrow them. Where things go wrong they mostly hold their children innocent and lay the blame on others. Some pamper their children at the cost of their health, in giving in to all their fancies about food and drinks, and in how they dress too. Demonstrating one’s love in these ways is not commendable, for, as a result of this, children are not aware of the realities of life, and grow up spoilt.
The Faulty Role of Parents
A MOTHER’S GREATEST concern should be to make her children succeed in life. But mothers are naturally attached to their children, and therefore their hearts rule their heads. In matters regarding their children, they do not follow reason and try to fulfill all the demands of their children. By nature, every child is born pure. But as he grows up, he deviates from his true nature. It is a mother’s duty to play a constructive role in bringing up her children so that they do not deviate from the true nature they were born with. Mothers, in their love for their children, try to fulfill all their demands, and this makes them think that all of their wishes should be fulfilled. But when the child grows up and comes into contact with the outside world, he learns the opposite. This contradiction can yield negative results in young minds. He learns that while he is loved and protected within the confines of his home, the outside world is bad and full of hostility. This can make him confused, and unable to comprehend reality. God has imbued the mother with immense love for her child, and the purpose of this love is to enable them to train their children with love and patience, show them the right path and give them the strength to face all odds. But most mothers have turned their love to pamper their children, and so have led them astray from the nature God had intended for them.
Man’s Real Purpose in Life
There are many such parents who have given their children the best education but afterward are left alone. The parents live in their grand houses, but their lives are far from grand. They have nothing to sustain them, except for memories. This is the story of most affluent parents. They earn money and build successful worlds for themselves; but later on, their hope-filled lives turn into lonely lives. The principal reason for this is that they lead purposeless lives. Their only purpose in life was to keep their children happy, and when the children left them, they had no other purpose. Having a purpose in life depends upon one’s inner conviction. It does not rely on the presence or the absence of people. A man and a woman bind themselves in marriage in order to build a world of their own, but due to a lack of full commitment, they make their children the center of their lives. Educating children is a responsibility, but not the sole purpose of life. If parents understand this aspect of marriage, they will plan their lives accordingly and will save themselves from disappointments later on.
THERE IS A maxim which says: There is a woman at the beginning of all great things.
Modern man finds such concepts unacceptable. The modern age is one of gender equality, while Islam talks of gender inequality. This concept is shared by most people of the world today. But this concept is not based on a deeper reflection of the term. Gender inequality is a matter concerning gender difference and does not concern itself with gender inequality. The whole world is based on this difference, and the matter concerning men and women is not an exception to this rule. There is nothing negative about this difference. The difference is a positive term. The difference between men and women can be compared to the two wheels of a cart. One wheel is not equal to the other. They are complementary to one another. God had made biological and psychological differences between a man and a woman. This difference is made so that they become good life partners of one another. Both are complementary to one another. The concept of gender equality is an unnatural concept. It creates unnecessary conflict between the two. But the concept of gender differences produces the concept of being complementary to each other, of supporting each other. It enables the partners to run the cart of life like two wheels joined together.
Equality in Marriage
IT IS GENERALLY understood that marriages are solemnized between families of equal status for practical reasons. In such situations, it is believed that adjustments would be easier and would, thus, ensure a happy family life. However, in reality, this is just a supposition. If we look closely, we can find that marriages among equals suffer as much. Equality, therefore, does not assure success in nuptial relations. A successful marriage depends more on learning the art of management. It is also commonly held that marriages do not work for couples who come from different educational backgrounds, and where there are regional differences, and disparity in economic status, etc. This is also a wrong assumption. A home is similar to a full-fledged institution. Like other institutions, a home also has many departments. The easiest way to run this institution is to have a division of labor between men and women. Men and women should take up different departments, in accordance with their different capabilities, and run the department independently, without interfering with one other. Thus, in this division of labor, the problem of inequality will be solved.
Monogamy or Polygamy
CHAPTER 4 OF THE Qur’an allows a man to have four wives (4:3). This does not mean that every man should have four wives. This rule is an exception, and not to be taken in a general sense. The general rule is to have only one wife; but in a case of real necessity, a man can have more than one wife. This need refers to a situation where, by some unfortunate incident, there is a disparity between the number of men and women in society. When there are more women than men, there is sexual anarchy. To overcome this inequality, in dire cases, men are allowed to have more than one wife.
The truth is that a natural way of marriage is between one man and one woman. A man is naturally biased against the second wife in most cases. This suffices to prove that monogamy is a natural way, while polygamy is permitted in exceptional circumstances by the law of necessity. There are exceptional laws of this kind that cover other cases as well. But exceptional laws are exceptional laws, and they cannot be applied in general.
The Role of Parents
In accordance with EXPERIENCE, the greatest reason for the failure of marriage is the faulty role played by parents. Parents spend lavishly on their daughters’ weddings. This is against the teachings of the Qur’an, which says that it is a satanic act (17:27). What parents ought to do instead, is to prepare their daughters for the role they have to play in the next phase of existence in order to lead a happy life. Most parents pamper their daughters but fail to give them real love. Parents should know that daughters cannot live with them forever. They will eventually have to marry them off one day, and that their stay with their parents is only temporary. And it is also a well-known fact that the environment of one’s own home is different from the environment of others. For this reason, it is the duty of parents to train their daughters to adjust to her new home when the time comes, and thus become true life partners to their husbands.
Our experience is that 99% of parents fail in this regard. And the price has to be paid by the daughter all her life. When a daughter is not trained to face life in her new environment, she fails to accept her new home in her heart and keeps on thinking of her parent’s home as dearer than her husband’s. And such parents also have the habit of interfering in all matters of their daughter’s life even after her marriage. This is not love, in the real sense of the word.