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Family

The Importance of Family

 

The family is the foundation of Islamic society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members.

A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured and rarely leave home until the time they marry. They get to enjoy the comforts of living at home (rent free of course) and still have their independence. In some instances studies or work necessitates moving out but getting on the property ladder these days isn?t that easy either!


Islam encourages good relations between parents and children. It gives both parents and children rights and responsibilities.


Children have the right to:

 

  • be fed, clothed, and protected until they reach adulthood.
  • enjoy love and affection from their parents.
  • be treated equally as their siblings in terms of financial gifts.
  • education. A saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) relates: "A father gives his child nothing better than a good education."

 






In turn the parents also have rights over the children. These include the right:

 

  • to be obeyed and respected by their children. The Prophet (pbuh) was with his Companions and said, "Should I inform you about the greatest of the great sins?" They said, "Yes, O Allah's Apostle!" He said, "To join others in worship with Allah and to be undutiful to one's parents."

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The Mother

 

Parents are greatly respected in the Islamic tradition. Mothers are particularly honoured: the Qur'an teaches that since mothers suffer during pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing, they deserve special consideration and kindness.

 

It is stated in the Qur'an: "And we have enjoined upon man (to be good) to his parents. With difficulty upon difficulty did his mother bear him and wean him for two years. Show gratitude to Me and to your parents; to Me is your final goal." (Surah Luqman, Chapter 31 Verse 14)

 

The Prophet (pbuh) also said that ?Paradise lies at the feet of the mother?.

 

 

The Elderly

 

Institutional homes for the elderly are virtually unknown in the Muslim world. The strain of caring for one's parents during this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honour and a blessing. It is something one automatically does without question due to the deep seated love and respect one has for one?s parents.

 

In Islam, serving one's parents is a duty second only to worshipping Allah and it is the parents' right to expect it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult to handle.



 

It is written in the Qur'an: "Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say a word of contempt to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honour and kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, 'My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did care for me when I was little." (Surah Al Isra, Chapter 17 Verses 23-4)

 

Of course there are exceptions. If medical conditions require constant attention or an individual becomes a danger to themselves or others around them then it is not always possible to provide the best care at home.


You may be able to relate to a quiet Sunday afternoon visit to the hospital ward to see a relative or close friend. You will have spotted the large extended Muslim family all circled around the one patient, the supportive atmosphere and hot homemade food.....need I say more?


 

Orphans

 

Welfare of orphans is a recurring theme in the Qur?an. Caring for an orphan brings many spiritual and emotional blessings. They share an affinity with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who lost both his parents by the age of six. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that a person who cares for an orphaned child will be in Paradise with him, and motioned to show that they would be as close as two fingers of a single hand. He himself raised a former slave with the same care as if he were his own son.

 

 

Adoption

 

In Islam, the extended family network is vast and very strong. It is rare for a child to be completely orphaned, without a single family member to care for him or her.

 

Islamic law would place an emphasis on locating a relative to care for the child, before allowing someone outside of the family, much less the community or country, to adopt and remove the child from his or her familial, cultural, and religious roots. This is especially important during times of war, famine, or economic crisis - when families may be temporarily uprooted or divided.

 

The Qur'an gives specific rules about the legal relationship between a child and his/her adoptive family:

  • The child's biological family is never hidden;
  • Their ties to the child are never severed
  • An adopted child retains his or her own biological family name (surname) and does not change his or her name to match that of the adoptive family.
  • An adopted child inherits from his or her biological parents, not automatically from the adoptive parents.
If the child is provided with property/wealth from the biological family, adoptive parents are commanded not to meddle with it ? they serve merely as trustees but are nevertheless very valued and important.

The foster-parent relationship is therefore more comparable with Islamic practices than the adoptive role.



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