Grandma could handle France’s snow but not 2003’s killer heat-wave. Her family went on vacation, leaving her alone. Her body, in a refrigerated truck, remained unclaimed like four hundred others, awaiting burial till vacation was over.
Welcome to family-life in the ‘developed’ world: parents in old-homes, children in day-cares and couples in divorce-battles!
Are we following them or Islam’s strong family-system?
Abu Muhammad’s father worked for the police in the Middle East. He was required to arrive in shiny shoes, but the path to work was sandy. To save dad from walking bare-footed, Abu Muhammad carried him to the workplace in his arms. With little wealth but much faith, Abu Muhammad died in 2010. His wife praised him; his brothers called him ‘shakkar’ (sugar). and his children loved him. He prayed in the Masjid despite poor health, fed the needy and strove to raise children uprightly – waking them for Fajr, reading Quran to them, reminding them to read it and telling them that Salah and Quran will avail them. If sometimes his child didn’t listen, he would respond: “I will do Sabr (exercise patience).” This would soften the child. When a close relative usurped his property, he forgave him.
Love and fear of Allah (swt) inspires such a family-life. A family is a society’s foundation. Can it earn us Jannah?
Our parents love us and toil for us the most. Are we grateful to them? Despite their shortcomings, their rights remain topmost, second only to Allah’s (swt). I know of a brother, who would say to his hot-tempered father: “You are a king. You may speak as you wish.” Our mothers cleaned us some five thousand times by the time we were four. We have to serve our parents, too. Do we consult them? Consultation pleases them and benefits us. Do we prefer friends over parents or wife over mother? Are the charms of a foreign country making us desert them? Phone and the Internet substitute poorly for physical presence.
Marriage! Marry young. Marry the one strong in Deen. Your spouse is a garment – close, protective and beautifying. As a wife, accept the husband’s high status established by Allah (swt). Ensuring his happiness secures your happiness and Aakhirah. Obedience endears you to him and eases entry into Jannah through any gate. Be grateful to him for all he does, unlike the women of Hell.
As a husband, realize that Allah (swt) will question you about how you treated your wife. Society may sanction the mistreatment of women; Islam won’t. Emulate Rasoolullah’s (saw) loving, kind, appreciative, light-hearted and helpful behaviour towards his wives. Lower your gaze and enjoy each other exclusively. Shaitan’s top priority is wrecking marriages. Make marriage a top priority.
Our in-laws are our relatives. Our relations with them affect our marriage and children. Both Muslim men and women need to treat in-laws nicely. We need to sift faith from culture, though. Certain customs run contrary to Islamic ideals. A daughter-in-law may be expected to serve her in-laws at the cost of her husband or children. Certain family setups take away the couple’s marital privacy and hinder a Muslimah from beautifying herself for her husband.
As a couple, you raise the future Mumins. A critical job indeed! Several forces are enticing women to join the workplace. Western women have blundered already. Let us not follow a similar path. Allah (swt) will question women about their homes and children. Only women can perform this vital service for the Ummah. And only fools will consider home-making inferior.
Are we raising children Rasoolullah’s (sa) way – with love, attention, patience and responsibility? Are we modeling Islam for them? Are we instilling a love of Jihad in them? Are we saving them from Hell-fire or worrying mostly for their Dunya? In the name of good education, are they growing up ignorant of Islam? Are weapons of Iman-destruction their favorite companions? Are we gifting them Halal alternatives, or making them assume Islam is a list of don’ts? Are we establishing Islam in our homes with Hikmah? Let’s imprint the following verse in our hearts and implement it Rasoolullah’s (saw) way:
“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (At-Tahrim 66:6)
Is our love of family within bounds? Is Allah (swt) our Love # 1? The Mumins, mentioned in the following verse, lived with fear among their family members:
“Saying: ‘Aforetime, we were afraid with our families (from the punishment of Allah). But Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire.” (At-Tur 52:26-27)
The losers described in the following verse lived with joy only:
“Verily, he was among his people in joy!” (Al-Inshiqaq 84:13)
Do we maintain a balance between family members, between work and family, between family and other Muslims, for we are part of the Ummah family, too? How about our grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins? Are we fulfilling their rights, sharing time and wealth? Nay, been ages since we called them! Are we stockpiling grudges? Breaking ties is a ticket to Hell.
Do we take our family for granted? Are we horrid at home and sweet outside? Our behaviour at home is the gauge of our goodness. Do we justify bad behaviour, saying that our family has wronged us? We shall not bear the burden of their sins. Like the sane student, I have to do MY best in MY exam-paper.
Let the change at home begin with us. Let’s forgive. Let’s thank and apologize. Let’s achieve with gentleness, what cannot be achieved with harshness. Let’s replace anger with patience and humour. Let’s rejoice at their good deeds, instead of focusing on faults. Together in Dunya, together in Jannah is a goal worth toiling for!