English Articles

Rediscovering family

Metin Karabaşoğlu (translated by Muhammed Şeviker)

THE COLLAPSE of family in the West does not necessarily herald a plight which exclusively belongs to the West… In a globalized World, this collapse in the West shows a tendency to capture the other civilisation basins.

As a matter of fact, as the divorce rates have been increasing in all over the world, the statistics show that the divorce rates have increased in Islamic world as well. This applies not only to secular sectors in the Muslim countries but also to religious ones.

In such circumstances, the believers should make a decision: are their minds ruled by the mentality of modernity or the timeless Eternal Speech of our Lord? Are the believers will remain as ‘sons of time’ or they will be collocutors of the Eternal Speech in the time’?

General structure of disengagement in the family, which encloses both the secular and religious parts that the perceptions of the believers in respect selfhood, ego, man, family, female, masculinity, mother, father, spouse, wife and husband, and community are being shape, more increasingly by the modern secular mind-set.

Thus, today, even in the religious tongues the discourses such as “male dominated” and “patriarchal” are being popular. In a modern world where the thinkers such as Jean Paul Sartre tell “the other is hell”, a perception which otherises the spouses is being observed to have spread in among even the religious families.

The most ridiculous / peculiar thing is, in spite of ecologic disasters, world wars, nation-state wars, class struggles, societal problems and disengagement which emanated from the West’s stance to the Creator and Revelation, is the shamelessness of the spoilt secular modern mind-set in the positioning itself as a master of the world.

The modern mind-set, even after many ostentatious trials which had ended up with ‘errors’, still claims that it knows the “truer” best, and it finds the truest. It, still, maintains it opposition against Revelation, particularly to the Qur’an.

Moreover, in the issues such as family and women, still, it assumes itself of a mission of ‘edifying the Muslims’. Thus, as far as any discussion relating Islam concerned, ‘the women in Islam’ is, still, one of the most fundamental issues of offense.

It is desired that the believers should turn their back to the decrees of the Eternal Speech’s decrees relating family, and applaud the modernity’s mind-set and practices that paved the way for “death of family”.

Having been emphasized the ‘historicalness’ of the verses Qur’an relating to family, it is desired that, the provision that the modern mind-set should put the criteria to be applied, even for the believers ought to be accepted, admitted and declared.

Or, it is expected an apologetical tone from the believers. They are expected to have told bashful words like this: “These are decrees of the religion in which we believe, but, you are right”. The words such as “No, you claim this, but in the Qur’an God says a different thing, we follow the Qur’an, not you” should never be heard.

We live in the world where the modernity has upset all the equilibrium; and, beginning from our perception of self, we should reconstruct our familial life as the Revelation and disposition show; the first one is codified divine laws of Shari’ah, the second one Shari’ah Pertaining to Creation.

The remedy of this is not reinterpretation of the Qur’an by means of ‘a feminist point of view’. Because, whatever is in any array are they, the feminists claim that the Qur’an is interpreted via ‘mail-dominated’ standpoint; they even argue that the Qur’an is “mail-dominated”. Qur’an is the pre-eternal Speech of Lord of Worlds who created universe and, in it created man.

Qur’an is the speech of the Glorious and Munificent One who knows bests what is the beneficial for man. And, it presents us a description of man, family, woman and man, which is completely different from what the modern life has taught us.

The Qur’an, unlike the communal ideologies of modern world, does not define man as only as ‘a societal entity’. It, unlike the individualist ideologies, does not define the man as an only ‘an individual’ either.

On the contrary, instead of these two rigid, insufficient and stiff definitions, the Qur’an, first and foremost, always reminds us ‘the creation’ of mankind. Having decreed “We have created mankind from a male and a female” it draws attention into men born into a family in the very beginning of human life. Even in the prenatal period, man is in ‘a family’, and in the latter periods in his life the family is also in the centre of his life.

Man, is not, responsible to, as the communal ideologies claim, primarily the community. Likewise he, as the modern individualistic ideologies argue is not irresponsible to everybody. Man, in consideration his being created, primarily and always is responsible to his Creator. Likewise, in consideration of his ‘creation from a male and female’ he is responsible to his parents.

This is why, while the Qur’an defining associating Allah with others as the greatest sin, it defines disrespectfulness to the parents as a second major sin. The related verses of Luqman and Isra chapters are obvious proofs of this reality.

This great emphasis as regards parents rights in the Qur’an is extremely remarkable as well as the Qur’anic teaching which defines man and woman not as ‘rivals’ but as ‘spouses’ is remarkable.

As the verse “Your women are body cover, or screen for you and you are also cover or screen to them” has pointed out, the family is a meeting ground where the man who represents majesty or representing majesty and the woman who represents grace attain together to perfection. And, this perfection state can be realised only via recognizing the duties and responsibilities incumbent as man and woman respectively, not via rivalling each other. Or, it is not achieved via feminization of the males or masculinisation of the females.

The Just Creator will bestow both the man and woman fully; the rights of anyone will not be defrauded. There is equal reward for both Muslim man and Muslim woman; there is equal reward for both the believer man and believer woman. Patient man and patient woman, the man who keeps his chastity and the woman who keeps chastity; expending man and woman for Allah’s sake, for their degree of patience will receive their rewards (Nisâ, 124, Ahzâb, 35).

However, this ‘equality in law’ which has been emphasized in respect to Day of Judgement does not mean equality in responsibility, consequently in authority. Whereas he Qur’an emphasizes the equality in law, as far as the responsibility and accordingly authority sharing in the family concerned it legislates “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women” and decrees “because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means” (Nisâ, 34).

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.” (Baqarah, 228) Thus, for this reason their sharing in the inheritance is different.

In short, when the Qur’an defines man and woman not as “rivals”, but as “spouses” completing each other, it puts down in this coalescence the accountability of providing the maintenance of the family to man, thus, based on this responsibility, and gives an authority to him.

But it does not mean that man has superiority per se. Allah has created man and woman with different equipages, and has given obligation the former with maintenance, that is all. Everyone who pays head to dispositions of man and woman grasps the wisdom behind assigning this responsibility to man.

In this point, the Muslim husband should be away from the superiority frame of mind against his wife, and also the Muslim wife should not attempt to be a rival against her husband. The family is a place where the husband, embodiment of majesty and wife, that of grace, having seen “difference” reality, reach their perfection via completing each other in the coalescence of majesty-grace.

“For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned” (Nisa, 32).

Thus, what really matters is both the husband and wife should do those obligations incumbent upon them.

“And ask Allah of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything” (Nisa, 32). “Allah knows and you know not” (Baqarah, 232).

Therefore, let’s repeat again, man and woman should be occupied with their respective perfections, not with being rivals to each other.

In this connection, please note; for instance, questions such as “Why don’t we see any prophet sent from among the women?” are exclusively products of modern times. It is significant that this question never has been minded for thousands of years, is raised frequently in this age.

Such a question has not been raised for thousands of years, since it has been respected both to the Will of the Creator and difference between man and woman.

This question is raised in modern times; since this era cause to race man and woman to each other. And, it does it by means of trying women to share to some duties, responsibilities and roles which relate to man. (When examined from this point of view, the established feminist ideology which comes to the fore with claim that the every task carried out by man is also can be carried out by woman, in reality is a masculine ideology. Because, at the final analysis, it makes woman masculinised in the psychology of race which puts the man on its centre.)

In fact, women should avoid themselves from the question “why a prophet such Abraham (pbuh) is come out of among women”. They should emulate to be like Mary, daughter of 'Imran and like Asiya, the wife of ‘male’ unbeliever Pharaoh. They should avert from to be like wives of Noah and Lot (Tahrim, 10-12).

Likewise, men, while they are trying to follow path of Abraham, they should avoid themselves from befalling of Nimrod’s plight. Also, while following Moses (pbuh) they should keep away from befalling Pharaoh’s state.

In short, men are masculine; women are feminine. Both of them are precious per se. To become feminized doesn’t befit for man, also, to become masculinised does not ennoble women. The man and woman when go away from being themselves, the balances upset and everyone loses.


© 2021 karakalem.net, Metin Karabaşoğlu (translated by Muhammed Şeviker)

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