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Rasulullah(sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) as a family man
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Rasulullah(sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) as a family man
Applicable in today's times?

With the ever increasing rate of wife and child abuse; drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling, broken homes and disintegrated family structures, and the resultant social ills, there has never before been a greater need for the Islamic teachings and guidelines related to family and social life. These teachings and guidelines were exemplified in the daily life and practices of our most Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.

Relevant to what I have just said, let us review a few statistics. During a six year period, the number of marriages in the United States has decreased by 1.2%. During the same period of time, the number of divorces has increased by 52.1%. There was one divorce for every three marriages. At this unbelievably accelerated rate of divorce, within a few more years, the number of divorces will probably exceed the number of marriages.

This will lead to a gradual extinction of the family structure, which is the basis for a healthy society. It is estimated today that 50% of all school children in the United States come from broken homes. A disrupted family is not just the separation of family members. It has a far-reaching damaging effect of the individuals involved and on the society as well.

During the same period of time, violent crimes increased by 33.5%. Even of more interest is the further breakdown of violent crimes, which include rape, aggravated assault, murder, and robbery. While the murder rate has increased by 17.4% and robbery by 20.15, rape and aggravated assault have increased by a shockingly high 46.8%. One cannot help but assume some direct or indirect relationship between this type of crime and the weakened family structure and all the related concepts about morality and human social relations.

America today stands bankrupt, decrepit and sterile so far as all higher human values are concerned, America has not only lost the credibility to serve as the guide of humanity, it constitutes the biggest obstacle in the way of humanity in its progress and movement towards its noblest aspirations and goals.

If we are serious in our desire to find a solution to the escalating danger facing the family structure, as Muslims, it is Fard (obligatory) upon us to obtain this solution from a source other than contemporary secular science. The Holy Shari'ah as lived and practiced by our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam is without any question the best and only way for such a solution.

Some of you may question the applicability of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam's situation to family life today in North America. This question might be based on two assumptions: One is that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam lived in a totally different society and under totally different social circumstances. The second assumption is that the wives of our Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam who were labelled the "mothers of the believers". were of a different and much better mold than all other women, and therefore whatever applied to them may not be applicable to other women.

I personally feel that these two assumptions are not necessarily true. It is true that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam lived in a society many thousands of miles and many hundreds of years away from our North American society. However, in our Nabee S.A.W.'s society, corruption, immorality, murder, distorted moral and social values, and evil temptations and pressures were by no means less than what we have in our western society today.

With regard to the wives of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, it is true that they were placed in a special position among all women since they were honoured through their intimate affiliations with Almighty Allah's Beloved Nabee S.A.W. for Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala declares in verse 32 of Surah Al-Ahzab:

"O wives of the Prophet!
You are not like any of the (other) women...."
On the other hand, they were human in all aspects, and several of them have manifested, at times, some of the human attitudes (such as jealousy, demanding, or even quarrelsome) which can be expected from any average woman. In addition, our Beloved Nabee S.A.W. was faced with other difficulties, such as extreme external and internal pressures on him and his family, as well as natural afflictions through the loss of wife or children. We can therefore safely say that our Nabee S.A.W.'s life was far from being a supernatural or even a trouble-free one.

His family life therefore qualifies as a realistic and practical example applicable to each and every one of us. It was all through the Wisdom of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala that our Beloved Nabee's family life contained the most difficult situations any one of us could face, so that any one of us, when faced with one of these difficult situations, can look to our Beloved Nabee S.A.W. and see how he mastered and dealt with a problem and/or situation.

It is through following the footsteps of Nabee Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and through the application of his approaches and methodology that we can all find the solution for our contemporary problems. How beautiful and true is Almighty Allah's declaration in verse 21 of Surah Al-Ahzab:

"You have indeed in the Apostle of Allah
a beautiful pattern (of conduct)..."
Throughout his life our Beloved Nabee S.A.W. was an example of decency, respectability, and freedom from corruption and immorality. All are attributes highly essential for a healthy and successful family life. Hoe did he acquire these qualities while growing up in a society full of indecency, dishonesty, corruption and immorality? Let us analyze some of the details of his childhood and his youth, and we may be able to find some clues that will help us answer this question. The first observation we can make is the fact that he was born an orphan. His father Abdullah died before he was born and a few years later his beloved mother Amina died. What are the implications of being an orphan?

There are many implications. One is that there is always an element of deprivation. An orphan cannot have everything other children have. Even if he had everything else, he would still lack the love of his mother and father. Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam lacked both. This element of deprivation is quite beneficial since the opposite, which is saturation to the extent that one cannot take any more, or to the extent of being spoiled and used to getting anything one wants whenever one wants it, can be quite harmful.

This element of deprivation does not necessarily mean that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam did not receive enough love and kindness during his childhood. As mamatter of fact, he was surrounded by love and kindness from his foster-mother Halima Sadia R.A., and from his beloved mother Amina for a very short period of time, from his grandfather Abdul Mutallib, and from his uncle Abu Talib. Love and kindness are essential for a healthy upbringing of a child as long as they are not exaggerated to the point of spoiling the child.

Another implication of being an orphan is some degree of independence and self-sufficiency. The parents are not there to do for the child what parents usually do for their children. Some degree of independence and self-suffiency is an excellent character builder.

A third implication of being an orphan is the fact that the personal influence of the parents on their child (which is usually great) is withheld to make room for some other influence and guidance. In the case of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, the lack of his parents and their influence made room and opened an unobstructed avenue for the influence and Divine guidance of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala Who has summarized it so beautifully in verses 6 to 8 of Surah Ad-Dhuha:

"Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter and care, and He found you wandering and He gave you guidance, and He found you in need and He made you independent."
How can we apply this analysis to our own situation in trying to improve the methods for the upbringing of our children? If being an orphan is so good, should we eliminate all parents and make all children orphans?
Of course not! By no means! The clues we get from the analysis are that parents should not spoil their children and should make them appreciate, to some extent, the feeling of deprivation without going to the extent of neglect and without curtailing the love and kindness which are essential for the child's development.

Another observation we make about our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam's years of childhood and youth is the fact that there was separation of sorts between him and the surrounding corruption of society. The first few years of his life, which may have had the most important impact on the development of his mind and personality, were spent in the clean, non-polluted desert, away from Makkah.

Later on, although he lived in Makkah with corruption and immorality surrounding him, he did not mix with his peers in their improper or immoral activities. He lived within his community and interacted with his people, but he did not melt and become one with his community and his people. It was a kind of insulation and not an isolation. What made him do that?

In his case, it was Divine Guidance and protection. How can this observation be good for us? While we may not be entitled to the same type of Divine Guidance and protection, although Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala could grant them to anyone He may be pleased with, we can still follow the footsteps and methodology with our own choice and free will. It is there for our taking.

The period of our Beloved Nabee S.A.W.'s family life during his marriage to Hazrat Khadijah R.A. could be considered as prototype of an Islamic family life. This implies that we should look at this period as the ideal example for family relationships, practices, and attitudes which we should all try to imitate. The lesson is to provide the means to protect our children from indiscriminate mixing with the non-Islamic surroundings. This will necessitate the creation of a proper environment to provide the children with proper substitutes at the home level and at the community level.

Unfortunately, many Muslim men today feel that it is beneath their dignity to participate in the housework. It is true that the home and housekeeping duties are usually the domain and responsibility of the wife, but a helping hand by the husband can be of tremendous value for it will make the husband understand and appreciate the duties and the problems of his wife. Besides, his behaviour will be an example to the children, who might feel that the housework is for mothers only.

Many of us are taken by frustration and despair when we are faced with difficult problems. Some lose control and completely break down. Many families fall apart after loss of money, failure of business, or any type of trauma. Our Beloved Nabee S.A.W. and his beloved wife Hazrat Khadijah R.A. faced a great many difficulties, including the loss of children, especially the loss of sons in a society which used to kill female infants out of shame; in addition, they suffered the rejection and persecution inflicted on them by their own people.

Their response was not breaking down or giving up. These difficulties probably increased their determination to build up their efforts to cope with the difficulties. This clue should be a good lesson for all marriage partners who are shaken by every little tremor in their family life.

I will quote a single incident to make my point. This incident took place when our Beloved Nabee S.A.W. received the first revelation. The magnitude and the impact of this incident was so great that it literally shook him up. Whom did he go to for counsel and support in such a difficult time? Did he go to his best friend? Did he go to his lawyer? Or to his professor or advisor? Or to the elders of the Community? Or to the high priest? None of these. He went straight home to his wife Hazrat Khadijah R.A. He asked her for support and for her opinion, and apparently knew what he was doing.

Hazrat Khadijah R.A. responded in the most dignified and appropriate manner. She did not faint nor panic. She acted in a most comforting and supportive way. She gave him a vote of confidence and was quoted to have said: "Be steadfast and have good news. By the One who has Khadijah's soul in His Hand, I hope you become the prophet of this nation. By Allah, Allah will not let you down. You are kind, you are most truthful in your word, you carry the needy, you host the guest, and you support the afflicted."

This type of mutual trust and confidence does not develop instantly. It is rather the result of long years of exposure, testing and practice. In such a challenging and difficult situation, our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam would not seek counsel and support from someone he had not trusted and tried before.

The point to be made is that the mutual counselling and support between the marriage partners is an essential ingredient for a successful family life. It serves two purposes: One is that a very useful source of counsel and support will be utilized rather than wasted: and, second, the consulted partner will develop self-confidence in addition to a sense of participation and appreciation, which will further strengthen family ties.

If we follow the exemplary teachings of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, I am most confident that we shall Insha'Allah solve the problem of broken homes and destroyed families among the Muslims the world over.

"O Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala! Bless our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, who as the bearer of the most noble lineage proclaimed that You, O Allah, are the very truth, that Your Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an and revelations are the manifest proof, and that Your Path is the infallible road to salvation. O Ya Rabbal Ala'meen! Bless Your Beloved Nabee S.A.W. the pure and chaste one, the immaculate, the one gifted with glorious miracles and confounding impact, and the one endowed with the virtues of absolute exaltedness. O Allah! bless him and his Ummah as many times as there are manifestations of Thy perfection, and honor him, O Allah, with a blessing worthy of his perfection."

We pray that Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal strengthen and unite the Muslim Ummah to carry out His Will for the happiness of our families and for mankind and for life in a better world. Ameen!

(Brother Abdul Hamid Lachporia Saheb)

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