Channel: Jamal Badawi
© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.
The name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon the servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger and slave servant. I greet you with our usual greeting, a greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all the universal greetings of peace Assalamu alaikum, which means peace be unto you. Today we have our tents program in our series, dealing with the social system of Islam. And our topic for today's program is the
family in Islam. I'm your host, Hama Rashid. And I have joining me as usual on the program, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University, brother Jamal, how Salaam Alaikum, I want
to begin our topic for today, I wonder if I could have you comment on how you see the significance of the family, and how the topic ties in with the previous topics that we've been discussing as part of this series on dealing with the social system as well. Okay, maybe you can put it this way. In the first nine programs, we've been talking broadly about the foundation of a social system of Islam. But we have not addressed really the cornerstone of social system and Islam and that is the family.
From the point of view of Islam, the progress and welfare of society, or the disintegration and destruction of society is very much tied with the family. You have a strong family, you get a strong and cohesive society, you have a weak and broken family in broken homes, you gradually get disintegrating society or communities, it's very important, very much led to the decline or progress in society.
Indeed, every once in a while we hear people talk about problems that is of concern to everybody.
The teenage pregnancy, problems of divorce and family problems,
drug abuse, alcoholism,
juvenile delinquency. And it is not unusual when you try to trace the origin of most of this problem that you find that it lies in broken homes, and broken families.
I'm not implying in any way you're saying that.
Family is the only institution to be blamed for the social malaise. But for sure, there are other problems like social conditions, other economic or political problems, or spiritual problems in the society at large. But definitely the family is at least one of the most crucial elements if not the crucial element in the strength or weakness of society. So it's basically the cornerstone of the whole social system, from an aesthetic point of view. Now, this is our introductory program in dealing with this topic of the family in Islam, I wonder if perhaps I could have you for the benefit of our viewers, give us some idea of the main topics which you feel we should be touching on as we
go through this, this topic of dealing with the family in Islam? Sure. Well, I would at least envision seven basic areas at least in a planetary way that perhaps should be covered. First of all, how would we define family and all questions related to lineage and adoption perhaps could secondary?
Secondly, when we talk about the family, the foundation of the structure of the family is the woman for sure. As the the role she plays is much greater than anybody else's role in establishing a healthy family.
So the in the second broad area, I thought it would be a good idea to look into the history of how a woman was viewed in the past in previous civilizations and philosophies in religious literature, preceding Islam.
An issue which I suppose would be of interest to many,
because there have been lots of misinformation about that particular area. What exactly is the position that Islam according to the Muslim woman, and this will try to survey it in a number of ways. What is the position of woman in Islam from the spiritual and human point of view, from the economic point of view, terms of rights and property and all that, from the public life? Right to Work if need be, or the participation in public affairs? And also, from the social point of view, what position does she occupy?
when we talk about the family, again, it is important to talk about the structure of the house to constitute a family within Islamic teaching. And this covers areas like engagement, the position of Islam with respect to dating or courting
the attitude of Islam in general towards the method of sex, how sex viewed and Islamic teaching.
The related issues could pertain to marital relationships, mutual duties and responsibilities of husband and wife.
Questions dealing with so called birth control, abortion.
suckling is one of the basic rights of the children
An important area when we deal with the family is to look into the mutual duties and responsibilities of parents and children.
Secondly, you cannot again deal with the subject of the family without dealing also with the difficulties that encountered some families, family problems, and in some cases, even family, the solution? What does Islam propose? as ways of dealing with the family problems and disputes which may arise especially between husband and wife? How could it be settled? At what point? Would it be desirable to go beyond the limited family to some outside help to resolve these problems? And then if need be the issues raised pertaining to divorce, the conditions of divorce the waiting periods pertaining to divorce, remarriage, and related issues of that nature. And certainly, I think it
might be useful to touch very briefly also towards the end of the series on the law of inheritance in Islam or succession being part of the perpetuation of the family, as an institution, this is more or less the sort of
preliminary outline of measure areas, which I hope would make the series reasonably
comprehensive and it's coverage
now to perhaps assist in setting the context for the discussions which are going to follow one or perhaps I could give you, gosh, perhaps give us a definition of the
family is defined from the Islamic perspective.
on one level, we have to start to have some a broader perspective. On one level, we can define the family from a Muslim perspective as the entire human race.
In fact, when you talk about the family, most people would think about fathers, mothers, and children. Well, in one sense, the father is Adam, the mother is Eve, and the children are you and me and he and she and everybody else. So in one sense, the entire human race is a family. In fact, in the Quran in chapter four verse one verse that was quoted before, in which God reminds us to be mindful of our duties towards him. And it says that God created us from a single from the same soul, and from the same natures created its myths. And from both of them, he spread a multitude of men and women so in that says the Quran presents the entire human race as one family and the broth is the
bogus definition of the of the term.
In fact, it's where in the Quran we find that it is quite usual, to address the entire mankind as children of Adam, or children of Adam, you have any as MLF Tina nakoma shaitan, you have any other Makoto Xena, takamiya, Danny, Adam, Ma, Athena, come on in all of these verses, the beginning part of it is yeah, Benny Adam, all children of Adam.
Indeed, one can say that the the universality of the way the Quran addresses the entire human race as one family is derived from the universality
of Islamic monotheism, the strict and pure monotheism are given the oneness of God, we have one creator, one universe, one human family. That's one level of definition.
We can also define a family on the second level, and another level, the level of family of believers, who followed their prophets and messengers all the way from Adam to Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. These are also regarded in the Quran as one family, a family of believers. Indeed, in chapter 49, in the Quran, it describes believers as one single brotherhood, that is one family that extends horizontally across places and vertically across different points in our human history.
But within these different definitions, we're not really precluding another, more precise and more
narrow definition of the family, of course, as a number of people who are tied together
by virtue of blood relationship, and, or marital relationship.
This is, like I said, it's not
evade the issue when we make all this introduction to the family. But we want to just to show that while you can define a family in the sociological sense people tied together, one should not forget the
broader ties with believers and with humanity at large, then would it be accurate to find the definition that you've just given us to
imply or infer that the Muslim family is a
is mainly an extended family?
it needs not necessarily be extended family, or nuclear family, what maybe I should clarify First, the terms. Most often the sociologists use the term nuclear family to refer to the Western style of regarding the family as mainly parents and their children, just limited to that.
Whereas extended family is used to refer to families and other cultures where maybe in the same household, you have a family composed of parents, children,
the parents of the currents, to grandparents, and sometimes in laws and other relatives, where sometimes you have a patriarch, and children are married and staying in the same household. Well, to come to the point again, more precisely,
the way Islam looks at the family
does not necessarily mean that it is either extended or nuclear, it can accommodate both.
The question of having one single household to reside in is not really the major criteria that Islam considers in establishing family ties.
This does not mean however, that all relatives have the same degree of relation with the individual. In one sense, you could say that there are degrees, if you will, of relationship, the first degree of relationship, of course, would be the husband, wife, children, and the parents, of the parents, or the grandparents. This would be the first degree or first claim on the individual and an Islamic law and find also definition of various degrees depending on how close the person is to the individual.
But this, the degrees do not necessarily mean that there is no obligation towards relatives who are a little bit farther from the first one, it's only difference in degree and not in principle. Essentially, you can say that, in Islam, the what we regard as a nuclear family or first degree
relationship, have rights which are mainly unequivocal rights in alienable rights, more precise rights, that is an Islamic law, the rights obligations, duties and claims of people have the first degree of relationship
are very manifesta very clear, and there is very little difference among Muslim jurist as to what those rights and claims are. Whereas even though there are rights also towards other relatives, they are not the same degree and there might be some jurisprudence difference as to what exactly the extent or nature of of those rights
only come to the question of family relations and duties and responsibilities and so on. Some people argue that these matters should be left to the to the family and they're not matters that should be of concern to the society or to laws and so on.
From the Islamic perspective, how would you respond
to somebody will take that, upon view,
there is no doubt that
the nature of duties and mutual obligation between various members of the family is something which is instinctive, which is innate in human nature, there's no denying that this is basically
what it is.
But on the other hand, it is important to realize also that when society is involved in regulating family relations, and more particularly in reference to Islam, when the Islamic law
steps in, it does not step in to replace those innate feeling, but to supplement them, and to enforce them, in fact, to provide guarantees that they will be implemented. The main purpose behind that really is to provide some kind of protection, some form of guarantee, so that those any number of rights that various members of the family have on each other, their mutual responsibility would be fulfilled with some kind of justice and
In the absence of some of those controls, you may run into some problems. Because if you depend on the on innate nature or emotions, it may be possible that one father or mother, for example, may overly favor one of his or her children.
For example, by way of bias in terms of when or inheritance,
which would be best only on emotions, but may result also in taking away the rights of other children and being too biased and prejudiced against some of them. So for that reason, we find again, Islamic law try to resolve this issue by establishing minimum basic rights, so to guarantee the lack of discrimination or you know, lack of equity in the treatment of children or treatment of husband, of his wife and the reverse.
So, in that sense, then we can say that, the basic notion is that the Muslim family does not depend entirely on emotion and natural sense of duty or obligation, nor does it depend totally on the law, enforcement of the law, but there is a sort of balance between both to achieve this sort of equity and justice.
Now, this concept of justice seems to relate to as long as you have of lineage,
I want to fetch it and explain to us the role of lineage in the family structure in Islam. One lineage or what some societies called lineal identity is very, very essential, and it plays a very important role in the Muslim family, because on the basis of this linear relationship, many other issues pertaining to duties, responsibilities,
obligations for maintenance,
obligations, or writes on the state of the deceased in terms of inheritance, these are all very much related in Islamic law to the exact lineal identity of the individual, the knowledge of his two parents.
What that simply means is that in Islam, a person should not mask his true identity.
One could not claim for example, in Islam the identity of someone else, or claimed to be a son or daughter of someone else, other than his natural parents.
Just to give you a clarification, or perhaps the documentation from the Quran in chapter 33, in verses four to six, the Quran was responding to two kinds of falsification that the Arabs were falling in. One of them is that if a person got angry with his wife, he says that you are to me like my mother's, and as such, you would not touch her would not have husband wife relationship with her.
In other words, they used to believe that she becomes practically his mother.
The second errors that the pre Islamic Arab fell into was that whenever they adopted a child, they simply considered him just as the natural child, they gave him their names. So it becomes their son, in terms of name naming him. To address this, the Quran says in this chapter, it says, Allah, or God, capital G, has not assigned to any man, two hearts within his body, you can have two hearts within your body.
nor has he met your wife whom you declare to be your mother's your mother's, they can't be your mother's because of this declaration. And not is this nor has he made those whom you claim as your natural sons your natural sense. Yes, you can adopt but you cannot have an adopted son be regarded as your natural son
and then it gets
The reason it says this is but a saying of your mouth. But Allah says the truth, and he sews or shows the way. So in that sense, then the Quran stood against masking or falsifying the individual's true identity, it does not necessarily mean
that one should not have any respect or consideration in the treatment of an adopted person, that simply means that give him his proper lineage. Don't mask it, don't hide it. Let him be what he actually is
our case where an individual's father is not known, does that justify an exception to the to the role of have just been talking about and not silly and did the very same passage I was quoting part of in chapter 33? If you go on to the next verse, actually, it says proclaim that about adopted sons of children proclaim their real percentage that will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And then your question sits there, because it says, and if you know, not, the father, if you don't know that father's a person, for example, who might have been born outside of wedlock, or lost or whatever, and you don't know what to do in this case, he says, then they are your brethren in the
faith and your clients. In other words, treat them nicely treat them compassionately as a brother, but then, again, conceal their true identity, even though it's not known and don't try to give them a name of a family, which they actually have not been born to. So this has been also responded to.
Now there's some confusion
around whether or not Islam considers adoption to be lawful or unlawful. I think that's what we've touched on this, just briefly in passing in our other answers to some of the earlier questions, but I want to perhaps you could clarify this matter as to what Islamic view is of adoption. What there isn't, perhaps of this confusion is the problem with semantics and terminology. You see, in the in the western context, for example, the word adoption might have varieties of meanings. So I'd like to show which one you know fits and within standard flow, which one does not, let me start with one that does not or do not set.
If we mean by adoption,
for example, the clear case that you are referring to that you adopt a son and give him your family name, and instead of his real and true family name, this is prohibited. And the text of the Quran is quite clear on that book mask his identity, there is no shame, having a different lineage being adopted. That's not the problem in itself. That's one problem.
Sometimes also, adoption may be interpreted to mean that when the person dies, when they're adopted, dies, then his natural children born to him through the normal way.
And his adopted children, both inherit in exactly the same way. This again, in Islamic law is not acceptable. The natural children have definitely more claims than an adopted child.
But if you mean by adoption, looking after an orphan,
taking care of somebody who is left out or abandoned, there is no prohibition that I know of an Islamic law at all against that. Indeed, it would be an act of humanity, and compassion, to look after those unfortunate individuals. So the treatment or looking after them providing them with food, shelter, clothing, or any other need is not contrary In fact, it's an incorrect it's a it's a laudable act. Indeed,
the prophet peace be upon him has an adopted son. His name was David Harrison. And before this verses were revealed, they he was actually called Zeit, Abner Mohammed Zayed the son of Muhammad. So the Prophet himself was adopting and looking after
a person of that nature.
It does not preclude however, I should indicate that even though the adopted child does not inherit on equal footing with the natural children, it does not preclude or prohibits the adopters to include in his Well, something also to be paid or to be decreased to a non heirs in the legal sense in that case and adopted son so you could actually bequeath something in his favor. In fact, it would be even a commendable act to do within the restriction of the law of inheritance that we can perhaps touch on at a later time. So in that sense, that particular adoption is not necessarily
expected anyway. Perhaps in the time that we have remaining in our program today, in this introductory program, dealing with
A family if you could outline the basic objectives or the functions of the family, according to Islam. Well, to start with, if we're talking about the
place of the family, and Islam, and general and then perhaps you can look into some specific objectives to be achieved,
we can say that, first of all, it is important to realize that it stands to use the family, not as a casual institution, not as an institution, which just happens to be because you know, people have optional, right, exactly, or something that's spontaneous that people happen to get married and have children or spontaneous and, as he said, Indeed,
family and Islam is regarded as a divinely ordained institution, it is something that is like you said, not to optional really, except in certain cases, but in the normal sense, it is not optional, it is a divinely required institution. Islam does not recognize any other institutions that can replace family, all kinds of new fads, group families and group marriage and all these sorts of things are totally out of the context of Islamic teaching altogether.
Another point to keep in mind is that while Islam regard the family and marital relationship as a divine, divinely inspired institution as something which is noble and sacred, in the spiritual sense, Islam also regarded as well as a social contract, a contract according to which there are certain mutual rights and obligations that has to be observed.
A third element is that when you talk about seminar, it's not also one cannot separate it from fellowship in faith. That, indeed, the fellowship and says is is very essential for the long run stability and welfare of marriage, it's perhaps the essence really, of marriage.
Firstly, it is important to state at least at this juncture, this point, perhaps need further clarification, is that while Islam upholds the basic equality, quote, unquote, of the sexes, this does not preclude at all that within this equality or equity to be more accurate, that certain role differentiation, or differentiation involves duties and responsibility, which are overall equitable. This are not really a contradiction at all, and they actually are needed to provide for this complimentary nature of family relationship. That's to start on the basic fundamental notion of how family is viewed islamically.
Perhaps the, the next logical point is what specific objectives does Islam perceive to be served by the family? What specific role can it play in a particular society?
Well, one of the perhaps, good sources, which summarize this very neatly, in a very brief way, is a little booklet written by crosseyed, which was published in in Britain and six on the basis of Quran and prophetic tradition, six basic functions are put together. One is that the family is in charge of preservation of the human race. So the procreation is one element, there's no question about that keeping human human race going.
Secondly, protection, that is to protect the morals of society and individuals by providing the only illegitimate avenue for subsection of the sexual urge from an economic point of view and that is only through marital relationship. A third is socialization. That is the family serving as a vehicle through which
social needs of children and their value orientation as sociologists call it, the teaching the child takes place for sleep stabilization, that is providing the satisfaction of the psychological and emotional needs of people so that they would be stable and society as as hard would be stable,
to provide for social and economic security, which is guaranteed through this mutual rights and obligations within the family. And finally, six, a motivating force. That is to motivate the individual to work hard to learn the sense of mutual sacrifice and being beneficent, both to the family and in turn for society at large.
Okay, I think we'll have to leave it at that for today or tomorrow. If you want to thank you for being our guest on the program. invite you back next week we'll continue our discussion of the family in Islam. Assalamu alaikum. Peace be unto you