_Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
This is the tragedy of our time that our youths are bent on accepting every glitter of the modern era as fashion and symbol of progress. There are many things that, at first sight, seem odd, strange and indecent, but with the gust of advertisements, media coverage and competitions of commercial institutions it is made in to a popular fact. In recent years, a new phenomenon has spread among the youths - males and females alike – to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a holiday dedicated to lovers. This celebration was rarely known by any Indian youth some decades ago, though it might have been celebrated in western world.
St Valentine’s Day is celebrated on 14th February by sending greeting cards or gifts to express love to one’s beloved. The cards are generally designed with hearts to symbolize love. Now, the craze of celebrating St Valentine’s Day is increasing year by year in Asian countries, especially developing nations like India. As the Valentine’s Day approaches nearer florists pile up love cards, gifts and bounties of flowers, the general stores sell Valentine chocolates, cakes and other gifts. The barbers cut hearts into men's head hair, restaurants promote Valentine's Day dinners. Newspapers publish romantic and flirting messages. The satellite channels are not lagging behind even an inch; they present special features and organize love-letter competitions. Internet dating services enjoy a rise in surfing and telecommunication companies record high surge in outgoing and incoming calls.
This phenomenon is spreading many unholy things and in our society as well the mind of younger generation. Of course, love is a natural feeling and valuable asset of human life, but not the love that spoils their life and involves many other wrong aspects.
Baseless Historical Background
There is a lot of debate and disagreement among scholars about the origin of Valentine’s Day. However, this is certain that this is celebrated in the memory of some Valentine. Also, this is another historical fact that there have been more than one Valentines who were martyred in early centuries of Christianity.
But, as far as the matter of its origin is concerned it goes back to ancient Rome before the Romans embraced Christianity. In ancient Rome, there was celebrated a holiday on February 14th in the honour of Juno Fructifier, Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. The other day on February 15, they celebrated the feast of Lupercalis which was originally a festival of shepherds, and was primarily for the purpose to secure fertility for the fields, the flocks, and the shepherds themselves. There were many myths associated with this festival and many dirty rituals were performed.
When Christianity spread in Rome, the celebration of the pagan festivals persisted among them. The Christian Romans continued to celebrate these festivals, until came Pope Gelasius I who abolished Lupercalis and declared in 496 that the feast of St. Valentine would be on February 14. Thus, the ancient Roman Lupercalis festival was replaced by a new Valentine’s Day.
Who was this Valentine; there is no specific information about him. There was more than one person in Rome with similar name who existed during the early years of the church, two or three of whom were martyred. It was said that there were two of them, or that there was only one, who died in Rome as the result of the persecution of the Gothic leader Claudius.
But, why was he killed, this question also remains deprived of a clear-cut answer. It is also said that Saint Valentine advocated love and peace, therefore he was martyred. It is also said that the Roman emperor Claudius II sentenced St Valentine to be executed because of his opposition of government order that prohibited soldiers to marry. It is also perceived that Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter. The emperor offered him to pardon and make him one of his closest confidantes if he forsook Christianity, which Valentine refused and preferred martyrdom. He was executed on 14 February 270 CE, on the eve of February 15, the festival of Lupercalis.
Thus, the pagan Roman festival of Lupercalis was transformed into Valentine’s Day and was called the Feast of Lovers, and Saint Valentine was considered to be the patron saint of lovers.
Irrelevance of Valentine’s Day
However, whatever the reality may be, but one thing seems clear that none of the narrations appears to have much to do with love or romance that we see is observed on Valentine’s Day. If the Christians celebrate this day in the memory of their martyr, then it is something that looks sound, but what the Muslims and other people of faith have to do with this? Not only it is nonsense for Muslims and others, but also for Christians as well, because today’s Valentine’s Day has no relation to the sacrifice for truth that was offered by St Valentine, as they claim.
And, if it is historically true that Valentine was killed in punishment of having love affairs with a girl, then the entire story takes a U turn and instead of being ‘a cause of pride’ becomes ‘a matter of shame’. Being a saint he commits such kind of act. And, more shameful is the act of those who celebrate this day in his remembrance.
The Valentine’s Day celebration is entirely based on groundless historical myths. How surprising it is that if an unmeaning and baseless ritual is celebrated by other people of faith it is taunted as ‘mythology’ and ‘orthodoxy’, but if it is practiced by the western world it becomes a symbol of progress and intellectualism!
In the society we live, every thing is based on commercial foundations. Why only education, even the human parts and human dignity is a saleable commodity. The culture of celebrating ‘Days’ is actually the invention of the Capitalism, which primarily aims at devouring the common man’s wealth and amassing it up. The commercial companies give push to ‘Celebrations’ and ‘Days’ in order to boost their products. They do not miss even a single opportunity to take out money from the pockets of people. Schemes are announced, concessions are declared and the public is seduced to achieve it in order to be in pace with the world and to be called progressive, whether they are not able to afford it.
The Muslims’ history is full of such personalities who bravely sacrificed their lives in order to guard their mission and religion. But, Islam is a natural and simple religion, it did not like to burden the people with the loads of continual festivals and celebrations as it slows down their march to spirituality and affect the common man financially.
We Indians, especially Muslims, instead of imitating the West should be proud of our own culture and social order where the foundation of love, affection and relationship is far deeper and stronger than in the West. Why to fall in inferiority complex, be proud of your own invaluable asset that is quite perfect and matchless!
Published in Milli Gazette (Delhi) and Eastern Crescent (Mumbai).
Child Labour: Gloomy Face of our Future
By: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
In our daily life, while visiting public places, taking tea in restaurants we see innocent children offering services, but we hardly realize the gravity of the matter that has pushed them in the work. At the tender and young age when their contemporaries who have affluent parents play with their mates, go school and spend their life carefree, they are compelled to shoulder the burden of family and to pose themselves to numerous magnificent hazards; mental, physical, moral and so on.
It is tragedy that data on child labour are scarcely available. It is difficult to cite a current figure for the number of children engaged in work. Combining various official sources, it is estimated that there were some 211 million children aged 5 to 14 at work in economic activity in 2000 around the world. This accounts for a little less than one fifth of all children in this age group. About 73 million working children are less than 10 years old. The total economically active child population 5-17 years old was estimated at 352 million children by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2000.
The large majority of working children, close to 94 percent, live in developing countries, mostly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The greatest numbers were found in Asia - 44.6 million (13 per cent) followed by Africa - 23.6 million (by far the highest rate at 26.3 per cent) and Latin America - 5.1 million (9.8 per cent). Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of working children. Some estimates show that almost one child in three below the age of 15 is economically active in the region. In the 18 countries in this region with data on child labour, 38 percent of all children between 7 and 14 years of age are engaged in work that can be considered harmful to their development. The child work ratios in other major world regions are all below 20 per cent.
This overall estimates working children are exclusive of children who are engaged in regular non-economic activities, including those who provide services of domestic nature on a full-time basis in their own parents' or guardians' households. While it is estimated that 171 million children ages 5-17 were estimated to work in hazardous situations or conditions in 2000. In addition to the number of children in hazardous work, it is estimated that there were about 8.4 million children involved in other worst forms of child labour; which includes trafficking, forced and bonded labour, armed conflict, prostitution and pornography and illicit activities.
Available information points to the existence of traditional forms of child slavery in South Asia and sub-Saharan East Africa. A large number of ‘child slaves’ are to be found in agriculture, domestic help, the sex industry and other industries. They may number in tens of millions, according to ILO. Child slavery predominates mainly where there are social systems based on the exploitation of poverty, such as debt bondage.
The overall condition of children is not good at all in India. Poor children in India begin working at a very young age. Many children have to work to help their families and some families expect their children to continue the family business at a young age. It is difficult to cite an exact figure because of a universal difficulty in obtaining accurate data. However, it is perceived that India is the largest example of a nation affected by the problem of child labour. There is an estimation of between 60 and 115 million working children in India, the highest in the world, while there are over 15 million in bonded labour. There are 5,00,000 children in prostitution and at least 18 million children living on the streets in India. According to a World Bank report, the prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Child labour is one of the most serious socioeconomic phenomena and a significant problem of modern India. Millions of children are put to work in ways that drain childhood of all joy and crush the right to normal physical and mental development. A large majority of working youngsters toil as unpaid family workers and most of those working as paid employees are paid much less than the prevailing rates in their localities. They often work long hours every day of the week doing hard physical labour. Being tender physically, children are susceptible to various work-related injuries and illnesses more than adults doing the same kind of work. They face significant threats to their health and safety because they are less aware, even completely unaware, of the potential risks involved in their specific occupations or at the workplace.
WHAT CAUSES THE WORSE CONDITIONS OF CHILDREN?
The major determinant of child and other related problems is poverty. Child labour in India is essentially a socioeconomic phenomenon arising out of poverty and lack of development. In many cases families depend on a child's wages for their survival. Families need money to survive, and children are a source of additional income for poor families. Children’s work is considered crucial to maintain the economic level of households. In India, the percentage of population living in poverty is very high; it has the largest poor population in the world. There are about 350-400 million people leading their life on less than 1$ a day.
In addition to poverty, illiteracy also contributes greatly to the worsening condition of children. The poor and illiterate parents are left with no option but to push their children to work. India’s state of education lacks effectiveness in yielding basic literacy in the population. Nearly, 40% of the Indian population is illiterate. The parents are ignorant and they are not aware of the bad consequences of their children being left illiterate. If some parents manage to send their children to school, they could not continue it due to monetary and other factors. Therefore, dropout rate is high in Indian schools than other developing nations. There are indications that few students reach fifth or sixth grade and dropout rates support this conclusion. Dropout rates measured by the Department of Education show that 35% of males and 39% of females dropout. The pressing need for the child’s earnings as well as low perceived advantages of school cause parents to withdraw children from school and put them in work. So, as a result poverty and the insufficiency of the school system play significant roles in worsening the condition of children.
HOW TO ELIMINATE IT?
From independence, India has committed itself to be against child labour. Article 24 of the Indian constitution clearly states that "No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or employed in any hazardous employment". Likewise, the Article 39 (e) directs State policy "that the health and strength of workers . . . and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength".
It has been the policy of the government to ban employment of children below the age of fourteen and to recognize the right of the children to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the their education, or to be harmful to the their health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
Poverty: With all these policies and commitment, the tragedy of child labour and working children still remains magnificent. Since, it is clear that this goal cannot be achieved only by enforcement of law and enacting of policies. Given the complex socio-economic dimensions of the problem, improvement in the living and working conditions of parents and in their economic conditions is crucial to the elimination of child labour.
It is of no use to withdraw children from work and put them in schools without offering their families any alternative. Before attacking child labour, it should be ensured that the needs of the poor families are fulfilled. If poverty is addressed, the need for child labour will automatically be reduced to nothing. Child labour will remain until the root cause of it i.e. poverty is removed. We have to put an end to the cycle of poverty that is reborn after every generation to address the underlying causes.
Education: Education is also an indispensable component to eliminate child labour. It is widely acknowledged that the provision of compulsory primary education is the main method of controlling child labour. The concept of compulsory education, where all school aged children are required to attend school, combats the force of poverty that pulls children out of school. Policies relating to compulsory education not only force children to attend school, but also contribute appropriate funds to the primary education system, instead of higher education. Compulsory education has worked to reduce child labour. Article 45 of the Constitution of India states: "The State shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years". But, it is quite surprising and annoying that there have passed five decades on independence and we have not still achieved the goal of free and compulsory education. So, the pressing need of our time is to provide free and compulsory education to each and every citizen of the country.
On the contrary, education, instead of being free, is very costly and expensive. The education is so commercialised that you can never expect the poor and ignorant parents to afford schooling. There may be some schools that offer basic education at considerable cost, but here the tragedy is that they are so below standard that instead of giving any improvement in the overall situation contribute in aggravating the poor condition of children. Schooling must be affordable and relevant to the child's circumstances, and should provide practical skills and knowledge.
Social Awareness: Social awareness is an important factor that can tackle the menace of child labour. First of all, the poor and ignorant parents should be informed of the importance of educating their children. The common people and social organizations also should strive to help the parents and create an environment that reduces the chances of a child being engaged in work. It should be considered that not only the forms of child labour that are banned by law are bad, but also every economic and other activity of a child that deprives him of education or that affects their mental and physical growth should be abolished. If the future of such a huge portion of our next generation is shrouded with darkness of poverty, ignorance and misery then how can we claim to be the largest democracy of the world; since these things are inconsistent with democracy and social justice.
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: email@example.com
By: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
How strange it is if you see a person wearing kurta pyjama with beard and skull cap you are afraid, you avoid to sit beside him in trains and buses, you look with an unfamiliar rather suspicious gaze at him. It is not so that the attire posed by the person is new to you and your eyes met it first time in life, but the fact is that this traditional dress and bearded man is a part of your society, your neighbourhood and your acquaintances. This fraction of society had been present among you for generations, but after all these ground realities you are afraid of his company.
Why is it so? Is there anything inside the dress or the beard? Surely not! Then what? Why go far, look at your own past few years if you can ponder upon the situation. How trusted, peaceful, sympathetic and harmless this creature was. You were quite comfortable and carefree in his company and neighbourhood, you gave your way open for him to pass out of respect and even stood up as a mark of honour if he happened to meet you.
But, thanks to media that plays with the public opinion and turns the hearsay into worldwide fact. The beard and kurta pyjama came in limelight first when Kabul fell to Taliban militia wearing this dress which is common and traditional dress of the people in Afghanistan. They again hit headlines in 2001, when Twin Towers in US were banged by hijacked planes, not because the hijackers were bearded and mullahs, but unfortunately because the so-called mastermind Bin Laden was believed to be harboured by Taliban in Afghanistan. Taliban due to their association with madrasas in Afghanistan and Pakistan were recognized as people having beard and wearing kurta pyjama.
From that day onward beard and traditional Muslim dress was symbolized to be a logo of terrorism and it was so projected by media. As a result, radical Islam was blamed and those who follow Islam were labelled as extremists, fanatics, fascists and even terrorists. Thus madrasas in India and everywhere were targeted blindly as they teach radical Islam and house mullahs resembling to those in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yes, there may be people from madrasas who are involved in political and militant activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan as per the local conditions that may be justified by them, but the case is quite different with the madrasas in India.
In India, we are habitual of repeating what is said and published by electronic and print media. From a common man to Group of Ministers (in 2001) everyone is bent to think the madrasas a threat to national security. But why? None is able to furnish the proof of their involvement in anti-national activities. Nobody has time to reflect whether the blame he or she is putting on madrasas or molvis has some ground, whether has he or she been to any madrasa even for awhile to see their activities.
The Indian madrasas, from syllabus and teaching materials to field work and national contribution present a bright face of Indian Muslims. The madrasas impart the richest moral material ever known to educational or academic system in the world; especially today when the education is job-oriented around the globe they offer purely moral-oriented education system. The subjects taught at madrasas, good or bad, but have nothing to do with the politics of today’s world, they are either fourteen hundred year old Quran and Hadith or some medieval subjects dealing chiefly with Muslim faith, ethics, transactions, society, logic, Islamic philosophy, Arabic language etc.
As far as their daily routine and weekly schedule is concerned it is far from terrorism and fanaticism. To your utter surprise, madrasas even do not have any entertainment and physical exercise system then what about arm-training and so on.
Those who come out of these Muslim seminaries they either return to the same profession teaching at madrasas, or join a mosque fulfilling the social and religious needs of a Muslim community. Many even become part of society in business or ancestral profession of farming while a minor part them turns to college and university education. So, if the madrasas or people associated to them are terrorist and fascist so where the terror lies; in their syllabus, in their education system, in their social role, where? If you say it lies in their syllabus materials, let me tell you whatever they teach is fully ‘Islam’. If the fault lies there then you must admit that Islam is the root of the fault, but no sane person will dare to utter it.
On the other hand, if we see the history of Indian madrasas, they from their inception play a composite nationalist role. They were bearded mullahs of madrasas who were at the forefront of fist national war remembered as mutiny of 1857. It was the same madrasa product Obadiullah Sindhi who was Home Minister of Provisional Indian Government with a Hindu Raja Mahindar Pratap as its Head. It was the same radical molvi (Barkatullah Bhopali) who joined India Berlin Society and took part in constituting Provisional Indian Government in 1915. It was Head of molvis Shaikhul Hind Mahmoodul Hasan who was Commander in Chief of Muslim Salvation Army and mastermind of national freedom movement that was later know by Silk Letter Conspiracy. They were these molvis (Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Hussaind Ahmad Madani etc) who rejected the concept of Muslim homeland (of Pakistan) and endangered their lives for the Indian nationalistic cause.
And after Independence also the same nationalistic and patriotic role of molvis and madrasas continues. The madrasas are the largest network which is offering free education to a large number of students from downtrodden and backward community Muslim from one and a half century (a goal that could not be achieved by India even at primary level during 60 years of Independence). No madrasa and no student of a madrasa, not even the in terror-hit Jammu and Kashmir, was ever found guilty of anti-national and terrorist activities, while though there is no exact data available but surely the ratio of madrasa educated people in social and other crimes is nearly zero.
However, only media is not to be blamed. The madrasas are also partly responsible for the misconception spread against them since they are too reserved to represent even their true face to the community, to media and to the world at large.
In this background the proposed anti-terror meet at Darul Uloom Deoband on 25 Feb 2008 is a positive gesture that will help to solve many such problems and remove miscomputations. The meeting is to be attended by the representatives of thousands of madrasas, Islamic institutions and Muslim scholars from every nook and corner of the country. Hopefully, the meeting will help minimize the gap and pull down the wall of misunderstandings.
ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM OF SUICIDE
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Suicide, or self-killing, is a global phenomenon and has been known in every culture and society. The taking of one’s own life is the most private of acts. Suicide is the extreme step that a human been decides to put an end to his life. It is not only the result of a mere negative thinking or shallow consideration, but one is compelled to take this ‘extreme step’ only when he finds all the roads blocked and no way out.
The recent years have witnessed an alarming rise in the ratio of suicides across the world. Unlike the previous records, young people are now at the highest risk in both developed and developing countries. Globally, nearly 60% of suicide deaths are among young adults in their productive years of life. This is a distinct change, while earlier more suicides were recorded among the elderly.
Suicide is a heinous act that causes devastating effects, not only for the family members of the person but also for others associated to him in any way.
According to WHO, in the year 2000, approximately one million people died from suicide: a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000. There is an average of one death every 40 seconds and an attempt every three seconds. Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998. In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death across the world, especially in the 15-35 year age group.
The global rate of occurrence of suicide rose from 10 per 100 000 population in the 1950s to 18 per 100 000 during 1995. While it has declined in some countries, there has been a significant increase in some developing countries. Collectively, an upward trend is noticeable across the world.
Deaths recorded due to suicide across the world indicate only the tip of the iceberg. The actual number is significantly higher, because many suicides are recorded as accidents. These figures do not include suicide attempts that are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. World Health Organisation records show that for every successful suicide there are about 20 cases of attempt to suicide.
Increasing Suicide Trends in India
India and Sri Lanka record the highest number of suicide rates among the South East Asia Region Member Countries and occupy the 45th positions globally. With a rate of 11 per 100000 suicides per year, an increase from 6 per 100 000 during the 1980s, India occupies the second highest rate of suicides in the Region. When corrected for underreporting, these rates are likely to be much higher. While 89000 persons committed suicide in 1995, the number increased to 96 000 in 1997 and to 104 000 in 1998, an increase of 25% compared to the previous year. This statistic becomes even more alarming when you consider that the total number of suicide cases recorded in the whole of India in 2002 was 154,000.
Kerala (29 per 100 000), Karnataka (21 per 100 000) and Tripura as well as West Bengal (19 per 100 000) had the highest rates of suicide. Among the cities, Bangalore (17%), Mumbai (14%), Chennai (11%) and Delhi (7.5%) accounted for nearly 50% of the total suicides in the country. In the Union Territory of Pondicherry, every month at least 15 youths between the ages of 15 and 25 commit suicide. In 2002, there were 10,982 suicides in Tamil Nadu, 11,300 in Kerala, 10,934 in Karnataka, and 9,433 in Andhra Pradesh. In 2003, the largest number of farmers (nearly 175) committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh. Kerala, the country's only fully literate state, has the highest number of suicides. Some 32 people commit suicide in Kerala every day. As a whole, some 50,000 people in the four states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and the Union Territory of Pondicherry kill themselves every year.
India has officially admitted to the death of about 3,600 farmers over the last five years, most of whom were unable to repay their loans and huge interest payments. Higher rates of suicides have been noticed in the age group of 15-34 years. Out of every three cases of suicide reported every 15 minutes in India, one is committed by a youth in the age group of 15 to 29.
Why people are driven towards killing themselves?
The psychological dislocation that causes one to kill oneself has deep social roots. Suicide results from many complex socio-cultural factors. Many tend to commit suicide when they do not see their dreams materialized. The faster pace of life and the wide gap between people's aspirations and actual capabilities have led many to end their lives. Therefore, the industrialized countries have a higher suicide rate than poor, developing countries.
Financial instability, unemployment, burdensome debts are also some factors that drive one to an end to his life. Family conflicts, domestic violence, academic failures and unfulfilled ambitions share a great deal of suicide related causes. Addiction to alcohol and drug usage is also significant factor in youth suicide.
Islam has the best solution of suicide
It is a fact that Muslim countries show the lowest rates of suicide. Generally, the Muslims worldwide have lower rates compared to non-Muslims. Similarly, the Muslims who live in the West continue to have very low suicide rates compared to other communities. It is not a sheer coincidence but in fact it is the result of Islamic teachings that envelop a Muslim society and individual.
First of all, it is a part of Muslim faith that they believe in destiny; good or bad whatever is from Almighty Allah. Secondly, every Muslim believes that one day he has to die and after death he has to receive rewards of his actions; wrong or right, good or bad. On the Final Day of Judgement, Allah Almighty will make every human being alive and will ask him to present the accounts of his entire life. The concept of Final Day of Judgement is a key factor in Muslims’ life that controls their actions. Before taking a step, a Muslim first deliberates, consciously or unconsciously, that he has to reap the severe consequences of his action not only in this brief period of worldly life but also in the world hereafter. Thus, secretly, he develops a habit of fearing Almighty Allah in each and every matter that continuously keeps him guided to the straight path.
One is not sent to this world forever. According to Islamic beliefs, this World is a short stoppage of a very long journey; it is a journey far beyond death. The end of this journey is either the destination of Paradise or Hell. The life of the world hereafter is eternal and unlimited. If one has a record of good deeds he will enjoy forever and if one is cursed to have a bad record, he has to suffer either forever or for a very long period as per the seriousness of his deeds.
This worldly life has been bestowed to us to prepare for the eternal life of the world hereafter. Therefore, limiting ones desires and ambitions to one’s capabilities is utterly encouraged but required in Islam. Life is a test from Allah, He tests people in various ways and times. He tests some by blessing him with countless bounties to see if he appreciates and shows gratitude towards Allah or forgets Him. At times Allah in his infinite wisdom puts a person in intense grief, to see if the servant turns to Him and seeks guidance and help. Each and every one of us is tested by Allah in someway or another. Some turn to Allah and seek help, while some turn completely to the opposite side. Those upon whom many grieve and mourn are the people who have turned to suicide. In the time of grief and sufferings one should keep this thing in mind and keep patience and show forbearance. Patience and forbearance is highly appreciated in Islam.
Out of all the bounties, life is the most precious gift bestowed by Allah upon human beings. It is not our personal possession or property, but it is a trust from Allah to us; we can only utilize it in the ways that are have been ordained and described by Allah. We have no right to end it or damage it by our own hands.
Suicide is a major sin in Islam. The Quran has clearly prohibited from committing suicide and the Prophet of Islam assigns suicide to the lower levels of Hell. The Quran says: "And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you". (4:29) "And do not throw yourselves in destruction". (2:195)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “…And whoever commits suicide with a piece of iron, he will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell-fire." (Bukhari, Hadith No. 1297)
"He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell-fire (forever), and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself, he shall keep stabbing himself in the Hell-fire (forever)." (Bukhari, Hadith No. 1299)
"A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him." (Bukhari, Hadith No. 1298)
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be accessed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
DOWRY: A HEINOUS SOCIAL CRIME
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
"To our information, in no other civilized country similar problem of this magnitude exists. This is indeed a slur on our great heritage, ancient culture and civilization." The division Bench comprising Justice S B Sinha and Justice Dalveer Bhandari in their judgment dated August 21 2006 commented and voiced their concern over the alarming rise of dowry-related deaths, upholding a Patna High Court judgment of convicting a victim’s husband and father-in-law for poisoning her to death.
The evil of dowry is existent in India since ancient times. The custom first originated in Vaishya Hindu community that later crept in to other Hindu communities. Subsequently, with passage of time when Muslims and other communities grew in India this social curse kept on spreading almost in all considerable communities. Now, this practice has affected the entire fabric of our society, especially the poor, backward and middle class families whose economic and financial resources are limited.
There is a whole mindset behind the dowry system. Since the Hindu religion regards boys superior to girls and grants them more rights than the poor girls. The tradition of sati in past and dowry custom in present take their root in this history of discrimination and prejudice. The widows were denied social status and remarrying right; therefore they were forced to torch themselves with the corpse of their husbands so that they no more are alive to feel the bitter taste of discrimination, hatred and seclusion.
Also, the girls were denied any share in the property and wealth of their deceased father and other family members. The girls were considered a burden to be disposed off in marriage with dowry. All the things that they were had right to receive from their father’s property was only dowry, as if this was their part of inheritance that they may get. After marriage, the parents and brothers had less relations with them, even today a custom prevails that the parents do not take even a drop of water or a bite of bread from their daughters’ houses. The custom of marrying away a daughter in Hindu communities is called ‘Kanyadaan’; ‘kanya’ daughter and ‘daan’ means gift or donation.
In the modern India of the New Millennium, the dowry custom is outlawed and demanding dowry has been labelled a heinous crime, even though the menace of dowry is growing. Across the country nearly in every community the dowry custom is prevalent, practiced and even there are cases of prospective bridegrooms' families demanding a dowry from the bride’s family. In most of the cases, the parents, desperate to get their daughters married, are compelled to meet the dowry custom or demand even though they are not able to lift such a huge burden. Usually, people are apt to accept dowry as a custom and have no courage to object or reject it outright. In some areas the dowry demand takes place as bargaining and bridegrooms are valued and auctioned as they are saleable commodity.
The dowry custom is one of the biggest social evils in India. It has eaten into the moral fabric of our society. It is believed that the practice of dowry has spread far more widely among communities and regions where it was virtually non-existent until four decades ago. The committee on the Status of Women in India and the Women's Movement, in the mid-1970s, had noted that dowry had spread much beyond the Hindu upper castes, among whom it had traditionally been practised, it deepened its tentacles and spread to more groups of middle and lower castes among Hindus Muslims Christians and tribals.
The Havoc of Dowry
The dowry system involves many unholy and dreadful results. Because of the dowry even today the birth of a female child is viewed as a curse and the girls are considered as burden. The dowry custom prompts many parents to go for female foeticide. Thousands of girls do not get a chance to live and are silenced in the wombs of their mothers. With the used of widespread gender tests some parents choose an abortion to avoid the burden of an unwanted female child. A study has revealed that an estimated one million (1,000,000) female foetuses are being destroyed every year in India alone. A century ago, the female population ratio in India stood at 972 for 1,000 men. Now, it is steadily declining and in some states it has dropped to less than 750 to 1,000.
"If I don’t kill her today; tomorrow she will kill me financially or some one else will burn her for the sake of dowry," This is the rationalization of a would-be-father of an unborn female child, at the time of deciding a premature end for her. Such is the evil of dowry, rampantly prevailing in Indian society.
Due to the curse of this dowry system many girls remain unmarried because of the financial problems of their parents. Some of such girls take recourse to suicide while few of them enter flesh trade. The evil practice of dowry has turned the sacred relationship of husband and wife into a commercial relation making the life of girls and their parents a hell. It has given rise to suicide, corruption and moral degradation.
The dowry custom motivates many inlaws to commit horrendous crimes of burning, poisoning or murdering the brides. Even in cities such as the capital, New Delhi, "bride-burnings" are reported every day. A report from the federal Department of Women and Child Development—published as Violence Against Women—stated that registered dowry deaths rose from a total of 1,912 cases in 1987 to 5,157 in 1991. But women activists claim that at least 10 times as many cases are never registered. And, not to speak of the physical and mental torture by inlaws that often go unreported and unregistered. Some brides commit suicide because of the constant pressure of fetching demanded money, car TV etc from their fathers’ house whereas they have already supplied abundant dowry beyond their means.
In many cases, the poor parents get loan on interest for getting their daughters married away. Later, this loan proves such a load that multiplies and holds the entire family into its cruel grip.
Social Awareness: Start it with yourself
The Supreme Court, in its verdict on Aug 21, 2006, said that for eradication of social evil of dowry, effective steps can be taken by the society itself. A vigorous national campaign is needed to create social awareness and social consensus to abolish the dowry system. Our younger generation should come forward to rectify this trend. They should set an example by neither demanding nor offering dowry. Those who demand dowry should be socially boycotted. Unless the younger generations volunteer for such noble tasks, no such reformatory projects can succeed.
At some place or the other, we have to put an end to the cycle of taking and giving dowry. Sometimes, it is seen that even people who have undergone the traumatic experience of having to pay dowry on the marriages of their daughters, are keen on getting dowry on their sons’ marriage. The abolishment of such social curse requires sacrifice and determination.
Moreover, an effective implementation of the law is needed to tackle the problem. According to the apex court more severe legislative measures are urgently required to curb dowry-related deaths. Also, dowry will have to be tackled through the united efforts of NGOs, and religious bodies. Media may play a vital role to mobilise public opinion against this social evil.
Islam and Muslims
As soon as a daughter is born, Muslim father are given glad tiding by the Prophet (peace be upon him) that one who is bestowed daughters or sisters, and he brings them up, educates them and marries them away, he will enter paradise. (Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah)
Islam made Nikah (marriage) so easy and simple. Islam does not put any financial burden on the father of the girl. A Muslim father is told to get her daughter married away in a most simple ‘Nikah’ ceremony solemnized by a ‘Qazi’ (priest) in a mosque with two witnesses. He is not even required to give any feast to the handful of invitees assembled for this occasion. In fact it is desirable on the part of the groom that he offers a Waleema to his relatives and friends. Later, it is husband who is responsible to arrange accommodation, furniture, food and all expenses for his wife.
The example of such a simple marriage was set up by the Prophet (pbuh) himself. He got his daughters married in the simplest possible manner. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "The best of the marriages is one which is least burdensome in the financial sense.” (Musnad Ahamd, Abu Dawood)
A Muslim father does not have to bother for dowry for his daughter. On the contrary, Islam enjoins the groom to give a ‘bridal-gift’ or ‘Dower’ as a token of love and assurance to his would be wife at the time of marriage. In fact without payment of this sum, the marriage cannot be completed. The Holy Qur’an instructs the Muslims: "And give the women (whom you marry) their dower (obligatory bridal gift) happily" (Al-Quran, 4:4)
It is regretful that Muslims who were given such a noble and simple way of life have gone blind and are following the evil practices of dowry. Instead of having an influence of the countrymen and tailing their footsteps, it must have been their duty to strive hard to eradicate this bane of Indian society.
(Published in monthly Eastern Crescent, Mumbai, Nov 2006)
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: email@example.com
by: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the nervous system. Children can be infected with polio when they eat or drink food and water contaminated with the virus or when they come into direct contact with an infected person’s faecal matter or saliva. The virus enters the body orally, and travels to the intestines where it multiplies. Eventually, the virus passes into the blood stream and attacks the nervous system. The virus damages nerve cells and can cause crippling paralysis, sometimes overnight. Generally polio affects children under three, but adults can contract it as well.
It is said that, before the availability of polio immunization, polio was common worldwide. In 1988, the World Health Assembly (WHA) the annual meeting of the ministers of health of all Member States of the World Health Organization, voted to launch a global goal to eradicate polio. In 1988, 350,000 children were being crippled by the virus in 125 countries. This Global Polio Eradication Initiative was the largest public health effort to date that brought the oral polio vaccine to more than 2 billion children. Since then, the incidence of polio has been slashed by 99 per cent. The Americas were certified polio-free in 1994, the Western Pacific in 2000 and Europe in 2002. Today more than three billion people - half of the world's population - in 134 countries and territories now live in areas certified polio-free.
The World Health Assembly passed a resolution to eradicate polio by the year 2000. But, to the end of 2003, indigenous polio was eliminated from all but six countries of the world: Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 2006 the polio is endemic in four countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, they have yet to stop the transmission of the indigenous wild poliovirus. Once polio transmission is stopped in every region, a strong, ongoing surveillance system must confirm three polio-free years have passed before global eradication can be certified. With only four endemic countries left in the world, polio transmission could be stopped in every country by the end of 2006. The world could then be certified polio-free by end of 2010.
Oral Polio Vaccine
There are two kinds of polio vaccine: Inactivated (killed) Polio Virus (IPV) which is a shot given in the leg or arm. The other is Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), which is drops that are swallowed. Now, (OPV) is the WHO-recommended vaccine for polio eradication. Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is made with a live but weakened virus.
Oral Polio Vaccine is made of monkey kidney cells. In 1960 it was discovered that millions of polio vaccine doses produced in the early 1950's from monkey kidney cells were infected with simian virus 40 (SV-40), which was found in both Jonas Salk and Sabin polio vaccines. SV-40 is resistant to the "neutralizing effects" of the carcinogenic germicide formalin added to the vaccines, and was passed on to millions of people who now have SV-40 as part of their genetic structure. SV-40 is one example of a DNA polyoma virus. Polyoma (many tumour-causing) viruses cause prolonged infection where tissue is destroyed, integrate into the hosts genetic material, are capable of mutating a cell, may reproduce after coming into contact with a "helper" virus, enable the separate replication of the viral genome, can generate immune responses, and they can induce malignancy.
OPV & Cancer: “SV-40 is also a DNA virus. A study on DNA viruses was completed in 1966, and the results of the study were published in a 1967 edition of the American Journal of Pathology; the results clearly showed the known connection between such viruses and cancer: "A number of viruses containing DNA have been shown to induce tumors when inoculated into newborn animals. Members of the papovavirus group, mouse polyoma, and simian virus 40, all adenoviruses, are now recognized as oncogenic (cancer-causing) when tested by this method".
“The confirmation of the removal by one drug manufacturer, Lederle, has been made public at an international symposium in January 1997, where its representatives stated that all of Lederle's seeds had been tested and screened to assure that it was free from SV40. However, in litigation involving the Lederle oral polio vaccine, the manufacturer's internal documents failed to reveal such removal in all of the seeds. The absence of confirmatory testing of the seeds, as well as testimony of a Lederle manager, indicate that this claim of removal of SV40 and the testing for SV40 in all the seeds cannot be fully substantiated. These legal documents and testimony indicate that the scientific community should not be content with prior assumptions that SV40 could not have been in the oral polio vaccine. Only further investigation by outside scientific and independent researchers who can review the test results claimed in the January 1997 meeting and who can conduct their own independent evaluations by testing all the seeds and individual monovalent pools will assure that SV40 has not been present in commercially sold oral poliovirus vaccine manufactured by Lederle.”
OPV & AIDS: “The Origins of AIDS takes us to the former Belgian Congo to investigate this controversial claim put forward by journalist Edward Hooper. In his book, The River: Journey to the Source of AIDS, he links the onset of AIDS to a mass polio vaccination in the 1950's when nearly a million Africans were injected with an experimental vaccine derived from monkey organs. While experts agree that AIDS was born from human exposure to a chimpanzee virus, most dismiss the link to the polio.”
“New evidence shows that it is likely that the AIDS epidemic began from a mistake among polio researchers in the 1950s. Claudio Basilico of the New York University School of Medicine stated at London's Royal Society on September 11, 2000 that there is evidence of HIV in seven samples of the oral polio vaccine from 1950. The theory that the oral polio vaccine carried the chimpanzee virus that became AIDS is still controversial, as the vaccine scientists stated they never used chimpanzees as hosts.”
The above mentioned reports may be called as outdated, but Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-founder & President of National Vaccine Information Centre in a paper presentation (in Sep 2003 at http://www.909shot.com/) stated that the virus SV-40 exists and it causes a number of diseases.
In US, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sought sanction on Oral Polio Vaccine in 2000. The vaccine manufacturer Lederle that sold 600 million doses from 1969 to 1999 was ordered to leave the country. Now, IPV is given by injection. Here, the question arises why OPV is banned in US and the same is given in India and elsewhere. What are the OPV ingredients that are served in India and which company manufactures it? Till now, the Lederle Oral Polio Vaccine consists of ‘monkey kidney cell culture’. (Vaccine Ingredients & Their Chemical Profiles,BAGETT, Saturday, 31 December 2005 at http://www.surfingtheapocalypse.net) According to Harvard Medical School professor Ronald Desrosier, the polio virus that is used in both Wyeth-Lederle's oral vaccine and Connaught's injected version is grown on monkeys' kidney tissue. "The danger in using monkey tissue to produce human vaccines," says Desrosier, "is that some viruses produced by monkeys may be transferred to humans in the vaccine, with very bad health consequences." Desrosier acknowledges that you can test monkeys before using their tissue and screen out those carrying harmful viruses. But he warns that you can test only for those viruses you know about--and that our knowledge is limited to perhaps "2% of existing monkey viruses.” While, this is also a fact that UNICEF procures all the oral polio vaccine for national immunization days – more than 10 billion doses since the campaign began. (UNICEF website)
Reaction: This is also a fact confirmed by scientists that for a few people (about one in 2.4 million), OPV actually causes polio. In rare cases, the oral vaccine used to prevent polio can cause polio paralysis in persons who are vaccinated and in people who are close contacts of a vaccinated person. About 8 to 9 cases of paralytic polio caused by the oral vaccine have been reported in the United States yearly. In the United States, the last case of "wild" polio was in 1979. Wild polio is naturally circulating polio that is not caused by the oral polio vaccine. Except for an occasional importation, all cases of paralytic polio since 1979 have been caused by the oral polio vaccine.
There are a number of cases even in India that the infants which are vaccinated against polio have been attacked by polio. How, it happens? If the OPV causes polio one in 2.4 million then how India can get rid of polio when nearly 165 million children are vaccinated. In 2006 (till 4 July) India reported 73 cases. Is it not so that these cases are actually the result of the OPV itself?
Why Only Polio? Polio elimination campaign is the largest public health initiative ever known. Since 1988, some two billion children around the world have been immunized against polio with the unprecedented cooperation of more than 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, backed by an international investment of US$ 3 billion. In view of the massive polio eradication campaigns and huge amount of money spent on them, one is quite surprised why polio receives the highest level of political attention. Even today, nearly 165 million children are given polio drops in India by mobilizing millions of people and investing billions of rupees. Whereas, the new polio cases do not exceed hundreds, for example in 2006 only 73 cases were registered till April. While on the other hand, nearly one million people die of tobacco and smoking in our country, but no ban or strict law is enforced to eliminate this epidemic. Thousands contract HIV but pre-marital and extra-marital relations are allowed and no effective precaution is being implemented. Also, it is home to malaria, hepatitis, cholera and so many endemic diseases but not so much attention, why?
Moreover, polio is now mainly a disease of poverty. Spreading through water or food contaminated with human waste, it is particularly devastating in crowded urban slums, where sanitation is poor and children are malnourished and out of reach of basic health services. India, having 44% of world’s poor, lacking proper sanitation and nutrition resources, do not have any Poverty Eradiation Initiative or programme, why?
Why they are so generous? The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by UN, UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Governments like US and others with a huge amount of US$ 3 billion. The polio cases were reported only in numbers not exceeding two thousand after 2000. Here also the same question remains unsolved why these institutions and governments are so generous as far as the polio is concerned, whereas the same UN imposed sanctions on medicines upon Iraq in 1991 that led to the death of half million children. Why is this contradiction? Is it not so that they have any hidden agenda?
Is OPV anti-fertilization? Here, in India we sometimes hear some voices of protest against polio vaccine being anti-fertilization and productivity. There is another same voice from Nigeria (LifeSiteNews.com, March 2004) that provokes the same idea that campaign to vaccinate Nigeria's youth against polio may have been a front for sterilizing the nation. Dr. Haruna Kaita, a pharmaceutical scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, took samples of the vaccine to labs in India for analysis.
“Using WHO-recommended technologies like Gas Chromatography (GC) and Radio-Immuno assay, Dr. Kaita, upon analysis, found evidence of serious contamination. “Some of the things we discovered in the vaccines are harmful, toxic; some have direct effects on the human reproductive system," he said in an interview with Kaduna's Weekly Trust. "I and some other professional colleagues who are Indians who were in the Lab could not believe the discovery," he said.
”When asked by the Trust why Dr. Kaita felt the drug manufacturers would have contaminated the Oral Polio Vaccine, he gave three reasons: "These manufacturers or promoters of these harmful things have a secret agenda which only further research can reveal. Secondly they have always taken us in the third world for granted, thinking we don't have the capacity, knowledge and equipment to conduct tests that would reveal such contaminants. And very unfortunately they also have people to defend their atrocities within our midst, and worst still some of these are supposed to be our own professionals who we rely on to protect our interests." Dr. Kaita is demanding that "those who imported this fake drug in the name of Polio Vaccines…be prosecuted like any other criminal."
”The northern Nigerian state of Kano has opted out of the WHO oral polio immunization drive -- officials there remain sceptical of the safety of the vaccine. Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau told the BBC's Hausa service program in Kaduna that "We have investigated and discovered that there is danger in the polio vaccines. We have therefore opted out of the national immunization exercise against polio, until we are convinced of its efficacy and safety because a series of laboratory tests have revealed that the vaccines contain some substances which are capable of causing infertility, especially in females," he said, as reported in allAfrica's ThisDay on-line news source.”
This is also a serious question that requires attention. Actually, drugs and vaccines are very different. Drugs are used to cure sick people while vaccines are given to healthy people, primarily children. The standards for proof of safety and efficacy of vaccines should be higher than for any other pharmaceutical product we use.
The Task Ahead
After all, it is an established fact that the oral polio vaccine has been the most effective medicine to combat this disease. Till now polio is incurable and immunization is the only remedy. There is no other efficient way that roots out this curse. It is the virtue of this vaccine that polio which in 1988 crippled 350 thousand people in 125 countries has been minimized to only some hundreds in four countries. India that once had 30 thousand victims of polio now is almost polio free except some northern states like UP and Bihar. In 2006 India witnesses 137 new cases of polio, UP being on the top with 121. Most regretfully that 70% of those affected are Muslims. There are many reasons that have caused this disease still looming in Muslim areas; many Muslim parents have been reported to be suspicious and reluctant to give these drops to their dear ones due to widespread misconceptions, while many of them are, due to ignorance or poverty, even unaware of the consequences that lie head. We, as citizens of this country, have to resolve firmly that we have to get rid of this epidemic and free India from this disease and all such killing bugstobacco or drugs. As part of the global family, one cannot seclude oneself with such endemic diseases only on the basis of some misconceptions, though one has the right to clear doubts. Ulama and Muslim NGOs must come out
for an effective drive towards polio eradication and drugs free society.
FAMILY LIFE NEEDS LOVE NOT LAW
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
In the last week of October 2006, a new law Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was introduced in our country. It is aims at protecting women, daughters, sisters, mothers from their male relatives. Unlike criminal laws, it does not demand visible evidence of abuse. This newly introduced law is though applauded by women organizations but it may have severe and disastrous consequences on family relations.
Now, according to many media reports the men have started registering complaints against women of blackmailing, threatening and so on. "Men are now being harassed by their wives with this new weapon," says Swarup Sarkar of SIFF (Save Indian Family Foundation). "Domestic violence should be dealt with, but this Act is bound to be misused," says Sarkar.
Supreme Court lawyer Ram Prakash Chugh of the Akhil Bharatiya Patni Atyachar Virodhi Morcha (All India Front against Persecution by Wives) corroborates: "All our five helplines are clogged with calls from men being blackmailed with the threat of this new law. Software professionals, doctors, service-class-men, everyone is calling," he says. Chugh added: "What they have introduced is an anti-marriage Act, which will only help in breaking the families”.
Institution of Family
The family is the foremost and fundamental institution of human society. It shapes the basic unit of civilization. The structure of a successful and prosperous civilization, in material and spiritual terms, entirely rests upon a stable family system. The stronger and integrated family system will guarantee the deeper roots of the civilization. The values, morals and high goals of a social family life that are necessary to make a human society prosper and thrive can not be achieved until there is a hearty relation and attachment between the various members of the family.
Family is an institution of love, care, compassion and kindness. It brings progress, prosperity, peace and tranquillity in the society. The Family provides for moral, social and emotional security and also leads to integration and cohesion among the relations.
Those who have studied the history of civilizations and cultures and the causes of their decline they have come to a conclusion that the disarrayed family system, shattered domestic life, lack of enthusiasm into the relation of men and women and the indifference of women towards their household duties has been the main cause of their decline and devastation. Whichever nation’s women began fleeing from their home duties, the nation started moving fast to decay. When the mothers deprived themselves of the passion of motherhood and avoided to lift the burden rearing and training their children and when, instead of making their home a peaceful haven, they started competing men in all spheres of life, their grew a moral anarchy, social crises and ideological disturbance. This is the case with every ancient civilization about which we learn in books, and today the same history is being repeated in the western world.
The family system of the West is shattered. It is a result of confusion about the importance and role of the family in society and about the purpose of life itself. The objectives and values of life are not set right; therefore it is leading into disintegration of entire family system that finally breeds a disturbed society. Most of the marriages in West end up on divorce. 50% of the children born in United States now are born outside marriage. This is unprecedented in human civilization. Family violence has increased beyond imagination, child abuse, spousal abuse and elder parents abuse is widespread in this society.
On the other side, Islam lays great emphasis on family life and its ethical and spiritual values. As it provides for the reproduction and procreation of the human race, it protects the morals of the individual and society. It creates a pleasant environment for the spiritual development and moral growth of the spouses and other members of the family. It promotes love, compassion and tranquillity in society.
A family is being composed by some male and female members. Obviously, there should be a leader among them who can control all the matters related to the family. Men are physically and historically fit to fulfil this duty. They have been assigned a position of authority so that they can maintain order and discipline as the head of the household. The Glorious Quran has advocated this universal law of nature saying: “men are the protectors and maintainers of women”. This has been proved by the civilizations, cultures and social systems at different times and different places of the world. As in every institution, company, organization there is a boss having authority to get the work done. As in a team there is a captain who leads the entire team to win. But for example, if the team members deny accepting the authority of any member of the team it will result in to lawlessness that will certainly will push the team to defeat. The same rule is applied here, since the institution of family is much more important than any other human organization.
It should not be considered that Islam supports male-dominance and advocates suppression of women. Because, any member of family, either man or woman, will be regarded as guardian of family and in every case the question of male or female dominance will arise. Actually, it is not the question of dominance and governance, but it is the matter of adjustment, management and discipline. According to Islam the real spirit of family life is love, understanding and mutual respect.
All the family members have rights towards each other. Islam brings the rights of the husband, wife, children and relatives into a fine equilibrium. Every one of them is asked to be respectful and mindful of other’s rights. If wife has been asked to obey her husband, the husband has been ordered to make the wellbeing of his family his top priority. On one hand, the fathers and mothers have are responsible to provide a healthy and sound atmosphere for upbringing their children, while on the other the sons and daughters have been enjoined to stay obedient and respectful to their parents. Similarly, the brothers and sisters are required to show love and respect to each other. As a whole, the elder are told to behave affectionately and mercifully with the younger ones, and the younger ones are taught to pay respect to the elders.
Husband & Wife Relation
Marriage is a noble social contract that is meant to attain social, moral and spiritual objectives. The relationship between a husband and wife is not merely a utilitarian relationship. It is a relationship that generates love, mercy, understanding, tolerance, mutual confidence, self-sacrifice and companionship. It is the family that provides the most proper environment for the development of human personality. It is a great source of peace and satisfaction, as the Holy Quran describes it: “And (one) of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses so that you may console yourselves with them, He has set between you love and mercy”. (30:21)
The family is not just to fulfil one’s sexual and social needs. Both, the husband and wife are considered like companions cooperating each other to achieve the social and spiritual goals. Islam has given man a central authority since it dislikes disjointed family system without any authority, control, or discipline. Men have been encouraged to behave well to their spouses. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The best amongst you are those who are good to their spouses.” The Prophet set the best example of it, as he was the most compassionate and kind to his family and others. Likewise, Islam expects the wife to obey her husband and manage the household. The key role in the proper development of the family is played by the woman. According to Islamic social system, she is freed from running about in search of a living. She is required to devote herself to the family.
Husband and wife or man and woman are like two wheels, if any of them will cease to work properly then the journey of life will be affected or will come to a halt. Both have to work in their own circles. Only this can guarantee a prosperous and ethically and spiritually high society. But, if any of the two transgresses one’s boundaries that is set for them or shirks to shoulder the burden of responsibilities laid upon them, then there will be a chaos, commotion and anarchy on moral, social and spiritual levels, and this will lead the society to devastations.
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org