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