MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The family and social lives of the Muslim community today are plagued by dissension and breakdown. As every day dawns, the Muslims are united in their dislike and prejudices towards others in their community, which keeps on intensifying, and shows no signs of dying down. Husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives, neighbors and acquaintances are the most significant and vital elements that play roles in shaping an Islamic society. Their mutual sympathy towards one another and understanding, the urge to help, and support one another in their sufferings, the spirit of respect and honor towards everyone in the Muslim community, and the feeling of a sense of brotherhood and kinship towards their brothers and sisters in faith, and observing their social responsibilities towards the entire Muslim community are disappearing fast. These are qualities, which must be observed by every member of the community to breathe a fresh lease of life into the present day Muslim society, and put it on the path that guarantees its prosperity and development.
But, it is a matter of great concern that the Muslim community instead of showing love, goodwill, and sympathy towards one another has, of late, become indifferent to the basic Islamic values that are desired in Muslims. As a result, the social system outlined in the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is no longer being observed. The culture of a feeling of brotherhood that existed in the past in the Muslim society, which enabled them to scale glorious heights in human civilization, is now totally into shambles. The moral structure of the society, and the basic family values of each unit of the Muslim society have crumbled to such an extent that it has caused them to drift away from one another by the day.
Honor and respect towards their brothers have been replaced by insult and derision, love and sympathy by hatred and enmity, harmony and brotherhood by jealousy and spite, mutual cooperation and integration by discard and disunity. The killer instinct to make it good in the society at the cost of other Muslims on the material and social scale has become the dominant urge among Muslims and the order of the day. This is the state, which has exposed the Islamic Ummah to a number of social perils and moral bankruptcy.
The relation between parents and children signifies honor and sacredness on one hand; it carries a great degree of love and affection on the other. But, the current trends of the modern society with all its social evils have crept into their lives, and the Muslims as a community have done away with all the respect and honor that should be accorded to one another both in the family and the society. Parents should confer all the love they can muster towards their children, and likewise the children should hold the parents in reverence and high esteem over all the members. However, the opposite of the ideal enjoined on a Muslim family is true, as we read the newspapers everyday about cases, which are lodged in courts against parents by their children and vice versa: all of which go to prove that the community is plunged into the abyss of social disintegration and collective decay.
Next, comes the relationship between husband and wife, which is held sacred in the tenets of Islam that visualizes for them a image of deep love, sympathy, trust, and honesty towards one another. Its teachings mirror for them a respectful, peaceful, responsible and a happy married life. However, this sacred relationship has crossed the boundaries set for the married couple by the Islamic Shariah, into the profane complexities, which are the benchmarks of a materialistic society. Cruelty and callousness, greed and avarice on the part of the husband, and his merciless demand of a huge dowry from the guardians of the wife, and his trampling over the rights of the wife, and the disobedient and impertinent attitude of the wife, her irresponsible behavior with her spouse and his family take place on a daily basis. Their quarrels reach to such an extent that they come out into the open under the scrutiny of the courts and the media.
Under such circumstances, the conjugal life, in spite of flourishing and prospering at the material level, is on the verge of ruin and despair, because of petty trivial matters, prejudices, dislike and hatred towards one another along with their families.
Quite evidently, for the same reasons, cases of murder and plunder, theft, fraud, and robbery have now started taking root in the members of the Muslim society. Divorce and breakdown of marriages have become commonplace. They are the result of our rejecting the social norms, human values, and morally sound attitudes enjoined upon us by the teachings of Islam.
At the same time, the human relations like brothers, sisters, neighbors are undergoing mutual spite, quarrels, and differences, which keep undermining the true bliss of life and the real taste of social existence that is desired in a Muslim society.
Is it not our responsibility to diagnose the ailments of our society and find solutions for them according to the Islamic law of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws)? In fact, this is a collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah. These crises and hostile issues that have been plaguing the Muslim community should be given a deep thought in order to bring out the solutions for them as early as possible. According to our humble view, the cure lies in the fact that every Muslim individual should make himself aware of the basic elements of his purpose of his life on earth, his reckoning in the Hereafter. Having learnt the religious injunctions, he should imbibe its teachings into his thoughts, actions, and into his very soul. The only way to possess them is to strive hard to gain a better Islamic knowledge and religious awareness from the elders and learned in the society who are well versed with the Holy Qur’an and Hadith literature or read the authentic Islamic literature that is now abundantly available in the market. When in doubt, one should crosscheck it with those who know better, and in this way become a more responsible Muslim in the society.
Secondly, everyone should make a vow that he tries his best not to trample on the rights of others in his community and fulfill his duties where they are due, not caring whether the others in his society are mindful about them or not. If we – the Muslims as a community – instead of demanding our personal rights, should first try to discharge our own responsibilities, then this world would become a better place to live in.