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Women and the Formation of the Family

Women and the Formation of the Family

Due to the important role families play in the life and advancement of societies, Islam heeded their structure and formation and placed a set of laws, recommendations and teachings. This set of instructions is not only related to the family after its formation, but also before it is formed. Islam, for example, calls both men and women to be keen on choosing spouses -their partners in life- who hold steadfast to religion and who are moral. Each of them has to consider the overall religious and moral state of the potential partner before making any final decision whether to marry and begin forming their own family. This is the perfect path designed by Islam to build a strong family that is the foundation of a benevolent, strong, and leading society. There are numerous narrations that urge on making a good choice and warn against desiring the impermanent materials of this world on behalf of heeding everlasting values.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his Household) says:
“Whoever comes with what satisfy you of religion and morality, then accept his request for marriage; otherwise, there will be disorder and great corruption on Earth.”[1]

He (peace be upon him and his Family) also said: “Do not ever get married to a green plant [which has sprouted from a] dunghill.”
He was asked: “What is a green plant [which has sprouted out of a] dunghill?
He (peace be upon him) answered: “A beautiful woman who has been raised in a bad environment.”

Islam has emphasized wisely choosing a spouse in addition to emphasizing the freedom of choice for both men and women.

Imam Al-Khamenei says:
“Islam has granted special regard to a woman who is a wife in all stages. First, it grants her freedom in choosing her husband. No one is allowed to impose decisions upon her. Neither her relatives and not even her father and brothers are allowed to force her to marry to a man she does not want. They do not have the right to do so. This is the view of Islam.

There are some wrong and pre-Islamic traditions within the Islamic society in a number of countries including certain districts in our country, especially in the central regions, Khuzestan, and other areas.  I know that there are some clans who allow the cousin of a girl to give his opinion in her marriage. This is wrong! Islam does not allow anyone to do this, and what is done by ignorant Muslims should not be affiliated to Islam. These are traditions of ignorance. Ignorant Muslims act according to their manners and traditions of ignorance which are not connected to Islam and its illuminated laws. Whoever enforces a girl to marry her cousin is actually breaking Islamic code. If a cousin allows himself to forbid her from marrying because she does not approve of him as a husband, then he along with whoever aids him in this has committed a prohibited action which is contrary Islamic code! Such traditions are contrary with Islamic code, and there is no disagreement among Islamic jurists in this.

Notice how Islamic laws support women in their freedom in choosing their husbands in the beginning of the formation of the family.”

Post-Forming the Family

When Western women broke free of their household responsibilities, this had a dangerous impact on the stability and the emotional, psychological and behavioral security of the family. In order to avoid such a result in the Islamic society, Imam Al-Khamenei emphasizes that Muslim women should create a balance between their work and household responsibilities. He says:
“In the wars that took place during the early ages of Islam, women participated not only in nursing soldiers in the scene of battle, but also in fighting enemies with the sword in intense wars while wearing the veil. At the same time they embraced their children in their homes raising them according to Islamic standards, and they preserved their Islamic dress code (hijab). Whoever observes this closely will find that there is no contradiction between preserving the Islamic dress of a woman and the responsibilities she may be in charge of, but some exceed boundaries while others are negligent. Some women would prefer staying at home in case their social activity consumed a great deal of their time and did not allow them to devote themselves to their home, husband, and children. Others believe that taking care of the home, a husband, and children stands in the way of social activities and thus they abandon them! Both views are wrong. One should not be left in favor of another.”

“You have other duties and [can] be present outside of your home. You can work in professions like surgery, nursing, making a scientific feat, preparing a project, and lecturing at universities. All of these activities are important, but your home has a share which you must heed. Similarly to other matters, how the time at home is spent is much more important than the quantity. There is a certain effect if a woman is at home for 24 hours; but if you are not present for many hours at home, you should raise the level of the quality of time you spend there. This special presence will have another meaning! But if you see that your work very much harms your presence at home, you should find a solution. This matter is important and essential, except in the cases of necessity. Necessities make way for exceptions, but I am talking here about the base and not about exceptions.”

Imam Al-Khamenei points out to the influential role women play in rearing, and the important influence they have on all their household members even when they are outside the home. He said:
“Whatever field women are present in when they are responsible and aware, then progress will increase in that field. The distinctive feature of the presence of women in different fields is that when a married woman enters any field, this means that her husband and children have also entered this field. However, the presence of a man [in a certain field] does not have such an effect. When a married woman with a household responsibility enters a certain field, this means that she is actually admitting her whole home into that field. The presence of the woman in different domains is greatly important!”

The Educational Responsibility of Women

So far it has been clarified how dangerous it is for a woman to forsake her educational responsibilities within her family. The family is a divine institution that builds righteous generations; it must never be thought of as a place of entertainment. Any failure in rearing the family will leave its harmful influence upon the entire society. The mother is the first person who must hold this responsibility because she has the greatest influence on her children. This is due to the fact that children grow in their mothers’ embrace for a long time and the mother is mostly present at home while the father is busy at work. The mother possesses the essential role in rearing.

An Arabian poet says:
“Mother is a school; have you well-prepared her she will prepare a nation of good roots.”

Imam Al-Khamenei emphasizes this crucial and essential role saying:
“One of the duties of women at home and in the family is to raise their children. Women who refrain from begetting children claiming they are busy with their jobs are actually behaving contrary to their feminine and human nature. Allah does not approve of this. Those who forsake rearing their children, nursing them, embracing them, or showing them love and compassion due to their non-stop work - which is not dependent on their presence - are committing a mistake.

The best way to raise a child is when he is reared up in his mother’s embrace, gaining her love and compassion. Women who deprive their children of this divine gift are committing a mistake and harming their children, themselves, and their societies. Islam does not allow this.

One of the greatest roles of a woman is to be tender toward her child in compassion, to educate him properly, and to give him attention and meticulous care. In this way she makes [her child] when he grows up-whether a girl or a boy-a person with a healthy spirit free from any complexities and troubles, who does not feel humiliated, and does not suffer from misery and subjugation like the way the generations of youth in Europe and the United States suffer.”

“In reality, the mother is the person who can establish the family or destroy it. You should know this. It is the woman- not the man- who is the primary member in the formation of the family. A family might remain without the father; if he is absent or dead and the mother is wise and a good manager [of affairs] and the home, she can preserve the family. However, if the family loses the mother, the father cannot preserve the family.

Islam very much emphasized the role of the woman within her family. This is due to the fact if she loves her family, cares for raising her children, tends to them, nurses them, embraces them, provides them with a cultural and narrative supply, teaches them Islamic laws, stories from the Quran, and beneficial stories, and feeds the family members [their intellectual needs] as she feeds their hunger, then the generations of such a society will be aware and free from complexities. This is the skill of a woman, and it does not contradict with her education, teaching, work, involvement in politics, or other activities.”

[1] Al-Kolaini, “Al-Kafi”, Volume 5, page 347

838 View | 24-07-2015 | 16:05


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