Family Disintegration: A Warning from the Qu’ran
Sadly enough, modern families appear to be losing the bond of togetherness between their members. This leads to the regretful phenomenon of family disintegration which is spreading like a virus in Muslim families, especially those in Western countries. Each of the family members lives an entirely separate life.
The father of the household spends his day at the office and having come home briefly after work for dinner leaves to spend the rest of the evening with his friends, while the woman is left to attend to innumerable chores and to look after the children. If she, too, is a working mother, it makes things even worse. The children are left to their own devices, spending their time in the Internet or hanging out aimlessly with other kids around the block.
Family members do not talk to each other at length to find out what is on each other’s mind, do not discuss problems or share experiences, fathers do not instruct their sons, mothers do not pass on their knowledge to their daughters, the interaction between family members does not go beyond the boundaries necessary for mere life-support. All this leads to the very spirit of Islam being drained from the family. All this leads to its disintegration.
The ones most affected by the disintegration of families are children. The diagnosis of the disease is lack of attention from the parents. This may be caused by a number of factors, mostly the fact that parents are often too busy and such are the imperatives of our lives, but forgetting your family and children may be worse than forgetting to look after an assignment or a task. The consequences may be gruesome. Family disintegration is an important cause of child delinquency, psychological disorders in children, such as hostility, addiction, stress, tendency to seek solitude, introversion, weak academic performance, and many other disorders that are difficult to treat if neglected by parents. Family disintegration leads to a state of constant turmoil and stress for all its members. Being forgetful of the value of a family makes its members search for consolation elsewhere and lose the final thread binding them to the help and protection of Allah. For Allah holds family dear and urges us to keep it safe and secure at all times.
The Qu’ran warns us of the dangers of family disintegration and the need to have a healthy family life. These warnings are very often overlooked but yet they cry out to us and, if not heeded, will serve to our undoing at the Day of Resurrection and Judgement.
These warnings are strict. If you cannot maintain a healthy family, says Allah, you should divorce. He says to the husband in respect of the wife “either keep her in an acceptable manner or release her with good treatment” (2:229) Once you choose to “keep her”, you have no right to be unmindful of your wife and your children or to forsake the spirit of togetherness that is the meaning of the family. The Lord makes it quite clear.
“And those who say, ‘Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.’ “ (25:74) “give the relative his right” (17:26) “to parents do good and to relatives” (2:83) “Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” (16:90)