31.2 FAMILY, al usrat

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


The family is both a social and biological unit. Members are related by either marriage or parentage. The family has sexual/reproductive, social, psychological, and economic functions.



Each member of the family husband wife, or child, has both rights and responsibilities. In a healthy family, members fulfill their obligations and responsibilities before demanding their rights. Both parents are jointly responsible for the upbringing of their children (aqidat, emotional, physical, psychological, and social). Each of the spouses has rights and responsibilities to the other.



The husband is the legal and customary head of the family. His leadership is based on more responsibilities. He is legally responsible for the financial up keeping of the family. There are many aspects of the family's life in which the wife's leadership must be recognized because she is the specialist. The extent of the wife’s responsibility varies by culture and custom. The wife is the primary educator of children shaping their character and personality. The wife and children must obey the head of the family in order to keep the family united and orderly. He in turn should listen to and respect the opinions and interests of all members of the family. A family cannot survive if there are two equal and competing heads. A wife who wants the success of her family and its happiness will defer to the husband's leadership role.



Habits for family success are learned from childhood. Careful selection of the spouse is necessary. Any defects found after marriage are either corrected or are tolerated. Spiritual development is by remembering Allah often, praying in the home regularly, inculcating iman in the children, following the sunnat and reading the Qur’an regularly. The family library should contain good books and audio-visual materials. Shura should be established by discussing family matters with the spouse and children. Children should not see conflicts between parents. The head of the family must exercise control over family activities with compassion and firmness. He should monitor what the children are doing. Meal and sleep times must be fixed. All members of the family should cooperate in the household work. Members of the family can joke and have fun with one another. The family should buy only what it needs. Indebtedness must be avoided. In order for members of the family to interact and develop the necessary bonds, they need time together and privacy from the rest of the community. Family secrets should be kept within the home. All members of the family must feel secure in their home physically, financially, psychologically, and emotionally. Members of the family may have to make sacrifices to make sure that their families are secure. The sacrifice may be time, financial or even accepting some inconveniences and humiliations.



Since a successful family is the basic building block of society, its destruction means destruction of the whole society. Family destruction could be due to internal or external factors. The internal factors are zina and its antecedents. The external factors are: socio-economic and political stresses. Family destruction is prevented by education, tarbiyyah, early marriage, following the sharia, maintaining the privacy of the home, avoiding ziba, and avoiding the antecedents of zina (ikhtilaat, khalwat). A moral social environment, a confortable socio-economic environment, and respect for human rights protect families from destruction.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004