The Family in Islam

The Family in Islam0%

The Family in Islam Author:
Translator: Ali Adam
Publisher: Fountain Books
Category: Family and Child
ISBN: 1-903323-00-2

The Family in Islam

Author: Ayatullah Seyyed Muhammad Redha Shirazi
Translator: Ali Adam
Publisher: Fountain Books

ISBN: 1-903323-00-2
visits: 1511
Download: 349


The Family in Islam
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The Family in Islam

The Family in Islam

Publisher: Fountain Books
ISBN: 1-903323-00-2

The Family in Islam

Author:Ayatullah Seyyed MuhammadShirazi

Translator (s): Ali Adam

Publisher (s):Yasin Publications


This versionis published on behalf of

The composing errorsare not corrected .

Table of Contents

Translator’s Foreword 6

Publisher’s Foreword 8

Author’s Introduction 9

Part One: The Law of Matrimony 11

The Law of Matrimony in Creation 11

In the Vegetable World 12

In the Animal World 12

The Law of Pairs in Human Civilisations 12

1. The Civilisation of the Mesopotamia 12

2. Ancient Egyptian Civilisation 13

3. European Civilisations 13

4. The Civilisation of the American Continent 13

5. The Civilisation of Ancient Japan 14

6. Among Pre-Islamic Arabs 14

Marital Relationships in the Major Religions 15

1. The Jewish Religion 15

2. The Christian Religion 15

3. In the Religion of Zoroaster 15

4. Buddhism 16

5. Confucianism 16

Conclusion 16

Marriage in Materialistic Societies 16

Part Two: The Call of Nature 18

Marriage as a Necessity 18

Early Marriage 18

Simplicity of Dowry 19

The Parents’ House 20

Simplicity of Requirements 20

Part Three: The Married Couple: Conditions, Rights, and Customs 22

Religion and Morals 22

Means of Subsistence 22

Equality 23

Abolition of Conditions 23

The Couple's Happiness 24

Idolatry of Traditions 24

The Rights of the Married Couple 25

Part Four: Islam's Word on the New Born Child 26

The Fruit of Marriage 26

The Importance of Health 26

Suckling 27

Upbringing and Protection 27

The Bond of Kinship 28

Virtues and Non-violence 29

Part Five: Problems and Safeguards Towards Maintaining Harmony 30

The Happy Household 30

Work Within the Household 31

Part Six: Challenges Facing the Family and Society 32

Divorce Yesterday and Today 32

Conciliation is Best 32

Polygamy - A Spurious Crisis 33

The Crisis of Celibacy 35

Herein Lies the Catastrophe 38

Part Seven: The Role of Institutions 39

Marriage Agency 39

In Democratic States 40

Facilitation and Substitution 41

The Public Treasury 42

Conclusion 43

Part Eight: Marriage and Sex Etiquette 45

Etiquette of The Wedding Night 45

(A) Dates and times when lovemaking is Makruh (undesirable) 46

(B) Dates and times when lovemaking is Mustahab (desirable) 47

Other hadith on when/where lovemaking is Makruh 49

Sexual Satisfaction 49

Reference 50

Notes 51

Translator’s Foreword 51

Notes on the Book 51

Translator’s Foreword

Family life and related issues such as marriage, divorce, parenthood, underagepregnancy and abortion are areas of great discussion and dispute in the ‘western’ world today.

The facts emanating from various societies in the ‘developed’ world show that the current state of affairs is unsustainable and illogical and will inevitably result in the decline and self-destruction of these societies. A prime and oft-quoted1 example of this is Italy where,being a Catholic country, one would expect the birth rate to be high. However with a reproduction rate of only 1.3 children per couple it is clear that the population is not being sustained or replaced and is dwindling. It requires a live reproduction rate of at least 2.0 children per couple to maintain population levels each generation.

This story is repeated throughout the European Union where the Republic of Ireland despite also experiencing a sharp drop in the ‘fertility’ rate is the only country where rates are at ‘generation replacement level’.2 At these rates, Italy’s abortion statistics at around 150,000 per year3 seem an unaffordable luxury as they do in the other countries of the EU. The use of the term ‘fertility rate’ according to these statistics also appears to be a little disingenuous, as it does not take into account the number of terminations each year. The number of live births per woman is not a valid reflection of true fertility, because a conception subsequently terminatedcan also be regarded as a statistic of fertility.

The killing of childrenis deemed wrong in the Qur’an and hence in Islam:

‘And kill not your children for fear ofwant, We will sustain them and you. Indeed, the killing of your children is a great sin.’4 In many places in the Qur’an also, evidence is brought that previous nations and generations were brought down by their sinning:

‘Do they not travel through the earth and see whatwas the End of those before them ? They were even superior to them in strength and in the traces (they have left) in the land: but Allah did call them to account for their sins, and none had they to defend them against Allah.5

Hence we can see that the concept of sin is not just an abstraction with no relevance or effect in the real world but it is a way to the downfall of human society.

One man who has witnessed such a downfall in his own beloved society is Grand Ayatollah Imam MuhammadShirazi , a prolific religious scholar and authority now living in Iran. In his book Our Life of Half a Century Ago written in Arabic and yet to be translated, he describes the ease,simplicity and purity of Islamic life in ‘Iraq – particularly the cities of Najaf and Karbala – 50 years ago. He then tells of a gradual decline and erosion of basic Islamic tenets on a societal level and the adoption of eastern and westernsecularisation . This experience has lead to the maintheme which runs through virtually all of ImamShirazi’s books namely a call for the gradual reinstitution of Islamic tenets, laws, principles, and commandments in all areas of life – legal, economic, political, social, and spiritual.

The Family in Islam is one such book of ImamShirazi’s . Init he highlights the problems he sees primarily in Islamic societies today from the phenomenon of unmarried young men and women through to birth control and contraception. He calls for a return to the simplicity he experienced in his youth and draws our attention to the Islamic teachings and laws in this vital area of life. As well as being a call to the Muslim world to revert to the true teachings of the Qur’an and the Prophet and Imams, this book can also be of use as an introduction to others who seek some answers to the social problems of today. Islam has detailed teachings, which promise success in every area of human life on individual and societal levels, andwhat’s more their practicality has been historically proven despite being under constant attack from the outset until the present day.

It was not so long ago that Islam was berated for allowing divorce, which is religiously permitted and spoken about ingreat detail in the Qur’an, yet now it has been adopted by the very societies that formerly forbade it.However picking and choosing Islamic teachings to suit fashion or whims is not the key to success. Rather the key to success is to implement the Islamic ideology in all areas of life by following God’s guidance formankind.

‘They follow guidance from their Lord and they are the ones who will prosper.’6

Publisher’s Foreword

The family is the very core of society. As it declines so falls society. As it ascends so ascends society.

From this precept, comes the importance placed by the divine religions upon the family, as well as the importance placed by deviant philosophies on the notion of the non-essentiality of the family, because the disappearance of the family means the disappearance of a virtuous society.

To destroy is easier than to build. The pickaxes of Freemasonry, Marxism, Existentialism,Sartreism , and Nihilistic philosophies have swung into action to reduce the edifice of human society to rubble. Through this demolition they have reaped great returns,and have achieved a victory over high morals, and have succeeded in driving European man towards perdition. These destructive elements have now arrived in Islamic societies, spreading instability and disintegration aimed at destroying the family structure whereas Islam stands in direct opposition to these ideologies. For Islam strives to provide a firm support for the family, to build a family, which is stable, calm and has a goal and direction. This is what every human being looking for happiness in life is searching for, and it cannot be achieved save through early marriage and through a close relationship with the partner and the children in an atmosphere of virtue, faith, truth, andself sacrifice . This can only berealised through simplicity and by the castingoff of obsolete fetters and false traditions, for the pure family begets a pure generation, an upright generation, a generation which carries the community forward to progress and fruition.

This is the basis of ImamShirazi’s valuable effort in which he puts forward ideas and solutions to the problems of society. He deals with human society in its widest sense and studies contemporary topics such as the growth of thefamily and discusses views promoting the limiting of offspring and explains the Islamic position regarding this notion and other related ideas. Furthermore, he tackles certain modern problems faced by the principle of marriage and offers solutions to these problems, proposing a socialprogramme to solve thisonce and for all in so far as the phenomenon of celibacy will disappear from Islamic societies. Despite the brevity of this book, it contains important ideas coming from a man well known in Islamic circles as a source of religious knowledge and for his important services to society and as the contributor of hundreds of books to the library of Islam. His ideas are important because they spring from an understanding of history and from long experience in the field of social work. He does not propound the religious view alone but marries it with historical understanding and practical experience.

Author’s Introduction

‘The family in Islam’ is the name of this short book, which I have written as a basic guide to an important aspect of life, which the laws of the West in Islamic countries have worked at destroying and continue to do so.I have witnessed from beginning to end a half-century of family matters and what I see latterly bears little or no resemblance to what I saw formerly.With the adoption by Muslims of Western laws, both their religion and their worldly life have disappeared, as Allah says in His book the Qur’an: ‘They lose both this world and the next: That is indeed the manifest loss.’1 Many Muslims, and not least their governments, have welcomed the West and lapped up its laws thinking that this was a path to liberation from the tyranny of the Ottoman andQajar empires whose flawed Islam and complete isolation after the fall of their governments towards the West have been witnessed. They bring to mind the words of the poet:

‘He who seeks refuge in ‘Amr on being tortured is like one seeking refuge in fire from the burning sun’.

‘I complained about ‘Amr and when I left him and found otherneighbours I wept for ‘Amr ’.

There is no doubt that the Ottoman andQajar empires acted out with the range of Islam and for thisreason, the countries of Islam fell under the control of the West and the East.But there is also no doubt that the parable for Muslims in this respect became the example of theUmmayads and the Abbasids, as the poet also says: ‘Ah would that the tyranny of the sons of Marwan2 return to us, And would that the justice of the sons of ‘Abbas3 never was’.

Muslims had thus become an embodiment of one who has ‘forgotten both the paths'. For they were, under theUmmayads and the ‘Abbasids, diminished in matters of religion and of earthly life, but under the auspices of the West and the East, they were, except in a very few circumstances, completely bereft of both spheres. Allah alone knows how much we can bear of oppression and repression and deviation from His laws until the correct Islamic situation returns to us. However, we shouldrealise that this return is not possible without awareness.By awareness we mean awareness of the laws of Islam, from the notion of ‘a single community without geographical borders’, through to fraternity whereby every Muslim in any province of Islam is treated in all his affairs as if he is from that province, and freedom, wherebyevery thing is free except that which is prescribed as illegal, through to all the other vital Islamic laws soprofusive in number.

Each law in Islam is a vital entity promoting life, as theQur’anic verse says: 'Respond to Allah and His messenger when He calls you to that which will enliven you'.4

This awareness, however, will only occur when Muslims have come together inorganisations and political parties and groups whereby they will be in a state of utmost realism and direction, integrity and moral rectitude.Thus Allah may surround Muslims with His kindness and salvage them from this abyss the like of which they have not fallen into from the first light of Islam until this century. This is because Allah only conducts affairs by providing the ways and means to them. As He says in His book in the story of ‘Dhul-Qarnain5 ’,repeatedly: ‘Then he followed a way'6 , or as happened to the people of Israel when they went against His commands, He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years. Theaforesaid requires continuous effort and enduring patience. Do we not see that theKhums tax, given its importance, is only mentioned in the Qur’an once7 , while the word ‘perseverance’ and its derivatives are mentioned seventytimes. In thehadith or tradition of theprophet it is said: “As a part of faith, patience has the station of the head in relation to the body. Just as there is no good in a body without a head, there is no good in a faith that is not accompanied by patience”.

If then we work towards this and call upon Allah night and day, then itis hoped that the greatness of Muslims will be returned to them along with their independence and autonomy. Allah alone grants success and is the sole refuge.

The Holy City of Qum,


8thJamadi -II, 1415Hijra .

Part One: The Law of Matrimony

In Creation, InCivilisations and In Religions God8 has said in his masterful book: 'And of everything we have created pairs so that you might take notice'.9 The law of pairs is so deeply intrinsic to created objects that one does not find any atom or galaxy or anything smaller or larger than these that is not subject to this law.

If one looks to creation in all its vastness and what it holds, from stars and planets, air and water, trees and rocks, to animals and humans, one cannot but concede as to the integrated perfection of this system in so far as each one complements and perfects the other. Each proceeds according to a precise and balanced system which is only violated and traversed by humankind who were given by God the responsibility of administering themselves after having been sent messengers and having had the limits ofbehaviour laid out and the laws made clear.

Mankind then took up this responsibility but did not carry it out, as it should be - excepting God’s faithful servants - at times falling into oppressiveness, at other times into ignorance. In the Qur’an Allah states:

'We did indeed offer trusteeship to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they refused to take it being afraid thereof.But man undertook it, though he is unjust and ignorant'.10 If one leafs through the pages of human history, over and above the instructions of religion, onerealises that the family system, procreation, the avoidance of inbreeding, the avoidance of marital infidelity, instability and abuse are matters of human nature and psyche ('Thefitra (intrinsic nature) of Allah upon which He has created the people.'11 ). Even amongstprimitives and pagans and those who did not observe any law, from time to time their inherent nature would shudder and would manifest itself in some form of law or in the form of customs and traditions. It is no delusion that we turn to custom and tradition to prove this, nor indeed to divine law which corresponds to inherent human nature, for all that the divine law rules necessary so does the intellect, and vice versa.

The concordance and mutual agreement of humanity over a certain matter, despite their diverse nations,civilisations and religions, points to the deep-rootedness of that matter in the human psyche. In this section, we will review in brief the findings of naturalists and anthropologists as well as the religious view in this field.

The Law of Matrimony in Creation

This vast creation from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy comprises of tribes and peoples based upon the system of pairs.

Every elementis formed from atoms, and every atom is composed of negative electron and positive proton. The occurrence of any imbalance in the ratios and equilibrium of these charges will result in the instability of the atom, and the atom will then try to return to a stable state by discharging a formidable energy known as atomic energy.Likewise in creation there are two complementing forces - magnetism and electricity - neither of which can exist without the other. Then magnetism is composed of two polarities - north and south - and electricity of two charges - positive and negative - according to scientists.

In the Vegetable World

Allah has said in the Qur'an: 'All praise to He who has created all the pairs, of which grow in the earth, and of yourselves, and of that which you have no knowledge.'12 Every plant contains a masculine and feminine member, which upon their maturity pollination occurs and then fruition. Granted there are types of plants and trees which do not need this depth and complexity but they are like humans who have two independent members, which co-operate mutually in order to produce fruition, as is the case with the palm tree and papaya tree and others.

In the Animal World

Animals whether quadrupeds, bipeds or reptiles, amphibians, fish orbirds, are subject to the law of pairs. He (Allah) has said: 'Originator of the heavens and the earth has made out ofyourselves pairs and of the beasts pairs . '13 So they strive, because of the forces placed within them, to procreate and multiply and to preserve their species. Mothers extend affection to their offspring after birth orhatching and prepare the appropriate environment for their growth and development and defend them with their lives against the dangers, which surround them.

The Law of Pairs in HumanCivilisations

There is no doubt that there are differences between humans and other creatures. Humans have a certain freedom of choice and will whereas animals are driven and determined. There is also no doubt that there is a difference among peopleswith regards to systems and laws to an extent, which at times is contradictory and incompatible.However it is not right that we take this difference as being the most fitting expression of the matrimonial system.

Indeed, this synopsis does not hold true for all areas of the nature of the family, so we will concern ourselves to the areas upon which peoples havebeen in agreement from the earliest times ascivilisations and peoples. This will no doubtfulfil our purpose.Particularly regarding marriage and childbearing, libertinism, and the system of rights.

In the following pages, we will deal with matrimonial laws from the earliest times until the present day.

1. TheCivilisation of the Mesopotamia

Matrimony was deemedto be greatly important in the Sumeriancivilisation where they promoted marriage and repudiated celibacy.Marital infidelity was regarded by them as a crime punishable in detailed laws by death. The two adulterers if there were witnesses to the crimewould be bound and thrown into water to drown, and if there were no witnesses then the woman could exonerate herself by an oath.

Amongst the Assyrians, the matter was much the same where marital fidelity was compulsory and infidelity was punishableeither by death to both parties by drowning, or by them being whipped, or by their hair being torn out, or by the amputation of the ears.

The Assyrians also called for a high birth rate in moral laws in which they considered abortion a serious crime punishable by execution. They considered a beating, which led to abortion as a crime punishable by fifty lashes, forcedlabour and in some cases execution.

The Babylonians specified more than sixty rules regarding the preservation of the family and stressed the seriousness of adultery and the implementation of punishment by drowning for the perpetrator.14

2. Ancient EgyptianCivilisation

Ancient Egyptian texts afforded marriage a high importance. Adulterywas forbidden and its perpetrator was threatened with the most violent punishments, according to historians. The unfaithful husbandwould be subjected to flogging and the unfaithful wife would be subjected to the amputation of the nose. Adultery was one of the pretexts for divorce among them without distinction between the man and the woman.

In thecivilisation of Osiris, dead persons used to bear with them to their graves a document testifying to their probity and fidelity in order to obtain mercy in the afterlife.

3. EuropeanCivilisations

In Sparta, celibacy was a crime in which the bachelor forfeited the right to vote and to watch public spectacles and so on.

In Rome, celibacy was forbidden and considered a state in contravention of their religion punishable by beating or flogging with regard to the age of the individual15 , and by increasing taxes and forbidding them from inheritance unless they married within 100 days of the death of the legator.16 They regarded adultery as a grave offence punishable by death or by banishment from the country for life.

The punishment for one who caused the abortion of a pregnant woman was banishment or the confiscation of his property.

They laid down the so called Julian17 law specifically for marriage aimed at making marriage common and calling for a high birth rate and a reduction in taxes in relation to the number of offspring up to the number of three children, when taxes would be lifted completely just as bonds would be lifted from any woman who had given birth to three children.

Constantine made adultery punishable by death, and any suchdishonour during the age of Augustinian was punishable by execution or confiscation of possessions.

4. TheCivilisation of the American Continent

In the Azteccivilisation , in Central America adultery was a sin whose punishment was death by strangulation and then stoning without distinction between man and woman.

In thecivilisation of the Incas in the Andes, marriage wascompulsory and celibacy was forbidden and there used to be an observer from the Incas who would roam the villages and the countryside to make sure that celibates would marry.

5. TheCivilisation of Ancient Japan

In Ancient Japan, womenwere known for marital fidelity or faced death. If a husband came upon his wife in flagrantedelicto , it was his right to kill her and her lover on the spot. Certain of their leaders have added that if a husband has killed his wife in these circumstances and let the other man go free then he himself deserves the punishment of death.

Even the sect of the Samurai who insisted upon remaining without marrying until the age of thirty made it incumbent uponthemselves to marry and produce at least two children.

Chastity was a great virtueamong the Japanese so that some women would even kill themselves when their virtue was exposed to danger.

6.Among Pre-Islamic Arabs

The Arabs concerned themselves with lineage and descent, and this interest drove them to such depths and precision in theorganisation of the family and the tribes and peoples that it became to them an art and a science.18

They used to encourage early marriage beginning with age sixteen for men and twelve or less for girls so if a girl reached eighteen or twenty without marriage, she would be viewed with concern. The veil was widespread in the various Arab lands in many forms just as the custom of circumcision was widespread even for girls.

They used to forbid marriage to close relatives and fornication was regarded as a sin, which if they were able to punish it, did so with severe punishments.19 In certain circumstances, the adulteress would be separated and isolated in the house and would remain in this way un-married until death.

Marital Relationships in the Major Religions

Allah says in the Qur’an in prohibition of adultery: ‘Verily it is a vulgarity and a vileness and an evil path to follow’.20 The use of the expression vulgarity, together with the particular past tense verb in Arabic (Kaana ) gives the command an eternal and static quality with reference to God’s abstraction from time and the singularity of his law in creation, a notion which is not confined solely to Islam but is present in the remainder of the religions, because religion is one in the realm of God, just as the inherent nature of creation is one.

So when we examine the sayings of many religions, we do so with the premise that they support that, which preceded and succeeded them in the field of rational knowledge and traditions and inherent nature and not with the premise that they are a proof and an original source.21

1. The Jewish Religion

Jewish texts affirm the impropriety of bachelorhood considering it a sin and making marriage necessary after the age of twenty.Abortion and infanticide and methods of contraception are also considered a crime and acts of unbelief.

Any woman or wife perpetrating adultery would warrant stoning and the rapist of any married womanwould be killed . The rapist of a virgin girl would have to pay a monetary fine and take heras a wife for life for his ill act towards her and those caught in the act of adultery would be killed together.

Anyone slandering a married person without proof would be subject to a fine and punishment.

2. The Christian Religion

In this matter, the Christian religion does not differ from the Jewish religion because Christ came confirming what was in the Torah.22 Hence Christianity prohibited abortion and placed it on a level with premeditated murder. In the same way, homosexualitywas prohibited in the strongest possible terms.

The revolution of morals, which Jesus instigated, was in reality a war against the distortion (of religious texts), dissolution, and degeneracy among the people of Israel.

In theGospels it says: 'You have heard it said: do not commit adultery.But I say whosoever looks to a woman he desires has committed adultery in his heart, and when your right eye calls you to sin, then pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is better for you to destroy one of your organs than for all of your body to go to Hell'23 . 'It is said that whosoever divorces a woman; let him give her a document of divorce. But I say that whosoever divorces a woman other than in the case of fornication has exposed her to the possibility of adultery'.24

3.In the Religion of Zoroaster

This religion encouraged marriage and building a family and bearing children. In one of its texts it says that 'the married man is greatly preferable to the bachelor and he who supports a family is much morefavoured than he who has no family, and he who has children is even morefavourable than that.'25

Elsewhere it says that 'every time the number of children of a man increases, his closeness to his Lord increases.'26 Parents used toorganise the marital affairs of those of their children who had reached the age of adolescence, it not being acceptable for a man to remain unmarried.Also any occupation or work which would distance the individual from the family was unacceptable. Among them, divorcewas not approved of except in the case of barrenness, or adultery, or infidelity to the state of married life. Amongst their laws was the prohibition of masturbation, whichcould be punished by flogging. The consequences forone who committed adultery, or homosexuality, or lesbianism, was death. Likewise, the punishment for abortion among them was execution.

4. Buddhism

In Buddhism, the punishment for anadulteress was to be publicly thrown as prey to the dogs. As for her partner in the crime, hewould be roasted alive on a red-hot bed of steel. Looking at a woman with desire decreased ones vows and the lustful glance stripped one of one'sintellect .

5. Confucianism

The ancient Chinese considered the holding back of a man from marriage to be a character deficit and a crime against the ancestors and thestate which could not be excused, even for religious men. They used to delegate a special official whose work was to make sure that every man of age thirty was married and that every woman was married before the age of twenty.

One of the sayings of Confucius says 'if a house stands on a firm foundation then the world is safe and sound'.


After that brief summary of the family system among variouscivilisations and religions, it is clear that all of humanity agrees upon the call for marriage and procreation as an extension of the human species, and upon the impropriety of the unmarried state and the unlawfulness of fornicationand infidelity etc . This concord from the peoples of humanity shows its truthfulness and intrinsic naturalness. Islam, obviously, does not accept a great number of the rules and punishments of these ways of life andcivilisations , but our concern is the whole picture and the points of concord only.

Marriage in Materialistic Societies

Despite the obvious harmony of human nature regarding the establishment of the family and married life, and that there is no structure to the human species without this establishment and the fortification of its elements, one can observe certain voices calling for that which goes against the current of intrinsic human nature, and denies this law of existence, and so just as disrespect towards and neglect of the law of the atom has occurred, so mockery is made of the existence of the family. Whilst the system of the universe has its own direct and natural reaction through radioactivity, the family and society despite its not having a direct and instantaneous natural reaction27 , has a greater and more severe effect after the passage and elapse of time.

Among the most important of the slogans, which have gone outside the law of nature,are those said by Marx, Freud, and Durkheim .

Freud made the sexual impulse the basic factor in the development ofmankind, while Marx considered it to be Economics, and Durkheim went for the social factor. The proof of the invalidity of these philosophies isfirst and foremost that they are mutually contradicting in addition to the fact that the pressures which surrounded society helped to create them. The severe pressure which society faced from those who called themselvesreligion, and the grave contradiction that appeared between the words and deeds of the religious authorities is but one example. Another example is the imposition of legalcodes which go against human nature like the church's prohibition of divorce, and the inquisition and extreme quelling of any opposition together with the social gulf between the elite and nobility and the poor and miserable. All these matters have fuelledthese philosophies.28