By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Husain Mazaheri
Today’s discussion is concerning the formation of the family and the importance that Islam gives to it. This is a very useful topic for discussion and I do hope that we shall be able to discuss several issues concerning our society. Formation of families gives tremendous advantages to people and the satisfaction of the sexual instinct becomes insignificant when compared to the benefits that are concomitant with the formation of the family structure. In the previous talk we have stressed the point that suppressing the sexual instinct is not right from the Islamic point of view. Satisfying the sex instinct is absolutely necessary and the benefits accruing to the family from this are very distinct. The first step for the formation of a family is to respond positively to the urge of nature because man and woman are absolutely necessary for each other. The progeny emanates from the mating of man and wife. When the human beings first set foot on the world, one woman was chosen for one man and they parented a few offspring. The first example of a human couple has been Adam (a.s.) and his wife Hawwa. If the family can give virtuous offspring to the society, then, in the eyes of Islam, there is, probably, nothing more blessed and rewarding than this act.
A verse from the Holy Quran stresses on the great value of human life:
مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسَا بِغَيرِْ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فىِ الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَ مَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا
…..whosoever killeth a human being for other than man-slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one,it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. (Sura al Maidah, 5: 32)
What we have mentioned here is the apparent meaning of the Verse. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)has given another, finer (lateef), meaning to the verse. He says that if a person misguides a person from the right path, his sin is as severe as if he has massacred the entire population of the world. Similarly, if a person guides another person to the right path, saves him from going astray and turns him into a pious and truthful person, then the act will be equivalent to giving life to the entire population of the world.
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)says, “Beware! Don’t lead men astray with your talk. In your homes you should not implant in the minds of the children, distorted notions about the Faith, the scholars, the prayer niche and the pulpit.If you let this happen, it will be tantamount to massacring the entire population of the world. You should always use your tongue, your pen, your manners and behavior to bring people to the right path to the best of your ability. If you do this, it will be equivalent to giving life to the entire population of the world!”
The interpretation of the verse given by Imam Jafar al Sadiq (a.s.)highlights another meaning of the verse. If a husband and wife train pious offspring for the society, the reward will not only be equivalent to making a mosque or a school, nor equivalent to giving life to one or two persons, but it will be equal to giving life to the entire population of the world! The recompense for giving noble and pious offspring to the society is more than that for any other pious act. This is possible only if the family is established on the right path!
There are several traditions of the Prophet of Islam (s)and the infallible Imams on the subject. When a person dies, his actions are terminated and he will not earn any further benefits on account of his actions. But a person who has left behind Baqiyatus Salehat (pious assets),will continue to get more and more rewards. Pious and truthful offspring are included in the Baqiyatus Salehat of a person. When a person leaves behind a pious son or a daughter, and they offer prayers, recite the Holy Quran and perform other pious deeds, then the parents will share the rewards that the children earn! When a son or daughter earns reward for a good deed, an equivalent reward will be allocated for the dead parents too. The good deeds of such parents will not stop with their death!
One tradition that is very popular with both Sunni and Shia scholarsis quoted by Sheikh Saduq (a.r.)in his book, Sawaab al Aamaal: ‘If a person leaves behind Baqiyatus Salehat in the world like building a mosque, establishing a school, building a bridge or any other constructive activity, he will get rewards. But a better Baqiyatus Salehat is a person leaving behind pious and noble offspring in the society. In addition when the child performs any good deed, one reward is for the child himself, another is for his father and a third reward is given to his mother.’
There are umpteen traditions of this nature. Therefore people should strive to form families of a pious and noble character, so that good offspring can be turned over to the society. This is the demand of Islam, which is a faith that conforms with nature! But the enemies of humanity have, from times immemorial, perpetrated such activities that hamper the growth of pious and noble generations in the human race. The Quran says about them: mufsid fil ardh – their work is to spread mischief on the face of the earth
وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فىِ الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَ يُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلىَ مَا فىِ قَلْبِهِ وَ هُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَام
And among the people is he whose conversation on the life of this world pleases you and he calls Allah to witness as to that which is in his heart; yet he is the most rigid of opponents. (Sura al Baqarah, 2: 204)
This verse means that some people make sweet talks and win the hearts of the people till they form their own school of thought. Some examples of such persons are Marx, Freud, Nietze etc.They write books, and establish their schools of thought which then take root in the East and the West. But Allah knows what is in their hearts. The Holy Quran says that such men are the worst enemies of humanity. The Quran doesn’t say that such men are enemies only of Islam. It says huwa ‘aladdul-khisaamwhich means that they are the enemies of the human race! The Holy Quran enumerates one of their characteristics that if they are unable to usurp power, then they create discord in the minds of the people. But if they are able to attain power, then:
وَ إِذَا تَوَلىَ سَعَى فىِ الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَ يُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَ النَّسْلَ وَ اللَّهُ لَا يحُِبُّ الْفَسَاد
And when he turneth away (from thee) his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle; and Allah loveth not mischief. (Sura al Baqarah, 2: 205)
When they attain power, they misguide people. They loot assets and destroy entire generations. The same thing happened with Iran after the Revolution. The American bred dog attacked hapless populations in the villages and perpetrated general massacre. He not only destroyed the buildings and mosques, but also uprooted the trees and destroyed crops. Quran says, yuhlikal harsa wan-nasl,meaning that when aggressors like Saddam get power, they lead the people astray or massacre people. Their aim is always to destroy the habitations.
Another meaning of the verse is that those who are the enemies of humanity try to mislead the young generations. They entice women to discard their hijab. In the name of progress they introduce forbidden habits in the society. They misguide men into forbidden ways. They make people engrossed in serving their selfish ends and satisfying their base desires, and thus the present generation is destroyed. This way they ensure that not only the present generation is ruined but the future generations, too, are destroyed. This is the reason that they work more in the schools, colleges and the universities. They try to keep the children away from the pulpit and the mosque. If they don’t succeed with their foul motives on the present generation, they turn their attention to ruining the future generations. Russel is a well known British philosopher.The world recognizes him as a philosopher of high caliber. He very foolishly thought it unnecessary to have a family. Even the Pharoahwas of the same opinion. But the Quran says
إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فىِ الْأَرْضِ وَ جَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائفَةً مِّنهُْمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَ يَسْتَحْىِ نِسَاءَهُمْ إِنَّهُ كاَنَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِين
Lo! Pharaoh exalted himself in the earth and made its people castes. A tribe among them he oppressed, killing their sons and sparing their women. Lo! he was of those who work corruption. (Sura al Qasas, 28: 4)
Pharaoh was an evil person. He created major problems for the Bani Israelwhen he established power over them. First he created differences amongst the people, and thus ensured his own success. Generally all the commentators of the Holy Quran interpret the words, yudhabbihu ‘abnaaa-‘ahum,to mean that he arranged killing of all new-born males to ensure that Prophet Musa (a.s.)was prevented from coming in the world! He left the new-born females of the tribe unharmed. But some researchers interpret the verse saying that Pharaohdid this to demoralize men and make the women shameless and hand them over to the society as play-things!
One act of Pharaohwas to destroy the future generations of Bani Israel.His plan was to make the women totally shameless. Pity on the society in which women render themselves shameless! We read in the traditions that haya (shame) or bashfulness is divided into ten parts. Nine are for women and only one for men. It is a shame for a society where all the nine parts of modesty in women disappear. That is the stage when a woman wears perfume and comes out in public, scantily dressed. So shameless does she become that she exposes her face and bares her bosom. In this condition she moves about in the bazaar or goes to a shop, talking and laughing with namahrams. Shame on such a society and more shame on such women! Pharaohwas enforcing these shameful things to strengthen his hold over the tribe ofBani Israeland to weaken their future generation. Today’s exploiters too have similar plans to destroy the coming generations.
2. Modesty And Bashfulness
When these people succeed in their nefarious schemes, they destroy modesty and bashfulness in women. They involve the women in sensual acts and destroy the manliness of men. A father sees namahram males eyeing his daughter sensually, but it does not affect him. Men see their wives, daughters and sisters going to the market in see-through dresses, without hijab, they know that their women have dressed up for others. When a society comes to this pass, we should offer a silent prayer for it! You might wonder why the autocratic Reza Shahand the king of Turkey ordered general massacres. They did this to succeed in rendering women immodest through their tyrannical force! Whenever Reza Khan came to any meetings, he used to say that he personally did not want the women to come out of the veil, but that they were themselves insisting on this change in their lifestyle! He said that the only thing he wanted was that the women should not wear the chador. When Reza Shah had gone to Isfahan, the elders had gone to meet him with a request. He told them that the women could be in hijab, only they should not wear the chador (full body covering). The Westerners knew it well that if women don’t wearthe chador, there will be no stopping them; they will spiral towards complete immodesty! And, unfortunately, we saw that women reached the stage where they were seen moving semi-naked on the streets. In addition, they were proud of their immodest behavior!
Reza Shahand the king of Turkeywanted to make Iran and Turkey “liberated” and immodest in this manner. Whether it is the Pharaoh, or the foreigners, Haman or America, they all aim to misguide the future generations and promote immodesty. Therefore it is binding on Muslims that they implicitly follow the commandments of Islam, otherwise they will be dragged towards evil. Pharohplanned to make men weak and the women immodest. He used to start with the girls when they were still small, so that they grew up to be immodest women, and men feel no compunction. When a society is reduced to this state, then it becomes very easy to dominate and overpower the people. When you see the Quran and traditions stressing on the formation of the family, do not be surprised. Only a pious generation can truly bring about sound progress. Only a virtuous generation can make scientific progress to the extent that others envy them. Islam calls on us to look after our children so that we can turn over a virtuous son and a modest daughter over to the society. The reward for doing so is more than constructing a mosque, or visiting the Kaaba or any other worship. If a person does a lot of good deeds and another gives two virtuous children to the society which deed is better? According to Islam handing over virtuous children to the society is better. Hence I congratulate the ladies who stay within the four walls of the house, and raise virtuous children. These ladies are like the mujahideen (soldiers) who are fighting the enemy on the frontline. In addition their house is also like a school. They are rewarded so much, as if they have given life to the whole world.
3. Giving Virtuous Progeny To The Society
Islam wants men and women to pay attention to certain things. A wife and husband, while in the act of copulation, should not think of others. For example, the man thinking of some other woman or the wife, may Allah forbid, thinking of some other man at that time. If a child born out of such mating turns out to be an adulterer when he grows up, it is the parents who should be blamed and not the child. Islam is so particular about the upbringing of the child that it forbids the parents to display sexual behavior even if the child is still in the cradle! They must go to another room to fulfill their urge, if they desire to do so. It is mandated that during copulation no third person should hear even the breathing of the couple. They should exercise care that no third person sees their faces or the bodies during their conjugal act. Islam forbids its followers looking at namahrampersons. All these commandments are to protect the future generations from going astray. The person who stares at namahramor the trader who looks at namahramscannot give virtuous progeny to the society. Try and become modest. Islam has warns you against immodesty! Islam has warned of grave danger for a lady who doesn’t mind looking at and dealing with a namahram.
The day a child is born, Islam says that the adhaan is to be recited in its right ear and the Iqamahin the left ear. If you wish the child to be a good Shia,put a little soil from the graveside of Abi Abdallah al Husayn (a.s.)near his lips prior to feeding the mother’s milk.
Feed the child mother’s milk. Mother’s milk is most important for the baby’s health and welfare. However the milk should be one that is from Halal sustenance. The Prophet of Islam (s)used to say: If the child becomes foul mouthed, the sin will go into the nama-e-Aamaal (the Account of Deeds) of the parent, as well as that of the child because he is the one who has used abusive and foul language. This will go in to the accounts of the father and the mother, even if they are dead and gone! (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol 1, page 71)
A person who has given immodest progeny to the society, the traditions mention, will get retribution for the sins of the offspring in addition to the retribution of the perpetrator of the sins himself.
A lady told me once that whenever she wanted to fight with her husband, she used to leave her children with their maternal grand-parents. After the fight was over and a truce declared, she used to bring the children home! What a thoughtful way it is!
Ladies and gentlemen! If you want to fight and abuse each other, please take the child in the cradle somewhere else so that he doesn’t hear your foul talk! I wish to tell you something. Our ladies, in the days when they never stirred out of their homes, kept some pebbles in their mouths when they were required to speak with strange men. The purpose was to make their voices as unattractive as possible to the strange men! Our fathers were men who used to recite the Quran and were regular at offering prayers. But what is our status? What is the status of our children? Such women have been endowed to the society that they take out their young daughters without a chador.It is a pity that they visit the mausoleum of Hadhrat Masoomae Qomin the same state!
One lady told me that she saw Hadhrat Masoomain her dream. Hadhrat Masoomatold her that in the past she used to cry about the pitiable state of others. But now she cries over the state of affairs of our own people!
Pity the children that in the laps they witness and are raised in an environment of sexually provocative scenes, provocative songs, backbiting, slander, abuse, shouting and fights. I appeal to you again and again! Please have concern for the coming generations! At least think of your own self. God forbid you are addressed as the murderer of human beings! You will say that I have never committed such a crime in the world. He will be answered that you have killed a whole world of people .as you did not take care of proper upbringing of your children!