The family is the community in microcosm. It is the root from which nations grow. It is the basic unit of society; its climate must be love and its soil adorn. In it human life begins and ends! It must be happy, a citadel of heart-warming peace and quiet, where affection reigns, which runs on oiled wheels of confidence and trust, security and sincerity. The more firm its spiritual and moral edifice, the more sure its joy and happiness in today’s troubled, explosive, insurrectionary atmosphere. Every human being has a greater need than ever for a home and family which will provide a haven of serenity and refuge for thought and reflection.
The West pursued a simple agricultural life before the industrial revolution. In those days the family was a centre of consideration, caring and constancy, men went out to the fields to work for a living. Women set the care and upbringing of their little ones above all else. The family circle bounded the lives of all its members.
But industry needed hands. One of the first effects of its need was the dispersal of men, women and children to industrial centers, government offices, commercial houses and other large institutions. Contributions grew in which the sole object of existence was to increase the outward comforts and luxuries of life, at the expense of values adorn by several previous generations.
The break-up of family life weakened the marriage bond. Gentleness and affection grievously diminished. Women felt lost without the single-minded devotion to their family and the upbringing of their children which had been the sole preoccupation in previous epochs. They spent their energy in exhausting factory/office work. The dual role of factory/office worker and mother proved too much. The necessary time, the adequate opportunity, for leisure of heart, for ordering family life, was missing. She must clock in at the fixed time at work; and housework lost its charm in the weary hours of exhaustion which were all she had left to give to it.
Further, the new “freedom” was so limitless that it uprooted family life, casting chastity and decency to the winds, leaving disaster and division to replace the morality of family and social unity, which had relied on religion and conscience for their sanctions. The mounting tide of divorces is sweeping the civilized world on a dangerous course, yet it is helplessly unable to stem the flood.
Marriage is a major social institution well accepted all over the world. It establishes durable relationship between a man and woman as husband and wife. Human society has witnessed several changes in the personal relationship between man and woman and it has now presented to mankind the present system of relationship as recognized by the society. Islam has laid particular stress on the need, relevance and significance of relationship between man and woman tied together through the institution of marriage.
The contemporary society in general has been witnessing several changes in the inter-personal relationship between husband and wife. The impact of the evils of the modern society which is highly corrupted and has lost control over social and ethical values has ultimately ruined the Muslim society too.
The great advantages of faithful and concerned relationship between husband and wife are being lost and the result is that the very edifice of family is shaking. The invasion of corrupted values and practices has led to creation of terror in the minds of the young unmarried girls who are mute spectators to what is happening to their sisters, cousins and friends after marriage.
Marriage has become a nightmare and is considered to be a necessary evil, up to a point and beyond that a curse. Rights and duties of all the members of the family are well laid down and guarded in Islam. But in a society which is degenerating fast and where the beauty of Islamic message for a blissful family circle is fast disappearing, what remains is nothing but the wreckage of the demolished system. How to solve the problem and who has to bell the cat remains almost outside the reach of ordinary mortals.
The petty difference in taste between husband and wife is found sufficient ground for ending a marriage contract. Minor conflicts and incompatibilities are all treated as evidence that a marriage has irretrievably broken down and that a family unit should be split. The storm-clouds of passion and obsession, with cyclonic force, blast the tender growth of family oneness; and the most sacred inheritance of universal cores values of the centuries, falls victim to the violence of the most unstable and ephemeral desires. Yet a small amount of common sense could solve the argument and quench the fire, while simple values, such as love and compassion, tolerance and cooperation and affection and mercy would stabilize the relationship on a sure foundation of principle, justice and love.
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.” Quran: 30:21