Columns's Our Families

Tuesday, April 1, 2001

What is happening to Our Families today?

by Siddiqua Haswarey

Who hasn't heard the big talk about the significance of a family in life? It's all over the place. They will begin with something like, "The family is the basic unit and the most integral part of society. The backbone of society…" Sounds familiar, right! Who hasn't heard the big talk! Non-Muslim politicians these days try to win elections using family ethics as the bait. SubhanAllah! It actually works. People fall for it. Probably because our own lives are so empty that we search for that intangible, promised "happy family" even if it means we turn to the Kuffar for it.

Big Talk

It's all big talk and nothing else! Yes, I'm angry. I am angry that we don't care anymore; we say we do, but we really don't. We don't put our money where our mouths are. We just talk, and keep talking, that's all we do, not realizing that our individual situations are subject to our own choices, and we can either choose to change our lives or live with them. That's our personal conscious choice. I am upset because these very basic structures of society are now working there way to ruining lives, innocent lives. Lives of those whose only fault was that they were born into a certain family setting, not out of any choice of their own but, because Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) chose that family for that individual. Yet, they are the ones that suffer the most.

I used to think families were about empathy, about feeling safe and loved, and cared for. About being in a place where you can feel that sense of security and compassion. A safe haven to turn to anytime, when everything else is going wrong and when you feel rejected by the world. A place where we know we have someone to confide in, where we can always come back whenever we really need to. I was wrong all along. SubhanAllah. You can only imagine my disappointment. Great expectations, right!

Our families are supposed to be the first places where we learn our true self-worth and develop the self-esteem that will assist us in being successful individuals that we will either be or will not be. We are supposed to learn how to communicate and interact with the world through our families. These days it's the exact opposite. Families are not good or comforting anymore.

Do you know why I am even sadder? Because I am a Muslim and Islam is my deen. I have submitted my soul and my heart, my whole being to Allah -Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. SubhanAllah! Don't get me wrong. I am not sad because I "was born Muslim" or "am a Muslim", Al-Hamdulillaah Rabbil Aalameen, but because Muslims are supposed to have the BEST families, and these days we don't! Because Islam has always upheld family ties, spousal relationships, ties of the womb, filial ties and sibling ties. These things have always been given an exceptional importance in Islam, to such a degree that Allah has ordained a grave punishment for those who sever the family ties. That is what the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) taught us, Allah - Tabaarak wa Ta'ala - making him (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) the best example for us.

The Problem

Deep down, we really don't believe in those statements about how our family is so important and is this and that. If we did, we wouldn't have these escalating divorce rates or these ever so increasing broken homes, not to mention these ever growing and needed teenage suicide support groups or these kids who decide one day that they want to walk out of their homes for good and never come back. This used to be what the non-Muslims would complain about! Now things have changed. There is no difference in these matters between Muslims or non-Muslims, it's all the same. West or East, it's all the same.

Don't you wonder about what exactly is going on here? Why this is happening? Why are the Muslim families so broken up? Why are Muslims going in for divorce like never before? In and out… like it's some game to get married and then to break up. Why are Muslim children looking toward the disbelievers as their role models? Where are we losing out? What has changed in us to allow this to happen? Why are we not the model parents we are supposed to be?

With technology, there has been an overwhelming surge in Islamic knowledge. It isn't hard to access Islamic knowledge anymore, Al-Hamdulillaah. As a result, Islam has been growing at a very fast rate, MashaAllah; it is the fastest growing religion in the world today, to the dismay of the disbelievers. This was a prophecy made by our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). SubhanAllah, no doubt. Another prophesy coming true. SubhanAllah wal-Hamdulilaah. At the same time, there has also been a huge surge in the problems facing Muslim families these days. Is this the way it's supposed to be? Is this supposed to be normal? Maybe a package deal of some sort?

Sure, every family has a set of problems, big or small. Every family does, I agree completely. But there is a huge difference, and I'm sure you would agree, between a family dispute or squabble and a child who wants to commit suicide, or a child who is abusing drugs, or a runaway! Or between a typical household conflict versus one that affects the family so much that some members actually consider abandoning Islam. Yes! Such a terrible result as a child abandoning Islam does have to do with weakness of faith, but aren't we responsible for the way our children think and what they believe in?

If we truly are growing in our deen and with our knowledge, isn't it supposed to be the other way around? Aren't our family structures supposed to be getting stronger and healthier? Or is it that we are just forgetting our very basic duties towards Allah -Subhanahu wa Ta'ala- and are so busy acquiring what we can of this dunya that will guarantee us a secure position "here", in this ephemeral world and all this in terms of wealth and luxury, at the cost of our deen and our beloved families? At the cost of our own children's lives? Is it really a risk worth taking?

Our lives call for patience and perseverance. Trials from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala serve the purpose of purification, cleansing our souls, building taqwaa (fear of Allah) and increasing our nearness to Our Creator. Sure! Anyone will survive a dysfunctional family in the long run. Grow up… become a good Muslim, InshaAllah and move on, but the impact is there. It is very real. Our children are left "scarred" and "broken", intellectually, emotionally and socially.

The other day, I got an email titled, 'This is thought provoking!" which stated, "If your parents are still married, you are very rare." SubhanAllahi Atheem! What is the world coming to?

The Best Examples?

It's sad! More so, because we have the best tools to be the best examples world over, the Qur'an and the Authentic Sunnah at our disposal… right before our very eyes, our guides to success in this life and the next, that have come to us from Heaven and ultimately from Allah -Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, yet we behave as though we do not know the solution. We have the life of the best of people born on the face of this planet as an example, the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and his Sunnah, as he was undeniably, the best of mankind and a Messenger from the Divine. Yet we behave as though we do not know.

We, as Muslims, are supposed to be the best examples for our children and for the non-Muslims alike, no matter where we live or under what conditions. No excuses acceptable!

I don't know what more evidence or reality or anything else we need to really open up our eyes and our hearts and look around us at what is happening. At how our lives are being ruined and how responsible we are for them, at how the generations are repeating the same patterns that they have grown up with and seen their parents live with. I don't know what has to actually happen for us to do something about it. Or when that special moment will come, when we will recognize the problem and do something to change it.

I strongly believe one of the first steps to resolving any problem is to first "recognize and acknowledge it." If we don't think there is a problem, then there's nothing to solve. It's as simple as that. If this is the way life is supposed to be, then… there's nothing more left for me to say that can help the situation. Qadar Allahu wa Masha Fa'ala (Allah has decreed and what He decrees will happen).

May Allah bless our children, save them from all kinds of harm, and guide us to His obedience and grant us the obedience of our children. Aameen.

May Allah accept our supplications and forgive us and our parents and the believers on the Day when the reckoning will take place, when no wealth or property of this dunya will avail us any good. Aameen. Allahumma Aameen.

Subhanaka `allahumma wa bihamdika, wa `ash-hadu `an laa `illaaha `illaa `anta, `astaghfiruka wa `atoobu `ilayka. (Glorified are You O' Allah and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no deity except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You).

Siddiqua Hassan Haswarey

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