Marriage – Responsibilities of Parents from Islamic point of view

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Marriage is a very important institution in Islam. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has said:

“When a man has married, he has completed one half of his religion”

He has further said:

“Marriage is my Sunnah (practice), those who do not follow my Sunnah (practice) are not from me”

There are three basic reasons for getting marriage, they are:-

  • To enable a man and a woman to live together and experience love and happiness, within the Islamic Law.
  • To produce children and provide a stable and righteous environment for their upbringing.
  • To provide a legal union which safeguards society from moral and social degradation.

Therefore marriage is for man and a woman to share a spiritual and physical journey, a journey which they will continue together in the next life, Insha’Allah. To create a pious and safe environment to raise their children and protect and develop Taqwa (Righteousness) in them to enable them to become God-fearing servants of Allah.

Sadly these days a lot of marriages are breaking up and ending in divorce. This is why we should all desire to live in a society that is free from such bad practices and our homes should be dwellings that are a demonstration of heaven on earth. The only way that anyone can survive in this materialistic society, a society which is engulfing the world and leading everyone away from Allah, is to ensure that Allah remains firmly rooted in our hearts.

As a support to the marriage, the parents also play an important role in helping and guiding the married couple. They should use their wisdom and experience to guide them through the hard times, to support them when needed, but at the end of the day, it is not their marriage.

It is not for them to interfere and make unreasonable demands.

The beginning of a marriage is very important, therefore we should strive to do everything to win the pleasure of Allah. The parents have to ensure that Taqwa is the most important ingredient in the marriage of their children. Some parents get blinded by worldly things
rather than seeking a nice pious person for their child; right from the beginning, they have put a good job, money, position etc. before Allah, thereby, straightaway giving their child the wrong message.

There is a lovely story about an incident that happened during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar (r.a). He was doing his usual secret rounds to see the true condition of the people and he heard a conversation between a mother and daughter. The mother was telling her daughter that she was making very little profit selling the milk and that when she was little they used to add some water to the milk to increase the profit. The daughter replied that:

‘at that time she was not a Muslim, but now we cannot cheat!’

The mother tried to reassure her that it was okay to add some water, but the daughter responded by saying that we must follow the Islamic injunctions. The mother retorted that neither the Khalifa or his officers would find out, so no harm. But the daughter refused to budge and said that that might be so, but:

‘how can we escape the notice of Allah and our own conscience?’

The attitude and piety of the daughter impressed Hazrat Umar (r.a.) greatly and he ordered a man to purchase some milk from the girl the following day to see if water had been mixed with it. When he found out that the girl had kept her resolve despite the urgings from her mother, he said:

“Such a girl would become a great mother. Her integrity is not weighed in coins; it is to be measured in the scale of national values. I shall offer her the highest award in my gift, and which shall also be in the highest interest of the nation”

Hazrat Umar (r.a.) then brought the mother and daughter to his court and turning to his own sons said:

“Here is a gem of a girl, who would make a great mother. I desire that one of you should take this girl as a wife. I know no better bride than this girl of sterling character. In the matters of wedlock, it should be the character and not the statue in life, that should count”

Asim, his third son, who was unmarried, offered to marry the girl and the milkmaid became the daughter-in-law of the Khalifa and from their grandchildren came Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz who became a great Khalifa of Islam and renowned for his piety and simplicity.

It is a lovely incident which shows the importance of developing piety and good morals in our children and to also look for those qualities when choosing a partner for our child.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has said:

‘There is no better and superior present that a father can give to his children than cultivation of good morals’

Many times the parents do not consult with their children to find out what kind of partner they want, therefore the parent’s choice is completely incompatible to that of their child, and so problems could develop, as they have different outlooks, goals and the marriage could break up. Therefore you should speak to your children first, find out what they want, allow them to discuss with their prospective partner beforehand about careers, purdah, children etc. Of course, you should always be present, never leave them alone, but they should try to find out if they are compatible with each other.

Sometimes a child will have ‘falling in love’ with someone who is not a Muslim, and informed their parents that they want to married that person. It has put parents in a very difficult position, what should they do? Some force their child to marry a Muslim or someone ‘back home’ to cover up this problem. But if the child is ‘in love’ with someone else, then how will they give this arranged marriage the proper dedication that it deserves? Will not the child hold resentment which will come out in this marriage? Maybe the child will continue the relationship with the person they have ‘falling in love with’ whilst married. Therefore forcing the child to marry someone else is not the answer! They need to get their child to realise their mistake (in starting a relationship outside marriage), repent and change.

The child needs to be the one to stop the relationship, put an end to it and be determined not to get involved with anyone else again until they are married. They then need to devote all their energy into their marriage and put the past behind them.

Sometimes, the parents will decide to cover up the affair and arrange to get the person to become a Muslim. But it is important for anyone who wants to become a Muslim, to study Islam properly and only accept Islam if they really believe in it. What will it achieve, if a person just becomes a Muslim by name, perhaps doesn’t even believe in Allah? Will they then ensure that your child to whom they have married will be a good Muslim? Will they ensure that their children will be regular in going to the Mosque? Will they ensure that they are creating a God-fearing house?

Your child will be blinded by ‘love’, but you need to think ahead, especially when their children are born. Will they raise their child as a good Muslim? If one of the parents doesn’t really believe in Islam, will they allow the child to go to the Mosque? What if it is a boy, will they get him circumcised? What if it is a girl, if the mother doesn’t wear purdah, how will the girl be persuaded to wear it? There are so many issues which can cause problems to the marriage later on, which again could end up in divorce. Therefore what would be the point of you marrying your child to a non-believer? Yes you will make your child happy that they are marrying the one they want, but what will be the gain? Pleasing your child and displeasing Allah?

So these are some of the problems as to why marriages are breaking down. To make a marriage work, then always strive to win the pleasure of Allah in everything that you do, that will greatly help you through the problems and respect one another.

Once married, the girl often begins her married life at the husband’s parent’s home. Many conflicts could happen; naturally, the new wife wants to cook for her husband, try to love and help her new in-laws for her husband’s sake. Yet sometimes, she finds that she is not welcomed. Sometimes, it is due to jealousy; the mother doesn’t want to cut the apron string, she still wants to ‘mother’ her son, not share him with his new wife. So she treats her daughter in law badly, making her into her personal slave, demanding she does everything, but never satisfied with what she does and then complains to her son about his wife, causing them to argue.

Sometimes when a marriage is having problems, the best suggestion maybe to ensure the marriage to work, is for the young couple to move out of the husband’s parent’s house. That is terrible advice to give, but sometimes it is the only solution. They need to be free, to make their own decisions and mistakes. Naturally, no woman wants to move out of her husband’s parent’s house, not when we are told by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) that:

‘Paradise lies under the feet of your mother’

But sometimes, they are given no choice, because instead of finding paradise, they find hell. I am sure this is not what any parent wants, so we have to ensure we do not behave like this. The daughter in law should be treated like your own daughter. She has come into your family, she is now part of your family. Give her the help and support that she needs, treat her fairly and with love and she will respond and be an obedient and loving daughter in law and a loyal and loving wife to your son.

Therefore, parents are there to guide and help their children, they should not interfere in their children’s marriage. Help them, advise them, but do not try to control them. The relationship between mother-in-law & daughter-in-law should be one of mutual respect and understanding. The daughter-in-law is not a slave, she should be treated like your own daughter and likewise, she should treat her mother-in-law like her own mother.

A lot of problems in marriages are actually brought into the marriage. The outlook and expectation of the youngsters is all wrong. They have already been caught up in this materialistic pleasure based world. They have already damaged their relationship with Allah.

No doubt we want the best for our children; we want to give them a good future, good things, freedom etc. but if we do not also give them a good religious education, develop a strong love for God, put more importance on winning the pleasure of Allah than winning material things, then we could be seriously damaging our children.

If you do not create a good Islamic atmosphere in your homes, then they may not have the Taqwa in them as you desire. So when they go to work or to University instead of being a good Muslim who has a strong relationship with Allah, they may instead seek relationships with non-Muslims, which could lead to going to pubs and clubs with them. Whilst no doubt in the beginning they will be on their guard and not do anything unIslamic, the more time they spend in such company, the greater the influence, the more they wish to please their friends rather than please Allah. If they slip, then they start on a very slippery path which could lead to drinking alcohol, drugs or more commonly dating and become very weak in their faith.

You may be unaware of this behaviour, believing that they are good believing Muslims, as this is what is being displayed in front of you. But if you arrange a marriage for them, then it is their spouse who becomes exposed to the real life of your child. They will be carrying this baggage with them into the marriage. Of course, the Holy Qur’an teaches:

“So virtuous women are those who are obedient, and guard the secrets of their husbands with Allah’s protection”

They will try to work hard for the marriage and if there are problems, will try their best to resolve them.

Therefore parents need to be aware of the needs of their children. If your child comes to you and asks you to find them someone for marriage, then you should consider it and try to look for a suitable match. Some children need to get married early, whilst others want to achieve other things first. If you put off their request for marriage because you want to get older children married first, then you will put them in difficulties and they may start a relationship, which will then put you in difficulties. So listen to them and talk to them and if you feel they are ready to get married, then start looking for a suitable match for them.

Your boys will meet many women at college, University, workplaces. They will try their best to avoid courtship but unfortunately, it is that very thing – their purity – which often attracts women. So your boys will have to be strong, hence the need to develop their Taqwa.
You encourage your daughters to study hard trying to get good qualifications, which will lead to a good job. But again they will be surrounded by men, vying for their attention. Your children need to be reassured that you will find them a good match. Someone who is pious and compatible to them, not someone you can boast about and show off to your friends. Your children will have confidence in you finding them a good match, if they believe that you are looking for someone for them, not you. Your children deserve to have confidence in you to find good matches for them, otherwise, they will start looking to make their own matches.

So these are some of the responsibilities of parents, to not only create an Islamic environment in your home, but to also help your children create good, peaceful Islamic environments in their homes.

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