Family in the English language is a word originating from the Latin word that means ‘household’, familia. As for its definition, a family is any group of people associated through blood relationship, affinity, or co-residence. The Canadian landscape illustrates an array of family structures vastly different from those of the 20th century. The 2011 Statistics Canada report states that 67% of families are married-couple households, 16.7% are common-law, and 16.3% are single-parent households. But regardless of these differences, today’s families are still and always will be a group of people bonded by love.
The Islamic view on family places great reverence on this unit of society, a unit which plays a crucial and integral role in the various aspects of life. From birth until the ends of one’s life, there is always some degree of relationship between a person and those who constitute their family. Generally, the Islamic point of view on family is roughly divided into several categories. They are the relationship with one’s parents, siblings, spouses, children, and extended family. All of these family members occupy a unique niche within a person’s heart and are spoken of at varying times in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Traditions.
A mother and a father are the two people who care for a child and guide him or her through their formative years as they navigate the world around them. They are in fact the two people who will occupy one’s heart for the longest amount of time, from birth (or before) until death. People are encouraged to “be dutiful to [their] parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.”[Quran 17:23]
Sisters and brothers are the closest genetic match a person can possibly have, but more notably, they are the built-in friends through the good and bad times alike. Maintaining ties with them is encouraged by the Prophet Muhammad who said: “For those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, let them keep their ties of kinship.” (Bukhari)
Marriage is a blissful part of life that brings not only immeasurable happiness, but also a dramatic change in life filled with sharp turns and rough bumps. Through all of this though, I believe that Allah created a spouse/mate for each person and that they can and will find peace in life. After all, He said that “He put love and mercy between [a husband and wife’s] heart.” [Quran 30: 21
Children are often said to be the primary goal and objective of marriage. In other word, families are all about kids! This is a sentiment that is universally shared across the world, breaking all racial, religious, and economic boundaries. Islamic traditions, like many around the world, encourages not only for parents to guide their children, but to love them without limits. It is narrated that the Beloved Prophet once kissed his grandson. A man who observed this commented and said, ‘I have ten children and have I kissed any of them!’ To this the Prophet replied: “Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy [by God].
Last but not least are the extended members of a family-all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and more. These are the ones who more often than not spoil a person-young or old- without limit. So at the end of the day, in regards to all of these people who we love so much and who love us equally or more, the Prophet once said: “whoever would like his provision to be increased and his lifespan to be extended, let him uphold the ties of kinship.”
Maryam Baksh is a first-year student at the University of Victoria studying psychology. She is also a member of the Victorian Muslim community and is active within the local mosque, Masjid al-Iman. Maryam spends her free time reading, writing, and volunteering in various interesting places.
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