Sunday, December 25, 2016

Considering the Individual Differences Between Family Members

When Allah The Almighty created all things and gave them of His bounties, they came to be different from each other. Allah The Almighty confirms that difference in the verse (that means): {And [We] have raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank].} [Quran 43:32]

This excelling may be related to the body, knowledge, way of thinking, financial means, and so on. Allah The Almighty Says relating about Taloot (Saul)(what means): {And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, Allah has sent to you Saul as a king.” They said, “How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him, and he has not been given any measure of wealth?” He said, “Indeed, Allah has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah gives His sovereignty to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Encompassing [in favor] and Knowing.”} [Quran 2:247]

For this reason, Islam addresses people according to their minds and the extent to which they understand. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “Never do you address a people with anything that is beyond the reach of their minds but that it would be a cause of Fitnah [tribulation] for some of them.” [Muslim]

It is further narrated on the authority of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “Address the people with that which is within their power to grasp: do you wish that Allah The Almighty and His Messenger, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, should be belied?” [Muslim]

The point here is that Islam recognizes individual differences between people, or in other words, recognizes the principle of difference of people’s concerns. What concerns the husband is not necessarily the same as what concerns the wife, and what concerns the children differs from what concerns the head of the family, putting into consideration a basic rule that adjusts those concerns and differences.

Since this applies to the entire Muslim community, it also applies to the Muslim family. The interests of the husband differ from those of the wife. For this reason, it is binding upon the guardian of a family to take heed of those differences and not turn them to a point of dispute that causes harm to his life and the lives of those surrounding him.

The Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who is the supreme role model, cared about those individual differences, which he clarified and dealt with positively and turned from being a point of dispute into a point of education and enlightenment. In this respect, it is narrated on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that once, the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was in the house of one of the Mothers of Believers (‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, according to others than Al-Bukhaari), when another one of the Mothers of Believers (Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, according to others than Al-Bukhaari) sent him a bowl full of food. The wife in whose house the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was, struck the hand of the servant, thereby making the bowl fall down and break. The Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, collected the pieces of the bowl together, and went on gathering the food which was in it, while saying: “Your mother became jealous.” Then, he made the servant stay until he brought a bowl from the one in whose house he was, and gave the intact bowl to the one whose bowl was broken, and kept the broken bowl in its place. [Al-Bukhaari]

The Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in dealing with that situation, guided us to the best way to deal with one of the women’s individual differences, that is jealousy, which should be dealt with wisely and without giving it much importance.

In this way too, the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, paid attention to individual differences when dealing with children. The Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, for instance, sometimes carried Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them, during his prayer; Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “We offered the ‘Ishaa’ prayer with the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and whenever he fell in prostration, both Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them, jumped on his back; and whenever he raised his head [from prostration], he took them gently with his hand from behind his back, and placed them on the ground; and whenever he fell in prostration once again, they returned [to jump on his back] until when he finished the prayer, he made them sit on his thighs.” [Ahmad] How happy children are when they do this with their fathers during their prayer!

The mistake made by many husbands is that they want the wife and children to cancel these individual differences from their lives and force everyone to share his private desires, inclinations and wishes, harvesting thereby in the household nothing other than distress, and in the community nothing other than estrangement.

“Marital life can hardly be established on the basis of likeness.”

Marital life is established on affection. Whoever wants to make his children a copy of him does not harvest anything but bitterness and distress. A heedful father who follows the guidance of the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the righteous predecessors does not turn those individual differences into points of dispute in so much as he wisely turns them into educational and instructive means.

Among the examples of individual differences which should be addressed and used as an educational means is that for a lot of women, a pleasant and good word from the husband is better in their sight than many other things. However, unfortunately, the husband might consider saying such words to be awkward, nonsensical, and uncalled for at that stage of their life. Carelessness about this need might leave the wife feeling estranged.

Similarly, some children wait for their fathers to surprise them with sweets or toys upon their return home from work. Unfortunately, a lot of fathers forget that, which causes the children to feel silent disappointment when the father returns home. Also, many children are fond of playing, but their fathers do not appreciate that, which has a negative effect on the way children are brought up.

It is pressingly important to give importance to those individual differences, which are necessary to enrich the community with a variety that keeps up with the nature of life.

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