Muharram 1428

BY IMAM ZAID SHAKIR

January 01, 2007 at 5:53 am

To summarize the duties of brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, we should love for our brother and sister what we love for ourselves. 

This is an incredible teaching that if implemented would go a long way towards improving relations between us. This spirit of love is especially important between the husbands and wives, as we often treat each other as abstract enemies as opposed to Muslim brothers and sisters, first and foremost.

In terms of the specifics, we should start with the Prophetic advice, “Do not envy one another; do not conspire against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from each other; and do not enter into a transaction after your brother/sister has entered into it. Be you servants of Allah, brothers. The Muslims is a brother of his fellow Muslims. He neither oppresses him, nor does he abandon him, nor does he forsake him, nor does he despise him. It is sufficient evil for a person that he despises his fellow Muslim. Every Muslim is sacred with his fellow Muslim, [that is to say] his life, property, and honor.”

If we implement these basic points the love will grow between us. 

We are all products of our times and of the various social settings we find ourselves in. In that regard, the factors and issues that are working to tear down the family in society at large are working to tear down the Muslim family.

Among these we could mention the devaluation of the deeper meanings of fatherhood, forcing women to be economically independent, crass individualism, the devaluation of the institution of marriage, the more negative aspects of the popular youth culture that breeds disrespect for authority, the failure to appreciate some of the deep wisdom of traditional society, and other factors.

Concerning the failure to appreciate traditional society, as the influence of tradition in our lives wanes, we have to increasingly rely on experimentation in order to provide meaning in our lives. This leads to a situation where increasingly there are no standard, consistent expectations in our gender relations. This lack of norms leads to increasing instability in our marriages, and that instability tears at the integrity of our families.