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Selma Cook 

Raising a stable, happy family is fundamental in Islam. The family is considered the building block of society and so, many measures are taken to ensure that the individual's rights are protected, such as the right to have both parents, to know one's lineage, to be cared for, taught and nurtured to achieve one's full potential. All the things that are enjoined in Islam are elements, which are necessary for the peace, safety, spiritual nourishment, emotional and psychological health and physical and social wellbeing of each and every individual in society.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed with a good one and it will wipe it out, and behave well towards people."
(At Tirmidhi)

Allah says in the Qur'an,
"…..No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child…."
(Sura Al Baqara 2:233)

Everything which potentially destroys the family and therefore the individual is forbidden. Things like adultery, alcohol and drugs, giving and taking usury, theft, murder, lying, cheating and all the evil characteristics that are well known to mankind. On the other hand, everything, which nurtures the soul of man to success is encouraged and sometimes enforced. Women and children have the right to be taken care of, protected and their needs to be met with kindness, consideration and fairness. People have the right to feel safe inside their homes and in the streets. All people have the right to justice and to live without oppression and tyranny. They have the right to learn about Islam, its history, their roles as Muslims, the wonders of nature and scientific discoveries (which are all Creations of Allah).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Each person's every joint must perform a charity every day the sun comes up; to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it is a charity; a good word is a charity; every step you take to prayers is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity."
(Al Bukhari and Muslim)

The family of Muslims, who are truly striving to obey Allah, are peaceful, loving places. There is a relaxed atmosphere, where the family members interact with each other with love, kindness, consideration and forgiveness. Problems are quickly decided and overcome by referring to the sources of Islam ; Qur'an and Sunnah. Children are raised to feel loved and protected; they are taught the Qur'an, the word of Allah from the time they are small as well as stories from Islamic history which portray the strength of character of individuals and how one person can affect so many others with the permission of Allah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
(Al Bukhari and Muslim)

The care and development of the family does not stop with the parents and the children. The elderly in society are to be treated with kindness, cared for and respected. The shamefully despicable condition of the elderly in today's world is a disgrace to humanity.

After raising their children; crying over them, working for them, sleepless nights spent in concern over them and teaching and giving them the best years of their lives, too often these same children turn around and walk away. In the name of freedom they leave their parents and pursue their own happiness, wealth and material gain. Hasn't it occurred to them that they can live their lives, pursue their aims and still cater to the needs o f their parents? The emergence of old folk's homes is a shame on modern day mankind. The elderly are discarded as unwanted, unneeded and unthanked in a throw away society.
In Islam, the condition of the elderly is quite a different thing.

Allah says in the Qur'an,
"They ask you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) what they should spend. Say: Whatever you spend of good must be for parents and kindred and orphans and the poor who beg and the wayfarers, and whatever you do of good deeds, truly, Allah knows it well."
(Sura Al Baqara 2:215)

"And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your 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 honor.
And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say, "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small."
(Sura Al Isra' 17:23-24)

This commandment for good treatment to parents is for those who have been good to the child and those who haven't. For indeed, any good done with the intention of gaining the pleasure of Allah, the Most Merciful, will be rewarded as charity.

Allah says in the Qur'an,
"The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! He, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend."
(Sura Fussilat 41:34)

Links to Family Websites

Islam - Between Myth and Reality
 Basics of Islam