The family is necessary for human beings to realize their full psychological development. The Creator has fashioned us in the best way,including our physical and non-physical aspects. Our shape, height, color, movement and appearance, and our psychological, spiritual, and mental aspects, have all been created in a coherent manner. God has also blessed us with tribes, communities, and nations.Verily, We create human beings in the best [optimum] conformation. (Qur’an 95:4)
During our life journey, we develop in stages in great and remarkable ways: from the fragility and weakness of infancy, through the stages of growth and learning, up to the peak of strength, and returning finally to the feebleness of old age (entailing loss of strength, knowledge, and memory). During this process, parents continue to grow psychologically,contributing much to their children, grand children, and the larger extended family. The need for healthy intimacy will remain unfulfilled if the individual does not become a spouse. It is only within the sanctity of marriage that men and women are able to experience optimum psychological intimacy. As the Qur’an puts it, They [your wives] are your garment and you [husbands] are a garment for them. (Qur’an 2:187)
Following marriage, another factor of growth comes into play: the desire to have children and start a family. At this stage, four different possibilities can occur, each with its own psychological outcomes. Either the couple will be barren, or have daughters only, or have sons only, or have both daughters and sons. Everyone of these outcomes has an effect on parents and on children.
He bestows the gift of female offspring on whomever He wills, and the gift of male offspring on whomever He wills; or He gives both male and female [to whomever He wills], and causes to bebarren whomever He wills: for, verily, He is All-Knowing, infinite in His power. (Qur’an 42: 49-50)
The psychological rewards continue with the parents experiencing the pleasure of seeing their children become married, and then seeing them have children of their own (their grandchildren), allowing them to feel the continuation of their existence into the future. We realize how different it is when we have only one child (a boy or a girl) in the family. It is not the same feeling when the child has brothers and sisters. Neither is it the same when the child has no aunts, uncles, grandfathers or grandmothers. Children are enriched when there is an extended family, and even more so with a larger extended family (from the two sides of the father and the mother). oportunities for psychological enrichment occur when the children have a healthy set of relationships. This occurs in the context of various roles; for the female: as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, and a grandmother, and for the male: as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, an uncle, and a grandfather.
Family life depends on setting the right family objectives, which are over and above the goal of simply having children. The family does not only produce children to preserve humanity from extinction. Maintaining the family for the sake of the family does not make sense, and thus family objectives must encompass far more than just self-preservation. The Qur’an states: human beings! Be conscious of your Sustainer, who has created you out of one living entity, and out of it created its mate, and out of the two spread abroad a multitude of men and women. And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand [your rights} from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you! (Qur’an 4:1)
Humans are created from a single soul (nafs), from that soul was then created a spouse, and from that soul and its spouse were created many men and women. Although the verse is in the singular form, the same process is emphasized in the plural form: Allah has made for you mates from your selves, and made for you from your mates sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you the best sustenance. Will they then believe in vain things and in God’s bounties disbelieve? (Qur’an 16?2)
The idea of putting human beings on earth to playa certain role is described in the following verse: ” Behold, your Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said:”Will You place in it one who will spread corruption and shed blood? While we celebrate Your praises and glorify Your Holy [Name}?” He said: “I know what you know not.” (Qur’an 2:30)
The verse defines the role of every Human Being on earth: Trustee & Vicegerent (khalifah). The role of the human being as a vicegerent is to develop the earth (‘imrtm) and spread justice(‘adl). The Qur’an also states that life is a test, and that we are here to worship and serve God alone:
I have created jinns and human beings only so that they may worship Me.(Qur’an 51:56)
Thus the objectives of the family include: Service to God, vicegerence, respecting God’s sustenance and bounties, maintaining ties of kinship, and preserving each other’s rights. God also then specifies the relationship between spouses in the following verse, which focuses on tranquility, love, and mercy among family members:
And among His Signs is this: that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts}; verily, in that are Signs for those who reflect. (Qur’an 30:21)
Although love within the family is given a very high place, it is not the highest love in life. Among the attributes of Allah are Com- Parent-Child Relations passion, Justice, and Peace. The love for the Almighty and His Messenger is put at the highest level:
Say: “If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger or the striving in His cause; then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.” (Qur’an 9:24)
The foundation of love is love for our Creator. Loving the Creator is the highest order of love. Hence, you love your parents, children, and relatives even when they wrong you, because your love for them is derived from and depends upon your love for Almighty God. His bounties to you continue even when you misbehave. Love within the family is explained in the Qur’an:… And remain conscious of God, in Whose name you demand [your rights] from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you! (Qur’an 4:1) for your Sustainer has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [your] parents. (Qur’an 17:23)
In this network of love and care, the mother comes before the father, and she is the one who is to be taken care of first. When a man asked the Prophet (SAW), “Who is worthy of my care and appreciation (birr) first?” he replied, “Your mother, your mother, your mother, then your father” (AL-BUKHARI).
Servants of the Merciful (‘ibad al- Rahmani hope for two wishes to be granted: a happy family environment and the development of righteous leaders:
And those who pray “Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes and give us [the grace] to lead the righteous.” (Qur’an 2574) Joy and comfort is the objective of everyone in the family (including parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren). Producing righteous leaders is a second objective.