The family is the most fundamental unit in the total scheme of social order in Islam. It enjoys the highest status and the most prestige. It is the fount of the human race, its culture, society and civilization. Procreation is made possible because of sexualisation and it is institutionalised in the family. Similarly the family achives the development of the individual and his transition into society.
The family is a divinely inspired institution in the sense that it came into existence with the creation of man. ‘O Mankind, remain conscious of your duty to your Lord, who created you of a single soul; and, of like nature, created its mate; and from the pair of them created and spread many men and women’ (al-Nisa’ 4:1). A man and woman, only because they are different and yet complementary, are capable of forming the unity of family, which is essential for the fulfillment of the individual and the realization of the common good. The family is thus the cradle of the individual and the cornerstone of society.
The family is Islam cultivates and strengthens faith in One God. It preserves and communicates values and culture. It provides a stable environment for the development and fulfillment of the individual and enriches the lives of all its members, providing each the caring and sharing which he or she needs.
However, like any other social institution, the family can survive only if the roles within it are clearly differentiated and strictly followed.
As only women are capable of bearing children, even if no other differences between men and women are accepted, Islam assigns to the female the primary responsibility for home and family; while man is assigned the primary responsibility for life outside the home. Every institution needs a head and the role of head of the family and responsibility for its economic support also devolve on the male. Despite this primary division, men have the duty to share household burdens and women are not...