Chapter V: From the Small Family to the Large Family

 

 

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    The Islamic Charter on Family

     

    Chapter V: From the Small Family to the Large Family

     

    This Chapter elucidates the nature and scope of the family in Islam.  The family is not only limited to the two spouses and the children; which is the smaller family; instead, it extends to include a wide network of relatives, including brothers and sisters, paternal and maternal aunts and uncles, and others who are joined by ties of lineage or affinity; regardless of their location.  This network extends until it includes the entire society, which is the larger family; as was stated in Article (13) of this Charter[1].  Allah the Exalted says:

    [ ] (: 72)

    (And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve? ) (16: 72)

    He also says:

    [ [ (: 54)

    (And it is He who has created from water a human being and made him [a relative by] lineage and marriage. And ever is your Lord competent [concerning creation].) (25: 54)

    Likewise, He says:

    [ ] (: 13)

    (O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.) (49: 13)

    This Chapter focuses on the manifestations of this relationship between the smaller family and the larger family. These manifestations are covered in the following seven sections:

     

    ***

     

    Section One: Social Takaaful

    This Section deals with the status of takaaful in Islam, and the general rulings related to takaaful in Islam.  It also deals with some of the detailed rulings regarding takaaful.  These topics are  covered in three Parts.

    Part I: The Status of Takaaful (Solidarity) in Islam

    This Part discusses the status of takaaful in Islam and it clarifies the principle of takaaful, the basis for its establishment, and the sphere of takaaful in Islam. These topics are covered in two articles.

    ------------------------------

    Article (123)

    The Principle of Takaaful and the Basis for its Establishment

    Financial and social takaaful are among the greatest general aims and basic goals in Islam that must be achieved in the Islamic society.  Takaaful is based on two main principles which have been afforded a high degree of care and importance in Islam; the interest, unity, and cohesion of the group; and the comprehensive human brotherhood.

    ------------------------------

    Linguistically, takaaful means to alleviate another's burden, i.e., to supports another person and spend on him[2], it also involves reciprocity.  Thus, takaaful is to support, and spend on, and assist each other. The takaaful between Muslims is a form of mutual care by advising each other, providing financial support, etc.[3] 

    This Article discusses two issues:

    1.      The status of takaaful in Islam and the evidence for it.

    2.      The basis upon which takaaful is established.

    As for the first issue, takaaful between people is one of the most important general aims, and it is one of the primary goals in Islam.  Islam strives to provide all of a person's basic human needs, including accommodation, food, drink, security, chastity through marriage and other needs - even if he is not Muslim, in order to free the person from any shackles that prevent him from freedom of thought, belief, and opinion.  Thus, he is not forced to adopt any opinion due to the shackles of human need.

    There is much evidence that supports the principle of takaaful in Islam; some of which has been mentioned during the discussion of social insurance in Article (109) such that there is no need to repeat it in this context.[4]

    The second issue addresses the bases upon which the principle of takaaful is established and the aims which takaaful seeks to achieve.  This comprises two subjects:

    1.      The interest of the group; its unity and cohesion.

    2.      Universal human brotherhood

    ***

    Article (124)

    The Spheres of Takaaful in Islam

    The concept of takaaful in Islam expands in spheres with cohesive links until it eventually extends to the entire society as a whole. Thus, it includes financial, moral, and social takaaful in all of its forms; and it is between the members of a single family, between families, and between the group and its leaders.  There are many mechanisms to achieve takaaful including those which are individual and those which are collective, as well as those which are voluntary and those which are mandatory. 

    In this context we shall limit ourselves to the clarification of the forms and fields of takaaful within the field of the family, as it is the basic nucleus of the society. When the family is sound, the rest of the society's affairs are sound.

    ------------------------------

    This Article clarifies that the principle of takaaful extends to all human relationships in the society, with all of their types and forms.  

    It also clarifies that takaaful has many mechanisms by which it is achieved, these mechanisms vary between the individual and the collective, and between voluntary and mandatory.  An example of an individual mechanism is the obligation of paying zakaah and carrying out vows, expiation, and sacrifices, paying the charity of Al-Fitr[5], and providing aid to the starving and those in need. An example of the collective mechanisms of achieving takaaful, which involve an obligatory aspect, include the collection of zakaah, benefiting from the organization of individual efforts to provide takaaful, making use of the wealth of the rich when there is need to do so, and planning the means of distributing the wealth to those who are entitled to it. Example of voluntary mechanisms include the practice of establishing endowments for one's offspring, making bequests, hosting guests, giving loans, preferring others to one's self, and giving presents and gifts.

    ***

    Part II: General Rulings

    This study deals with the general rulings of takaaful, and it clarifies that the social nature of man necessitates takaaful. It also clarifies the limits of takaaful and its importance in Islamic society.  It explains that takaaful is both a right and an obligation, and it elucidates that those who are deserving beneficiaries of takaaful. Finally, it explains that takaaful in Islam is the basis for the financial acts of worship.  These topics are covered in six articles.

    Article (125)

    Man's Innate Social Nature Necessitates Takaaful

    Man is a social being who is naturally inclined to live in a group, and it is impossible for him to live alone.  For this reason, takaaful between the rich and the poor, mutual aid in times of difficulty, and sharing in times of happiness are some of the most important basic principles for building social solidarity and achieving unity and human brotherhood between mankind.

    ------------------------------

    This Article is based on a number of texts that have been previously mentioned in Article (109).[6]

    Islam is not only concerned with providing for the needs of the Muslims alone, rather, it goes beyond this to include non-Muslims who life in the shadow of the Muslim state. This stems from the fact that social takaaful is humanitarian to the first degree, before taking on a religious nature.  This is because non-Muslims living under the shadow of the Muslim stage are the responsibility of the Muslims; and the ruler of the Muslims is responsible for them just as he is responsible for the Muslims.

    In 'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azeez's letter to 'Udayy ibn Art'ah he wrote, "Search for the people of the covenant in your area who may have grown old and are unable to earn, and provide them with regular stipends from the treasury to take care of their needs."[7]

    ***

    Article (126)

    The Perimeters of Takaaful

    In Islam, social takaaful guarantees that the individual's basic needs will be met. This includes his dire necessities, needs, and non-essential requirements related to accommodation, food, clothing, medical treatment, and education to an extent that is sufficient to meet the usual needs of a middle class person; no less and no more.

    ------------------------------

                This Article clarifies that the perimeters of takaaful represent the basic needs of every individual, including dire necessities, needs, and non-essential needs, and these are the general aims of Islamic Shari'ah. These basic needs are limited to accommodation, food, clothing, medical treatment, and education, and the extent to which these needs are to be provided is that which is sufficient to meet the usual needs of a middle class person; no less, and no more. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

    Whoever from among you has been entrusted with a position and does not have a wife should marry, and whoever does not have a home should get a home, and whoever does not have a mount should get a mount, and whoever does not have a servant should get a servant. and anyone who gets anything other than that, has hoarded his wealth as a miser or a thief.[8]

    ***

    Article (127)

    Cooperation Within the Islamic Society

    In Islam, the Islamic society is built on the basis of cooperating in all things that are good and pious. Social takaaful is one of the most important forms of goodness as it achieves the interests of the Muslim community by way of the cohesion that it spreads among members of the society and the support that it provides to individuals, enabling them to get married and build a family.

    ------------------------------

    This Article clarifies that the Islamic society is established on cooperation, righteousness, and piety; and this cooperation is of great importance to achieving the welfare of the general public.  It also states that social takaaful is one of the most important forms of righteousness by supporting the individual so that he is able to get married and build a family, and this has been previously mentioned.[9]

    ***

    Article (128)

    Takaaful is a Right and Duty

    In Islam, takaaful is not a form of voluntary charity left to the will of individuals, depending on whether they want to give or not.  Islam  has made takaaful a right that is due upon the wealth of the rich, making it obligatory for them to give to those who are entitled, without reminding the recipient of their favor to him or hurting him in any way. In order to ensure that this form of takaaful reaches those who are entitled to it, Islam has ordained a precise system that merges the responsibility of the rich and the responsibility of the people in charge.

    ------------------------------

    This Article clarifies that takaaful is both a right and an obligation, the most clear example being the obligatory zakaah that is imposed on the wealth of the rich for the benefit of the poor and needy.  If this obligatory zakaah is not sufficient to meet their basic needs, then it is up to the leader of the Muslims to make up for it from the Muslim treasury. If this is not sufficient then it is up to the leader or the state to obligate the wealthy to pay that which is sufficient to meet the needs of the poor.[10]

    This Article is based on many texts including:

    [ ] (: 103)

    (Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase.) (9: 103)

    Allah the Exalted also says:

    [ ] (: 60)

    (Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakaah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.))   9: 60)

    Allah the Exalted also says:

    [ ] (: 33)

    (.and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. ) (24: 33)

    Also, it was narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) said to Mu'aadh ibn Jabal when he sent him to Yemen, "If they obey you in this, then inform them that Allah has made charity obligatory upon them that is to be taken from their rich and returned to their poor."[11]  Also, it was related by Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) said, "Islam is built on five [pillars]; To bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, giving charity, performing Hajj [the pilgrimage] and fasting the month of Ramadan."[12]

    ***

    Article (129)

    Those Who Are Entitled to Takaaful

    In Islam, those who are entitled to takaaful include all groups of the society who are unable to meet their basic needs and who are living within the Muslim community, permanently or temporarily.  This includes orphans, the weak, the poor, the needy, victims of catastrophes, and those who have incurred debts for Shari'ah sanctioned interests who are unable to repay them, whether the person is Muslim or non-Muslim.

    ------------------------------

    This Article identifies the deserving beneficiaries of takaaful, and this is indicated by a number of texts which include:

    [ ( (: 60)

    (Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakaah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.) (9: 60)

    It was narrated by Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him)  that the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) said to Mu'aadh ibn Jabal when he sent him to Yemen, "If they obey you in this, then inform them that Allah has made charity obligatory upon them that is to be taken from their rich and returned to their poor."[13]

    ***

    Article (130)

    In Islam, Takaaful is the Basis for Financial Acts of Worship

    Takaaful in Islam is one of the aims of Shari'ah that is essential to many of the Shari'ah laws and regulations upon which Islamic society is based and which are known as the financial acts of worship.  These include zakaah, providing financial support for one's relatives, the obligation to maintain ties of kinship, the system of al-'aaqilah (where the male paternal relatives of the person who is convicted of causing accidental death share in paying the blood money), the obligation to distribute the national income justly between the rich and the poor, providing interest free loans, and expiations and vows, etc.

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    This Article clarifies the status of takaaful in the system of Islamic Shari'ah. Thus, it is one of the important Shari'ah aims behind many of the laws and policies upon which the Islamic society is based and which are known as the financial acts of worship.  All of the examples of the financial system in Islam that are mentioned in this Article have their facts, pillars, conditions, obligations and recommended acts, which are indicated by many of the Shari'ah texts, which are usually found in books of Fiqh.

    ***

    Part III

    Article (131)

    The Detailed Rulings of Takaaful

    The Shari'ah rulings related to the obligation of takaaful vary between mandatory and recommended.  Likewise, the spheres of entitlement are also varied on the basis of several aspects which include: the degree of kinship between the person who has wealth and the person entitled to takaaful, and the type of Shari'ah obligation that applies to the wealth (whether it is obligatory zakaah, mandatory financial support, or voluntary charity). These spheres of entitlement also take into consideration of the level of the entitled person's need; whether it is a dire necessity, a need, or a non-essential requirement, and they also depend upon the original cause of the need; whether it is the result of a Shari'ah sanctioned interest, circumstances beyond their control, or forbidden types of transactions. These spheres expand until they include all of the society in a precise unparalleled system, giving Islam its well deserved reputation of being the religion that was revealed to care for the poor and the weak. For more information on this topic, refer to the detailed rulings in books of Islamic fiqh.

    ------------------------------

    This Article clarifies the detailed rulings of takaaful in a general manner, and further details regarding this subject are generally found in books of fiqh.

    ***

    Section Two: Maintaining Uterine Ties

     

    This Section discusses the definition of the concept of "Uterine ties".  It also clarifies their importance and the means and mechanisms of maintaining them.  These topics are covered in three sections.

    Article (132)

    Definition of the Concept

    1.      The uterus is the secure place in the mother's abdomen where the human is created and where his formation is completed.  In this context, however, "uterine ties" refers to one's relatives, whether maternal or paternal.

    2.      Maintaining uterine ties refers to being good, kind, equitable and fulfilling the rights, obligations, and recommended deeds that are due to relatives before those of other people.

    3.      The ruling on maintaining this relationship may be obligatory, mandatory, or recommended, according to the proximity of the degree of kinship.  This responsibility falls upon the closest relative, then the next closest until it even reaches the degree of preferring one's parents over one's self, as they are the means by which the person was brought into existence, and the mother is given precedence over the father in all Islamic texts and teachings.

    ------------------------------

                This Article explains the concept of "uterine ties".

    * Clause (1):

                This Clause discusses the meaning of "uterus" from a linguistic point of view and mentions that the uterus contains all of a person's relatives (siblings) from his mother and father. The Shari'ah term is based on this meaning, on the metaphorical basis of calling something by the name of its cause, or using the name for something that is whole to refer to one of its parts due to its importance, as the uterine connections include all of them. The importance of uterine ties is evidenced by the narration of 'Abdullah ibn Dinaar from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that a Bedouin man met him on the path to Mecca, so 'Abdullah bin 'Umar greeted him and let him ride the donkey he was riding and gave him the turban that was on his head.  Ibn Dinaar told him, "May Allah help you! He's just a Bedouin, and Bedouins are content with little."  'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "This man was one of the people who was beloved by 'Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him), and I heard the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) say, 'The best form of righteousness is to maintain ties with those who were loved by his father.'"[14]

    * Clause (2):

                This Clause discusses the meaning of maintaining uterine ties according to the Shari'ah meaning of the term, which is the meaning that is intended in this Charter.  This Clause states that maintaining uterine ties refers to being good, kind, equitable, and fulfilling the rights, obligations, and recommended deeds that are due to relatives before those of other people.  Thus "uterine ties" is a metaphorical expression that indicates being good to one's blood relatives and in-laws, being compassionate and gentle to them, and caring about their condition, even if they distance themselves or cause harm.  Cutting uterine ties refers to cutting off all of these actions, and it is indicated in the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who related that the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) said:

    Verily Allah created all of creation, and when He finished, the uterine ties came forward and said, "This is the place for he who seeks refuge from the severing [of ties of kinship]." He [Allah] said, "Yes. Are you not satisfied that I should keep ties with he who maintains your ties and sever them with whoever severs your [ties]?" They [the uterine ties] said, "Certainly." Thereupon He said, "So it will be for you."

    Then the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) said, "Read if you will the words of Allah the Exalted:

    [ ] (: 22-23)

    [So would you perhaps, if you turned away, cause corruption on earth and sever your [ties of] relationship? *So would you perhaps, if you turned away, cause corruption on earth and sever your [ties of] relationship? ] (47: 22-23) [15]

    *Clause (3):

                This Clause discusses the ruling related to this relationship, which varies in degree from obligatory to highly recommended, on the basis of the considerations that are mentioned in this Clause:

                Uterine ties are obligatory in general, and it agreed that it is prohibited to sever them, and doing so is a major sin according to some scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence.  There are different degrees of maintaining these relationships, some which are superior to others; the least of which is to maintain the ties by speaking to each other, even if it is only to convey the greeting of salaam (peace). With regard to the parents, it is obligatory to maintain ties with them, and maintaining ties with other relatives is Sunnah.  Maintaining ties with one's mother takes precedence over the ties with the father by consensus of the scholars, in affirmation of the high status of motherhood considering the great efforts that she makes and for the compassion, and service that she provides for the sake of her child.  In the case of a Muslim child whose family is not Muslim, it is recommended for him to maintain the ties to his disbelieving family, based on the Words of Allah the Exalted:

    [ ] (: 15)

    ( . accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness ...) (31: 15)

    The degrees of the ties vary with regard to the relatives, for in the case of the parents they are stronger than the mahrams, and the ties between mahrams are stronger than those between non-mahrams.  This should not be understood to mean that the ties must be maintained when they are maintained by the other party, as in such a case, maintaining ties would amount to nothing more than reciprocity. Rather, it is obligatory to maintain these ties, even if the other party severs them.

                Uterine ties are maintained through all forms of kindness, such as visiting, assisting, meeting the person's needs, and conveying the greeting of "salaam" (peace).  They can even be maintained through writing if the person is absent, however, this is not sufficient in the case of the parents if they request their child's presence. Also, spending money on one's relatives is considered a means of maintaining ties, and it is not sufficient for the wealthy to maintain uterine ties with a needy relative by merely visiting him; rather, he must assist him financially to the extent that he is able. 

                Ties of kinship are cut by harming the relative or by not being kind to him. Thus, if a person stops performing an act of kindness that his relative had become accustomed to, without any Shari'ah recognized excuse, he will have cut the ties of kinship. Some scholars have considered this a major sin, and the excuses for doing so vary according to the type of relationship.

                There are many Shari'ah texts that are evidence for these rulings:

    Allah the Exalted says:

    [ ] (: 36)

    (Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor

     
     

     

     

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