How Does Islam View Joint Family Living System? A joint family structure is an extended group of relatives, along with their separate spouses and kids, organized into numerous hierarchical tiers. They try to get along while sharing a roof and eating meals together. Additionally, this indicates that in a typical home, their bedrooms typically lead to a common area and a communal kitchen. The elderly, are those who favor this method the most since it allays their anxieties about getting older, loneliness, and being left out of their adult children’s life.
It is said that a marriage doesn’t take place between two people but between two families. This same train of thought leads to the effect that the families must wholly accept the new addition to the family for life to be harmonious. Although this principle seems more applicable to women marrying into the family as opposed to men. What causes this disbalance in opinion and ultimately the respect meted out to the person at the receiving end is the age-old paradigm that somehow daughters are lesser than sons. Islam discourages the partiality of male over female offspring and has made numerous provisions in the sharia to ensure that women’s rights are protected, and they are substantially empowered.
What does Islam say about the joint family system?
The joint family system is a great example of humanism, generosity, trust, and cooperation. A happy life is based on a sensible and well-functioning family system. This method makes sure that family members who are unable to work for any reason do not experience destitution and poverty and are therefore spared embarrassment and grief. This in some ways creates room for people to adhere to being generous to their family if their pocket allows. Religion is meant to bring people towards Allah. As a result, it must foster an environment that encourages that ideal in order to prosper. No religion can be described as complete until it has a clearly stated code of family life that precisely outlines the explicit obligations and roles of each family member. A family is a close-knit unit of society, and this proximity brought on by a joint family system generates a significant risk of friction and conflict unless each member is made aware of his obligations and rights in clear terms.
In South Asian families, daughters-in-law are saddled with a plethora of duties. Children also become instruments of a power struggle that ensues within a household. The one who has the final world keeps the upper hand in all matters. However, what needs to be assessed is whether this expectation falls within the provisions of Islamic law or is simply a byproduct of Muslim assimilation with the Hindu culture in the subcontinent. In the light of Islam, a wife’s duty after marriage is to her husband alone; she is under no obligation to serve or feel like she owes her husband’s family anything more than respect. Three principles that need to be considered are:
Maintenance of privacy from other family members
All matters between the husband and wife must remain within the confines of their space. Their relationship and how they manage it cannot be a subject of discussion. The husband and wife are referred to as each other’s libaas (garments) in the Quran. A garment’s primary function is to shield the body from damage and conceal its private areas.
Additionally, he or she should never divulge to anybody, not even parents or closest friends, the flaws that Allah has concealed in their spouse as well as their secrets and private concerns.
The Quran specifically advises the pious woman to do the following:
“The righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard.” (Quran, 4:34)
Finally, a loving couple would do well to depend on one another first whenever they seek moral or emotional support in a moment of need. A spouse evolves into the sole, solid, supporting rock to which one cling during life’s sporadic upheavals and storms, much like a favorite garment becomes softer and more comfortable over time.
The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said:
“The worst of the people in (the sight of) Allah on the day of resurrection is the man who discloses (secrets) to his wife, and she discloses (secrets) to him and then he reveals her secrets (to others).” (Sahih – Muslim)
Therefore, a happily married Muslim who has a devout, Allah-fearing spouse should be zealous in guarding them behind their back from shame, contempt, or scorn, even if it comes from what appears to be a well-meaning biological family.
Distance from brothers in law
Maintenance of respectful distance from brothers-in-law is imperative. In joint family systems, the woman may not be pressured to cook for, serve or spend time with them.
And say to the believing women that they should lower their eyes and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons or their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women or those whom their right hands possess, or those male servants who are free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the hidden things of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O’ ye believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain bliss. (Qur’an, 24: 31)
The husband’s brothers and nephews are not listed on this list. Therefore, a Muslim woman must maintain her distance from them as well as from other outsiders. This has not been ordained to suppress women, but this rule has been put in place so that women are protected from the untoward desires of men. It has also been put in place so that no one other than Mahram may praise her and cause jealousy or bitter feelings among the couple.
Separate quarters for the wife must be provided, but if the husband’s parents are old and ailing, he must take care of them. Again, it is imperative to understand that the care falls upon the husband’s shoulders and is not the wife’s burden to carry. If his financial situation doesn’t allow the luxury of separate accommodation, then the wife must practice Sabr and pray for barakah until Allah blesses them with it.
There is no blame upon . . . yourselves that ye eat ( without asking permission) in your own houses or the houses of your fathers, or houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your fathers’ brothers, or the houses of your fathers’ sisters, or the houses of your mothers’ brothers or the houses of your mothers’ sisters, or in houses of which the keys are in your possession, or in the house of a friend of yours . . . (Qur’an, 24: 61)
If we attempt to understand the above ayah, it clearly mentions separate `houses’ for fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc. It demonstrates that there is a distinction between “your house” and “the houses of your fathers” and “the dwellings of your brothers” in the eyes of Islam. However, there are some cases in which one brother may earn more than the other and familial pressure pushes him toward the upkeep of the low-income brother and his family. This can sometimes become the bone of contention between a husband and wife.
Islam teaches men to work hard toward the provision of their dependents and emphasizes the fruits of honest labor. Our religion has clearly stated again and again that the man must bear the expense of the dependents that fall directly under his guardianship.
It is also vital for the husband to realize that protecting his wife’s physical and mental health is his obligation. If his parents or other family members abuse their dominance over her to the point that her independence is threatened, or she is emotionally abused. It falls upon him to preserve his wife’s rights and use every available method to bring back her peace of mind by giving her what she is owed.
If society and all things around you commit to doing things in a way that is not according to Allah’s mandate and the Prophet’s teachings, we still must aim to conform to the word of Islam. Even if it means putting up a fight and taking a stand against most of your family members. Instead of blindly adhering to traditions, we should make every effort to follow the Prophet. It is crucial to realize that the only way a Muslim family may live in peace, calm, and harmony is by abiding by Allah’s boundaries and respecting everyone else’s rights in accordance with Islamic law.
Islam has interwoven the “family sympathy” of the Joint Family System with the “legal orderliness” of the Separate Family System. This allows for the vulnerable to receive protection, while also stipulating that wealth must be shared with those in need. Islam also advocates for simplicity and hubris so that living standards may be maintained while conforming to the sharia. Muslim Matrimonial websites like SyedMatch.com allow you to find a spouse who may share your school of thought. The well-thought-out and thorough personal details fields allow you to define yourself and your partner’s preferences. This process also enables you to find a suitable match with someone who is looking for the same defining principles. Nuclear or joint family, whatever your preference may be, make an informed decision and find your future spouse on SyedMatch.com.