In Islam, there is great emphasis on family bonds and the whole institution of the family. Family is a unit that should be founded on the principles of faith, love, and seeking God’s pleasure. Family based on faith helps a person in this life and the next. God says, “It is God who has given you spouses from amongst yourselves, and through them He has given you children and grandchildren and provided you with good things.” [17:72] The Messenger Muhammad informed us that after one dies, the prayers of righteous children continue to benefit the parents.
The family in Islam begins with marriage between a believing man and a believing woman. Muslims should only marry Muslims. The prospect should be chaste and modest. This too is from God’s favors, as He says in the Quran, “Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect.” [30:21] The Messenger Muhammad encouraged us to choose spouses who value their faith and want to please God.
A husband and wife who build their family upon faith in God, mutual love, and respect will have a strong unit. The Messenger Muhammad encouraged us to have children and raise them on proper faith and decent upright character. Children throughout human history were viewed as beneficial for multiple reasons. Taking care of their parents in old age and affording their parents the feeling of pride in having a progeny. . Children are also beneficial for one’s faith and spiritual journey, when one does their role in parenting responsibly. This is why good and prophetic parenting is so important. When a husband and wife both seek to please God, work hard in their different roles within the family, and raise good children, God blesses their efforts.
Muslim parents are encouraged to teach their children about God, worship, faith, and other important matters from a young age. Teaching should be through modelling proper behavior. Parents are told to introduce worship and devotion to God to their children in a gradual way to help them form good habits and manners in worship. We are required to teach our children to have good conduct and manners and to know different etiquettes that they need in personal and public life, from respecting elders to eating and drinking. If this process is conducted properly, then the parents benefit, as they receive a reward from God each time one of their children does a good deed. Children too benefit because they are part of the next generation that will one day form marital and familial bonds of their own.
God says, “As for those who believe and whose descendants follow them in faith, We will elevate their descendants to their rank, never discounting anything of the reward of their deeds. Every person will reap only what they sowed.” [52:21]
Family bonds in Islam are not restricted to parents and children, the nuclear family, but extend beyond them. God commands that we join the ties of kinship and blood relations. One of the first commands that the Messenger Muhammad gave when he arrived in the city of Medina was to join the ties of kinship. God links faith to family ties in the Quran, “It is most probable that if you turn away from having faith in Allah and following Him, you will make mischief on earth by disbelief and sins, and you will cut family ties, just as you used to do in the period of ignorance (before the Quran came down).” [47:22]
With all the above, it should be abundantly clear that the family has an important place in Islam. If the family unit pleases God and possesses good character and conduct, other families in the neighbourhood and community will be positively influenced. It’s like a ripple effect when numerous families are like this, and ultimately society benefits and reforms itself. Strong family bonds decrease anti-social behaviour and crime and create a community in which members help one another.