THE PROBLEM OF FAMILY RELATIONS
The problem of family relations in our times is not so simple that it may be resolved by arranging opinion polls of young boys and girls, or by holding seminars. It is neither confined to any one country, nor has any country so far claimed to have solved it successfully.
Will Durant, the well-known philosopher and author of "History of Civilization", says: "If we suppose that we are living in 2000 A.D. and want to know what was the biggest event of the first quarter of the 20th century, we shall notice that it was neither the First World War nor the Russian Revolution. It actually was the change in the position of women. History has seldom witnessed such an exciting change in such a short time. The home, which was the basis of our social organisation, the conjugal system, which prevented debauchery and gave stability to family life, and the complex moral law which helped us in advancing from barbarism to culture and orderly social behaviour, all have been upset by this revolutionary change".
Even now, when we are living in the third quarter of the 20th century, we, more than ever, hear complaints that the domestic system is collapsing, the basis of matrimony is weakening, the young men are evading marriage, the young women are hating motherhood, the relations between the parents (especially mothers) and the children are deteriorating, modern woman is getting vulgar, love is being replaced with cheap sensuality, cases of divorce are ever growing, the number of children born of unregistered wedlock or marital ties not formally legalised is on the increase and sincerity, respect and cordiality between husband and wife are becoming rare.
SHOULD WE IMITATE THE WEST OR BE INDEPENDENT?
It is regrettable that some of the misinformed people think that the questions related to family relations are similar to the problems of guiding tourists, taxi-driving, bus-driving and laying the network of water-pipes and electricity, which were solved by the Europeans long ago and if we, because of our inefficiency or incompetency, still face any difficulties we should follow their example as soon as possible.
This is a mere illusion. The Europeans are the worse victims of the domestic problems than we are. They are suffering more and their intellectuals are more outspoken. Leaving aside the question of female education, they are in a mess in respect of all other questions. Their family life is far less happy than ours.
COMPULSION OF HISTORY
Some people think that the deterioration and corruption of the family system is due to women's liberation which, in turn, is the unavoidable result of industrial life and the progress of science and civilisation. It is a question of compulsion of history. We have no alternative but to submit to this corruption and chaos, and to forget all about the domestic happiness which we enjoyed before.
This way of thinking is very superficial and childish. We admit that industrial life has affected family relations and is still affecting it, but the main factors, which have disrupted family life in Europe, are two:
One of them consists of the foolish and cruel customs, usages and laws which were prevalent in Europe till a century ago. It was only at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that women in Europe secured the right of
ownership of property. The other factor is that those who undertook to improve the position of women chose a wrong path: They intended to beautify her eyebrows, but deprived her of her eyesight!
More than the industrial life, the old laws of Europe and the reforms of the modernists are responsible for the present chaos and confusion. Hence, there is no compelling reason for us, the Muslims of the East, to go the way they have gone and fall into the morass into which they have fallen. We should be cautious about western life.
We should look at the western life cautiously. While utilising and acquiring their sciences, industries, techniques and some commendable and imitable social regulations we should refrain from imitating their customs, usages and laws which have brought so much miseries to them - for example amending civil laws and family relations and conforming them to the western laws.