Social Problems


Ageing parents abandoned by their own children, infant children abused by parents, spouse abuse, infidelity, drug abuse, ….. the list seems endless. Our society is riddled with these social problems. Conferences and seminars have taken place to address these critical issues. Resolutions have been adopted. The problems, however, continue to escalate. The main reason is that most of the solutions offered are merely “symptomatic relief.” Until the root of the problem is not treated, there can be very little hope of purging our communities of the plague of social maladies that are increasing by the day.   

A little anecdote may help to understand this point more clearly. A person complained to the doctor of severe pain in his stomach. While examining him the doctor enquired whether the patient had eaten anything? He replied, “Yes, I ate some toast but did not see that it was burnt.” The doctor terminated his examination, gave the patient some eye medication and presented the bill. The patient expressed his astonishment on being given eye medication for a stomach ailment. The doctor replied: “Your stomach will soon feel better. However, I have given you eye medication so that you will be able to see what you are eating and hence you will not have any stomach complaints.” The doctor was really treating the root of his problem.


While the endemic problems facing society today are severe indeed, they are not as bad as what the condition was in pre-Islamic Arabia. Today's parent and child abuse, as serious as it is, cannot compare with the abuse of that time. Sons “inherited” their mothers upon the father’s demise and daughters were buried alive. Intoxicants were the order of the day. Other social problems were at a peak. Then came the light of Imaan which illuminated the hearts and developed therein a revolutionary force in the hearts of the people — the fear of Allah Ta’ala. No force of the law was required and no conferences and seminars were needed to remedy the situation. A nation that was steeped in the worst types of social problems became the most exemplary society that ever existed. The root cause of our problems is thus the weakness of Imaan.


Thus an effort on inculcating the fear of Allah Ta’ala in the hearts of the masses is necessary. Once this fear settles in the heart of a son, he will whole-heartedly serve his parents and regard it as an honor to do so. The verse of the Qur'an:“And we have commanded human beings to treat their parents kindly ” will become his guiding light in this regard. He will also be careful to save himself from the curse of Jibraeel (alaihis salaam) wherein he cursed the person whose parents reach old age but he fails to acquire Jannah by serving them. Indeed this will become a reality when the fear of Allah Ta’ala is inculcated in the heart. No legislation or any other force can stop a person from abandoning his parents in their time of need.



Another aspect is wife abuse. Untold misery is the lot of many women due to the cruelty of their cowardly husbands. If the husband does not have that degree of love for his wife that makes him care for her and makes him want to keep her happy within the confines of Shariah, what force on earth can stop him from oppressing her? Legislation? Force of the law? Legislation and the force of the law will only ensure that a divorce does take place and the poor woman is freed from the misery of the cruel husband. But then what happens? … Another marriage ... Allah forbid, possibly another cruel husband? … Again, the force of the law in action. ... Another divorce. ... More children torn between divorced parents!!! Has the misery truly ended? Thus the fear of Allah Ta’ala is necessary. Once the fear of Allah Ta’ala has been inculcated, the husband will live by the ayah of the Qur'an“And treat them (your wives) kindly.” He will be an embodiment of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) which declares: “The best among you is the one who treats his wife the best (within the confines of Shariah.” The above does not infer that there is no use for legislation. Legislation will bring immediate relief from the excruciating pain, like any other “symptomatic treatment,” but it does not solve the root of the problem. Both husband and wife will have to become thoroughly acquainted with what DUTIES the Shariah has placed upon them with regard to their spouses. This knowledge together with the fear of Allah Ta’ala — which will translate the knowledge into action —  is the only solution. Once this fear of Allah Ta’ala settles in the heart, the cruelty will stop and numerous marriages will be saved.


Often in cases of divorce, a woman is left to fend for herself. Once the Nikah bond has been broken and the iddat (waiting period) is over, the ex-husband has no obligation in Shariah to provide any maintenance to the woman who was his wife. Where, then, does the woman go? If the fear of Allah Ta’ala was present in the hearts, the hapless woman would not be standing bewildered not knowing which way to turn. If her father is living and has the means, he is obliged to maintain her. While it is an obligation, he is nevertheless greatly rewarded for the same. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The best sadaqah is what you spend upon a daughter who has been returned to you (due to the death of her husband or due to being divorced).” In the absence of the father the brothers, uncles, sons or other male relatives all have a degree of obligation to care for her according to established Islamic principles. Should there be no male relative, or none of them have any financial means, the entire community is responsible to maintain her. If the fear of Allah Ta’ala was in the hearts of family members and relatives, numerous women in the above unfortunate situation would be saved from much misery.

Thus an effort has to be made to treat the root cause of the problem. The strength of Imaan has to be acquired. This will be achieved by joining the company of those who have this great wealth. It will be achieved by being in the environment of Deen. The learning and teaching of Deen must become a daily commitment in every home. The sunnats of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) must be learnt, taught and practiced. The agents of Shaaitaan, the television and videos, and other Shaitaani media must be expelled from the home. Salaah, tilawaat of the Quran, recitation of Durood Shareef and zikr must become the daily practices of every member of the family. Constant encouragement should be given to one another towards Deen. This will insha-Allah treat the malady from the root and result in a more peaceful and just society.





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