The first month in this New Year was a very enlightening one for me. An interesting discussion I had at a dinner at my parent’s place allowed me to see how Islam has the answer to every single thing, even something as specific as quality management in organizations. My curiosity then led me to explore the areas that are closest to my passion: society and its behavior today.
One topic specifically stood out from the Quran, and was mentioned several times in different chapters, is female infanticide. The practice of female infanticide was very common in pre-Islamic Arabia where the father would bury a newborn female infant alive in disappointment due to fear of social disgrace.
Although this practice was abolished by Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), households today sometimes perform injustices towards female members of the family in many different ways. These include banning them from marriage for worthless reasons, subjecting them to unnecessary cruelty, and at times, making them victims of unjust physical and sexual abuse. These practices, I believe, can sometimes be deemed worse than killing an infant alive. I say this because I believe that the torture and pain inflicted upon young women leads to a ripple effect in society. It gives birth to severe depression, neglecting children and their upbringing, lack of love and positive energy, and living in fear. All of which, can destroy society’s fundamentals and lead to pure destruction of social ties, and more importantly: moral values.
All of this damage results from something useless and silly; the disappointment due to fear of social disgrace otherwise known as “society worship” (please refer to my article in March 2012 issue: “The Almighty… or Society?”)
“With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt, or bury it in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on?” – The Holy Quran [16:59]
That being said, we seem to have a problem where pre-Islamic practices that were abolished have begun to seep into our societies. In my opinion, understanding 3 basic principles can play a big role in barring these practices from entering our households.
First, it is essential that people know that although inflicting pain (in the forms mentioned above) upon women of society may be the norm, revered, even thought of to be a divine command (not based on evidence but rather social pressure) that it is complete misguidance and could lead to the greatest loss ever.
“Lost are those who slay their children, from folly, without knowledge, and forbid which Allah hath provided for them, inventing (lies) against Allah. They have indeed gone astray and heeded no guidance” – The Holy Quran [6:140]
Second, it is crucial to understand the concept of accountability of our actions. The fact that we will all be answerable to the Most Just on a day when there is no intercessor. The pain, torture, and physical or psychological damage inflicted upon others will be pointed back at the one causing them in one way or another.
“When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned: For what crime she was killed” – The Holy Quran [81:8-9]
– Explanation: questioning the infant is a manner of blaming the father because she will respond saying: “I was killed unjustly for no crime”
Consequently, the concept of accountability leads to social benefit and self governance. It has been studied by numerous psychologists and allows avoidance of certain kinds of behavior while influencing cognitive decision making. That said, accountability is not only for prevention but creates the foundation necessary for wise action moving forward.
“The basic elements of a social order must not only know what they are doing, they must also be able to account for their action, as well as knowing how to correct mistakes, redeem themselves, acquit themselves, make reparations, and so on.”
— John Shotter: Vico, Joint Action, Moral Worlds and Personhood: Social Accountability & Selfhood
Finally, we need to surround our children and ourselves with people we believe think similarly and stand up for what is just and not what society wants us to do. In other words, we need to stop society worship if it contradicts with the teachings of Islam. By surrounding ourselves with those who like the truth and prefer Allah’s pleasure over society’s, we can facilitate supporting our women and defending them from cruelty in all its forms.
“O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed)” – The Holy Quran [9:119]
In summary, pre-Islamic practices such as cruelty have been reborn on our societies. The greatest example is cruelty towards women. I believe that these idiotic practices can be stopped and prevented from entering our households by knowing that cruelty towards women is complete misguidance, that we are accountable for any pain inflicted towards others, and surrounding ourselves with people of justice and piety who will facilitate opposing any societal pressure.
“Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.” – The Prophet Muhammad (The Last Sermon, Sahih Al Jamea 7880, Hasan)
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.