- a basic unit in society typically consisting of parents and their children they care for, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
- any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins
Based on His divine knowledge and justice, God Almighty fairly designs for each human a customized package of circumstances that he/she needs and fully deserves on earth. Quran reminds us that God's knowledge encompasses all things and beings, He is the Best Hearer and Knower. .
[57:3] He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Outermost and the Innermost. He is fully aware of all things.
[17:55] Your Lord is the best knower of everyone in the heavens and the earth. In accordance with this knowledge, we preferred some prophets over others. For example, we gave David the Psalms.
[28:56] You cannot guide the ones you love. God is the only One who guides in accordance with His will, and in accordance with His knowledge of those who deserve the guidance.
It is decreed by the Almighty that our claims of belief will be tested and our true convictions inside our hearts will be exposed (3:186, 29:2-3). Family is considered an essential component of our divinely customized packages and is indeed one of the tests designed for us from the very beginning of our life. We do not choose our family, parents or children. We are born, however, with a strong instinct to be emotionally attached to our kids and parents. God acknowledges this kind of special bond by using it as an allegory for us to be as passionate towards His truth (2:146, 6:20, 2:200).
Regarding the family and the relatives is a command (2:83, 4:36, 16:90). God has sufficiently highlighted family boundaries and relationships throughout Quran for the believers to take heed and strive to form and maintain a healthy building unit for a healthy believing community.
For example, God commands us to always show the utmost respect towards our parents no matter how we feel and irrespective of their own choices and beliefs. The command of honoring and regarding our parents is second to the command of worshiping God alone. It is obvious that the unwavering, intensive, and continued love, care, and generosity experienced through our parents are earthly representations of God's infinite grace and mercy towards us. Therefore, being appreciative of our parents is an indication for our appreciation of our Creator:
[17:23] Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him, and your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, "Uff" (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably.
[17:24] And lower for them the wings of humility, and kindness, and say, "My Lord, have mercy on them, for they have raised me from infancy."
[31:14] We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him, and the load got heavier and heavier. It takes two years (of intensive care) until weaning. You shall be appreciative of Me, and of your parents. To Me is the ultimate destiny.
[4:1] O people, observe your Lord; the One who created you from one being, and created from it its mate, then spread from the two many men and women. You shall regard God, by whom you swear, and regard the parents. God is watching over you.
Having a family is among the blessings and the pleasures we implore God for. At certain stage of our life, we do get the desire to parent, nourish and care for our own children who will carry our family name and legacies in hope that they will fill our hearts with joy (25:74) and keep us moving forward and motivated. Prophet Zacharia implored God for that (19:2-6). Prophet Abraham and his wife expressed their true appreciation for having kids (14:39, 11:71-73).
At the same time, a family is an exacting test for the believers. Our human emotional ties towards our family could very much veil our eyes and intentions. God has warned us that our feelings should NEVER get the upper hand over the word of God.
[9:24] Proclaim: "If your parents, your children, your siblings, your spouses, your family, the money you have earned, a business you worry about, and the homes you cherish are more beloved to you than God and His messenger, and the striving in His cause, then just wait until God brings His judgment." God does not guide the wicked people.
[4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe God, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, God takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then God is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
Thus, the exacting test is to manage to overcome any emotional distraction and reach that balance when the love expressed by and/or towards our family is justly and righteously assessed at its fair value; love should not blind our eyes, confuse our priorities and divert us from our goal of redeeming and growing our souls. The following reminders are just a few to elaborate on that test. Prophet Abraham's prayer illustrates that balance very well:
[7:189] He created you from one person (Adam). Subsequently, He gives every man a mate to find tranquility with her. She then carries a light load that she can hardly notice. As the load gets heavier, they implore God their Lord: "If You give us a good baby, we will be appreciative."
[7:190] But when He gives them a good baby, they turn His gift into an idol that rivals Him. God be exalted, far above any partnership.
[7:191] Is it not a fact that they are idolizing idols who create nothing, and are themselves created?
[7:192] Idols that can neither help them, nor even help themselves?
[31:15] If they try to force you to set up any idols beside Me, do not obey them. But continue to treat them amicably in this world. You shall follow only the path of those who have submitted to Me. Ultimately, you all return to Me, then I will inform you of everything you have done.
[8:28] You should know that your money and your children are a test, and that God possesses a great recompense.
[64:14] O you who believe, your spouses and your children can be your enemies; beware. If you pardon, forget, and forgive, then God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[63:9] O you who believe, do not be distracted by your money and your children from remembering God. Those who do this are the losers.
[6:32] The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?!
[2:127] As Abraham raised the foundations of the shrine, together with Ismail (they prayed): "Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer, the Omniscient.
[2:128] "Our Lord, make us submitters to You, and from our descendants let there be a community of submitters to You. Teach us the rites of our religion, and redeem us. You are the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
Quran teaches that the joy and contentment we feel towards our family when they are submitters to God alone naturally extend to fellow submitters to God alone outside the family. The same righteous criteria that bring blood family members together, unite the devoted worshipers of God alone all over the globe together in a spiritual family by a divine presence and intervention. A healthy, righteous and progressive community of submitters is a manifestation of the believers' love for God and His laws and their care for each others soul. The same exacting test, however, exists and the same balance needs to be established at a larger scale for the spiritual family of a believing community.
Following God’s commands, the believers take their religion seriously and never let their social attachments and inherited traditions to be mixed up with God's rites, ethics and laws. Their submission to God alone becomes their true identity. Because they love and adopt what God loves and they abhor and oppose what He abhors, the believers' hearts and minds naturally go for and ally with true believers. They never ally themselves with the enemies of God. They become all members of a real family but, in this case, they are members who are carefully chosen and are attesting the divine will of guidance.
[9:71] The believing men and women are allies of one another. They advocate righteousness and forbid evil, they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and they obey God and His messenger. These will be showered by God's mercy. God is Almighty, Most Wise.
[5:54] O you who believe, if you revert from your religion, then God will substitute in your place people whom He loves and who love Him. They will be kind with the believers, stern with the disbelievers, and will strive in the cause of God without fear of any blame. Such is God's blessing; He bestows it upon whomever He wills. God is Bounteous, Omniscient.
[9:16] Did you think that you will be left alone without God distinguishing those among you who strive, and never ally themselves with God's enemies, or the enemies of His messenger, or the enemies of the believers? God is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
[3:28] The believers never ally themselves with the disbelievers, instead of the believers. Whoever does this is exiled from God. Exempted are those who are forced to do this to avoid persecution. God alerts you that you shall reverence Him alone. To God is the ultimate destiny.
[18:28] You shall force yourself to be with those who worship their Lord day and night, seeking Him alone. Do not turn your eyes away from them, seeking the vanities of this world. Nor shall you obey one whose heart we rendered oblivious to our message; one who pursues his own desires, and whose priorities are confused.
By God’s Grace, the believers motivate and exhort each other to remain steadfast and righteous. They unite around the word of God:
[103:3] Except those who believe and lead a righteous life, and exhort one another to uphold the truth, and exhort one another to be steadfast.
[90:17] And being one of those who believe, and exhorting one another to be steadfast, and exhorting one another to be kind.
[3:103] You shall hold fast to the rope of God, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall God's blessings upon you - you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you therefrom. God thus explains His revelations for you, that you may be guided.
They resolve disputes based on the divine truth and justice:
[49:10] The believers are members of one family; you shall keep the peace within your family and reverence God, that you may attain mercy.
[49:9] If two groups of believers fought with each other, you shall reconcile them. If one group aggresses against the other, you shall fight the aggressing group until they submit to God's command. Once they submit, you shall reconcile the two groups equitably. You shall maintain justice; God loves those who are just.
They rejoice in supporting each other:
[59:8] (You shall give) to the needy who immigrated. They were evicted from their homes and deprived of their properties, because they sought God's grace and pleasure, and because they supported God and His messenger. They are the truthful.
[59:9] As for those who provided them with a home and a refuge, and were believers before them, they love those who immigrated to them, and find no hesitation in their hearts in helping them. In fact, they readily give them priority over themselves, even when they themselves need what they give away. Indeed, those who overcome their natural stinginess are the successful ones.
They are fully aware of the fact that each soul will be paid for whatever it earned and no one is responsible for the destiny of another (53:38-41, 2:286, 14:51, 23:62, 18:48, 19:95) :
[14:31] Exhort My servants who believed to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and to give (to charity) from our provisions to them, secretly and publicly, before a day comes where there is neither trade, nor nepotism.
[2:123] Beware of the day when no soul will help another soul, no ransom will be accepted, no intercession will be useful, and no one will be helped.
Reverencing God and devoting themselves absolutely to Him alone, all members of the family of believers truthfully share the same priorities, same goals, same passion and adoration for the word of God, same dedication to uphold His laws, same sincere desire to learn, grow and evolve around Quran and the same destination by the will of God:
[15:47] We remove all jealousy from their hearts. Like one family, they will be on adjacent furnishings.
[5:119] God will proclaim, "This is a day when the truthful will be saved by their truthfulness." They have deserved gardens with flowing streams. They abide therein forever. God is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. This is the greatest triumph.
[46:15] .... "My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Let my children be righteous as well. I have repented to You; I am a submitter."
[25:74] ..."Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous."
[59:10]...."Our Lord, forgive us and our brethren who preceded us to the faith, and keep our hearts from harboring any hatred towards those who believed. Our Lord, You are Compassionate, Most Merciful."
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.