Preserving The Chastity Of Our Children
Preserving the Chastity of Our Children,
When Parents Should Lend a Hand
“Marry those who are single, or the virtuous ones among
yourselves, male and female; if they are in poverty,
Allah will give them means out of His grace, for Allah encompasses all, and He knows all things” (24:32).
Whenever the issue of marrying young is discussed or pondered, especially for a man, one is forced to reflect on the likely inability of a young man to financially provide for a wife at a young age. If he is completing his undergraduate degree or trying to finish his PhD, remaining chaste in Western society is difficult, and it becomes even more difficult when a man is faced with one refusal after another to his marriage proposals. As a result, he often ends up married to a disbelieving woman, if he does not lose his chastity altogether, as the temptations of this evil society become seemingly too great for him to withstand any longer, especially when the possibility of marriage seems grim at best. This is a growing trend among young Muslim men, and it is one that the Muslim community too often shies away from addressing. However, it behooves the Muslim ummah to address this problem, because we are losing our young to the world, one by one, and unfortunately, this is more the rule than it is the exception. Thus, rectification must be sought, and it benefits us to consider whatever practical solutions in our ability to help our young, even if it means sacrificing today for the greater good tomorrow.
A plausible solution that may involve some sacrificing is that parents offer their help when their son or daughter is ready to be married. There are many ways parents can assist their children upon marriage, and one of the most practical ways is offering the young married couple a room or basement in their house until the couple is able to move out and live on their own. Such a gesture can be regarded as a charitable act in which parents can earn immense reward from Allah, especially when the charity is twofold, financial and preservation of chastity. If such a situation is arranged, the young husband should not be regarded as forsaking his Islamic obligation of providing for his wife. If he is able to secure a place for his family to live, even if with parents or in-laws, he is fulfilling his Islamic duty of maintenance, for a man can only be expected to provide according to his means. Another area in which parents can assist the youth may be viewed as a prerequisite to the first, and that is having an open mind on the issue of their children marrying young in the greater interest of preserving their chastity. It may be ideal for a young man or woman to finish school before marriage, but given the all too real temptations of Western society, such an arrangement becomes exceedingly difficult, if not overbearing, for some youth, many of whom slip up, even if others never learn about it. We have to be cognizant of their struggles and keep an open mind when it comes to what we want for them to achieve and what is best for their souls. After all, neither child nor parent should have to give up their interests, and there is a safe compromise: allowing our children to marry even if they are still in school. But in order for this to work, guardians of marriage-age daughters have to be more open-minded and realistic in their demands on the Muslim man making a proposal. Of course, a guardian should not absolve the brother of his obligation of maintenance, but perhaps, looking at the young man’s financial potential as opposed to current status can be beneficial, especially if either the young man’s or woman’s family has a large enough home to house the couple.
In any case, parents of young adults should entertain the thoughts of their children marrying and must stay attuned to any signs that their child may actually need to be married. This is an Islamic obligation, because guardians are responsible for looking out for the physical, spiritual, and emotional well being of those under their care. As the Prophet (s) taught us, every guardian is responsible for those under him and will be called to account about how he fulfilled his duty. As many will note, these suggestions are not ideal-but neither is living in the West. The West is a society that seems to offer every temptation imaginable, whether a person is at home looking at television or standing in line at the grocery store. And the temptations are even greater on a college campus, and this is something that we as parents cannot ignore. Such an environment is not easy on a Muslim of any age, and the situation is only magnified for a young Muslim. Our Muslim youth are falling through the cracks too often for us to turn the other way and pretend we do not see. And should we choose to ignore the situation, we will certainly confront it on the Day of Judgment when our records are presented to us. And should our children be among those who slip up in this life, as many youth do, we must bear part of the sin for not doing all we could to prevent it. Parents who truly want what is best for their child must look at ways they can help their sons and daughters not only succeed in reserving a graduation seat from the best university but in reserving a high position in Paradise, even if it means sacrificing our own comfort to help them. For when we are faced with the harsh realities of a corrupt society, something has to give, and one would pray it is not the chastity of our children.
- Umm Zakiyyah
Umm Zakiyyah is the author of the newly released novel If I Should Speak published by Al-Walaa Publications, http://www.al-walaa.com http://www.minhajalmuslim.com/women/preserving.htm
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