Here is the English abstract of Ayatollah Habibollah Shabani Mowathaqi (Muslim Clergy; Representative of Supreme Leader in Hamedan Province, Imam of Friday Prayer in Hamedan, Iran) presentation at the 4nd pre-con meeting of the conference “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held in Bu-Ali Sina University in Hamedan, Iran on October 30, 2023.
Function of Family in Islam
From the Islamic perspective, the family is considered the holiest social institution; it is endowed with special significance and functions. However, the analysis of Islamic teachings – and more broadly all Abrahamic religions – needs a foundational ontological understanding. This understanding posits that God is not only the creator of humans but also their sustainer; a Lord who, better than anyone else, comprehends the needs of humans and knows the best way to fulfill them, serving as the ultimate legislator for human life. In a more general statement, if we cannot interpret our relationship with ourselves, God, and the world correctly, we cannot embrace the Sharia (the normative dimension of religion). Neglecting this foundational ontological basis has led to the prescription of matters in the West such as homosexuality. When approaching the analysis of religious statements related to the family with this perspective, we find out that Islam has an educational outlook on the family. Since in Islamic ontology, humans are considered the noblest of creatures and are to be educated, they require a conducive environment for education, and this environment is the family. The importance of the family in Islam is such that no sacred goal, such as acquiring knowledge or spiritual development, can hinder marriage. Therefore, in Islam, the family serves as a platform for the cultivation and flourishing of one's talents. In this regard, Islam considers the family a place of love, affection, and mercy. Despite legislating in the realm of laws, Islam's perspective on the family is primarily ethical rather than a mere social contract. In the Islamic viewpoint, the family is not only the environment for the education of women and men but also a place for the upbringing and education of the children.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi