Rafed English

Family Rights

This much was about non-domestic society. But what about domestic society? Do all the individuals in a domestic society also have a similar position in regard to their acquired rights, or is the case of the domestic society, which consists of wife and husband, parents and children and brothers and sisters different, and is there a special natural law in respect of domestic or family rights?

In this case there exist two presumptions. One of them is that the relations between wife and husband or between parents and children are like all other social relations. Their co-operation with one another is similar to that of a body of individuals, in national and governmental establishments. Such relations do not mean that some individuals inherently have any special position. It is only due to an acquired position that one is a boss and the other is a subordinate; one gives the orders and the other receives them; one has a higher monthly income and the other a lower. To be a husband or a wife or to be a father, a mother or a child also does not mean that everyone of them inherently holds a special position. It is their acquired status that determines their position in relations to each other.

The theory of the similarity of family rights between man and woman (wrongly called equality of rights) is based on this very presumption. According to this theory, man and woman take part in family life with a similar capacity, similar needs and similar inherent rights. Hence, their family rights also must be organised on the basis of similarity and likeness.

According to another presumption even their natural elementary rights vary. A husband as such has certain rights and obligations and a wife as such has certain other rights and obligations. The same is the case with a father, a mother and a child. In any case, the domestic society is quite different from any other social organisation. It is this presumption, on which the theory of dissimilarity of family rights between man and woman is based and which has been accepted by Islam.

Now let us see which one of the above two presumptions is correct and how we can determine its correctness.

Adapted from the book: "Woman and Her Rights" by: "Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari"

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