Pregnancy and Childbirth
The duration of pregnancy is a very sensitiye and fateful period in a baby’s life. The mother’s nutritional habits together with her physical movements and psychological behaviour are vital both to herself and the life of the baby her womb.
The baby’s health or illness, strength or weaknea, ugliness and beauty, and its good or bad behaviour and a of intellect and prudence, are established in the mot womb. One of the experts writes: "The baby’s parents able to either grow in a fortress of health or in the ruins sickness. It is obvious that the latter is not a suitable place. which the eternal soul or a human being should live. This the reason that parents are believed to shoulder the greats responsibility compared to the whole of creation."
Therefore, the period of pregnancy cannot be regardca or be treated as an ordinary one. Once the pregnancy starts,; the parents are given a great responsibility.
Parents may unwittingly create a variety bfdifficultj many of which may be extremely difticult to remedy, becaus, of slight carelessness when performing their duties.
Below are a few points that should be noted:
(a) Food: A foettis in its mother’s womb, feeds and gro. on the nourishment in her blood. Therefore, the mother’s food should be nutritive enough to provide the elements needed by the baby as well as for the welfare of the motherï Therefore any lack of vitamins, proteins, fat, sugar of carbohydrates in the mother’s intake of food would inf1i harm on the baby’s health.
"Im?m S?diq (AS) stated: The food of a foetus iF provided by the nourishment that the mother receives’."
Following up a food programme in this phase of pregnancy is extremely difficult, particularly for those of low income and those who arc unaware of the nutritional values of different foods.
(b) Mental State: A mother, in her pregnancy, needs serenity and should experience a sense of love towards life. This is beneficialto both the mother and her baby. The father, being responsible for providing his wife with a peaceful and lively atmosphere, should try even harder during the period of her pregnancy. The husband, through kindness and love, should behave in such a manner that his wife can feel proud and happy about being pregnant: she should feel proud that another life depends on her and that she is responsible for its welfare.
(c) Refrain from Jerky Movements: A pregnant woman should avoid strenuous activities and should rest a great deal. The lifting of heavy objects or fast body movements could result in irreparable harm to her, the baby or both.
Pregnant women should refrain from doing any heavy work, and their husbands should volunteer to carry out such activities.
(d) The Fear of Labour: Delivering a baby is not always an easy event. Labour pains can sometimes be severe. Pregnant women often worry about the pain involved and the possible risks associated with child birth. followed by the period of convalescence after giving birth.Although women should be able to COPC with pregnancy, labour and feeding their babies. men should also share in the responsibility of bringing up their children.
Although an embryo is conceived in a woman’s womb there is also the father of the baby who has played a important role in its conception So men should make certain for their wives’ comfort during child birth and be handy if anything should be urgently required.
It is both an Islamic anda human duty of husbands todo their utmost for their pregnant wives to provide medical care and facilities for an easy delivery. A man should try to be with his wife after the birth of their chil& but if unable to do so, he should phone her or send a relative to stay with her. He should try to bring her back home himself and help her with the housework so that she can get sufficient rest to regain her lost energy.
A man, who treats his wife well, will be rewarded by Allah.
"The Prophet (SA) of Allah stated: 'The best ot men is OflC who treats his wife well and I. amongst you, am the best man with regard to the good treatment of my wife’ "
"lm?m Sadiq (AS) stated: 'May Allah bless a man who creates a good relationship with his wife, because Allah has appo,ntcd man tO be the guardiati of his wife’."
Assistance in Bringing up Children
A cli ild is the Urn it of a marrja tee. Both man and woman have played a part in his creation and must share in all th (lilliculties and happiness involved. Bringing tip a child is a dutv lr both parents and not only the mother. Although mothers most often take care of their children and attend to their fCeding. cleanliness. etc. the fathers should not take their ellorts fir granted. It is not proper for a man to assun that looking after children is a duty for vomen only and that men have flO responsibilities in this matter. It is not fair tha( a father should leave his wife 'yith their crying baby and go to reSt in a Separate room.
Dear brother! your child is your responsibility too. Do 'ou think it is fair to leave your vife with a crying baby while you rest in a separate room? Is this the proper way of doing things in your house? Just as you vork hard outside the house. your wife works hard inside it. and she needs her sleep just as much as you do yours. She, too, does not enjoy from a screaming baby. but she perseveres.
My brother! humanity as well as Islam demands you to help your wife in bringing tip your child. You should either help each other simultaneously or take it in turns.
If your wife experiences a sleepless night and falls asleep after the morning prayer. then you should not expect her to prepare your breakfast like on otherdays. In fact you should prepare your own and even leave hers ready and waiting for her when she wakes tip.
Your wife is not duty—bound to look alter your child all the time that you are out of’ the house or on a trip. In brief, von should assist your wife and share in looking after the child. In this way your family life would be strengthened.
Finally women should also remember that their httsbands work hard to earn their living and should not expect them to offer assistance beyond their capacity.
Women should not expect their tired, work-weary husbands to begin looking after the children as soon as they return home from work.
The Major Obstacle in Settling down Disagreements
Selfishness can become so severe that tile affected person may not even be aware of it. Iii such a situation, the relationship between tile couple becomes strained and even impossible to continue. Consequently, either life would go on in the form of rows, distress, and unhappiness, or may even lead to a divorce.
It is, therefore. recommended to all couples to abstain from self ashness and self—conceit. A couple, who are troubled with this situation, should find time to sit together and like two honest judges talk about their problem(s). They should listen to each other without prejudice. Each one should take a notc of his own shortcomings withotmt overlooking even the smallest issue, and with the intention of correcting them. Then they should both decide to correct themselves; but only if they feel the necessity for deep understanding and where they both long to revive their love and tranquility which once existed between them.
However, in the case of an inability to achieve reconciliation, they should refer their problem(s) to an experienced, faithful, aware, trustworthy, and benevolent person. If such a person is a friend or a relative, it may be to their advantage because they cantell them everything and await their verdict. They should listen to him and take note of his advice given and intend to put it into practice.
Of course being faithful to the recommendations of a judge is not easy, but a person, who is concerned about his family and its stability, peace, and survival, should persevere and later enjoy its valuable results.
Parents of such couples, if aware f their children’s family problem(s), should advise them to call on an experienced, faithful, and good intentioned judge. Parents should not take sides with either husband or wife. In this way, with the help of Allah thejr problems would be resolved.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
"And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint a judge from his people and a judge from her people; if they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware (4:35)."
Although divorce is a lawful act, it is the most detested and worst of a deeds.
Imam Sadiq (AS) stated: 'Get married but, do not divorce, because a divorce would tremble the 'Arsh (empyrean) of Allah’."
"lm?m S?diq (AS) also stated: 'Allah likes the house which is inhabited in the wake of marriage and dislikes the house which is abandoned in the wake of divorce. There is nothing more detestable to Allah than a divorce."
A man makes efforts and works hard on the basis of s a divine covenant. He pays for his wedding and buys necessary goods for his new life and works for his comfort.
Marriage is not a lustful affair and a couple cannot destroy it for trivial excuses. Although divorce is lawful, it seriously detested and people are recommended to avoid it much as possible.
Unfortunately, this very detestable act has become so common in Islamic countries and the foundations of family units have become so shaky that there is generally little faith in marriage any more.
Divorce is permitted but only in very exceptional and compelling circumstances.
"The Prophet (SA) of Allah stated: JibralI(Gabriel) advised me about women so much that I thought one should not divorce them except if they commit adultery’."
Most cases of divorce are not based upon good reasons but are on immature excuses. That is. the reasons for most cases of divorce are trivial and are not worth effecting the separation of a couple. The husband or wife, because of selfishness. may exaggerate a trivial problem and decide that their married life must be ended.
"Mrs ..., twenty-four years old, asked her husband to invite her parents to an expensive dinner. Since he did not accept her demand, she applied for a divorce’."
"A man divorced his wife on the grounds that she waS’ only giving birth to girls. The couple had five daughters."
"A woman applied for a divorce, because her husband believes in mysticism and did not show much interesting life."
"A man applied for a divorce because he wanted to get married to a wealthy woman."
"A woman applied for a divorce because her husband used to hide his money in his sleeves. "
"A man has divorced his wife because he claims that she is a bad-omen. Since their marriage his father had died and his uncle had become bankrupt."
A couple who is not wise and prudent, might fall into the traps of such petty matters and apply for a divorce. A couple. who seeks separations, must not rush for it. They are recommended to consider carefully about the aftereffects and their future in detail and then decide. They must spcifically ponder over two points:
First Point: A couple. who seeks divorce, generally would like to re-many. But they should remember that after the divorce, the persons known as divorcees would not have a good record with regard to marriage. People think of them as selfish and unfaithful.
Upon finding out a man’s previous marriage and divorce, a woman might doubt his faithfulness or his character.
A divorced woman rarely gets a chance to re-marry. Because men generally do not show much interest in marrying a divorced woman and doubt about her faithfulness.
Therefore a divorcee would possibly have to stay alonc for the rest of his or her life and may have to stifler from loneliness too.
Being lonely is a very difficult situation, and some lonely people prefer death rather than such an ttnbcarablc life.
"A twenty-two year old woman who was divorced. attempted to commit suicide on the night of tier sister’s wedding. She had one child."
Even if a man is successful in rc—marryi rig, it is not at all obvious that his new life would be any better than his wife. She may even be worse. Such men usually prefer -divorce their second wife and re-marry the initial One. Bu usually it is too late for such a move.
"An eighty-year old man said in the court: 'I had a goocj life when I married my first wife about sixty years ago. But after a while she started mistreating , so I divorced her. I married a few women after that, but felt that my first wife was the most faithful among them. I found her and asked her to re-marry me. She, who was also tired of loneliness, agreed, and we now want to marry again’."
"A man divorced his second wife because she could not take care of the two children that he had from his first marriage. He than remarried his first wife whom he had divorced five years ago."
Second Point: A couple, which seeks separation, must also think of their children. Children’s comfort lies in a family where their both the parents live together and take care of them jointly.
Upon the breaking down of the family life, children beCome extremely upset. If only their father looks afterthem. they would be deprived of motherly love. They would not enjoy life with step-mother either. Step-mothers, not only are unable to act as their genuine mothers, but may regard their step-children as a burden. Some step-mothers maltreat their step-children and make them upset deliberately and their fathers may have to remain silent.
"A fourteen-year old bride who had attempted to commit sttcide said in the hospital. 'My parents separated when I was one-year old. My father remarried after one and half years and we are now living together. My step-mother used to beat me up and even burnt me with a hot metal rod on a lcw occasions. My father, even though a well-off man, preveiited me from studying and deprived me from learning. About a month ago my father forced me to marry a forty-five 'ear old man’."
Also. if the mother assumes the responsibility of her children, then they would be deprived of having a real father who would care for them. A step-father is often the cause of much unhappiness to his step-children.
"A woman helped her second husband to tie his eight-year old step-son to a bed. They then closed the door and went out for a walk. When they returned home. they found their child had been burnt to death as a result of the lire in the house."
Divorce destroys a family unit and leaves the children wandering and shelterless. Children often stiller as the result of’ their parent’s selfishness.
"Four children aged twelve, nine, six and four years went to a police station. The eldest son said: 'Our parents separated from each other a while ago. They had constant arguments and used to have a row everyday and night. Now that they are divorced, neither are prepared to take the responsibility of caring for us’."
Children, who are deprived of’ having a suitable guardian and a family atmosphere, often go astray. The lack’ of’ proper edttcation and a sympathetic person in their lives. makes them stiffer from complexes of’ inferiority. They may eveii commit crimes of’ variotis degrees, during their childhood or adulthood.
One can realize this fiict by just reading the events in the daily newspapers.
"In a research made at the Centre for Youth Rehabilitation, it is evident that out of one hundred and sixtccn criminal youths of this centre, eighty people asser, that their step-mothers’ treatment with them was the cause of their crimes."
Dear madam / sir for the sake of Allah and for the salw of your innocent children, be forgiving towards each other. Do not exaggerate trivial problems and do not persist in yo arguments. Do not pick up faults with each other. Think of your future as well as that of your children Remember! your children rely on you and look up to you for their happine, Have mercy upon them and do not destroy their lives.
If you ignore their internal desires and if you break their little hearts, you would not be able to escape the effects of thcirunhappiness. You would, therefore, be unable to have a Comfortable life together.