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Why did Social Life Grow?

The growth of society and social life is among the basic matters which must be scientifically studied. For such a study will help us understand the reason why society and social life grew.

To understand the Islamic theory concerning the growth of society and social life, we must consider carefully the Qur'anic verses that talk about these matters. Meanwhile these Qur'anic verses urge man to build human society based on firm foundations and principles. Among them are:

Allah, the Exalted, said: "O people! Verily We have created you of a male and a female, and made you in nations and tribes, that you may recognise each other; Verily the most honored of you with Allah is the one of you who guards (himself) the most (against evil), ..."

Holy Qur'an (Hujurat, 49: 113)

He said: "And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves, mates that you may dwell (inclined) unto them, and caused between you love and compassion: Verily in this are signs for a people who reflect." Holy Qur'an (Rum, 30:21)

He, the Glorified, said: "What! do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? (It is) We Who did distribute among them (even) their livelihood in the life of this world, and We did raise some of them above the others in rank, so that some of them may take the others in subjection; and the mercy of your Lord is better that whatever they hoard." Holy Qur'an (Zukhruf, 43: 32)

Studing and analyzing these verses show us the reasons why society grew. Among them are:

1. The basic factor for the growth of society is the general natural law of marriage. The instinctive structure of man and woman represents this law. Both, man and woman are the main factors for the growth of social life.

This instinctive relationship between man and woman is based on love and mercy. So, it leads to tranquillity.

For this reason, the Holy Qur'an regards woman as the base of tranquillity. That happens through the psychological and social tranquillity of man and of social life in general. That is because the psychological and the physical relationship between man and woman terminates psychological tension. It also ends the instinctive and psychological energy and leads to the principle of balance between man and woman. For this principle depends on perfection through the general natural marriage law.

Consequently, man and woman must shoulder their responsibility to build a sound righteous society. For they are the source of tranquility, love, affection, and mercy in social life.

2. Acquaintance: The second reason which caused man to build a social life is acquaintance among human beings based on the instinct of social life. Regarding this view, the philosophers said: "Man is social by nature."

Social and psychological experments have shown that man feels tranquility and rest through his social life with others. For this reason Allah, the Most High, said: "So that you may know one another." This phrase shows that there is a human motive behind forming society or social life.

3. Exchanging interests: The third reason for building society, is the exchange of various material interests. Indeed Allah wanted individuals to be perfect through their psychological, bodily, and intellectual abilities. He also wanted this perfection to be achieved through exchanging interests among individuals.

The individual has diverse needs and demands. He cannot secure them all by himself. So, he needs others, and others need him. These differing abilities lead to differing productions and services which the individual offers to others. Concerning the exchange of these productions, interests, and services, which are offered to satisfy needs, the Qur'an says: "...and We did raise some of them above the others in rank, so that some of them may take the others in subjection;" 1

Social function has grown on this base. The principle of the functional social growth has also been explained according to this base. Namely, society grows as bodily organs do. Then it carries out its function as bodily organs do.

Thus, the Qur'an explains the material and human reasons for the growth of society. The role of woman becomes prominent clearly and basically through these elements. In other words, woman plays a functional, psychological, and material role in social life. For woman constitutes the greater part in society. The census has shown that the number of females is more than the number of males.

According to the theory of functional perfection, explained by the Holy Qur'an, shows that the role of the woman and the role of man are both studied within the frame of Islamic aims and values. So, woman is not a secondary element nor is she an additional being, though the human experience has shown the role of the man in building science and economy is greater than that of woman. While, the role of woman in building the psychological base of the family is greater than that of the man. The Qur'an expresses this fact by saying: "and from it did He make his mate that he may dwell resting unto her." Hence it is the husband who feels at ease with the wife and is quiet through living with her. So, she is the center of attraction and the frame of tranquillity, affection and love.

The Qur'an talks about tranquillity' in numerous places. With that, we can understand tranquillity which the wife secures for her husband. We understand that through Allah's words, the Exalted: "And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves, mates that you may dwell (inclined) unto them, and caused between you love and compassion." "...then made He from it its mate,"

We may also understand tranquillity' in society when we understand the Qur'an's description of the relation between the husband and wife as the relation of tranquillity, affection, and mercy'.

Therefore, we must study the word tranquillity sakan' in numerous places in the Qur'an in order to understand its social and family meanings. He, the Exalted, said: "... and has made the night for rest," It means that people become tranquil at night. 2 He, the Most High, said: "...and pray for them; verily your prayer is assurance (of peace) for them;" It means that they become tranquil through your prayers and their hearts become quiet through them. Here tranquillity or calmness means sobriety, not losing motion.

"He it is who sends down tranquility into the hearts of the faithful." It means that He has found steadfastness and tranquillity. 3 The linguists have explained the meaning of sakan' or calmness, by saying: "Sakana al-rih, meaning the wind has abated. Sakan al-nafs bada al-idtarab, meaning the soul has became tranquil after the disorder. Sakan also means all things with which the soul is intimate, such as the wife, fire 4, mercy, blessing, and daily-bread."

"Sakina means tranquillity, stability, sobriety, and dignity." 5

With this, we understand the meaning of sakan or tranquillity which the wife provides for her husband and her family. In other words we understand that sakan means rest, stability, sociability, mercy, blessing, and dignity. With this we also understand why the Qur'an has used the word sakan' with different meanings.

Scientific studies have indicated that man's psychological conditions have effects on his activities in life. It is well-known that the psychological conditions of the man and woman affect their social activities, such as agriculture, industry, trade, teaching, medicine, and the like. Hence, material production decreases when the man leads a life full of family difficulties and psychological tension. Such a man will have no ability to carry out his social duties as good as possible. Meanwhile, he will have tense relations with his work mates. Therefore, the nature of the relations between the man and woman affects the level of production and development.

Moreover, the woman plays a significant role in building society intellectually, materially, and morally, for she brings up and educates her children. The child will have a good character when he leads a life free from anxiety, tension, and family problems. Besides, he will have good relations with others, unlike the child who has a troubled character when he leads a life full of family problems. Such a child may have bad and aggressive behavior. So, corrupt education is the reason for all crimes that occur in society.

The mother contributes as the father does in other fields. She contributes in positive education. She has the ability to make her child love work and to be punctual and to urge him to study hard. Such a child will continue his education and develop his creative abilities. Then he will be a productive element through his experiences and his scientific and practical specialization. However, the child is dependent and lazy when his parents do not take care of him. Such a child will be dependent on others, moreover, there will be many dependent elements that will decrease production and stagnate scientific, economic and social life.

Thus, there is a close relationship between education and development, production, morals, and social life. So, the role of the woman is significant in social building in all fields.

1. In Majjma Bayyan, Tubrisi explained this verse, saying: "They exploit each other. So, they make use of the work of each other. With that the straightness of the world is organized."

2. Turaihi, Tafsir Gharib Qur'an Karim. Tabataba'i, Tafsir al-Mizan.

3. Ibid.

4. Mujam Wasit.

5. Ibid.

Adopted from the book : "Woman and Society" by : "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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