Family is the very core of society. As it declines so falls society. As it ascends so ascends society.
From this precept, comes the importance that is placed by the divine religions upon the family.
Because the disappearance of the family means the disappearance of a virtuous society To destroy is easier than to build.
This is the basis of Imam Shirazi’s valuable effort in which he puts forward ideas and solutions to the problems of society.
He deals with human society in its widest sense and studies contemporary topics such as the growth of the family and discusses views promoting the limiting of offspring and explains the Islamic position regarding this notion and other related ideas.
Part One - The Law of Matrimony
In Creation, In Civilisations and In Religions
God has said in his masterful book: 'And of everything we have created pairs so that you might take notice'.
The law of pairs is so deeply intrinsic to created objects that one does not find any atom or galaxy or anything smaller or larger than these, that is not subject to this law.
If one looks to creation in all its vastness and what it holds, from stars and planets, air and water, trees and rocks, to animals and humans, one cannot but concede to the integrated perfection of this system in so far as each one complements and perfects the other.
Each proceeds according to a precise and balanced system which is only violated by humankind who were given by God the responsibility of administering themselves after having been sent messengers and having had the limits of behaviour laid out and the laws made clear.
Mankind then took up this responsibility but did not carry it out, as it should be - excepting God’s faithful servants - at times falling into oppressiveness, at other times into ignorance.
In the Qur’an Allah states: 'We did indeed offer trusteeship to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they refused to take it being afraid of it, But man undertook it, though he is unjust and ignorant'.
The Law of Matrimony in Creation
This vast creation from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy consists of tribes and peoples based upon the system of pairs.
Every element is formed from atoms, and every atom is composed of negative electron and positive proton.
The occurrence of any imbalance in the ratios and equilibrium of these charges will result in the instability of the atom, and the atom will then try to return to a stable state by discharging atomic energy.
Likewise in creation there are two complementing forces - magnetism and electricity - neither of which can exist without the other.
Then magnetism is composed of two polarities - north and south - and electricity of two charges - positive and negative - according to scientists.
In the Vegetable World
Allah has said in the Qur'an: 'All praise to He who has created all the pairs, of which grow in the earth, and of yourselves, and of that which you have no knowledge.”
Every plant contains a masculine and feminine member, which upon their maturity pollination occurs and then fruition.
Granted there are types of plants and trees which do not need this depth and complexity but they are like humans who have two independent members, which co-operate mutually in order to produce fruition, as is the case with the palm tree and others similar trees.
In the Animal World
Animals whether quadrupeds, bipeds or reptiles, fish or birds, are subject to the law of pairs. He (Allah) has said: 'Originator of the heavens and the earth has made out of yourselves pairs and of the beasts pairs . . . '13
So they strive, because of the 5 forces placed within them, to procreate and multiply and to preserve their species. Mothers extend affection to their offspring after birth or hatching and prepare the appropriate environment for their growth and development and defend them with their lives against the dangers, which surround them.
The Law of Pairs in Human Civilisations
There is no doubt that there are differences between humans and other creatures. Humans have a certain freedom of choice and will whereas animals are driven and determined.
There is also no doubt that there is a difference among peoples with regards to systems and laws to an extent, which at times is contradictory (contrary) and incompatible.
However it is not right that we take this difference as being the most fitting expression of the matrimonial system.
Indeed, this synopsis does not hold truth for all areas of the nature of the family, so we will concern ourselves to the areas upon which peoples have been in agreement from the earliest times as civilisations and peoples. This will no doubt fulfil our purpose.
Particularly regarding marriage and childbearing, libertinism, and the system of rights
Inshallah in the following pages, we will deal with matrimonial laws from the earliest civilizations until the present day.
First we will examine the Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Ancient Egyptian texts afforded marriage a high importance. Adultery was forbidden and its doer was threatened with the most violent punishments, according to historians. The unfaithful husband would be subjected to flogging and the unfaithful wife would be subjected to the amputation of the nose.
Adultery was one of the pretexts for divorce among them without distinction between the man and the woman.
In the civilisation of Osiris, dead persons used to bear with them to their graves a document testifying to their honour and loyalty in order to obtain mercy in the afterlife.
Civilisation of the American Continent
In the Aztec civilisation, in Central America adultery was a sin whose punishment was death by strangulation and then stoning without distinction between man and woman.
In the civilisation of the Incas in the Andies, marriage was compulsory and celibacy was forbidden and there used to be an observer from the Incas who would roam the villages and the countryside to make sure that celibates would marry.
Civilization of Ancient Japan…
In Ancient Japan, women were known for marital loyalty or faced death. If a husband came upon his wife in the act of adultery, it was his right to kill her and her lover on the spot.
Certain of their leaders have added that if a husband has killed his wife in these circumstances and let the other man go free then he himself deserves the punishment of death.
Even the sect of the Samurai who insisted upon remaining without marrying until the age of thirty made it obligatory upon themselves to marry and produce at least two children.
For this reason, chastity was a great virtue among the Japanese, even that some women would even kill themselves when their virtue was exposed to danger.
Civilization of the Pre-Islamic Arabs
The Arabs concerned themselves with lineage and descent, and this interest drove them to such depths and precision in the organisation of the family and the tribe.
They used to encourage early marriage beginning with age sixteen for men and twelve or less for girls so if a girl reached eighteen or twenty without marriage, she would be viewed with concern.
The veil was widespread in various Arabian lands in many forms just as the custom of circumcision was widespread even for girls.
They used to forbid marriage to close relatives and fornication was regarded as a sin and punished with severe punishments.
In certain circumstances, the adulteress would be separated and isolated in the house and would remain in this way un-married until death.