I read an article this morning, that basically underlined the fact that zealots exist in all religions (contrary to recent popular beliefs that just accuse Islam of it). However, apart from conveying this message the article also raised another very important point. A point that we seldom give thought to as Muslims. It mentions the role of the father in a family unit as a kind, sympathetic, gentle figure. A person who plays an active role his children’s upbringing. At first, I thought I’d just write a post seconding the points in the article. But then, I decided to research how the subject is dealt with in Islam. All my search results yielded the same information, which is, in a Muslim family unit, the man is primarily responsible for livelihood, decision-making and security. However, somehow my heart just couldn’t subscribe to this information. As a Muslim mother myself, I personally feel that a Muslim father has more responsibilities than just providing financial security. And so I’ve determined, that the reason I feel this way is because I don’t want to categorize things as merely “rights” and “duties”.
I know that a child is closer to the mother and that it’s easier for the mother to get through to the child on most matters. This just makes a father’s job of playing his part in the child’s upbringing more difficult. Consequently, I believe that the father has to work harder to teach good values and manners to the child. And how can he achieve that? If he spends more time with the child; if he makes an effort to connect with the child in the time spent together. The more time they spend together, stronger will be the bond between them.
There’s a widespread phenomenon in our society, where men of the house conveniently place the blame of ill-mannered kids on their wives. They don’t stop to think for a moment what they themselves did to contribute in that regard. And the fault here, lies in the mindset. If we stop thinking about our role in terms of absolutes, we’ll realize that there are a lot of grey areas where stepping in isn’t just the responsibility of the mother but of the father as well.
Fathers who spend all their time working (finding comfort in the belief that they’re fulfilling their “duties”), need to realize that by doing so, they’re missing out on a very valuable asset. The asset of having a camaraderie with their children. The asset of an open, honest, close relationship. They’re losing out on the chance of contributing in their children’s education so that they can be good human beings.