- Category: Occidentalogy
- Written by Ayatullah Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari
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Landslide in Family Life
The family is the community in microcosm. It is the root from which nations grow. It is the basic unit of society. Its climate must be love and its soil character. In it human life begins—and ends! It must be happy, a citadel of heart-warming peace and quiet, where affection reigns, which runs on oiled wheels of confidence and trust, security and sincerity. The more firm its spiritual and moral edifice, the more sure its joy and happiness in today's troubled, explosive, insurrectionary atmosphere. Every human being has a greater need than ever for a home and family which will provide a haven of quiet and a refuge for thought and reflection.
The West pursued a simple agricultural life before the industrial revolution. In those days the family was a center of consideration, caring and constancy. Men went out to the fields to work for a living. Women set the care and upbringing of their little ones above all else. The family circle bounded the lives of all its members.
But industry needed hands. One of the first effects of its need was the dispersal of men, women and children to industrial centers, government offices, commercial houses and other large institutions. Conurbations grew in which the sole object of existence was to increase the outward comforts and luxuries of life.
This break-up of family life weakened the marriage bond. Gentleness and affection grievously diminished. Women felt lost without the single-minded devotion to their family and the upbringing of their children which had been their sole preoccupation in previous epochs. They spent their energy in exhausting factory work. The dual role of factory worker and mother proved too much. The necessary time, the adequate opportunity, for leisure of heart, for ordering family life, was missing. She must clock in at the fixed time at work; and housework lost its charm in the weary hours of exhaustion which were all she had left to give to it.
Further, the new "freedom" was so limitless that it uprooted family life, casting chastity and decency to the winds, leaving disaster and division to replace the morality of family and social unity, which had relied on religion and conscience for their sanctions.
The mounting tide of divorces is sweeping the civilized world on a dangerous course, yet it is helplessly unable to stem the flood.
A petty difference in taste between husband and wife is found sufficient ground for ending a marriage-contract. Minor conflicts and incompatibilities are all treated as evidence that a marriage has irretrievably broken down and that a family unit should be split. The storm-clouds of passion and prurience, with hurricane force, blast the tender growths of family oneness; and the most sacred inheritance of the centuries falls victim to the violence of the most unstable and ephemeral desires. Yet a modicum of common sense could solve the tiff and quench the fire, while tolerance and unselfishness would stabilize the relationship on a sure foundation of principle, justice and love.
An Iranian living in Germany told me that in the last few years all his neighbors, without exception, had ended their marriages in the divorce courts!
The Iranian national daily "Keyhan" (No. 6926), reported that marriage guidance councils had been set up all over East Germany to check the flood of divorces and broken families. Doctors and lawyers, too, had joined the campaign. Newspapers were devoting column after column to the matter. The rising curve of divorce statistics was blamed primarily on the wives' employment in industrial jobs which kept them outside the home.
Sheer economic need drove 70% of married women to take a job simply to gain an adequate family income. Of these 60% had children. The toll of the double call on her energies by job and family house holding on a woman's nerves naturally is so severe that she and her husband quarrel constantly, until their morale cracks and divorce seems the only solution for an intolerably strained situation.
Tolstoj wrote: "One main cause of the upsurge in the divorce rate is women's excessive freedom of choice, which the capricious and touchy feminine nature cannot carry. Of course it is also true that the machine-age does produce nervous strain, and throws men and women into relationships of intimacy and familiarity which easily cross the bounds of legitimate companionship, and may arouse jealousy within the family ; while women's employment outside the house rouses a host of further problems."
Statistics in New York and Washington show that divorce amongst intellectuals (sic!) outnumbers those amongst all other classes; while those in Hollywood were so shocking that the authorities refused to publish them.
"Keyhan" on 28 Farvardin 1339 reported that divorces in the past year in England were a record total-50% due to unfaithfulness, 50% to other causes.
America's "Wake Magazine" reported that the divorce rate had increased 1,000% in the last ten years.
French courts heard 9,785 suits for divorce, 8,000 on the wives' initiative.
World War I, and World War II still more, increased youth's rejection as an expression of "freedom", of traditional moral standards, and divorces increased in consequence. G. de Pels in his book "Matrimony and Modernity" says : "The excess of divorces over first marriages is due to the effects of World Wars I and II."
"The Reader's Digest", Persian Edition (No. 103, Year 25), reports a request to the French government by the French Family Federation that divorce be prohibited in the first three years of wedlock. England has enacted the same law with two exceptions only: extraordinary brutality by the husband, or extraordinary corruption in the wife.
In the U.S.A., 3,000,000 children's parents are separated (Tehran Weekly Journal "Ettela'at" (No. 1206)). Lawson writes: "Anyone with a grain of philanthropic sense must feel the pain of these terrifying figures and seek to cure them. Since most separations are due to the women's initiative, both cause and cure must be found in them."
Alas, Iran's own Westernized classes are afflicted with the same divorce-disease. In the last decade in Tehran alone over 1,000 divorces have occurred because of quarrels over money, and been reported in the papers. Many more went unreported. Of 15,335 weddings in Tehran in 1339, 4,839 ended in divorce —almost one in three. 86% of these divorces were demanded by the wives—all Westernized materialist intellectuals (save the mark!). It is a warning of a menacing peril which must be averted. The type of "civilization" which destroys the family cannot be left as it is if we are not to see division cleave our people asunder and unbridled passions annihilate our culture. It must be replaced by the practice of Islam's stabilizing and constructive social lore.