Muslim families are at the crossroads today. The Western model is not a suitable pattern for the family life. Its style of family life has resulted in conjugal infidelity, large scale marriage breakdown, high rates of divorces, separations, broken homes, alcoholism, drug addiction, libertinism and the like.

Those who blindly mimic Western model, exploit their women to such an extent that the latter are made mere sex ******ives. The only solution to the Muslim family's predicament is maintenance of Islamic family values. Islam builds the family on solid grounds, which are capable of providing continuity, security, mutual love and intimacy.

With a view to making the foundations of the family strong and natural, Islam not only recognizes but also lays emphasis on marriage, which is a wholesome pattern of lawful intimacy harmoniously blended with decency, morality and gratification.
Marriage and the family are the focal point in the Islamic system. There are many verses in the Qur'an and many statements of the Prophet (Pbuh), which declare marriage to be a moral safeguard and a religio-social commitment.
The aim of the Muslim family must be worship of Allah, as marriage is considered to be yet another form of Ibadah (Worship). If the aim of the family is carnal satisfaction or worldly gains, then the family institution fails miserably.
The responsibility of the family does not revolve solely on the husband or the wife or on children or grandchildren. It is a collective responsibility on all of them together and even beyond that to the previous generation of grandparents.

A family can be a Muslim family, only if parents behave correctly and follow the Sunnah.

<li style="font-weight: bold;">If they do not live in accordance with the Sunnah, they have no right to hope or expect their children to be good Muslims. As you sow, so you reap. Cultivation of Islamic values is essential in a Muslim family and they should not only be cultivated but also nurtured. Our likes and dislikes, our conception of nice and vulgar, good and neat and chaotic, etc., must be in conformity with the Sunnah, for the Prophet(Pbuh) is reported to have said: "The one among you does not believe unless his own desires and likings are in conformity with what I have brought." This applies to personal habits, dress, food manners, etc.,

<li style="font-weight: bold;">For the preservation and maintenance of the Muslim family, there must be instilled in its members a strong sense of belonging to the Muslim Ummah. The family is not an individual entity; it is a social aspect and so must be strengthened.

<li style="font-weight: bold;">A Muslim family must socialize with other Muslim families. Parents must, no doubt, avoid corrupt people and refrain from socializing in sick environment. And also their children should do the same.

<li style="font-weight: bold;">At the same time, they must provide better alternatives and there can be no better alternative than befriending good Muslims, especially Ulamas (scholars).

<li style="font-weight: bold;">These are some ways of promoting and preserving the Muslim family. In conclusion, I fervently appeal to my fellow-religionists to remain continuously conscious and creative about the Islamic aspects.

<li style="font-weight: bold;">Educated Muslims must apply the Islamic concepts; "think", "contemplate", "look", "realize", "know", "become wise", "reason", etc., on the Muslim society, and help in transformation of the Qur'anic and Prophetic concepts of the family into our daily life.

By Sumayyah bint Joan