Breakdown of Family Bonds
Open the newspapers every day and there are columns upon columns reporting horror deaths, including suicides by girls and boys, old and young. A careful study of the causes of these suicides reveals that “family pressure” drives children, men and women to end their lives.
Take the recent case of a young, newly-married, girl, a software professional, who left a suicide note, saying, “I am tired of harassment by my husband and in-laws, so I am going to God.” This girl consumed pesticide and ended her life. Take the case of another girl, unable to face her mother’s pressure on her to marry a boy whom she did not approve of, and who left the world with a suicide note: “I cannot face my mother’s pressure on me to marry a boy she has chosen.”
In Islam, much focus is given to family bonds and the importance of good family relationships. But looking at the gross realities in society, cutting across class divisions the problems are the same. Husband-wife tiffs, children-parents differences, daughter-in-law versus mother-in-law and father-in-law versus son-in-law nit-pickings have become household stories that no longer shock or raise eyebrows. Emotional and childhood insecurities, complexes of inferiority or superiority, jealousy, envy, greed for wealth, position and status, all have their starting point in a family context.
There are many organizations today run by the community to take care of the material and religious progress of Muslims, like scholarship trusts, colleges, universities, hospitals, mosques, religious seminaries, wedding halls and high-rise fancy apartments , but no networks or groups to give counseling to families when battles arise within homes, leading to a complete breakdown of bonds.
The need of the hour is professional counseling groups and individuals who can sensitively handle psychological and emotional issues that emerge from dysfunctional family situations. They don’t have to all be highly professional folks. We also need the more personal, long-forgotten “Agony Aunts”, to whom men and women can unburden their sorrows, so that rather than ending their God-given lives, they can find hope to live afresh again!