A joint family system is the composition of all levels of generations along with their respective spouses and children. They live together in one house, cook collectively and eat meals together. Old ones mostly prefer this system, because it provide assurance against multiple fears like loneliness and being excluded from their children’s lives.
What is Islam’s perspective about the joint family?
A common concept comes to mind about the joint family is that All bedrooms opening on to a common area, a shared kitchen as well as a shared washroom. Most of the women tries to cover themselves from outsiders, but they even unintentionally dress and interact before some non-Mahram residents of the house, as they would before Mahrams. This practice is the complete violation of the commands of Islam.
Etiquette of Privacy from Blood Relations clearly taught in the Quran:
“O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the dawn prayer and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the night prayer. [These are] three times of privacy for you. There is no blame upon you nor upon them beyond these [periods], for they continually circulate among you – some of you, among others. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (An-Nur 24:58)
In the aforementioned verse of the Holy Quran, It clearly depicts that even young children to be prevented from entering their parentsm bedrooms without prior permission, during three times
- Before Fajr
- After Dhuhr
- After Isha
Almost every Islamic scholar is in unanimous agreement that private accommodation is necessary for married Muslim, which preserves their privacy from non-Mahram visitors.
It is better, therefore the son is physically near his parents and other relatives by living in separate accommodation. For example two houses in the same compound or double story building, or at a walking distance from each other. A wife should consider her husband’s financial constraints to avail such opportunity.
Our culture is major promoter of joint family system. It expects sons to dwell with their elderly parents and financially support them. In Islam, a son and daughter are equally responsible to support financially and physically their aged and needy parents. No discrimination exists on this issue, except that a daughter’s husband has more rights on her than her parents. If he allows, she may take care of her parents in her own home.
Joint family system provides lots of opportunities for young mothers they can avail babysitting facility with no charges and the old ones have someone nearby to take good care of them. Children grow up more sociable and intelligent by observing different people around them. The strict discipline of young parents, when mixed with years of experiences of grandparents, does a wonderful affect for self-confidence of the children.
A sincere advice for all parents who want their married sons to live under one roof, they should renovate the house in such a manner that everyone can observe the limits of Allah (swt). To construct two extra rooms with a kitchen and washroom doesn’t cost much. The problem lies in giving preference to culture and family traditions over obeying commands of religion.