Over the decades as a community worker I have witness the absolute necessity for widespread Islamic values in the broader South African society. As an example, I will utilize one advice from the Quran to clarify its power and also comment on the chaos that ensues if the advice is ignored.
While the Quran clearly stipulates that divorce must be cordial and not hostile, many couples fail in this regard. Thus teachers at school and madressa spend vital classroom time dealing with the emotional fallout of fighting parents who have no idea of the extent of their selfish conflict.
As the Chairperson of a multicultural primary school in the City Bowl area I regularly interact with white, brown and black people from poor, middle class and wealthy families. At the school there are Jews, Christians and Muslims. This cosmopolitan mix allows opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures which allows a better understanding of diverse people.
This interaction confirms that across society where there is an ethical father and mother etc, kids are prone to learn values and virtues. While we all have faults and flaws, what is vital is that a foundation in religious values is imperative as absents of such values create limitless problems for society.
Example, the current global divorce statistic in western nations including South Africa is above 50%. The results of this statistic instantly reflects at school and madressa where kids of divorce parents act out much more visibly, especially if the divorce concluded with hostility.
The irony is that, because of low level Islamic values and education, some parents ignorantly use kids to hurt the other. Kids also use parental hostility to emotionally blackmail parents for material gains. In the end the situation is ugly and often public as the hostility goes to law court and issues of interdicts and countersuits becomes the norm. The extended family also gets drawn in as some choose sides and enmity sets in. Family events turn into info sessions as the topic remains the divorce hostility.
This situation can continue for years as the mother fights for child care etc and the father becomes absent. Later the mother and father marry other partners and the kids have new issues to manage.
One can only imagine how difficult it must be for a father to witness another man who marries his former wife having to raise teenage daughters who does not belong to him?
The point is that, youths are often left to make life-long decisions while they are evidently unqualified and unskilled to make the critical choice of who to marry. While love and emotions are key, what is also vital is that qualified and educated parental advice must be part of the decision making process.
With increased westernized negative social influences like “try before you buy” and “living together”, Muslim youth are under phenomenal social pressure to comply with these unislamic practices.
In the end parents, teachers, religious leaders and community elders must continue reminding youth that the Quran is perfect and that the advice is divine and beyond question. What we cannot allow is for youngsters to make decisions that create and generate chaos for themselves and society and then using the excuse that they did not know what they were doing and nobody guided them.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress