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Marriage and Family

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April 2020
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Marriage and Family

The Role of Faith in Supporting Marriage

Toronto, Canada - The Women's Federation for World Peace President in Canada, Mrs. Lilly Tadin, organized a seminar on the topic of "Commitment to Marriage in the 21st Century: The Role of Faith" to highlight the importance of marriage and how various religious traditions support marriage.

The seminar was organized to address this issue since marriage in many parts of our world is under siege. For some, it is no longer the accepted road to happiness and fulfillment nor is it considered the only route to sexual satisfaction or the only context within which to raise children. The survival of a monogamous lifelong marriage as an established historical institution is for the first time in doubt. What do us, as members of a faith community, have to offer in order to re-establish commitment to marriage and provide positive solutions to humankind? For this purpose, a few notable speakers were invited to address the significance of a life-long bond of love, care, and integrity in a bond of marriage between a man and woman.

Mrs. Eveline Stewart presided over the conference and welcomed the guests with warmth and affection. Mrs. Stewart stated that the Women's Federation for World Peace is an NGO founded in 1992 under the motto "Humankind is a family living in one home, the earth." It seeks to enhance the condition of women and children throughout the world, based on the spirit of motherly love and service. Mrs. Stewart invited the first speaker, Rev. Ariel Dumaron from the Anglican Church, to share his insights and ideas on the importance of commitment to marriage.

Rev. Dumaron caught the attention of the audience by quoting a phrase of wisdom from the Anglican tradition: "The Family that prays together stays together." When we connect to God, we develop the intention to follow God. Marriage is a step which inculcates loving connectivity between a man and woman in trust. Religion is an authority by which we mark our boundaries of righteousness and sustain our marriages for a lifetime. We should be able to say "I am a happily married person with beautiful children who are a gift from God. Such happiness would be with me till I part from this world to live in the Kingdom of God for ever."

Mrs. Lalitha Brodie an author of several books who comes from a Tamil Hindu community, expressed sorrow that the tradition of lasting marriage is fading as marriages break down. There is a strong need to have religious values imparted to our youth so that the sanctity of marriage is not only maintained but lifted up as the most important part of our society. She emphasized that the Hindu religion believes in the existence of one God but Hindu tradition finds god in godly people, often giving a material appearance in the form of statues. She said her Hindu faith has helped sustain during her 58 years of marriage and that she would continue to promote the divine importance of marriage through the 35 Hindu temples in the greater Toronto area.

Dr. Afroze Anjum, a young psychologist with the Toronto District School Board, spoke about the importance of marriage in Islam. She also offered interesting psychological points of view on what makes a good marriage. "Islam strongly recommends marriage between a man and woman but does not make it obligatory, because male and female must meet certain criteria," she said. Those who meet criteria of health, finances, and consent should marry to make a strong family and be the source of a fruitful generation. Marriage enhances sexual and emotional relationships between husband and wife which help maintain an integrated family unit. "The love in a marriage bond is emotional, but it comes with a life-long commitment," she said. Islam permits divorce; however, it is considered the last option and regrettable.

"From a psychological point of view, marriage is a conscious bond where man and woman benefit each other with sexual and emotional values. Emotions of love, commitment, attraction and the role of management strategies are best among married couples," she said.

Mrs. Tadin offered an Unificationist perspective of marriage by stating that love, attraction, affection, pleasure of life in the form of marriage come with a responsibility to create a three-generational home. Our faith traditions are meant to help us conquer self-centeredness and love our enemy. Conjugal love between a man and a woman is best in the form of marriage. "I am an Unificationist, and my faith tradition believes in arranged consensual marriage between a man and a woman," she said. "It is important to show that religion can play a positive role in building lasting marriages."

Several more speakers expressed their positive views on marriage. Dr. Hoossen Auckberaullee, Chairman of UPF-Greater Toronto Area, earned spontaneous applause as he noted, "When Adam cried for a mate, Almighty God gifted him with Eve, a woman." This is evidence that marriage is always between a man and woman, and this Divine institution must be propagated by all. Dr. Golam Dastagir spoke about the importance of marriage in all religions and expressed appreciation for the talks given by all the speakers of the day. Mr. A. R. Qureshi applauded the conference which gave an opportunity to understand different religious points of view. Ms. Fazila Shaw of the Islamic Marriage Assistance Program explained about her organization, which is working to facilitate marriage in local communities.

Lastly, Author Qamrul A. Khanson, secretary UPF-Greater Toronto Area, concluded the conference with final remarks: "Islam values marriage highly, as do Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and all other religious groups. There is a strong need to inculcate a monogamous approach to marriage. Let us continue to promote the sanctity of marriage to our fellow citizens. We may call the sole Creator of this universe as God, Allah, Elohim, Eishwar, Qhuda and many other names in different religious traditions but we all agree that Almighty God is One. Commitment to marriage is the key to building families which is certainly blessed by Almighty God."

Qamrul A. Khanson is Freelance writer and author of several books on spirituality and interfaith studies. He can be reached at www.qamrulkhanson.net.

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