by Khadijah Ali (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 1, Sha'ban, 1444)
The notion of a fatherless society is totally alien to Islam. Yet today, many women carry the title of single motherhood as a badge of honour. This is not to suggest that there are no circumstances in which a woman might become a single mother. Islam strongly encourages men to take these widows into marriage.
Unfortunately, most Muslim men do not live up to this Islamic obligation but the artificially-created notion of ‘single motherhood’ is unnatural. This is the direct result of how marriage has gone out of fashion in the west and men live with women in what is referred to as ‘common law’ arrangement. They can have children but often, the man simply walks away from the relationship leaving the woman to carry the responsibility of bringing up children.
As such social engineering has become more widespread in western societies, especially in the US, its deleterious effects are beginning to emerge. It has been found that the absence of a father has a profoundly negative impact on all aspects of a child’s life, from socio-cognitive and socio-emotional development to academic performance.
Fatherlessness has also led to criminal or delinquent behavior. According to the US Census Bureau, approximately 18,395,000 children in the United States live without a biological father, stepfather, or adoptive father present in the home. This means 23% of children in the US are raised by a single parent, that is, the mother.
This is more than three times the global average (7%) of children raised by a single parent, the highest rate of any country in the world, according to Pew Research. Absence of the guiding and protective presence of a father has enormous negative impact on a child’s development and upbringing.
Research shows that children raised in fatherless environment are more likely to suffer from psychosocial development issues. They often live in poverty, drop out of school, engage in school violence, indulge in substance abuse, and enter the juvenile justice system.
With the abandonment of marriage between a man and a woman, this has resulted in an explosion of children born to unwed mothers. Almost 41% of children in the US are born to unwed mothers. For women under 30 years of age, the out-of-wedlock birth rate is even more alarming: 53%.
Children need the loving care of a mother and the protective umbrella of a father. Yet single fathers are absent from nearly 80% of single-parent homes. These carry serious consequences for children and impose an undue burden on mothers who are often incapable of carrying it alone.
Not surprisingly, more than 38 million people live in poverty, most of them children and families of colour. Single mothers constitute a majority of poor people in the US. They live in run-down houses and often are unable to provide adequate food for their children.
Poverty and lack of family support, primarily that of the husband, carry other consequences: mental illness that often leads suicide. It is described as a serious public health problem. Suicide rates in the US increased 30% between 2000–2018, and while they declined slightly in 2019 and 2020, the overall rate is still very high. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, with 45,979 deaths in 2020. This is about one death every 11 minutes. Again, single mothers and fatherless children constitute a disproportionate number in this category.
Here are some statistics to bear this out. Among youth suicide victims, 63% are from fatherless homes. Similarly, 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from the same category.
Other statistics are equally horrendous: 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions and 85% of youth in prisons are from fatherless homes, as are 80% of rapists.
Fatherless children are six times more likely to live in poverty and commit criminal acts than children raised in dual-parent households (female mother and male father, not same sex couples!). There are other problems experienced by fatherless children.
Among children experiencing behavioral disorders, approximately 85% are from fatherless homes. This is 20 times the US national percentage. They are also three times more likely to be behind bars by the time they are 30 years old.
Other problems experienced by fatherless children include the following. They are more likely to suffer from alcohol and substance abuse, indulge in school violence, and engage in impulsive and delinquent behavior. In the 30-year period from 1980 to 2010, the arrest data of fatherless boys ages 10 to 14 increased by 50%.
Most adolescents who enter the justice system have suffered from parental abandonment, substance abuse, or a dysfunctional household. In a study of 75 juvenile delinquents, 66% didn’t have fathers, 20% had never lived with their father, and 25% had an alcoholic father.
Factors contributing to an increased risk of juvenile delinquency are well documented. These include minimal parental involvement, unstable family dynamics, and the development of attachment issues—all common consequences of a fatherless home.
Children raised in households without a father are 20 times more likely to be incarcerated than children raised in dual-parent households. Both teachers (71%) and law enforcement officials (90%) state that the lack of parental supervision at home is a major factor that contributes to violence in schools.
This is borne out by the study of 56 school shootings in the US. Only 10 of the shooters (18%) were raised in a stable home with both biological parents, while 82% grew up in either an unstable family environment or grew up without both biological parents together.
Need one say more about the disastrous consequence of social engineering and destruction of the family structure by imposing new, unnatural definitions?