In every society, humans being what they are, families and family structures break down – Muslim cultures are no exception. Some are simply overwhelmed by the superficial consumerism, moral laxity and heady individualism that so often arrives on the back of imported, Western technological expertise and the tourist industry.
Internal, personal shortcomings also affect family breakdown – the pain of seeking to abide by societal custom. Lucre, if not water, proves thicker than blood and the traditionally minded family suffers from the breakdown of customary mores.
One’s reminded of the extended family gone wrong which belonged to the man closest, reputedly, to the Lord God’s own heart – the history of King David’s household. Absalom seeks revenge for his father’s rejection of him by wooing away support from King David at the very gates of Jerusalem. His strategy works and he very nearly wins the kingdom. He certainly beds ten of his father’s young wives in public, shaming the old king in a way only recoverable by the ultimate form of punishment – death. This extended family is truly dysfunctional, full of sibling rivalry, violence and disrespect for the aged.